Tag Archives: Russia

Russian troops join combat in Syria


http://s1.reutersmedia.net/resources/r/?m=02&d=20150909&t=2&i=1078102328&w=&fh=&fw=&ll=644&pl=429&sq=&r=LYNXNPEB880U0
Russian forces have begun participating in military operations in Syria in support of government troops, three Lebanese sources familiar with the political and military situation there said on Wednesday.

The sources, speaking to Reuters on condition they not be identified, gave the most forthright account yet from the region of what the United States fears is a deepening Russian military role in Syria’s civil war, though one of the Lebanese sources said the number of Russians involved so far was small.

U.S. officials said Russia sent two tank landing ships and additional cargo aircraft to Syria in the past day or so and deployed a small number of naval infantry forces.

The U.S. officials, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said the intent of Russia’s military moves in Syria was unclear. One suggested the focus may be on preparing an airfield near the port city of Latakia, a stronghold of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

U.S. officials have not ruled out the possibility that Russia may want to use the airfield for air combat missions.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke to his Russian counterpart for the second time in four days to express concern over reports of Russian military activities in Syria, warning that it could fan more violence.

The White House said it was closely monitoring the situation.

Russia says the Syrian government must be incorporated into a shared global fight against Islamic State, the Islamist group that has taken over large parts of Syria and Iraq. The United States and Assad’s regional foes see him as part of the problem.

“We would welcome constructive Russian contributions to the counter-ISIL effort, but we’ve been clear that it would be unconscionable for any party, including the Russians, to provide any support to the Assad regime,” White House spokesman Eric Schultz said, using an acronym for Islamic State.

SYRIAN TROOPS PULLING BACK

Assad’s forces have faced big setbacks on the battlefield in a four-year-old multi-sided civil war that has killed 250,000 people and driven half of Syria’s 23 million people from their homes.

Syrian troops pulled out of a major air base last Wednesday, and a monitoring group said this meant government soldiers were no longer present at all in Idlib province, most of which slipped from government control earlier this year.

Moscow confirmed it had “experts” on the ground in Syria, its long-time ally in the Middle East.
But Russia has declined to comment on the scale and scope of its military presence. Damascus denied Russians were involved in combat, but a Syrian official said the presence of experts had increased in the past year.

Reflecting Western concern, Germany’s foreign minister warned Russia against increased military intervention, saying the Iran nuclear deal and new U.N. initiatives offered a starting point for a political solution to the conflict.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said reports of growing Russian military activity in Syria were a cause for concern, while France said it made finding a political solution to the crisis more complicated.

Two of the Lebanese sources said the Russians were establishing two bases in Syria, one near the coast and one further inland which would be an operations base.

“The Russians are no longer just advisors,” one of the sources said. “The Russians have decided to join the war against terrorism.”

RUSSIAN NAVAL BASE

Moscow’s only naval base in the Mediterranean is at Tartous on the Syrian coast in territory held by Assad, and keeping it secure would be an important strategic objective for the Kremlin.

Another of the Lebanese sources said that so far any Russian combat role was still small: “They have started in small numbers, but the bigger force did not yet take part … There are numbers of Russians taking part in Syria but they did not yet join the fight against terrorism strongly.”

The Syrian official said: “Russian experts are always present but in the last year they have been present to a greater degree.”

Officials in the United States, which is fighting an air war against the Islamist militant group Islamic State in Syria and also opposes Assad’s government, have said in recent days that they suspect Russia is reinforcing to aid Assad.

Washington has put pressure on countries nearby to deny their air space to Russian flights, a move Moscow denounced on Wednesday as “international boorishness”.

Russia has set out the case for supporting Assad in the most forthright terms yet in the past few days, likening the Western approach to Syria to failures in Iraq and Libya.

Part of the diplomatic quarrel has centred around use of air space for flights, which Moscow says bring humanitarian aid but U.S. officials say may be bringing military supplies.
U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters on Wednesday that multiple Russian flights have passed over the airspace of Iran and Iraq to reach Syria.

RUSSIAN OVERFLIGHTS

The State Department said Russian use of Iranian airspace would not be surprising, given Tehran’s past support for Assad.

Spokesman John Kirby said the United States had advised “partners and our friends to ask the Russians tough questions about” overflight requests. He did not elaborate, saying only: “I’m not gonna detail diplomatic conversations.”

To avoid flying over Turkey, one of Assad’s main enemies, Russia has sought to fly planes over Balkan states, but Washington has urged them to deny Moscow permission.

On Tuesday, Bulgaria refused a Russian request to use its airspace citing doubts about the cargo on board. It said on Wednesday it would allow Russian supply flights to Syria to use its airspace only if Moscow agreed to checks of their cargo at a Bulgarian airport.

Turkey has not officially confirmed a ban on Russian flights to Syria but says it considers any requests to fly over its air space to Syria on a case by case basis.

Thus far in the war, Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah have been Assad’s main sources of military support. The momentum turned against Assad earlier this year.

In the latest setback, state television reported government troops had surrendered an air base in northwestern Syria to a rebel alliance after nearly two years under siege.

This meant the last government troops had withdrawn from central Idlib province, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based group that monitors the conflict.

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Russia claims to have super weapon that disables western satellites and long range arms



Russia is boasting a major advance in electronic warfare technology enabling Vladimir Putin’s armed forces to zap foreign military satellites, and “switch off” enemy weapons.

The new system will muzzle the guidance systems of Western cruise missiles and other high-precision arms, it is claimed.

Its Russian makers say it is a “fundamentally new electronic warfare system” which can be mounted on ground-based as well as air- and sea-borne carriers.

Russia’s Radio-Electronic Technologies Group (KRET) deputy chief Yuri Mayevsky said: “The system will target the enemy’s deck-based, tactical, long-range and strategic aircraft, electronic means and suppress foreign military satellites’ radio-electronic equipment.”

BarcroftRussia’s deputy defense minister Tatyana Shevtsova, Russia’s president Vladimir Putin and Russia’s defense minister Sergei Shoigu
“It will not be based on satellites as this is prohibited by international rules and we comply with this rule.”

The Russian hailing of its new super weapon comes as relations with the West are at their lowest ebb since the collapse of the Soviet Union, with fears of a new Cold War.

President Vladimir Putin has invested heavily in rebuilding his country’s military might, which has lagged behind the West since the end of the Soviet era.

The new technology “will fully suppress communications, navigation and target location, and the use of high-precision weapons”, said Mikheyev, who did not give further details of the claimed military breakthrough.

BarcroftAnton Gubankov, head of the culture department at Russia’s defense ministry, Russia’s president Vladimir Putin and Russia’s defense minister Sergei Shoigu
“The system will be used against cruise missiles and will suppress satellite-based radio location systems.

“It will actually switch off enemy weapons.”

The system is due to be fully tested in the near future.

“Ground tests are now going on in workshops,” he said.

“At the end of the year, the system’s component will leave the factory gates for trials at testing ranges.”

Putin’s ‘little green men’ aiding Ukrainian separatists, says Biden


Russia is using “little green men without patches” to help separatists destabilize Ukraine and President Vladimir Putin redraw the map of eastern Europe, Vice President Joe Biden said Friday, as the leaders of France and Germany headed to Moscow to make a last-ditch bid for peace in the troubled region.

Biden spoke in Brussels, where he met with European Union officials as part of a flurry of diplomatic efforts to stem Russia’s incursion into Ukraine. Some 5,300 people have been killed in fighting that began in April, mostly in the eastern portion of the country that borders Russia. Although Putin has insisted he has not sent troops to help pro-Russian separatists fight Kiev’s forces, Biden said the Russian leader has been aiding the independence movement since annexing Crimea in March, 2014.

“Ukraine is fighting for their very survival right now,” Biden said. “Russia continues to escalate the conflict by sending mercenaries and tanks we euphemistically [call] “little green men without patches,” in who are very sophisticated special operations soldiers,” Biden said.

Russian forces are suspected by the west of helping separatists down a Malaysian Airlines commercial plane carrying 298 people over Ukraine near the Russian border last July in what may have been a mistake. Kiev released intercepted phone conversations, purportedly between separatists and Russian military officials, and the missile that downed the plane was Russian-made. Ukraine has alleged that Russian troops became emboldened following the incident, sending non-uniformed troops across the border to aid in fighting in rebel strongholds such as Donetsk.

Although German Chancelor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande were to meet with Putin in Moscow to press him for peace, suspicions were growing in Europe that the powerful Russian leader has designs on more than just Ukraine.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen told Britain’s Daily Telegraph Thursday that Putin’s goal was to reassert Russian dominance of Eastern Europe by testing, and ultimately fracturing the West’s bedrock Cold War alliance.

“There is a high probability that he will intervene in the Baltics to test NATO’s Article 5,” Rasmussen said, referring to the section of NATO’s charter mandating that other member states come to the defense of a fellow member under armed attack. “Putin knows that if he crosses the red line and attacks a NATO ally, he will be defeated. Let us be quite clear about that. But he is a specialist in hybrid warfare.”

All three of the so-called Baltic republics — Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania — were part of the Soviet Union until its dissolution in 1991. All three joined NATO in 2004. All three also have sizable minority populations of ethnic Russians, as does eastern Ukraine, where Putin is accused of whipping up secession sentiment. Rasmussen says his fear is that Moscow will generate a conflict that gives him a pretext to destabilize those nations. It is not clear what would happen if a NATO member claimed Article 5 protection, but was turned down by the NATO council.

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Biden offered little hope that Putin could be taken at his word, and said the U.S. and Europe must stand together to support cash-strapped Ukraine.

“President Putin continues to call for new peace plans as his troops roll through the Ukrainian countryside and he absolutely ignores every agreement that his country has signed in the past and he has signed recently,” Biden said. “We, the United States, and Europe as a whole, have to stand with Ukraine at this moment. Ukraine needs our financial assistance and support as it pursues reforms and even in the face, in the face of this military onslaught.”

Meanwhile, in eastern Ukraine, the rebels reached an agreement Friday with government forces on a humanitarian corridor to evacuate civilians from the epicenter of fighting on Friday. Rebel leaders said the agreement would allow the evacuation of civilians from Debaltseve, a key railway hub that has become the focus of fighting in recent weeks because of its strategic location. It wasn’t immediately clear where the evacuees would go.

The cease-fire around Debaltseve held Friday as a convoy of several dozen buses drove from nearby Vuhelhirsk toward Debaltsevo, where a shrinking population has been trapped in cross-fire and left without power, heating and running water for almost two weeks. Halfway to Debaltsevo, the convoy’s movement was stopped by concrete blocks, apparently intended to block military vehicles from using the road.

Merkel and Hollande are set to hold talks with Putin in the Kremlin a day after discussing their proposals with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. In a sign of the importance of the initiative, this will be Merkel’s first trip to Moscow since Ukraine’s conflict broke out last year.

The fighting in eastern Ukraine between Russia-backed separatist rebels and Ukrainian forces has intensified sharply over the past two weeks. Russia vehemently denies that it is backing the insurgency with troops and weapons, but U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry rejected that denial on Thursday’s visit to Kiev.

The Un-United Nation


We have acknowledge that after WW2, there was some kind of Laws which was some form of stability which needed to be reinforce throughout the world and in such case a group of so called superpower countries joined together to call themselves the United Nations.

This United Nations also has a so called Security Council which is meant to protected the Citizens of the world which is build up of large and small parcels of land surrounded or separated by a body of water, which is then Governed by most insane, power  grabbing men.

Over the pass weeks we have come to witness how Un-United this Nation Security Council has been in order of rather securing the Resource of the land than Protecting the Lives of the People whom they should be protecting.

Russia, China and Germany have so far given the green light to places like Syria and other part of the world to Gas and Poison their Citizens or Neighbours without fear, why are these country blocking action against such regimes, well now we know where Syria’s stockpile of Weapons and Poison Gas Suppliers are.         

Edward Snowden whereabouts unknown as US presses Russia – as it happened


English: Moscow, the Kremlin. Cathedral Square
English: Moscow, the Kremlin. Cathedral Square (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: Embassy of the Russia Federation in H...
English: Embassy of the Russia Federation in Havana Español: Embajada de la Federación de Rusia en La Habana Français : Ambassade de la fédération de Russie à la Havane (Cuba). Русский: Посольство Российской Федерации в Гаване (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: Moscow-city 2010,March
English: Moscow-city 2010,March (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Edward Snowden is expected to catch a plane today from Moscow to Cuba as he attempts to reach Ecuador and evade US attempts to have him extradited and tried on espionage charges.

Snowden – the former NSA contractor whose leaks to the Guardian about US intelligence programmes have caused controversy around the world – yesterday fled Hong Kong for Moscow after the authorities in the Chinese province said Washington’s provisional warrant did not fully comply with legal requirements. He had travelled to Hong Kong on 20 May as a base from which to reveal his secrets and his identity.

A representative of Russia’s Aeroflot airline told the Associated Press that Snowden registered for the flight to Havana that leaves Moscow today at 2.05pm (11.05am BST). He is expected to then leave Havana for Ecuador – the country that has granted asylum to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange at its embassy in London.

The airline says he registered for the flight on Sunday using his US passport – which American officials say has been annulled as part of an effort to prosecute him for revealing the highly classified government secrets.

Ecuador’s foreign minister said Sunday that Quito is considering his application for asylum.

We’ll have live coverage of all the latest developments here throughout the day.
Miriam Elder is at the airport in Moscow about to get on what we hope is the same plane to Havana as Edward Snowden. She told me:

As far as we know he’s expected to get on this flight to Havana in two hours, around 2pm Moscow time. There is speculation that maybe all this information that he’ll be on it is a ruse, but there’s a whole lot of journalists here taking the chance that he’ll be on that flight.

I asked her what the reaction had been in Russia to Snowden’s sudden arrival in Moscow yesterday.

It’s obviously been huge. It’s been a really big story. The airport has been crawling both with international journalists and Russian journalists … We haven’t had any really huge statements from Russian officials; Putin hasn’t commented on it. The foreign ministry, last I checked, just said they were looking into what his plans are.

And you’ve had a lot of Russian MPs calling for him to stay here and all I can say, being at the airport until 1am last night, is that there were Russian undercover agents all over the terminal where we believed him to be. It was really clear that the Russians were in charge of the situation here. There were Ecuadorian diplomats milling around trying to get to talk to him but the Russians seemed to be controlling everything here.

Miriam reiterated that there had been no confirmation of American speculation that the countries allowing Snowden to visit were getting information from him in exchange, but she said: “I would expect that Russian officials would be very eager to talk to him. And not only to talk to him to get information from him, but I suspect maybe to try to get him to stay here. Again, there’s no confirmation of that at all.”

She added that Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, had repeated to her that Moscow would consider any asylum request from Snowden.

I talked to Peskov yesterday morning and he said yes. I said, ‘Would you consider an asylum request from him?’ and he said, ‘Yes, that’s just standard procedure. That’s what we do for every application that we get.’

Elsewhere Peskov said the Kremlin was unaware of any contact between Snowden and the Russian authorities.

Miriam has tweeted a picture of the plane.

Edward Snowden, NSA leaker, reportedly lands in Moscow


HQ of Hong Kong Government Flying Service
HQ of Hong Kong Government Flying Service (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An Aeroflot flight from Hong Kong carrying Edward Snowden, the former contractor who leaked top-secret documents about U.S. surveillance programs, landed at Sheremetyevo International Airport in Russia on Sunday. Snowden left Hong Kong “on his own accord for a third country,” the government in Hong Kong said Sunday afternoon.

Snowden’s final destination was unclear. Russian news agency Interfax and Radio Ekho Moskvy reported that Snowden was booked on a flight to Cuba and then from Havana to Caracas, Venezuela. The next Aeroflot flight to Havana leaves Monday afternoon. Ecuador and Iceland have also been mentioned as possibilities.
A black BMW with diplomatic license plates assigned to the Ecuadorian Embassy was seen parked at Sheremetyevo, but it was unclear who might have been in the car.

Snowden is being aided in his travel by WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy organization that published hundreds of thousands of classified documents. The group posted on Twitter about 5 a.m. EDT that Snowden was “currently over Russian airspace accompanied by WikiLeaks legal advisors.” The organization later said Snowden was accompanied on his flight to Moscow by Sarah Harrison, who the organization said is a UK citizen, journalist and legal researcher working with the WikiLeaks legal defense team.

Snowden has drawn comparisons to Bradley Manning, the U.S. Army private who provided the secret files to WikiLeaks.

“The WikiLeaks legal team and I are interested in preserving Mr. Snowden’s rights and protecting him as a person,” said Baltasar Garzon, legal director of WikiLeaks and lawyer for Julian Assange, the group’s founder who has spent the past year holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. “What is being done to Mr. Snowden and to Mr. Julian Assange — for making or facilitating disclosures in the public interest — is an assault against the people.”

Snowden was being examined at the airport by a doctor from the Ecuadorian Embassy, according to RT, a television network financed by the Russian government.

The Hong Kong government said that documents from the U.S. government requesting a warrant for his arrest “did not fully comply with the legal requirements under Hong Kong law.” And so it has asked the United States to provide “additional information.”

“As the HKSAR Government has yet to have sufficient information to process the request for provisional warrant of arrest, there is no legal basis to restrict Mr. Snowden from leaving Hong Kong,” the statement said.

A a senior Justice Department official disputed that claim. “The request met the requirements of the agreement,” said the official who spoke on condition of anonymity. “They came back to us late Friday with additional questions and we were in the process of responding. Obviously this raises concerns for us and we will continue to discuss this with the authorities there.”

The Hong Kong government said it had informed the U.S. government that Snowden had left.

It has also formally written to the U.S. government asking for “clarification” on reports that computer systems in Hong Kong had been hacked by U.S. agencies.

West rebukes Putin over Syria at G8 summit


Welcoming ceremony. With President of Syria Ba...
Welcoming ceremony. With President of Syria Bashar al-Assad. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: President Bashar al-Assad of Syria . ...
English: President Bashar al-Assad of Syria . Original background removed. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Português do Brasil: O presidente Lula recebe ...
Português do Brasil: O presidente Lula recebe o presidente da República Árabe Síria, Bashar al-Assad, no Itamaraty. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: US President Barack Obama and British...
English: US President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron trade bottles of beer to settle a bet they made on the U.S. vs. England World Cup Soccer game (which ended in a tie), during a bilateral meeting at the G20 Summit in Toronto, Canada, Saturday, June 26, 2010. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Western leaders rebuked Russian President Vladimir Putin for supporting Syria’s Bashar al-Assad‘s attempt to crush a two-year-old uprising, setting the stage for a tense G8 summit of the world’s most powerful nations.

U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to use his first face-to-face meeting with Putin in a year to try to persuade the Kremlin chief to bring Assad to the negotiating table to end a conflict in which at least 93,000 people have been killed.
British Prime Minister David Cameron, who is chairing the G8 summit in a remote golf resort in Northern Ireland, conceded there was “a big difference” between the positions of Russia and the West on how to resolve the war.

In some of his most colourful remarks on Syria, Putin described anti-Assad rebels as cannibals who ate human flesh and warned Obama of the dangers of giving guns to such people. Moscow also said it would not permit no-fly zones over to Syria.

For their part, Western leaders have criticised Russia, Syria’s most powerful ally, for sending weapons to Assad forces and considering deliveries of a sophisticated missile system.

“How can we allow that Russia continues to deliver arms to the Bashar al-Assad regime when the opposition receives very few and is being massacred?” French President Francois Hollande said.

Stung by recent victories for Assad’s forces and their support from Hezbollah guerrillas, the United States said last week it would step up military aid to the rebels including automatic weapons, light mortars and rocket-propelled grenades.

In an apparent response to this development, Assad said Europe would “pay the price” if it delivered arms to rebel forces, saying that would result in the export of terrorism to Europe.

“Terrorists will gain experience in combat and return with extremist ideologies,” he said in an advance extract of an interview due to be published in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on Tuesday.

Divisions over Syria dominated the atmosphere as global leaders streamed into the heavily guarded resort in Northern Ireland, a place once rocked by decades of violence but which Cameron now wants to showcase as a model of conflict resolution.

Despite the disagreements over Syria, Putin and his Western counterparts appeared cordial in their public appearances. The Kremlin chief cracked a grin as he shook Cameron’s hand outside the venue, as police helicopters surveyed the site overhead.

Moscow and Washington both agree that the bloodshed in Syria should stop and say they are genuinely trying to overcome mistrust between them. They had earlier agreed to set up a Syrian peace conference in Geneva but progress has been slow.

The European Union has dropped its arms embargo on Syria, allowing France and Britain to arm the rebels, though Cameron expressed concern about some of Assad’s foes.

“Let’s be clear – I am as worried as anybody else about elements of the Syrian opposition, who are extremists, who support terrorism and who are a great danger to our world,” Cameron said.

Syria aside, Cameron wants to focus on the formal agenda on tax, trade and transparency, dubbed “The Three Ts”, topics expected to dominate discussions on Tuesday.

As the summit kicked off on Monday afternoon, the United States and the EU opened negotiations for the world’s most ambitious free-trade deal, promising thousands of new jobs and accelerated growth on both sides of the Atlantic.

OBAMA-PUTIN TALKS

The spotlight was on Obama and Putin who were due to meet at about 6:30 p.m. at the Lough Erne golf resort about 10 km (7 miles) outside the Northern Irish town of Enniskillen, scene of an IRA bomb attack in 1987 that killed 11 people.

Security was tight and the venue was surrounded by a 15-ft high steel fence. Unlike previous summits which have seen often turbulent anti-capitalist protests, the meeting failed to attract any crowds, possibly due to its remote location.

In a speech in Belfast, Obama urged young people in Northern Ireland to finish making “permanent peace” and set an example to other areas of the world stricken by conflict.

Cameron could also face some awkward questions at the G8 table after a Guardian newspaper report that Britain spied on officials taking part in two Group of 20 meetings in 2009.

In a report published just hours before the G8 summit, the daily said some delegates from countries in the Group of 20 – which comprises top economies around the world – used Internet cafes that had been set up by British intelligence agencies to read their emails.

“If these allegations prove to be true, it will be condemned in the strongest fashion and the necessary action taken,” said Turkish Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek, who the Guardian said had his calls intercepted by Britain.

The leaders of the United States, Japan, Canada, Russia, Germany, France, Britain and Italy – representing just over half of the $71.7 trillion (45.67 trillion pounds) global economy – will also discuss global economy and trade.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other leaders are likely to say they are not content with progress so far in fixing their economies in the wake of the global financial crisis, according to a draft communiqué seen by Reuters.

Abe will use the opportunity to explain his blend of fiscal and monetary stimuli known as ‘Abenomics’ to the leaders as investors try to absorb the implications of a signal by the U.S. Federal Reserve it may start to slow its money-printing.