RUSSIA/BELARUS/UKRAINE | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

RUSSIA/BELARUS/UKRAINE

Aug 24 07:00

Ukraine’s leader vows to do all he can to bring back Crimea

Ukraine’s president on Monday vowed to do all he can to bring back the peninsula of Crimea, annexed by Russia seven years ago, and urged international allies to support the effort.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke at the Crimean Platform summit, called by Ukraine to build up pressure on Russia over the 2014 annexation that has been denounced as illegal by most of the world. Russia’s relations with the West have sunk to post-Cold War lows as a result.

In his opening remarks, Zelenskyy promised to “do everything possible to return Crimea, so that Crimea, together with Ukraine, becomes part of Europe.”

“For this we will use all possible political, legal and first and foremost diplomatic means,” Zelenskyy said, adding that Kyiv needs “effective support at the international level.”

Aug 24 06:34

As Pentagon's Afghan Debacle Unfolds, Russia Announces Joint War Drills With China & Iran In Gulf

At a moment much of the world sees the US in 'retreat' from central Asia amid the ongoing Afghan evacuation debacle, it increasingly looks like Russia and China are stepping in as the next great power influencers in the region. The timing of a Russian announcement detailing upcoming joint military exercises appears geared toward sending just such a message.

"Russia, Iran and China will hold joint maritime exercises in the Persian Gulf around late 2021 or early 2022, Russia's ambassador to Tehran said, the RIA news agency reported on Monday," according to Reuters.

It's been no secret that the Russian and Chinese militaries have grown closer over the past years, but rarer still are major drills involving the superpowers plus Iran, and centered in the Persian Gulf - site of recent soaring tensions which lately included Iranian commandos briefly seizing a foreign tanker, as well as the drone attack of the Israeli-managed 'Mercer Street' tanker off the coast of Oman on July 30.

Aug 24 06:06

Iran, Russia and China to hold joint drills in Gulf in late 2021, early 2022

Iran, Russia and China will hold joint maritime exercises in the Gulf around late 2021 or early 2022, Levan Jagaryan, Russia's ambassador to Tehran, said on Monday.

The RIA news agency reported on Monday that the Marine Security Belt drills - also known as CHIRU - are intended to be an annual event. The drills were first held in 2019 and again in February 2021.

The drills, involving naval vessels from Iran, Russia, China and other nations, will be focused on shipping security and combating piracy, Jagaryan said.

“Along with Russia and India, China, Iran, Syria and Venezuela will take part in the drills. There are plans to hold a contest between the dive teams of these countries’ armed forces. Representatives of the Russian Navy command will arrive at the opening and closing ceremonies of this contest," he told another Russian state-owned news agency, Sputnik.

Aug 24 06:05

UK Minister for European Neighbourhood: We believe Crimea Platform to become important tool that will bring Russia to justice

British Minister for European Neighbourhood and the Americas Wendy Morton expressed hope that the Crimea Platform will become an important tool that will bring Russia to justice.

Morton said at the inaugural summit of the Crimea Platform in Kyiv on Monday that they believe that Russia's behavior in Crimea remains hostile and irresponsible. This is the same as what it is doing in eastern Ukraine with absolute disrespect for international law, and they believe that the Crimea Platform will become an important tool that will bring Russia to justice.

She stressed that the UK is ready to ensure the success of the Crimea Platform.

We declare our solidarity with all Ukrainians: from West to East of the country, to the last piece of land in the very south of the Crimean peninsula. Crimea is Ukraine, Morton said.

Aug 24 06:04

German Economic Affairs Minister Altmaier: We will not allow Crimea to be turned into blind spot on map

German Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier said that Germany will not allow Crimea to be turned into a blind spot on the map.

Altmaier said at the inaugural summit of the Crimea Platform in Kyiv on Monday that Germany did not and will not recognize the illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia. Germany is based on territorial integrity and sovereignty. They understand that the annexation has created a big problem in the region, which is why the EU imposed sanctions and extended them many times. It is the continuation of these actions that is the justification for the continuation of sanctions.

He stressed that the annexation of Crimea is an outrage against the rule of law.

Aug 24 06:04

U.S. Secretary of Energy: We hope Crimea Platform to convey idea that Crimea is Ukraine, Russia should be held accountable for its aggression

U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm expressed hope that the Crimea Platform will convey to everyone the idea that Crimea is Ukraine and that Russia should be held accountable for its aggression.

Granholm said at the inaugural summit of the Crimea Platform in Kyiv on Monday that they will continue their diplomatic efforts, which they use together with their allies and partners to resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine. They want to put Russia in its place and they want to achieve an end to its intervention in eastern Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea. They are absolutely committed to helping resolve this conflict. They believe that the Crimea Platform will really convey to everyone the long-awaited idea that Crimea is Ukraine and that Russia should be held accountable for its aggression.

She stressed that the United States is proud of the opportunity to be in Ukraine and support the Crimea Platform.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

"War with Russia? Yeah, that'll make them forget Afghanistan!" -- Official White Horse Souse

Aug 24 05:32

Ukrainian plane sent to evacuate citizens from Afghanistan following Taliban offensive HIJACKED in Kabul, deputy minister claims

A Ukrainian plane that was supposed to evacuate the country's citizens from Afghanistan following the Taliban's takeover of Kabul was hijacked by unknown assailants and, instead, took a different load of passengers to Iran.

The incident, which happened last week, was revealed by Ukraine's Deputy Foreign Minister Yevgeny Yenin, speaking to the Western-funded Hromadske TV on Monday.

"Our plane was hijacked," Yenin explained. "Last Tuesday, we actually had our plane stolen – it flew to Iran with an unknown group of passengers on board, instead of taking Ukrainians out."

Aug 23 10:55

Russia "Ready" To Ship Weapons To Central Asian Allies To Prevent Terrorists From Flooding Region

update (10:03ET): Days ago one particularly apt NY Times headline captured the growing concern and view from Washington: "With Afghan Collapse, Moscow Takes Charge in Central Asia."

Over the weekend Putin announced Russia has shut its borders to Afghans now pouring out of the country amid the US exit and ongoing evacuation debacle, further castigating US and European leaders for placing refugees in neighboring central Asian countries - but which according to Putin is a potential threat to Russia as "We don't want militants showing up here under cover of refugees."

It now appears Russia will take its security concerns a big step further, in what will be seen as a defiant thumb in the eye to Washington. Russia's RIA news agency is reporting that the Kremlin stands "ready to deliver weapons and equipment to central Asian allies that border Afghanistan." Further RIA cited top officials who said these large deliveries would be done "at special low prices".

Aug 23 09:26

After catastrophic US retreat from Afghanistan, Britain will have to turn to Russia & China for 'influence' over Taliban, UK says

As American troops continue their withdrawal from Kabul, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has admitted that London will now have to depend on Moscow and Beijing for support if it wants to do deals with the Taliban in future.

Speaking as part of an interview with the Sunday Telegraph published over the weekend, the UK's top diplomat acknowledged that his country and its allies have limited sway with Afghanistan and would have to turn to other nations when it comes to forming ties with the new government.

"We're going to have to bring in countries with a potentially moderating influence like Russia and China, however uncomfortable that is," Raab said. Working in partnership with a broader range of partners, he said, was the only way that Britain could exert a "moderating influence" on the Taliban.

Aug 23 08:20

Russian Military Hails Syria’s Successful Intercepts Of 22 Of 24 Missiles In Latest Israeli Attack

Following Thursday’s night’s largescale airstrikes by Israeli fighter jets on areas in and around Damascus and in Homs province, Russia’s military leadership in Syria told international news agencies that six total Israeli jets conducted the aggression using Lebanon’s airspace.

Rear Adm. Vadim Kulit, head of the Russian military’s Reconciliation Center in Syria, further detailed that Syrian anti-air defenses successfully shot down a total of 22 out of 24 of the inbound missiles launched by the Israeli warplanes.

Aug 23 05:21

U.S. trains Georgian armed forces for new war in Caucasus

As part of the 9th rotation of the Georgian Defense Readiness Program (GDRP), the 12th Infantry Battalion of the 1st Infantry Brigade of the Eastern Command of the Defense Forces conducted a final combat shooting exercise….

The 12th Infantry Battalion of the 1st Infantry Brigade underwent training at the Combat Training Center base for 13 weeks….The battalion was trained by Georgian and American instructors.

Aug 23 05:21

Georgian PM in Kyiv: ‘Russian actions in Ukraine, Georgia alarming’

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili has stated during his official visit to Ukraine that Russian actions in both Ukraine and Georgia ‘are alarming and are the issue of an international concern.’

After the meeting with Ukrainian PM Denys Shmyhal earlier today, Garibashvili said that at a Crimea Platform Forum tomorrow, which was initiated by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the current situation in Ukrainian and Georgian occupied territories will be ‘once again evaluated’.

Aug 23 05:20

Zelensky on weapons for Ukraine: We know how Germany could help

Ukraine still hopes that Germany will provide weapons and knows in which areas assistance is possible.

"We also appealed to the German government with a request of arms supplies and were indeed denied, in one form or another," President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky said at a joint briefing with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Kyiv, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.

Europe, including Germany, supports Ukraine within the framework of the exercises, he added.

"But we need very substantive things. And we know in which areas Germany could support us. And we are still very much relying on it and waiting for it," the President added.

Pursuant to the agreements and within the framework of cooperation with NATO, the Ukrainian side expects to get sniper rifles, "many other things, apart from the navy and military boats, which we would like to receive from our partners," Zelensky said.

Aug 23 05:20

Moscow Says NATO Destroyed All Cooperation Formats With Russia, Including on Afghanistan

NATO has destroyed all possible formats of cooperation with Russia, including on Afghanistan, and will most likely only increase its anti-Russian rhetoric after the Afghan disaster, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said Sunday.

"Yes, the alliance has destroyed all formats of cooperation, including on Afghanistan. The price for this geopolitical game, which has nothing to do with security interests, ultimately had to be paid by the Afghans," Grushko said in an interview with the Kommersant newspaper.

The end of NATO's decade-long mission in Afghanistan may lead to further warmongering and revival of the "Russian threat" rhetoric since "searching for the evidence of its own relevance" has always been part of the bloc's history, the diplomat noted. As examples of such behavior, Grushko named operations in former Yugoslavia, as well as in Afghanistan and Libya.

Aug 23 05:19

Live Updates: Taliban Extends Amnesty to Runaway President Ghani, Says He Can Return to Afghanistan

Moscow is not in a hurry to recognise the new leadership in Afghanistan and does not plan to remove the Taliban* from its terror list, according to Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Oleg Syromolotov.

Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Oleg Syromolotov has told Sputnik that sending troops to Afghanistan, recently seized by the Taliban, is not in Moscow's interests, adding that the terrorist organisation does not need anybody's military support.

Earlier, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that negotiations between the Taliban and former Afghan President Hamid Karzai had begun. Lavrov also noted the security situation in Russia depended on the developments in Central Asia.

Aug 23 05:07

Western activists still blame Putin for turning his back on liberal dreams for Russia, but their promises led to nothing but chaos

Where did Russia go wrong? That’s the question that plagues foreign analysts who decry the country’s current trajectory, and wish Moscow had used the fall of the Soviet Union as an opportunity to turn Westwards once and for all.

Anders Aslund, a former senior fellow at NATO’s Atlantic Council adjunct, has argued recently that Russians need to reconsider the achievements of the 1990s to set the country on the right path. The veteran lobbyist believes that the almost uniform condemnation of Boris Yeltsin and the liberalising, pro-market policies of his government during the 1990s by Russians has resulted in a failure to recognize the benefits of being pulled into the West’s sphere of influence.

In turn, his argument goes, focusing only on the ensuing chaos Yeltsin brought about means the country fails to recognise why current President Vladimir Putin has been, unbeknownst to Russians, such a disaster.

Aug 21 07:10

Syria Shot Down 22 Israeli Missiles, Russian Military Claims

Syria’s air defense forces have shot down 22 missiles launched by Israeli warplanes during an airstrike against targets in Syria, the Russian military said Friday.

Rear Adm. Vadim Kulit, head of the Russian military’s Reconciliation Center in Syria, said six Israeli fighter jets targeted facilities in the provinces of Damascus and Homs from Lebanon’s airspace late Thursday.

Kulit said Syrian air defense units downed 22 of the 24 missiles launched by the Israeli warplanes with Russia-supplied air defense systems Pantsyr-S and Buk-M2.

There was no immediate reaction from Israel, which rarely comments on its military operations in Syria.

Aug 21 07:08

Putin, Merkel hold talks in Moscow

Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel held talks in the Kremlin. This is their last summit meeting as heads of state because Merkel will not participate in the upcoming parliamentary elections in Germany.

Aug 21 06:18

Russia’s talks with Taliban are latest proof Moscow’s foreign policy is non-ideological. The West could learn a lesson from that

Both Russia and China are pursuing a strategy of engaging with the Taliban. While some politicians and commentators insist this is a global threat, the reality is that constructive talks are now more likely to bring stability.

Winston Churchill famously defined Russia as “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.” Its unique history and geography have obviously produced a distinctive political culture, but Western efforts to mystify Russia also have the effect of drawing a dividing line between the rational and predictable ‘us’ versus the irrational and unpredictable ‘other’ – Moscow.

As a result, common sense often does not get in the way of outlandish claims, like insisting Russia is on an ideological crusade against democracy or attempting to restore the Soviet Union.

Aug 21 06:17

Ukraine shuts down leading independent news site Strana as part of new crackdown on journalists, judges & opposition politicians

One of Ukraine’s most prominent news outlets has been taken offline after the country’s National Security and Defense Council marked it out as a threat, thus adding the title to the growing list of banned opposition media groups.

Strana.ua, one of the country’s best-known mainstream news sites, was unavailable on Friday after officials included both its parent company and its editor, Igor Guzhva, in a new tranche of restrictions. Network service providers began blocking access to its domains. However, in a statement posted online, its journalists said that they would continue to work, having relocated their content to a new web address, and slammed the decision to hit “the largest opposition publication in Ukraine with sanctions.”

The Russian-language outlet has been strongly critical of the increasingly authoritarian nature of pro-Western President Volodymyr Zelensky’s administration in Kiev.

Aug 21 06:16

With the Taliban in control of Afghanistan, world must focus on preventing collapse of state & cross-border terrorism, Putin warns

The world has to accept the realities of the situation in Afghanistan and come together to prevent the collapse of the entire state, Vladimir Putin said during a joint press conference with Angela Merkel on Friday.

The Russian president and the German chancellor were speaking to journalists during the latter’s state visit to Moscow.

“The Taliban control virtually the entire country, including the capital,” Putin said, saying that other countries should react to the situation on the ground. “This is reality.”

He also called on the world to turn its efforts to prevent terrorists from infiltrating Afghanistan’s neighboring countries in the guise of refugees.

Aug 21 06:16

Ukraine looks set to unilaterally abandon Minsk agreements, Putin says, urging Merkel to ‘put pressure’ on Kiev authorities

The Ukrainian authorities seem set to leave the agreements that once managed to halt the conflict in the country's east, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said, urging Germany to “put pressure” on them to prevent it.

Speaking during a joint press conference following Kremlin talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday, Putin raised alarm over the actions of Kiev.

“It is enough to look at the statements of the top officials of the state: they show that [Kiev] is not seeking to fulfill the Minsk agreements,” the president said.

Aug 21 05:58

Putin Says Senses Kyiv Has Decided Against Peaceful Solution to E.Ukraine Conflict

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday he had the impression that the Ukrainian leadership had decided against a peaceful resolution to the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

He did not elaborate, but said that both Russia and Germany were worried by growing tensions in Donbass where Russian-backed separatists have been locked in a conflict with Ukrainian government forces since 2014.

Aug 21 05:34

Biden orders new sanctions against Russian-German pipeline as Merkel meets Putin in Moscow

US President Joe Biden is ordering his government to place additional sanctions against Nord Stream 2, even as Russian and German leaders are meeting in Moscow ahead of the gas pipeline’s completion.

In a letter to Congress sent on Friday, Biden argued that “certain Russian energy pipeline projects” would expand Moscow’s influence over EU energy resources and weaken “Ukraine and Eastern flank NATO and EU countries,” thereby threatening “the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.”

Aug 20 07:39

Georgia Considering MAJOR Change In Monitoring Elections

Georgia's Republican-controlled State Election Board plans to take a step Wednesday toward a potential future takeover of elections in the state's most populous county that critics claim could open elections up to political interference.

Fulton County, a Democrat bastion that includes most of the city of Atlanta, has long been the target of Republican lawmakers' ire. Their attacks only intensified after former President Donald Trump and his allies made allegations that fraud in the county added to his narrow loss in the state.

Aug 20 07:10

America’s hasty retreat from Afghanistan should be warning to Ukraine that it can’t count on Washington – Russian security chief

As US forces scramble to evacuate their diplomats and local staff from Kabul, one of Russia’s top defense officials has said that other states dependent on support from the White House must be aware it can be withdrawn suddenly.

Nikolai Patrushev, the secretary of Russia’s Security Council, told Moscow’s Izvestiya on Thursday that the previous Afghan government, headed by Ashraf Ghani, was not saved by its friendly ties with Washington. According to him, the overthrown pro-American regime in Kabul didn’t benefit from the fact that Afghanistan was one of the main US allies outside NATO. He went on to say that Ukraine, which positions itself similarly, could encounter a similar fate.

“The confidence of the military and political leadership of the Americans and their allies that they fully controlled the situation in Afghanistan led to ignorance and underestimation of the real situation,” Patrushev said.

Aug 20 06:56

Russian scientists develop new variant of Sputnik V vaccine, modified to deal with fast-spreading deadly Delta strain of Covid-19

The team behind Russia's pioneering coronavirus vaccine, Sputnik V, has said that plans have already been put in place to adapt the formula based on genetic sequencing from the new Delta variant, which is resistant to some jabs.

Alexander Gintzburg, who heads up Moscow's Gamaleya Institute, told Interfax on Thursday that a modified version of Sputnik V had been created. “There is already a vaccine design in the refrigerator,” the scientist revealed.

However, he said, despite a number of researchers and pharmaceutical companies showing interest in including the variant's genetic makeup in their formulas, “nobody can say up front whether it will work better against the strain.”

Aug 20 06:37

Ukraine's Zelensky ‘Not Happy’ With US-German Deal on Nord Stream 2, Slams Pipeline as ‘Weapon’

In July, the US and Germany reached a deal on the contentious issue of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. Washington vowed to suspend sanctions against the project, while Berlin agreed to invest in Ukrainian energy and to facilitate the extension of the gas transit agreement between Kiev and Moscow, set to expire in 2024, for up to ten years.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has acknowledged he is not happy with the agreement reached earlier between the United States and Germany to allow completion of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

Speaking in an interview with journalists from Washington Post, Liberation, Funke Media, Novoe Vremya and Novaya Gazeta, he noted that Nord Stream 2 is among the priorities on the agenda of his upcoming meeting with US President Joseph Biden in Washington on 31 August.

The Ukrainian President emphasized that as long as the Joint Russian-European energy megaproject has not been launched, Ukraine will tirelessly negotiate to protect its interests.

Aug 20 06:10

Russia Softens Edges In Space Scandal With US

In 2018, a space scandal broke out between Washington and Moscow, following the joint mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

An air leak was detected in one of the Russian Soyuz capsules docked to the orbiting laboratory. There was a 2-millimeter puncture drilled near the toilet.

The unveiled details indicated that the hole was likely made by the a NASA astronaut Serena Maria Auñón-Chancellor.

Aug 20 05:28

The Times publishes a fake about Russian subs off Ireland — Zakharova

The article in the British daily The Times about Russian submarines, allegedly trying to get access to undersea Internet infrastructure off Ireland, is fake news, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a news briefing on Thursday.

"We could not but take note of an article in The Times about Russian submarines off Ireland, which are allegedly trying to get access to underwater Internet infrastructure for intelligence purposes," Zakharova said.

"We regard this article as another unseemly fake within the framework of Britain’s continuing anti-Russian propaganda campaign," she said.

Aug 20 05:24

Press review: Patrushev says Afghan fate awaits Ukraine and error cuts EU gas prices

The situation in Afghanistan will top the agenda of one of the next meetings of the Security Council, Secretary of Russia’s Security Council Nikolai Patrushev said. He emphasized that the priority task now is to ensure control over migration flows and protect the region against terrorists infiltrating it as refugees as well as against arms and drug trafficking. According to him, a similar situation is in store for those who support the US in Ukraine.

Aug 20 05:23

Merkel to focus on Ukraine, Belarus, Afghanistan during visit to Russia — spokesperson

Afghanistan, Belarus and Ukraine will be the focus of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit to Moscow on Friday, August 20, Germany’s Government Spokesperson Steffen Seibert said on Wednesday.

"It will definitely be about major international issues: the conflict in eastern Ukraine, for which Russia can do more than it is doing, and Belarus," he said.

When asked if Afghanistan will be touched upon, he said, "I would expect so."

Seibert added that Merkel would lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Kremlin Wall during her visit.

Aug 20 05:22

Russia ready to provide planes to evacuate Afghans to any country — Foreign Ministry

Russia is ready to provide civil planes to evacuate Afghan nationals who want to leave the country to any other state, Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a briefing on Thursday.

"In the light of the situation that we now see at the airport of Kabul and the inability of some Western countries to arrange the evacuation of their diplomats, military and civilians from Afghanistan, to say nothing about Afghan nationals who cooperated with them, and their families who want to leave the country but have no possibility we would like to say the following: In order to prevent the worsening of the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, we are ready to provide the services of the Russian civil aviation to ensure the flight of any number of Afghan nationals, including women and children, to whatever foreign countries that will show an interest in receiving and accommodating them," the diplomat said.

Aug 20 05:20

EU must move quickly to push back against Russian & Chinese influence in Afghanistan or face being made IRRELEVANT – FM Borrell

The EU must intervene immediately and not allow Russia and China to take control of the situation in Afghanistan and become the main players in Kabul, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs told MEPs on Thursday morning.

Josep Borrell expressed his opinion that the EU must take immediate steps in the country.

“Faced with the disturbing images of Taliban takeover, we Europeans and the international community have to ask ourselves what went wrong,” Borrell said. “What we cannot do is let the Chinese and Russians take control of the situation and be supporters of Kabul, and we become irrelevant.”

To work out the bloc’s next actions, he convened a meeting on Tuesday with the EU foreign ministers, he said, also noting that he hopes to work closely with the US to intensify diplomatic efforts.

Aug 19 05:27

How Russia-China Are Stage-Managing the Taliban

The first Taliban press conference after this weekend’s Saigon moment geopolitical earthquake, conducted by spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, was in itself a game-changer.

The contrast could not be starker with those rambling pressers at the Taliban embassy in Islamabad after 9/11 and before the start of the American bombing – proving this is an entirely new political animal.

Yet some things never change. English translations remain atrocious.

Aug 19 05:26

Anxious Times in Iran and Russia Over What the Taliban Does Next

After the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan – as part of the peace deal between the United States and the Taliban – Afghan provinces fell one by one into the hands of the group’s fighters, with the Taliban seizing the capital city, Kabul, this weekend.

Afghanistan now finds itself in a situation similar to the latter stages of the 20th century when, following the withdrawal of Soviet troops in 1989, and the civil war that followed, the Taliban conquered Kabul in 1996. After founding the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, the Taliban ruled the country until the US invasion of 2001.

Of the regional powers, it is Russia and Iran who seem the most anxious about the ongoing situation in Afghanistan. As a precautionary measure, Tehran and Moscow initiated diplomatic contact with the Taliban a few months ago, in an attempt to get it to halt its military campaign against government forces and not drag the country into a civil war.

Aug 18 08:01

Russian Anti-Submarine Warfare Destroyer Enters Mediterranean

Russian warships in the Mediterranean have played an instrumental role in Moscow’s counter-terrorism operations in Syria, and have also served to counterbalance the large NATO presence in the region.

The Vice-Admiral Kulakov, an Udaloy-class antisubmarine warfare destroyer attached to Russia’s Northern Fleet, has entered the Mediterranean Sea after passing the Strait of Gibraltar, and is now on its way to join the Russian Mediterranean Squadron operating off Syria, the Northern Fleet’s press service reported Wednesday.

The ship plans a stopover for resupply at an anchorage point in the Alboran Sea before heading further east.

Aug 18 08:00

‘Russia is NOT the enemy’: After failure in Afghanistan, Czech president calls on NATO to focus on terrorism instead of Moscow

The enemy of NATO is not Russia, but international terrorism. That’s according to Czech President Milos Zeman, who spoke on Tuesday about the failure of the American-led military bloc to defeat Taliban militants in Afghanistan.

Zeman’s comments, given to Prague-based newspaper Parlamentní listy, echo remarks given by French President Emmanuel Macron in November last year, when he urged NATO leaders to shift focus away from Russia and China, noting that terrorism is a “common enemy” for all nations.

The Czech leader also slammed NATO for failing “dramatically” in Afghanistan but noted that he supported the war and the mission to beat Islamic terrorism. He claimed he told both US Presidents Donald Trump and Joe Biden during NATO summits that troop withdrawal was “cowardice.” The legitimacy of the bloc’s existence is now in question, he said.

Aug 18 07:39

American missiles & choppers abandoned to Taliban by troops in Afghanistan could fall into Russia’s hands, ex-president Trump says

High-tech American hardware left behind in Afghanistan by withdrawing troops will be used by not just the Taliban, but Washington’s adversaries across the world, former president Donald Trump has said in a fiery new interview.

Speaking to Sean Hannity’s show on Fox News on Wednesday, the Republican firebrand slammed President Joe Biden’s decision to pull all US forces out of the troubled Central Asian nation, describing the ensuing scenes of chaos in Kabul as one of America’s “most humiliating” moments.

Tens of thousands of US citizens and Afghans who helped coalition forces could now, Trump claimed, be effectively held hostage by the Taliban. Worse still, sensitive military technologies left behind during the evacuation could quickly fall into the wrong hands, he alleged. Under his alternative plan to wind down America’s presence in Afghanistan, Trump said, “the people come out first, and then I was going to take all of the military equipment.”

Webmaster's Commentary: 

I expect Russia (and China) are already offering to buy US high-tech weapons to reverse engineer!

Aug 18 05:55

'Apocalypse Now': What are Risks of CIA's Possible All Out Clandestine War Against Russia & China?

Decorated CIA veteran Douglas London has recently called for enhancing clandestine warfare against Russia and China, insisting that the US has enough tools to trump Moscow and Beijing. However, economist Dr. Paul Craig Roberts and CIA veteran Philip Giraldi have pointed out some apparent flaws in London's doctrine.

On 5 August, an op-ed titled "Defence alone will not protect us from Russia and China" by Douglas London, a retired senior CIA operations officer and adjunct associate professor at Georgetown University's Centre for Security Studies, was published in The Hill.

Aug 18 05:53

‘Prepare for the worst’: Like Bin Laden, Taliban is another ‘American project’ & ‘US scam against Muslims’ – Chechnya’s Kadyrov

The capture of Afghanistan by the Taliban is “another American scam against Muslims.” That’s according to Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader of Russia’s Chechnya region, who suggested that the terrorist group is controlled by Washington.
Speaking on a video posted by one of his sons, Adam, Kadyrov urged everyone to be on guard.

“America has come up with another scam against Muslims. They said they would never get out of [Afghanistan], and now they’ve abandoned everyone and run away,” Kadyrov said. “Imagine, for decades, people have been dying there. Five years ago, there were already more than two million civilians killed!”

According to the Chechen leader, the Taliban is an American project and is not to be trusted. He compared the group to Bin Laden, the former leader of Al-Qaeda, who Washington funded in the war against the Soviet Union in the 1980s.

Aug 17 14:59

Putin warns of 'unpreventable' strikes by Russian navy

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday warned that its navy is ready to carry out an "unpreventable strike" on enemy targets if it was in the country's "national interests."

Putin was speaking in Saint Petersburg during a parade of warships, just a few weeks after the UK angered Russia by sending a British warship close to the annexed Crimea peninsula.

"The Russian navy today has everything it needs to guarantee the protection of our country and our national interests," he said.

Aug 17 13:21

Space collision: Chinese satellite got whacked by hunk of Russian rocket in March

Yunhai 1-02's wounds are not self-inflicted.

In March, the U.S. Space Force's 18th Space Control Squadron (18SPCS) reported the breakup of Yunhai 1-02, a Chinese military satellite that launched in September 2019. It was unclear at the time whether the spacecraft had suffered some sort of failure — an explosion in its propulsion system, perhaps — or if it had collided with something in orbit.

We now know that the latter explanation is correct, thanks to some sleuthing by astrophysicist and satellite tracker Jonathan McDowell, who's based at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Aug 17 11:03

Moscow Slams US, EU for Branding Russia a Threat Over Its Role in Afghanistan

US President Joe Biden earlier said China and Russia would prefer to see the United States indefinitely continue to funnel billions of dollars and resources into the stabilisation of Afghanistan.

The simplest method for western countries is to go back to basics and once again declare Russia a threat, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko told Sputnik, when speaking about the American and European reaction to the recent events in Afghanistan and their fears about the role of Moscow in further developments.

"It is much easier to get back to basics and declare Russia a threat. They tried their best, you know the rest. 'We need to turn the page over, however, China causes concerns', that's the whole story", Grushko said.

Aug 17 07:41

Coronavirus deaths in lockdown-free Belarus similar to other countries that went on lockdown

The Eastern European country of Belarus did not implement draconian Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdowns. However, recorded COVID-19 deaths in Belarus are similar to its neighbors who chose to lock down their societies to curb the spread of SARS-CoV-2. Belarus’s example showed that lockdown mandates caused more harm to populations than the disease they aim to address.

COVID-19 mortality statistics from Belarusian authorities from the start of the pandemic until March 2021 pointed out this trend. The country’s COVID-19 death rate showed similarities with its neighbors Latvia, Russia and Ukraine that ordered full lockdowns. Incidentally, Belarus had a significantly lower mortality rate in March 2021 compared to Poland, which imposed a particularly harsh lockdown.

Aug 16 07:22

Russia-China joint military exercise was ‘complete success’ & demonstrated two nations’ ‘unbreakable bond’ – Beijing defense head

Russia’s joint military exercise with China, the first time servicemen from both nations have participated together on operational and strategic drills, was a “complete success” and demonstrated a “high level” of cooperation.

That’s according to Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe, who spoke on Friday following a week of war games.

“These drills have great significance,” Wei said. “These are the first joint drills organized in China since the outbreak of the epidemic. And these are the first-ever Chinese operational and strategic maneuvers with the participation of Russian troops.”

Aug 16 06:32

'Apocalypse Now': What are Risks of CIA's Possible All Out Clandestine War Against Russia & China?

Decorated CIA veteran Douglas London has recently called for enhancing clandestine warfare against Russia and China, insisting that the US has enough tools to trump Moscow and Beijing. However, economist Dr. Paul Craig Roberts and CIA veteran Philip Giraldi have pointed out some apparent flaws in London's doctrine.

On 5 August, an op-ed titled "Defence alone will not protect us from Russia and China" by Douglas London, a retired senior CIA operations officer and adjunct associate professor at Georgetown University's Centre for Security Studies, was published in The Hill.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

The nation that just lost in Afghanistan wants to take on Russia and China?!?

Aug 16 05:29

US failure in Afghanistan signals ‘irreversible erosion’ of American hegemony: Russian senator

A Russian senator says the US failure in Afghanistan goes beyond the failure of individual US presidents and depicts the “irreversible erosion” of American hegemony over the world.

Former US President Donald Trump blames his successor Joe Biden for the US failure in Afghanistan, Aleksey Pushkov wrote in his Telegram channel on Sunday.

He continued, “But Bush Jr., Obama and Trump himself have failed there. Biden only finally formalized the failure with a decision on a complete withdrawal of troops, completing what his predecessors had begun and continued.”

Trump, in a Friday statement, slammed Biden over “the tragic mess in Afghanistan,” adding, “Do you miss me yet?”

Aug 16 05:08

Russia has no concerns that Afghanistan will resemble Islamic State — diplomat

Russia does not think that Afghanistan under the Taliban (outlawed in Russia) will turn into a version of the Islamic State, Russia’s Presidential Envoy for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov said on Monday.

"No, I don’t have this concern," he replied to a question on the matter. "I saw in reality the Taliban fighting ISIS (outlawed in Russia) and fighting it viciously unlike the Americans and the whole of NATO, including the Afghan leadership that fled, who did not counter ISIS and only pandered to it. Representatives of the highest Taliban leadership were telling me that they only have this to say to ISIS: there will be no captives."

The presidential envoy also called for monitoring developments in Afghanistan step-by-step because it is easy to stray away from reality "with a rich imagination." "I told you the main thing. The Taliban, as they said and I feel it too that there is a great deal of sincerity here, do not want to repeat their sad destiny for a second time," he concluded.

Aug 16 05:03

By cracking down on Covid-19 protesters at home, the West has lost all credibility in preaching about ‘human rights’ to Russia

Russia’s Foreign Ministry has slammed Lithuania, accusing the Baltic nation of showcasing double standards in supporting civil unrest abroad while cracking down on protesters railing against coronavirus restrictions back home.

Moscow’s diplomatic spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, argued that the divide embodied the West’s inconsistent passions for human rights. In January, Vilnius accused the Kremlin of “Stalinism” in its response to unauthorised rallies, banned under pandemic rules. This, Zakharova said, was in sharp contrast to how Lithuanian police deployed tear gas against Covid-19 demonstrators in the capital last week, with the government insisting “democracy is not anarchy”.

Aug 15 06:35

Ukrainian Neo-Nazi's clash with police during anti-government rally outside president Zelensky’s office in Kiev (VIDEOS)

Things got out of control during a nationalist rally in the Ukrainian capital Kiev, on Saturday, as demonstrators refused to undergo security checks and clashed with police in an attempt to break through to the president’s office.

A large crowd of supporters of the ultra right-wing National Corps party gathered outside the office of Ukraine’s leader Volodymyr Zelensky, to protest the arrest of seven of its members earlier in the month. They were held on suspicion of extorting money from businessmen in the city of Kharkiv, but the radicals have instead accused the head of state of “repression against patriots” and promised to retaliate.

Aug 15 06:17

Russia may ban petrol exports if domestic prices keep rising – former energy minister

The Russian government is ready to take tough measures to keep a lid on domestic fuel prices, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said. This includes stopping exports of petrochemicals if the situation gets worse, he warned.

The official clarified that the potential ban would impact traders, not the country’s crude producers.

“We expect the market to improve in the near future,” the former energy minister said, highlighting the current downward trend in exchange prices.

Novak urged oil companies to assist with making the domestic oil market stable, adding that a steady increase in petroleum supply would help.

Aug 14 06:32

Russians Train on Chinese Equipment in Joint Wargame — VIDEO

It is one thing to read about it, another to see it; Russians troops, Chinese hardware

Aug 14 06:30

Russian & Chinese Armies Pledge Deepened Military Cooperation As Afghanistan Unravels

On the heels of the latest joint Russian-Chinese strategic drills, dubbed 'Sibu/Interaction 2021' and held in northwest China's Ningxia region this week, China’s Defense Minister Wei Fenghe announced Friday that the Chinese and Russian armies have agreed to boost military cooperation in order to ensure "stability" and "protect peace" globally. Crucially this comes at a moment the security situation is unraveling amid lightning fast Taliban advances in Afghanistan as US troops exit.

"The world has been swept by a large-scale pandemic and is witnessing a lot of changes. In these conditions, the armies of China and the Russian Federation will strengthen strategic interaction and comprehensive pragmatic cooperation," Fenghe was quoted as saying by China's foreign ministry.

Aug 14 06:09

Belarus Revokes Authorization for New US Ambassador

Belarus has withdrawn its agrément for U.S. Ambassador to Belarus Julie Fisher. The United States was also asked to reduce its embassy staff in Minsk to five people by 1 September, BelTA learned from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus.

Journalists asked whether any action has been taken in response to another round of restrictions imposed by the United States against Belarus.

“Yes, of course. But there are certain ethic standards in diplomacy, and we will not make all our steps public. Today we summoned U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Ruben Harutyunyan to communicate him the information about Belarus’ measures in response to the unfriendly and even aggressive actions of the United States,” spokesman for the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Anatoly Glaz said.

Aug 13 09:48

Cuba receives more than 41 tonnes of humanitarian aid from Russia

The plane carrying more than 41 tonnes of humanitarian aid from Russia arrived in Cuba on Thursday, the Russian Embassy in Havana told TASS.

"The flight landed in Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport," embassy’s first secretary Leonid Lagunovsky said. The shipment includes canned meat, corn flour and sunflower oil.

According to the diplomatic mission, another flight which will particularly deliver medicine is expected to arrive on Friday.

Aug 13 08:09

Russians dump US dollar savings in favor of euro & other foreign currencies

The Central Bank of Russia purchased $196 million worth of foreign currency on the domestic market on Thursday amid a surge in currency sales among Russian citizens.
The Central Bank reported that Russians have started to exchange currency more often in the first half of 2021. Volumes of foreign currencies exchanged in June soared by 29% compared to last year, the Izvestia TV channel reported, with the average check amounting to $1,000.

Aug 13 08:09

World-famous Moscow Metro system begins trials of ‘FacePay’, a new cutting-edge facial recognition biometric payment technology

The iconic Moscow Metro has begun the testing of a contactless fare payment system using facial recognition tech that would allow residents of Russia’s capital to use public transport without the need to carry a card or cash.

That’s according to Anna Lapushkina, the head of the press service of the Moscow transport department, who noted that the payment innovation should be the next step in speeding up passenger traffic through the busy transport network.

Earlier this year, Metro security head Andrey Kichigin revealed that passengers would be able to pay for rides with their faces before the end of 2021.

Aug 13 07:19

Russian Embassy Trolls US State Dept Over Litany Of "Human Rights Abuses" At Home

Despite the jailed anti-Putin activist Alexei Navalny largely falling out of headlines in recent months, this week State Department spokesman Ned Price featured his fate in Wednesday statements about severe human rights violations in Russian and by various other bad actors like Cuba and Belarus. Price called out the Kremlin's "violent crackdown" against protesters seeking to highlight Navalny's plight.

The response out of Russia was to slam Washington for its own human rights violations. The Russian Embassy in the US further trolled the State Department Spox's Twitter account with the following...

Aug 13 06:23

Russian jets buzzing US warships in Black Sea may be ‘baiting us into shooting first,’ US Navy admiral says

Russia appears to be provoking a response from US and NATO forces with aggressive maneuvers in the Black Sea in recent weeks, the top US Navy admiral in Europe said on July 21.

“NATO allies and partners operating in that area by themselves are constantly shadowed by Russian vessels, and by and large, those interactions are safe and professional, although they’re meant to intimidate,” said Adm. Robert Burke, commander of U.S. Navy Forces in Europe and Africa, at a US Navy Memorial event, Business Insider reported.

Aug 13 05:14

BBC correspondent Sarah Rainsford told to leave Moscow in reciprocal move protesting British sanctions against Russians – reports

A British foreign correspondent working for the BBC in Moscow has been told her visa will not be renewed she must now leave the country, in a move that comes as relations between the two countries worsen amid a diplomatic rift.

A Foreign Ministry official revealed on Friday that Sarah Rainsford, a reporter for the state-funded broadcaster’s Russia bureau, had been denied permission to remain in the country and would have to depart before the end of the month, Bloomberg reports.

Rainsford’s right to remain in the country is due to expire on August 31, and an application for a new visa is said to have been rejected.

The BBC has not responded to media requests and the Russian Foreign Ministry has declined to comment.

Aug 13 05:02

NATO’s spy planes intensify flights over Black Sea threefold — Russian commander

NATO’s reconnaissance aircraft intensified flights in the airspace over the Black Sea almost threefold this year, Commander of the Russian Southern Military District’s 4th Air Force and Air Defense Army Nikolai Gostev said on Thursday.

"NATO countries have been displaying a genuine interest in the Russian southern borders lately," the commander said in an interview with the Southern Russia Military Bulletin newspaper.

"Compared to last year, the intensity of NATO reconnaissance aircraft flights over the Black Sea has increased almost threefold. For the sake of comparison, the aircraft of our Western ‘partners’ performed 270 reconnaissance flights in 2019, about 530 in 2020 and over 560 since the start of this year in the southern area of responsibility," the paper quoted the commander as saying.

French warplanes and also tactical aircraft of the NATO allied forces joined the flights of US spy planes and drones, he said.

Aug 13 04:45

By indulging Ukraine's claims to Crimea, West is encouraging country's ‘neo-Nazi’ government policy, thunders Russian FM Lavrov

Moscow's top diplomat has reacted angrily to news that representatives of more than two dozen nations will attend a summit called by Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky to discuss how Kiev can now reassert control over Crimea.

Speaking to a group of young people involved with an art collective based on the disputed peninsula on Thursday, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the West's support was pushing Zelensky to be more and more extreme in pursuit of his policy goals. The 'Crimean Platform' forum, he said, “will continue to nurture the neo-Nazi and racist mentality of the current Ukrainian government.”

Blasting the participation of foreign attendees, he said that the US, EU and other supporters of Kiev's claims were behaving “shamefully.” At least 37 states are expected to send delegates to the event, which will be timed to coincide with the 30th anniversary of Ukraine's independence from the Soviet Union on August 24.

Aug 12 05:48

CNN Confirms Western-Backed Opposition Is Carrying out Sabotage Against Belarusian Railways

Remarkable stuff. When official Belarusian state dispatches started talking about saboteurs targeting its infrastructure I feared it might be an example of post-Soviet paranoia but now CNN confirms it (starts at 3 minutes 58 seconds):

CNN doesn’t confirm the other reported aspect of this activity which is that according to Minsk these saboteurs are sneaking in from Ukraine and are aided by NATO regimes. If the attacks continue it is only a matter of time until western intelligence services get in on the action, if they aren’t already. Then we’re back to a rerun of the 1940s and 1950s when the CIA was recruiting exiled ex-UPA and inserting them into western Ukraine for intelligence-gathering, sabotage, and propaganda (as did briefly the Third Reich before them).

Aug 11 13:36

‘Like doping or bribery’: Judges must’ve picked Israeli gymnast as winner BEFORE final, legendary Russian coach tells RT

Israel's gymnast taking gold at the Tokyo Olympics despite dropping her ribbon during her routine was a "blatant mistake" of the judges, who may have schemed "to replace Russian athletes on the top," Irina Viner-Usmanova told RT.

The strong accusations from the legendary Russian rhythmic gymnastics coach, whose star pupils have claimed a long list of Olympic titles over the years, come in the wake of Saturday's scandal at the Tokyo Olympics. Israeli gymnast Linoy Ashram took gold, despite having dropped the ribbon during her routine – an obvious mistake that still saw Russia's Dina Averina placed overall second, regardless of her seemingly perfect performance.

Aug 11 09:12

69 countries & millions of jabs later, Sputnik V is a year old: Russia marks milestone for world’s 1st registered Covid-19 vaccine

On August 11, 2020, President Vladimir Putin announced that Russia had become the first country in the world to register a Covid-19 vaccine, Sputnik V. One year later, the pioneering jab has inoculated millions around the world.

Knowingly named after Sputnik, the first artificial Earth satellite, the Russian-made shot has now been approved in 69 different countries and has shown up to 97.8% efficacy in real-world studies, making it one of the most reliable Covid-19 formulas on the planet. It has also received international praise, with reputable Western scientific journals like The Lancet and Nature determining it to be both safe and effective.

In addition, the fact that doses do not need to be kept in deep-freeze storage has made Sputnik V a popular choice around the world.

Aug 11 08:22

Putin Pledges Russia Will Ensure Security in Persian Gulf, Atlantic Amid Growing Piracy

The statement follows at least two people dying after the MV Mercer Street, a Liberian-flagged tanker, was attacked by unknown assailants off the coast of Oman on 30 July.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has vowed that Moscow will ensure security in the Persian Gulf and the Atlantic Ocean amid a surge in piracy-related incidents across the globe.

Speaking at a UN Security Council maritime security conference on Monday, the Russian president stressed the necessity of tackling transnational crime.

"Unfortunately, there are also many threats along sea routes. And that is why it is so important that today we are considering substantive, practical issues related to the fight against piracy of the 21st century, meaning to establish a more effective counteraction to transnational crime and prevent the use of seas and oceans for criminal purposes", Putin said.

Aug 11 07:51

Russia Slams "Crude Provocation" After US Invited To Station Troops & Anti-Air Systems In Ukraine

A top Ukrainian official has indicated that US support to Ukraine may be in the process of ramping up dramatically, suggesting that Kiev has invited a permanent American troop presence and stationing of anti-air defense rocket systems on its soil.

Deputy Prime Minister Alexey Reznikov made the revealing statements recently while hosted by the hawkish D.C.-based Jamestown Foundation. "It is important to expand the security package for Ukraine," Reznikov said. "First of all, with the stationing of air defense forces, and even by deploying American units."

Reznikov forther argued this would serve a secondary purpose of eroding Moscow's "influence in the Balkans" - also at a moment the Russia-to-Germany Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline is nearing completion, and amid rival military drills of late occurring on the Black Sea.

Aug 11 07:23

Japan-Russia islands dispute: fears tensions are dragging in US and China as jets scramble

Japan’s fighter aircraft have been scrambled to respond to a sharp increase in Russian military planes approaching Japanese airspace north of Hokkaido in recent weeks, as tensions escalate over a disputed island chain.

Experts say that Moscow’s activities are meant not only as a message to Tokyo in its long-running territorial dispute over the islands – referred to as the Northern Territories by Japan and the Southern Kurils by Russia – but as a show of strength for a domestic audience.

They also believe the Russian flights are aimed at gauging Washington’s position on the dispute, amid concerns that what was once a bilateral issue between Moscow and Tokyo is swiftly evolving into a multilateral one concerning the United States and China, too.

Aug 11 07:22

Latvia Declares State of Emergency Along Its Belarus Border

Latvia declared a state of emergency Tuesday at its Belarus border, authorizing the border guards but also armed forces and police to use physical force to return migrants to the country from which they came.

Latvia, like neighboring Lithuania, has faced an influx of mostly Iraqi migrants in the past few months coming in from Belarus. Their borders with Belarus are also the European Union's external border.

Aug 11 07:21

Lithuania to build fence on Belarus border to stop migrants

Lithuania's parliament has voted to build a fence on the Belarus border to stop Iraqis, Afghans and other non-EU migrants entering.

More than 4,000 migrants have entered EU member Lithuania illegally from Belarus this year - a record number.

Lithuanian officials accuse Belarus of flying in migrants who then head to the border - a claim Belarus denies.

Lithuania's help for Belarusian opposition activists has angered Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko.

Relations deteriorated further in June this year after Belarus forced a Ryanair flight heading to Lithuania to divert to Minsk and arrested a Belarusian opposition journalist and his girlfriend on board. The EU strengthened sanctions a month later.

Aug 11 07:20

NATO chief flags Baltic tensions ahead of Zapad military drill

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance would keep a close eye on “hybrid activities” by Belarus against alliance member Lithuania, as the former teams up with Russia for the Zapad 2021 military drill next month.

In an Aug. 9 tweet, Stoltenberg said he had discussed Belarus’ behavior, including what he called “migratory pressure,” with Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda. “NATO is closely monitoring the situation and considering how we can further assist our ally and maintain safety and security in the region,” he wrote.

Lithuanian officials and Western analysts for weeks have flagged the Belarusian regime’s seemingly coordinated push of illegal migration into the tiny European Union member, including from Iraq, Iran and Syria.

Aug 10 06:25

European Parliament calls on EU to prepare revolution in Belarus

The European Parliament’s largest faction, the conservative European People's Party (EPP), on Monday urged the EU to prepare a revolution in Belarus, noting that "the Belarusian regime will fall."

The EPP proposed to show readiness to "punish the regime" by imposing sanctions as well as to "support the ongoing struggle of the people of Belarus."

"The regime will fall and the victory of the Belarusian people is inevitable, it is only a question of time. The European Union must prepare for the victory of the democratic revolution," the faction’ leader Manfred Weber stated on Monday in Brussels ahead of the first anniversary of the last presidential elections in Belarus.

The deputies offered to implement the scenario of a change of power in Belarus similar to the Ukrainian one. Furthermore, they called for the prosecution of President Alexander Lukashenko and leading government authorities as part of "future democratic reforms."

Aug 10 06:03

US has NO mandate to keep troops in Syria & America’s interpretation of international law is ‘ridiculous,’ says Russian ambassador

Washington has no legal mandate to keep its armed forces in Syria, and the presence of American soldiers in the country contradicts the 2015 UN Security Council resolution that called for a ceasefire and a political settlement.

That’s according to the Russian embassy in Washington, which responded to a tweet by Wayne Marotto, the official military spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve, the American campaign in the Middle East to defeat ISIS.

Writing on social media, Marotto said that the US has a “clear mandate under international law” to keep boots on the ground in Syria.

On Monday night, the Russian Embassy publicly disagreed.

Aug 08 06:19

‘Like doping or bribery’: Judges must’ve picked Israeli gymnast as winner BEFORE final, legendary Russian coach tells RT

Israel's gymnast taking gold at the Tokyo Olympics despite dropping her ribbon during her routine was a "blatant mistake" of the judges, who may have schemed "to replace Russian athletes on the top," Irina Viner-Usmanova told RT.

The strong accusations from the legendary Russian rhythmic gymnastics coach, whose star pupils have claimed a long list of Olympic titles over the years, come in the wake of Saturday's scandal at the Tokyo Olympics. Israeli gymnast Linoy Ashram took gold, despite having dropped the ribbon during her routine – an obvious mistake that still saw Russia's Dina Averina placed overall second, regardless of her seemingly perfect performance.

Aug 06 13:21

The Stage Is Being Set For A War Between Israel And Iran To Potentially Begin Before The End Of 2021

The clock has been ticking for a long time, and now Israel is telling us that Iran is “only around 10 weeks away from acquiring weapons-grade materials necessary for a nuclear weapon”.  The Israelis have always been very clear about the fact that they will never, ever allow the Iranians to get to that point, and so that would appear to leave only 10 weeks remaining to avert a major war in the Middle East.  And let us certainly hope that war can be averted, because a major war in the Middle East could easily spark a full-blown global war.  U.S. relations with both Russia and China continue to deteriorate very rapidly, and the Biden administration is being very aggressive with both of them.

Aug 06 13:01

New Russian ICBM to enter combat service in 2022: 208-ton Sarmat can carry 16 warheads and has operational range of 18,000km

Russia is poised to begin test flights of a new liquid-fueled, super-heavy intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu has confirmed. The missiles are expected to enter service in 2022.

“Flight tests [will begin] this year and should be completed in 2022. In 2022, the first batch should enter service with the strategic missile forces,” Shoigu said on Friday while visiting Krasmash, a machine-building plant in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia.

The new RS-28 Sarmat ICBM is capable of carrying 16 warheads. The advanced silo-based system features a heavy liquid-propellant intercontinental ballistic missile, and is to replace the R-36M/R-36M2 Voevoda ICBM.

The new missile will be capable of hitting targets using either the North Pole or South Pole route, effectively bypassing any defense system employed by a potential enemy.

Aug 06 06:05

NATO is ‘provoking conflict’ in Black Sea, top Russian diplomat warns, saying confrontation could be on cards over naval drills

Russia's Foreign Ministry has hit out at a series of military exercises staged by the US and its partners in the sensitive Black Sea region, off the coasts of both Russia and Ukraine, warning of the potential risk of escalation.

Yuri Pilipson, the director of the Ministry's Fourth European Department, told RIA Novosti on Thursday that recent NATO manoeuvres risked creating tensions. "It is quite obvious that this kind of 'training' provokes, rather than prevents, conflict situations," he said.

The diplomat added that Russia will do whatever it takes to ensure its national security, and views the buildup of troops in the region as a threatening gesture. "We have repeatedly warned that the escalation of military-political conflict directly on our borders carries with it a confrontational charge."

Aug 06 05:50

Black Sea Turning Into "Zone Of Dangerous Military Confrontation": Russian Foreign Ministry

The Black Sea is turning into a zone of dangerous military confrontation, Yuri Pilipson, director of the Fourth European Department of the Russian Foreign Ministry, said in an interview with RIA Novosti.

This was the diplomat’s answer to a question of how NATO exercises affect the security situation in the region.

“It is quite obvious that this kind of “training” provokes, and does not prevent, conflict situations,” the diplomat said.

According to him, Russia will continue to take measures to ensure national security with the help of both diplomatic and other instruments.

“We have repeatedly warned that the escalation of military-political tension directly at our borders carries a confrontational charge,” added Pilipson.

Aug 06 05:47

Lukashenko Orders Closing Belarus' Borders

President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko instructed security officials to close the border.

“From today, not a single foot on the territory of Belarus from the adjacent side, whether from the south or the west, should not step,” the website of the leader of the country said.

Also at the meeting, the head of state instructed the security officials to strengthen work to protect the state border and prevent the facts of its violation.

Lithuania has recently announced an increase in the number of detained illegal migrants on the border with Belarus.

On July 2, the country’s authorities declared an emergency situation due to the influx of illegal migrants. According to the latest data, more than four thousand people have been detained at the border of the two countries since the beginning of the year.

Aug 06 05:12

US regrets OSCE won’t send observers to Russian elections — State Department

The United States regrets that the restrictions imposed by Russian authorities in light of the coronavirus pandemic won’t make it possible for the OSCE to send observers to the upcoming State Duma (lower house of parliament) elections, State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement on Thursday.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

What did the OSCE have to say about our elections last November?

Aug 05 07:14

U.S. F-16s arrive in Poland for anti-Russian maneuvers

U.S. Air Force and Illinois Air National Guard Airmen and aircraft arrived in Poland to participate in Aviation Detachment Rotation 21.3, a bilateral training exercise with the Polish to enhance partner interoperability, maintain joint readiness, and assure our regional allies.

F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft assigned to the 480th Fighter Squadron, 52nd Fighter Wing, Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, arrived Friday at the 32nd Tactical Air Base, ?ask, Poland….

Aug 05 07:13

First test launch of Sarmat ICBM due this fall — source

The first launch of Russia’s advanced Sarmat silo-based intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) is scheduled to take place this fall, a defense industry source has told TASS.

"The first launch of Sarmat as part of flight development tests will presumably take place this fall, the second one - in late 2021," the source said.

TASS did not receive an official confirmation of this information at the time of the publication.

Krasmash plant Director General Alexander Gavrilov told TASS in June that Sarmat flight tests had been scheduled for the third quarter of 2021.

Aug 04 13:18

PRICK WAVING : Biggest US Navy war games in 40 years to prepare for WW3 across 17 times zones amid tensions with Russia, China and Iran

THOUSANDS of Marines and sailors are taking part in the US Navy's largest war games in 40 years as Washington "prepares" for a future world war amid rising tensions with Russia and China.

Aug 04 06:07

Police Open Murder Probe After Belarusian Opposition Activist Found Hanged At Kiev Park

Belarus and its strongman President Alexander Lukashenko are once again under scrutiny in the West after the leader of an exiled opposition group was found dead in a public park in Kiev, Ukraine on Tuesday.

The New York Times is reporting that 26-year old Vitaly Shishov, who ran the opposition activist organization Belarusian House group (BHU) out of the Ukrainian capital was found dead by hanging at a park near his home. The BHU assists Belarusian democracy activists or anyone else who has run afoul of government authorities in fleeing abroad.

Ukrainian police are treating it as a pre-meditated murder case given they suspect it was "murder disguised as suicide," according to CNN. Shishov went missing after leaving his home for his daily jog on Monday, and on Tuesday he "was found hanged today in one of Kiev's parks, not far from his place of residence," a police statement indicated. "Vitaly's mobile phone and personal belongings were removed from the scene."

Aug 04 05:30

UK Calls for New Presidential Election in Belarus as Nation Marks 1 Year Since Protests

The Belarusian authorities should launch a meaningful dialogue with the opposition and hold a new presidential election, as the population has the right to "democratically decide their own future," the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said on Tuesday.

The statement came ahead of the one-year anniversary of opposition protests which engulfed Belarus after President Alexander Lukashenko secured his sixth term in office in the election held on 9 August 2020.

"The election was not transparent, free or fair and did not reflect the will of the Belarusian people. The regime immediately cracked down on those protesting the results & supporting the opposition," the foreign ministry tweeted.

Aug 04 05:20

The US has no right to lecture Russia over Crimea while it wholeheartedly backs Israel’s illegal occupation of Syria’s territory

If all are equal before international law, it’s clear some are more equal than others. That much is plain from the fact Washington is driving condemnation of Russia’s reabsorption of Crimea, while defending Israel’s occupations.

The US and its allies have led the charge in the UN to condemn Moscow for the 2014 move that saw it reassert its historic control over the disputed peninsula. A measure that clearly had the support of an overwhelming majority of locals, which has been proven by subsequent American and German polling.

At the same time, though, it has turned a deaf ear towards that same body’s criticism of Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights, internationally recognized as Syrian territory. One gets sanctions, the other gets support.

Aug 03 11:41

Russian army says killed 'up to 200 militants' in Syria bombing

Russia's defence ministry said Monday that it had killed "up to 200 fighters" in Syria during an air strike on a "terrorist" base northeast of Palmyra.

"After confirming data through multiple channels on the location of terrorist facilities, Russian Aerospace Forces aircraft carried out airstrikes," the ministry said in a statement, adding that they "eliminated two hideouts" and "up to 200 militants".

Aug 03 11:39

No indication of Iran’s involvement in Israeli tanker attack: Russia

A senior Russian foreign ministry official strictly rejects existence of any indications pointing to Iran’s likely involvement in a recent attack on an Israeli oil tanker off the Omani coast.

"We have not the slightest reason to believe [that Iran was involved in the attack],” the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Second Asian Department Director, Zamir Kabulov told Russia’s Sputnik news agency on Monday.

In a statement on Friday, Zodiac Maritime, the Israeli-owned firm managing the tanker, said that two crewmen, a Briton and a Romanian, had been killed in the assault.

The Israeli regime and its sworn allies, the United States and the UK, rushed to accuse Iran of having a role in the incident, without providing any evidence. The Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also alleged that the attack was deliberate and coordinated by Tehran.

Kabulov, however, reiterated Russia’s stance, saying Moscow’s refusal to corroborate such accusations was because “we have no facts.”

Aug 03 10:29

Biden Admin Is Booting 24 More Russian Diplomats By September 

Russia has announced Monday that two dozen of its diplomats in the United States will essentially be booted from the country after their visas expire during the first week of September.

"Russia's ambassador to the United States said Washington had asked 24 Russian diplomats to leave the country by Sept. 3 after their visas expired," Reuters writes. "Anatoly Antonov did not say whether the US request was prompted by any particular dispute, and there was no immediate comment from Washington."

Moscow has cited stringent visa procedures which will likely bar the diplomats from being able to renew them. "Almost all of them will leave without replacements because Washington has abruptly tightened visa issuing procedures," Ambassador Antonov said on Sunday.

Aug 03 09:11

From Russia With 50% Less Supply: European Nat Gas Prices Explode To Record Highs As Putin Turns The Screws

That giant sucking noise is billions of "excess euros" being wired to Russia as Putin flexes his muscles showing Europe just how "transitory" record nat gas prices can be.

Natural gas prices in Europe hit a new record high as a slow at first, then much faster tightening of Russian supply looks set to cause a storage crunch on the continent.

As Bloomberg's Stephen Stapczynski observes, Russian gas flows via the Yamal-Europe pipeline that runs across Belarus and Poland to Mallnow, Germany suddenly dropped over the weekend, leaving Europe out of time to refill inventories ahead of the winter. As the chart below shows, the amount of gas entering Germany at the Mallnow compressor station has plunged by almost half, signaling Russia is flowing less through the Yamal-Europe in what may be a Kremlin shot across the European bow, and a reminder who literally keeps the lights open during the winter.

Aug 03 07:59

Head of Belarusian activist group found HANGED in Ukrainian park after vanishing while out jogging, Kiev cops open ‘murder’ probe

Vitaly Shishov, the head of an association of Belarusians living abroad in Ukraine, has been found dead in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, police say. The activist disappeared while out running, sparking fears online for his safety.

On Tuesday, police in the city confirmed that his body had been found in a park near his home. In a statement, officials said he had been “hanged,” and that his “mobile phone and personal belongings were recovered from the scene.”

Investigators have now launched a criminal probe for “premeditated murder” and are asking all those who knew Shishov to come forward to “provide information about the last weeks of his life, his psycho-emotional state and any possible threats.”

Aug 03 07:56

US state-run media RFE/RL blasted for publishing ‘sick’ xenophobic cartoons depicting Russian speakers as sub-human Untermensch

The US state-run broadcaster RFE/RL has come under fire on Twitter after a long thread of xenophobic caricatures by Ukrainian ‘artist’ Aleksey Kustovsky depicting Russian-speaking people as sub-human cockroaches went viral.

RFE/RL is registered by Russia’s Ministry of Justice as a foreign agent.

The cartoons, published by the US government-controlled outlet over many years, tend to glorify Ukrainian nationalism and take aim at both Russians and Russian speakers, while also depicting President Vladimir Putin and other officials in Moscow as bumbling idiots.

Aug 03 07:17

Activist who helps people flee Belarus is found 'murdered' in Ukraine as kidnapped Olympic sprinter holes up in Tokyo's Polish embassy amid Lukashenko regime's claims she was working for foreign spies

A Belarusian activist living in Ukraine who helped his fellow countrymen flee the dictatorship of Alexander Lukashenko has been found dead.

Vitaly Shishov, 26, who ran the Belarusian House group in Kiev, was found hanged in a park close to his house today having gone missing while out for a jog on Monday - with friends saying there were signs he had been beaten, including a broken nose.

Police have opened a murder investigation and say they will be looking into the possibility that Shishov was killed and his death made to look like a suicide, after he recently reported being followed by 'strangers' on his runs.

Aug 03 07:15

UK Tabloids Raise Alarm Over Russian Nuclear Subs Conducting ‘Sinister’ Deep Dive Ops in Atlantic

The Borei-class submarine is a nuclear-powered ballistic missile-carrying boat with up to 16 Bulava nuclear missiles onboard. Russia currently has four of these subs in its arsenal, with a fifth expected to be commissioned in October and at least five more to be completed after that.

British tabloid outlets The Mirror and The Sun have expressed hyperbole-filled concerns about the significance of Russian Borei-class subs’ alleged deep-dive operations in the far north.

In a piece about the “mysterious ‘deep penetration’ missions” on Sunday, The Mirror reported that “large numbers of Borei-class subs were diving to depths greater than 500 metres in the Norwegian Sea in a possible “bid to enter the Atlantic undetected.”
The Sun was even more alarmist in its reporting, calling the alleged missions “sinister.”

Aug 03 07:14

Beloved of ‘Russia-watchers’, the now discredited book ‘Putin’s People’ exposes everything wrong with Western reporting on Moscow

Having pored over former Financial Times reporter Catherine Belton’s book, ‘Putin’s People’, it’s hard to be surprised it is now causing her legal problems. More surprising is that it was published like this in the first place.

Despite being picked up by a major American publishing house, the Rupert Murdoch-owned HarperCollins, Belton displayed a profound lack of journalistic judgement in how she conducted the research behind her explosive claims. And that’s coming back to bite her.

In one lawsuit brought by Mikhail Fridman and Pyotr Aven, the Russian founders of one of Moscow’s largest financial institutions, Alfa Bank, a settlement was reached last week. HarperCollins agreed to amend and edit parts of the book asserting that the pair of businessmen essentially had sponsorship from the KGB when they embarked on their entrepreneurial careers. According to the agreement, the publishers admitted the claims made in the book were unsubstantiated.

Aug 03 06:46

US Asks 24 Russian Diplomats to Leave By September 3

The US has handed Moscow a list of 24 Russian diplomats that Washington wants to leave the country by September 3rd, Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov said in an interview published on Sunday.

“We received a list of twenty-four diplomats who are expected to leave the country before September 3, 2021. Almost all of them will leave without replacements because Washington has abruptly tightened visa issuing procedures,” Antonov told the National Interest.

In recent years, the US has expelled dozens of Russian diplomats and implemented new restrictions on Russian diplomatic personnel. Antonov said recent unexplained visa restrictions have hampered Russia’s diplomatic mission in the US.

Aug 03 06:45

Washington’s Bizarre and Dangerous Ukraine Obsession

A strange and potentially catastrophic development in U.S. foreign policy has been the elevation of Ukraine to the status of a vital American interest. Ukraine was not even an independent country until the end of 1991; before then, it was merely a component of the Czarist Russian Empire and the Soviet Union. America got along just fine ignoring Ukraine and its affairs. There has been no formal treaty, or even a meaningful congressional and public debate, to make Ukraine a crucial US ally, yet that is how Washington now views that country.

Aug 02 07:06

Russia Closes Syrian Skies for Israel

For a long time, Russia and Israel avoided clashes in Syria, where their interests overlap. After Moscow introduced its forces into Syrian territory in 2015, it took into account Israeli interests related to the security of the Jewish state. Israel appreciated Russia’s position and tried to make the best of the situation by avoiding clashes of Russian-Israeli interests in Syria. Moreover, Israel used Russia’s military intervention in Syria to reach military and political understanding with Moscow, knowing full well that Russia will play an influential role in the region only if it can find a balance between the interests of its allies on the one hand and Israel as a regional power on the other.

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