It’s the Russia, Stupid

It’s the Russia, Stupid

JAMES GEORGE JATRAS | 16.06.2017

It’s another week in Washington and another horror show. This time it was Attorney General Jeff Sessions being grilled by Senators on whether, when, and how he might have met with certain Russians, or any Russian, or someone who might actually know a Russian. In addition to fishing for any inconsistency that could be used to support an accusation of obstruction of justice or perjury – the usual sleazy methodology of politically motivated investigations here – the transparent aim was to further poison the well on any possible initiative to improve ties with Moscow.

The strategy appears to be working. The Russian Embassy in Washington confirms that for the first time since the Russian Federation’s founding the State Department did not send pro forma national day greetings. Perhaps the bureaucrats were afraid they would be tainted and themselves become targets of multiple investigations into «collusion» with the Kremlin. (Luckily, this intrepid Washington analyst has no qualms about such associations.)

Or more likely, they themselves are part of the Russophobic mob undermining the White House. It has been reported that soon after the inauguration Trump sought to open dialogue with the Kremlin and set an early summit with President Vladimir Putin. This produced a hysterical counteraction from the Deep State. As reported by conservative columnist and former presidential candidate Patrick Buchanan:

«The State Department was tasked with working out the details.

«Instead, says Daniel Fried, the coordinator for sanctions policy, he received ‘panicky’ calls of ‘Please, my God, can you stop this?’.

«Operatives at State, disloyal to the president and hostile to the Russia policy on which he had been elected, collaborated with elements in Congress to sabotage any detente. They succeeded.

«‘It would have been a win-win for Moscow,’ said Tom Malinowski of State, who boasted last week of his role in blocking a rapprochement with Russia. State employees sabotaged one of the principal policies for which Americans had voted, and they substituted their own».

So much for constitutional government and the rule of law…

But now it gets even worse. This week Congress moved legislation designed to codify in statute sanctions imposed on Russia by Barack Obama over Ukraine and evidence-free charges of Russian election interference. Provisions for a presidential waiver, which are standard in any sanctions legislation, are unusually narrow. Congressional proponents are clear that their aim is to take the matter out of the president’s hands. Democrats, seemingly devoid of any other policy agenda or ideas, vow to keep banging the Russia drum through the 2018 Congressional elections.

When all is said and done, there are lots of reasons the political class hates Trump. His heresies on immigration and trade are near the top of the list. But make no mistake: for the Deep State and its mainstream media arm, demonizing Russia and Vladimir Putin personally is a dangerous obsession. (There is reason to suspect «Russian collusion» figured in the thinking of a fanatical Leftist’s shooting attack on Republican Congressmen: «The shooter also signed a petition calling for an investigation into Trump-Russia ties, confirming he was radicalized by the mainstream media’s obsession with conspiracy theories about Russia interfering with the election».)

It remains to be seen whether Oliver Stone’s extended interview with Putin on the Showtime network will have any impact. So far the commentary seems to be divided between descriptions of the substance of the discussion and attacks on Stone for talking with such a bad, bad man: «Speaking after the interview, Stone refuted allegations that he became an unwitting messenger of pro-Putin propaganda or of dishonest information given by the president».

With regard to substance, relatively little attention has been accorded in American media to Putin’s flat accusation that U.S. «special services» have supported terrorists, including in Chechnya. Of course anyone paying attention would know that arming jihadists is a standard part of U.S. policy, going back at least to Afghanistan in the 1980s and repeated in Bosnia, Kosovo, Libya, and today in Syria. Indeed, as early as the 1950s the U.S. had established a very close relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood and its terrorist elements as a weapon against Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser and Baathists in Syria and Iraq, who Washington thought were a little too cozy with the Soviet Union and far too socialist and secular for the taste of our pals in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf.

There is a real symbiosis between the anti-Russian imperative in American foreign policy and support for radical Islamic elements. It did not end when the Soviet Union and communism collapsed but rather was intensified. This is why Moscow’s constant calls for a common front against terrorism are always rebuffed. Such cooperation doesn’t make any sense for anomenklatura whose number one goal is hostility to Moscow and for whom jihadists are at worst «frienemies» – people who may be troublesome but useful.

We can only imagine how completely different the world would be if the U.S. were to recognize that Russia is a country that in many respects is not that different from the United States or Europe and that we had common interests. But for the U.S. Deep State, that would amount to switching sides in a global conflict, where we see jihadists essentially as «freedom fighters» against a geopolitical adversary. These same clueless «elites» are then puzzled when their carefully nurtured, cuddly, «moderate» jihad terrorists attack us back here at home.

This irrational pattern is at the root of the hostility of American policymakers toward Russia and any prospect of normalizing bilateral ties. In large part, it’s what underlies the «soft coup» being directed against Trump, of which the Sessions pillorying was an episode. (A late report based on unreliable, unverified sources suggests that Special Counsel on the Russia probe, Robert Mueller, is expanding his investigation to include potential obstruction of justice by President Donald Trump. Mueller, a close personal friend of ousted FBI Director James Comey, has already packed his team with partisan Democrats.)

Those behind this attempted coup think we can continue to treat Russia as though it were a minor power of the magnitude of Serbia, Iraq, Libya, or Syria, or even Iran. They think if we just keep pushing, pushing, pushing, either the Russians will collapse or back down. They will do everything possible to box Trump in and prevent him from pursuing any path other than the disastrous course laid out by Bill Clinton, George Bush, and Barack Obama. They can see no other outcome than removing Putin and returning Russia to the condition of a Yeltsin-era vassal state – a term Putin used in the Stone interview – or, better yet, its territorial breakup along the lines suggested by the late Zbigniew Brzezinski.

Will the Oliver Stone interview change any minds? It’s too soon to tell. But if the soft coup against Trump succeeds, it might not matter, since then America could not be considered a self-governing constitutional republic even in a residual sense. We may have already passed our own Rubicon and just don’t know it yet.

Anti-Christian pogrom underway in Ukraine…while is ongoing the genocide of Donbass/Novorossiya population, Donetsk, Lugansk … by neo-Nazi gangs of Kiew regime […U.S.-NATO supported…]

Source


Anti-Christian pogrom underway in Ukraine…

…while is ongoing the genocide of Donbass/Novorossiya population, Donetsk, Lugansk … by neo-Nazi gangs of Kiew regime





ALL  VIDEOS  ARE  WITH  ENG-SUBT

Russia to supply electricity to liberated parts of Eastern Ukraine

Source

Ukraine Says Regions Weren’t Paying Their Bills

The Russian government has announced that they have begun supplying electricity to the Eastern Ukrainian oblasts of Donetsk and Luhansk today, after all electricity supplies were cut by the Ukrainian government. over what they said were unpaid bills.

Donetsk and Luhansk are rebel-held parts of Ukraine, and have been since 2014. The regions have ethnic Russian majorities and rebelled over attempts to ban Russian as an official language, and curtail trade across the Russian border. Many of the rebels advocate secession.

Ukraine’s state power company claimed the regions were some $431 million in debt over non-payment of bills. Russia says that they will be providing power through pre-existing lines effective immediately to avoid loss of electricity to some 3 million people in the effected areas.

The decision by the Ukrainian government to cut power to the region appears to be an attempt to put pressure on the secessionist movement, though ironically by forcing them to turn to Russia for electricity they may further enhanced the region’s link to the Russian Federation.

 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview to the National Interest Magazine March 29, 2017

March 29, 2017
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview to the National Interest Magazine March 29, 2017

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with the National Interest Magazine, published on March 29, 2017

http://www.mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/-/asset_publisher/cKNonkJE02Bw/content/id/2710445

Question: I’d like to start by asking you about your forthcoming meeting with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, we’ve read in the press that the two of you may be meeting soon.

Sergey Lavrov: So they say.

Question: Could you perhaps tell us about your expectations and goals in dealing with Secretary Tillerson?

Sergey Lavrov: Well, after the American election, soon after Election Day President Putin and President-elect Trump talked over the phone. It was a good but very general discussion touching upon the key issues in our relations, and of course the key international issues. And they agreed that they would continue being in touch and after the inauguration they talked again, and they reconfirmed the need to look for ways which would be effective in handling international problems. And of course to see what could be done to bring the bilateral relations to normalcy. They also agreed that Mr. Rex Tillerson and I would look into the agenda in some more details, and would also discuss the preparation for the presidential meeting which should take place when both countries, both leaders feel comfortable.

And we met with Rex in mid-February in Bonn on the margins of the G-20 ministerial meeting, and covered quite a lot of the bilateral agenda. I briefed him about the relationship on bilateral issues with the Obama administration, the problems which accumulated during that period. We did not go into the substance of this, I just briefed him so that his team, which is still being assembled, could take a look at these issues and determine what kind of attitude they would have on them. And we discussed Syria, Iran, the Korean Peninsula, the Middle East in general, relations between Russia and the West, it was a very general, but rather substantive discussion, obviously it was the first contact and Mr.Rex Tillerson is just getting into the shoes of his new capacity. We discussed the possibility of personal meeting and have been continuing these discussions. As soon as we finalize them it will be announced.

But my feeling is that from the point of view of personal relationship, we feel quite comfortable. I feel quite comfortable, I believe Rex had the same feeling, and our assistants should work closer but of course this could only be done when the team in the State Department is complete.

Question: Of course. If I could follow up on your answer there, you mentioned bringing normalcy to the U.S.-Russia relationship. What do you think “normal” is?

Sergey Lavrov: “Normal” is to treat your partners with respect, not to try to impose some of your ideas on others without taking into account their own views and their concerns, always to try to listen and to hear, and hopefully not to rely on a superiority complex, which was obviously the case with the Obama administration. They were obsessed with their exceptionality, with their leadership. Actually the founding fathers of the United States, they also spoke of their leadership, and they believed that the American nation was exceptional, but they wanted others just to take the American experience as an example and to follow suit. They never suggested that the United States should impose, including by force, its values on others.

And the Obama administration was clearly different. Actually, long before Ukraine, long before Crimea, in early December 2012, there was an OSCE ministerial meeting in Dublin. And Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State and was the head of the delegation, we had a bilateral meeting with her, she was trying to persuade me on something which was a difficult issue on the agenda, but I recall this situation because in the margins of this ministerial meeting she attended a meeting in the University of Dublin, and she delivered a lecture in which she said something like: “We are trying to figure out effective ways to slow down or prevent the move to re-Sovietize the former Soviet space.” December 2012.

What kind of action she was considering as the move to re-Sovietize the space, I really couldn’t understand. Yes, there were discussions about Ukraine, about Kazakhstan, Belarus and Russia, forming the Customs Union, and if this was the reason, then of course it showed very obviously the real attitude of the Obama administration to what was going on in the former Soviet space and the area of the Commonwealth of Independent States, its obvious desire to take over this geopolitical space around Russia without even caring what Moscow might think.

This was the reason for the crisis in Ukraine, when the U.S. and European Union bluntly told the Ukrainians: either you are with us, or you are with Russia against us. And the very fragile Ukrainian state couldn’t sustain this kind of pressure, and what happened- happened: the coup, and so on and so forth (if you want I can discuss this in some detail later). But my point is that they considered normal that the people in Obama’s team should call the shots anywhere, including around such a big country as the Russian Federation. And this is absolutely abnormal in my view.

At the same time, when we visited Venezuela with our naval ships, they were raising such hell, as if no one could even get closer to what they believe should be their backyard. This mentality is not adequate for the twenty-first century. And we of course notice that President Trump is emphasizing the need to concentrate on U.S. interests. And foreign policy for him is important as long as it serves the United States’ interests, not just some messiah projects doing something just for the sake of showing that you can do it anywhere. It’s irrational, and in this he certainly holds the same position as we do in Moscow, as President Putin does, that we don’t want to meddle in other people’s matters. When the Russian legitimate interests are not, you know involved.

Question: You just mentioned at the end of your statement that the United States shouldn’t meddle in others’ affairs, and obviously many Americans today feel that Russia has meddled in American affairs, in the 2016 election. Your government has denied that. But how do you explain what happened in the United States? Do you feel that Russia had any involvement or any responsibility at all for what transpired?

Sergey Lavrov: I believe that these absolutely groundless accusations – at least I haven’t seen a single fact that this was substantiated. I believe these accusations were used as an instrument in the electoral campaign, which for some reasons seemed to the Democratic Party to be an efficient way to raise support among the American people, playing on their feelings that no one shall meddle with American affairs. This is a Russophobic instrument. It was a very sad situation because we never wanted to be unfriendly with the American people, and apparently the Obama administration, the elite in the Democratic Party, who made every effort during the last couple of years to ruin the very foundation of our relationship, decided that the American people should be brainwashed without any facts, without any proof. We are still ready to discuss any concerns of the United States.

As a matter of fact, in November 2015, long before this hacker thing started, we drew the attention of the U.S. administration to the fact that they kept hunting Russian citizens suspected in cybercrime in third countries, and insisting on them being extradited to the United States, ignoring the treaty on mutual legal assistance which exists between Russia and the United States, and which should be invoked in cases when any party to this treaty has suspicions regarding the citizen of another one. And this was never done.

So what we suggested to them in November 2015, that we also don’t want to see our citizens violating law and using cyberspace for staging all kinds of crimes. So we would be the last one to try to look aside from them. We want them to be investigated and to be disciplined. But since the United States continued to avoid invoking this treaty on legal assistance, we suggested to have a meeting between the Justice Department and the Russian prosecutor-general, specifically at the expert level, on cybercrime. To establish confidential, expert, professional dialogue to exchange information.

They never replied; when we reminded them that there was a request, they orally told us that they were not interested, but in December 2016, more than one year after our request was tabled, they said, “Okay, why don’t we meet?” But this came from Obama administration experts, when they already were on their way out, some technical meeting took place, it was not of any substance but at least they responded to the need to do something about cyberspace.

And of course on cybercrimes the discussions in the United Nations are very telling. When we are leading the debate on negotiating an instrument which would be universal and which would be mandatory for everybody, the U.S. is not really very much eager, and is not very enthusiastic.

Speaking of meddling with others’ matters, there is no proof that Russia was in any way involved either in the United States, or in Germany, or in France, or in the United Kingdom – by the way, I read yesterday that the Swedish prime minister is becoming nervous that they also have elections very soon and that Russia would 100 percent be involved in them. Childish, frankly speaking. You either put some facts on the table or you try to avoid any statements which embarrass you, even if you don’t believe this is the case.

It’s embarrassing to see and to hear what we see and hear in the West, but if you speak of meddling with other countries’ matters, where facts are available—take a look at Iraq. It was a very blunt, illegal intervention, which is now recognized even by Tony Blair, and those who were pathetically saying that they cannot tolerate a dictator in Iraq. Take a look at Libya, which is ruined, and I hope still has a chance to become one piece. Take a look at Syria, take a look at Yemen: this is the result and the examples of what takes place when you intervene and interfere. Yes, I’m sure you can say about Ukraine, you can say about Crimea, but for this you have to really get into the substance of what transpired there.

When the European Union was insisting that President Yanukovych sign an association agreement, including a free-trade zone with zero tariffs on most of the goods and services crossing the border between Ukraine and the European Union, and at that point it was noted that Ukraine already had a free-trade area with Russia, with some different kind of structure, but also with zero tariffs. So if Russia has zero tariffs with Ukraine, Ukraine would have the same with European Union but we have some protection, under the WTO deal with the European Union, so the only thing we said: guys, if you want to do this, we would have to protect our market from the European goods which would certainly go through Ukraine to Russia, trying to use the zero-tariff arrangement. And the only thing suggested, and Yanukovych supported, is to sit down the three—Ukraine, EU and Russia—and to see how this could be handled. Absolutely pragmatic and practical thing. You know what the European Union said? “None of your business.”

Then-President of the European Commission Mr. Jose Manuel Barrosso (my favorite) stated publicly that we don’t meddle with Russia’s trade with China, so don’t meddle with our deal with Ukraine. While the situation is really very different and the free-trade area argument was absolutely ignored. And then Mr. Yanukovych asked for the signature of this deal to be postponed, for him to understand better what will be the consequences—for his industry, for his finances, for his agriculture—if we would have to protect ourselves from potential flow of cheap goods from Europe. That’s so, and then the coup was staged, in spite of the fact that there was a deal between Yanukovych and the opposition, witnessed by Germany, France and Poland.

Next morning, this deal was torn apart under the pretext that Yanukovych disappeared, and therefore all commitments were off. The problem is that he did not leave the country, he was in another city of the country. But my main point is that the deal which they signed with him was not about him; it was about his agreement to go to early elections – and he would have lost these elections – but the deal started by saying, “We agree to create a government of national unity.”

And next morning, when they just tore apart this deal, Mr. Arseniy Yatsenyuk then a leader in Ukraine’s Batkivshchyna party and others who signed the deal with the President, they went to this Maidan, to the protestors, and said, “Congratulations, we just created the government of the winners.” Feel the difference: “government of national unity” and “government of the winners”. Two days later, this parliament, which immediately changed their position, announced that the Russian language is no longer welcome.

A few days later, the so called the Right Sector, the group which was an instrument in the violence in Maidan—they said that Russians have nothing to do in Crimea, because Russians would never honor the heroes of Ukraine, like Bandera and Shukhevych, who were collaborating with Nazis. These kinds of statements led to the people in the east of Ukraine just to say: “guys, you did something unconstitutional, and we don’t believe this is good for us”, so leave us alone, let us understand what is going on in Kiev, but we don’t want any of your new ideas to be imposed on us. We want to use our language, we want to celebrate our holidays, to honor our heroes: these eastern republics never attacked anyone. The government announced the antiterrorist campaign in the east, and they moved the regular army and the so-called voluntary battalions in the east of Ukraine. This is not mentioned by anyone. They are called terrorists—well, they never attacked a person.

And investigations of what actually happened on that day of the coup is going nowhere, the investigation of the murder in Odessa on the second of May, 2014, when dozens of people were burned alive in a trade-union office building, is moving nowhere. Investigation of political murders of journalists and opposition politicians is not moving anywhere. And they basically passed amnesty for all those who were on the part of the opposition during the coup. And they prosecute all those who were on the part of the government.

But even now they want to prosecute Yanukovych in absentia, but one interesting thing maybe for your readers to compare: there was a deal on the twenty-first of February, next morning they said, Yanukovych is not in Kiev, so our conscience is clean and we do what we please, in spite of the commitment to national unity. About the same time there was a coup in Yemen. President Hadi fled to Saudi Arabia. Not to some other city in Yemen, but he fled abroad.

More than two years passed, and the entire progressive international community, led by our Western friends, insists that he must be brought back to Yemen and that the deal which he signed with the opposition must be honored by the opposition. My question is why Ukraine’s situation is treated differently from the situation in Yemen. Is Yemen a more important country? Is the deals which you sign and the need to respect your word and your deals, is more sacred in Yemen than in Ukraine? No answer.

Sorry for getting into all these details, but people tend to forget, because they’re being brainwashed every day with very simple phrases like “Russia is aggressor in Ukraine,” “annexation of Crimea” and so on and so forth, instead of laboring your tongues, people should go there. Those who go to Crimea, see for themselves how the people live there, and they understand that all these hysterical voices about violation of human rights, about discrimination vis-à-vis Crimean Tatars, is a lie.

Question: Maybe coming back, just for a moment, to the U.S. election, and setting aside the question of evidence, because your government has its perspective, the U.S. intelligence community has its perspective—I don’t think those differences are likely to be reconciled. Setting that question aside, many Americans believe that Russia did interfere in the election; it’s contributed to a particular political climate in the United States. Do you view that as an obstacle to the U.S.-Russia relationship, and do you believe there is anything that Russia can or should do to try to address these widespread concerns?

Sergey Lavrov: You said a very interesting thing. You used the word “perspective.” You said, “Russia has its own perspective; the American intelligence community has its own perspective.” Perspective is something which many people have. We speak about facts, about proofs. And with all these perspectives, these hearings which sometimes are shown on CNN, on Russian TV, I haven’t heard any, any proof. Except the confirmation that the FBI and the NSA started watching what the Trump team is doing sometime in July. I heard this recently.

And I take this as acceptance by those who were doing this, for whatever reason, and they clearly said that this was not because of the suspicion that he had something to do with Russia but this was a routine process during which they find a trace leading to the Trump headquarters. Fine, this is a fact: they admitted that they started this. So what? If by admitting this they make their perspective regarding Russia a fact, I cannot buy this.

And then you said, they have their own perspective, and that the American people believe Russia had something to do with the American elections. Categories like perspective and belief are not very specific. And we speak about some very serious accusations. I understand that in the West, people who indeed profess Russophobic feelings, and unfortunately they are—they used to be very powerful, they are still very powerful even when they lost the elections: and Russophobic trends are obviously seen even in the Republican camp. You know, it’s very easy to find some external threat and then to put all the blame on this particular external threat.

When in 2014 the Malaysian plane was shot down over Ukraine, two days later I think, in the UN Security Council, when we insisted on adopting a resolution demanding further investigation, the American officials said yes, we believe investigation must be held, but we already know the result.

What about the presumption of innocence? The same happened on Litvinenko, the poor guy who was poisoned in London, when from the very beginning they said, we will have an investigation but we know who did it, and they never made this trial public. And they never accepted the offer of assistance which we were ready to provide. And so on and so forth.

Now, yesterday, this terrible murder of the Russian and Ukrainian citizen, who used to be an MP in Russia, and did not stay in the current parliament, and President Poroshenko two hours after the guy was murdered says that this was a terrorist attack from Russia—who also blew up the munition depot near Kharkov. It was said a few hours later by the president of a democratic country, whom our American and european friends call a beacon of democracy. I thought democracy was about establishing facts when you have suspicions.

And democracy is about division of power, and if the the chief executive takes upon himself the functions of the legal system, of the judicial system, that does not fit with my understanding of how Western democracy works. We’re ready to discuss anything, any facts, I mean. We’re ready to assist in investigations of whatever issues our partners anywhere might have. Whether this is going to be an obstacle to normal relations, I don’t think so. I believe the Russian people, at least if we are asked, I would say no, if it depends on us. I understand that there are some people in the United States who want this to become an obstacle, and who want to tie up the team of President Trump on the Russian issue, and I believe this is very mean policy, but we see that this is taking place.

What Russia can do to help? Unfortunately, not much. We cannot accept the situation, but some absolutely artificial hysterical situation was created by those who severed all of the relationship—who dropped the deal on the Bilateral Presidential Commission between Moscow and Washington with some twenty-plus working groups, a very elaborate mechanism of cooperation—and then after they have done this, after they prevent the new administration from doing away with this absolute stupid situation, to ask us to do something? I don’t think it’s fair.

We said what we did, that we are ready to work with any administration, any president who would be elected by the American people. This was our line throughout the electoral campaign, unlike the acting leaders of most European countries who were saying absolutely biased things, supporting one candidate, unlike those who even bluntly warned against the choice in favor of the Republican candidat, and this somehow is considered normal. But I leave this on the conscience of those who said this and then immediately chickened out and then started praising the wisdom of the U.S. electorate.

We said that we would be ready to come back to the relationship and to develop the relationship with the United States to the extent, and to the depths, to which the administration is ready to go. Whatever is comfortable for our partners, we will support and provide it. We talk on the basis of mutual respect and equality, trying to understand the legitimate interest of each other and to see whether we can find the balance between those interests. We will be ready to cover our part of the way, as President Putin said, but we will not be making any unilateral steps. We offered cooperation on very fair terms, and we will judge by the deeds of course.

Question: Perhaps we can pivot to international affairs. In the United States there’s been discussion of a new Cold War; you, for your part, recently talked about a post-West international order, which as you may imagine is not something that many in the United States and other Western countries would readily embrace. In fact, some may even be strongly inclined to resist the emergence of a post-West order. What do you think a post-West order is, and do you think that it makes confrontation between Russia and the United States, or Russia and the West, inevitable?

Sergey Lavrov: Well first, I don’t believe that we are having another Cold War. Ideologically, we’re not different, we’re not apart. Yes, there are nuances in how the countries in the West and Russia and its neighbors are run. But all in all the basis is democracy, which is elections, basically, and organizing the system, the way you respect the opposition  and it’s also market economy. Again with «give and take» you know in some countries the state is much more involved in economy than in others but this happened in France some time ago, in the UK some time ago, so this is all secondary details, I would say. There’s no ideological differences as far as democratic principles and market economy are concerned. Second, these days, unlike the days of the Cold War, we have much clearer common threats, like terrorism, like chaos in the Middle East, like the threat of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. This was never the case during the Cold War days, which was a very negative balance with sporadic conflicts in periphery. This time we have global universal threats, not sparing anyone and this is what we witness almost daily, with these terrorist attacks in the Middle East and Europe, there was one in the United States, and so on and so forth.

So this absolutely makes it necessary to reassess where we are and what kind of cooperative structure we need. Post-West system, post-West order: I mentioned this term in Munich at the Munich Security Conference, and I was really surprised that people immediately made me the author, the coiner of this term, because the title of the conference contained “post-West order”—with a question mark, yes. I put the question mark aside for one very simple reason: if we all agree that we cannot defeat terrorism, organized crime, drug trafficking, climate change without a universal coalition, if we all agree that this is the case, and I believe we do, then it would certainly be necessary to recognize that the world is different, compared to the many centuries than when the West was leading with culture, philosophy, military might, economic systems, and so on and so forth.

We all have, China, the whole Asia-Pacific region, which President Obama, by the way, said is the place where the U.S. would be shifting, which in itself means that he was not thinking of the West order but post-West order. And, of course, Latin Athe merica, Africa, which is hugely underdeveloped but has the potential with resources and labor, young and vigorous, still untapped. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson just a few days ago in Washington convened a coalition to fight terrorism—sixty-eight countries if I am not wrong, double the number of the countries in the West. This meeting was post-West order, or a manifestation of post-West order. So I don’t believe the Western countries should be really offended or should feel that their contribution to the world civilization has been underestimated—not at all. It’s just the time when no one can do it alone, and that’s how we feel. It’s a polycentric world. Call it multipolar, call it polycentric, call it more democratic—but this is happening. And economic might, financial might and the political influence associated with all this, they’re much more evenly spread.

Question: Let’s zero in on Syria. You mentioned the terrorism issue and certainly the struggle with ISIS is an important focus for the U.S., for Russia. There has been, as I’m sure you’re aware, some skepticism in the United States about Russia’s role in Syria. President Donald Trump, when he was a presidential candidate, certainly referred many times to a desire to work with Russia in Syria. How do you envision the opportunities and constraints on the U.S. and Russia in working together in Syria, and do you have any specific new ideas about how to do that?

Sergey Lavrov: First, when this coalition was created by the Barack Obama administration (the coalition which was convened in Washington just a few days ago) it was understood that out of sixty-some countries only a few would be actually flying air force and hitting the ground. Others were mostly political and moral support, if you wish, solidarity show—which is fine, it’s important these days as well to mobilize the public opinion in as many countries as you can. We were not invited. The Iranians were not invited. Some others were not invited, who I believe should be important partners in this endeavor. But this was motivated by some ideological considerations on the part of the Barack Obama administration. I just don’t want to go into the reason for why they assembled this particular bunch of people.

But what I can attest to is that one year into the creation of this coalition, it was very sporadically using the air force to hit some ISIL positions. They never touched the caravans who were smuggling oil from Syria to Turkey and, in general, they were not really very active. This changed after we responded to the request of President Assad, who represents, by the way, a legitimate government –member of the United Nations. After we joined, President Vladimir Putin and President Barack Obama spoke in New York in September 2015, and President Putin clearly told him that we would be doing this and we were ready to coordinate, and they agreed to have these deconfliction discussions, which did not start soon actually, not through our fault. But when we started working there the U.S.-led coalition became much more active. I don’t want to analyze the reason for this. I’m just saying before we moved there with our air force, the U.S. coalition was very rarely hitting ISIL positions and almost never hitting the positions of Jabhat al-Nusra, which many people believe has been spared just in case at some point they might be needed to topple the regime. And this feeling, this suspicion, is still very much alive these days, when Jabhat al-Nusra already twice changed its name, but it never changed its sponsors who continue to pump money and whatever is necessary for fighting into this structure. And people know this. So when we moved there, at the request of the government, we suggested to the U.S. to coordinate our efforts. They said, “No, we can only go for deconfliction,” and deconfliction procedures were developed and are being applied quite well, but we believed it was a shame that we couldn’t go further, and coordinate targets and what have you. And then my friend, John Kerry, who was very sincere in his desire to overcome the ideological—not ideological, but to overcome some artificial barriers, and to indeed start military coordination—we spent almost from February 2016 to September 2016 when, eventually, we had a deal to separate the armed groups, with whom the U.S. and the allies cooperate, from ISIL and Jabhat al-Nusra, and then to coordinate the targets and basically to strike only those targets which would be acceptable to both Russians and the Americans. Quite a few people really understood the quality of this deal.

I put myself in the shoes of those who were criticizing us for hitting wrong targets. You remember, there was so much criticism. So the deal we reached with Kerry, when none of us could strike unless the other supports, was solving this problem. And the fact that the Pentagon just disavowed what Kerry did, and Obama could not overrule the Pentagon, meant for me only one thing: that he, the president of the United States, Barack Obama, was motivated by the desire to have some revenge on Russia, for whatever reason and for whatever situation, rather than to capitalize over the deal reached between John Kerry and us, to make the war against terror much more efficient in Syria. But let God judge him.

Now, whether we have an opportunity to resume the cooperation: yes we do. Yes, President Donald Trump said that fighting terrorism is his number one international goal, and I believe this is absolutely natural. We will be sharing this approach, I am sure, and it’s also, in this sense, coming back to our first question which we discussed, about intervention in other parts of the world, terrorism is a universal threat. So when you interfere to fight terrorist manifestations, it’s in the interest of your country. It’s another matter that you have to be faithful to international law. And the coalition, of course, led by the United States, was never invited to Syria. We were, Iran was, Hezbollah was. Still, the Syrian government, while complaining that the coalition were there uninvited, they said, “If and since you’re going to coordinate with Russians, with those who fight ISIL and Nusra, we take it as this is what you want, to defeat terrorism, not to do anything else in Syria.” So deconfliction procedures continue to be applied.

You might have heard that the chief of general staff of the Russian Army, General Gerasimov, met with General Dunford.

Question: Twice, I understand.

Sergey Lavrov: Twice, at least, and they talked over the phone. And this is something the military discussed. I assume that if their discussions go beyond deconfliction, I don’t want to speculate, this would be a welcome sign that we can really do what is necessary to bring about the situation when everyone who confronts ISIL and Nusra on the ground acts in coordination. If not under the united command—this, I think is unachievable—but in a coordinated manner.

The Turks have troops on the ground. Iran, Hezbollah are invited by the government. Russian air force with some ground special military police helping keep law and order in the Sunni quarters of Aleppo and Damascus, the military police from Russia is largely composed of Russian Sunnis from the northern Caucasus—Chechens, Ingush and others.

The U.S. Air Force and the coalition air force; U.S. special forces on the ground. Apparently there are French and U.K. special forces on the ground. The military groups who are part of the so-called Free Syrian Army, the military armed groups who are part of the Kurdish detachments—there are so many players: I listed all those who declare that ISIL and Nusra are their enemies. So some harmonization is certainly in order, and we are very much open to it.

When the United States dropped from the deal, which we negotiated with John Kerry, we shifted to look for some other opportunities and we had the deal with Turkey later—which was later supported by Iran—which brought about some kind of cessation of hostilities between the government and a group of armed opposition. And we created, in Astana, a parallel track supportive of the Geneva negotiations concentrating on mechanisms to monitor the cessation of hostilities, to respond to violations, also to build up confidence by exchanging prisoners, and so on and so forth.

It is not welcome by quite a number of external players who try to provoke and encourage the radicals, radical armed groups in Syria, to make trouble and to stage some terrorist attacks. They launched a huge offensive now in the northern part of the Hama province, and they basically coordinate with Jabhat al-Nusra, under its new name. So it’s also a game for influence in Syria, unfortunately, which prevails in the minds of the people who promote such an approach, rather than the need to get united to fight terrorism, and then to have a political deal. It’s the fight for influence on the battleground, and this is unfortunate. We don’t need this now. What we need is to strengthen the cessation of hostilities and to support strongly the political process in Geneva, concentrated on the new constitution, which would be accompanied by a division of power between the government, the opposition, all ethnic groups, then elections and so on and so forth. But all this would be absolutely meaningless if people sacrifice the fight against terror for the sake of their goal, their obsession, with regime change.

Question: In Iran, the Trump administration seems to have signaled an intent to try to enforce the Iran nuclear deal, the JCPOA, more strictly, perhaps to be more assertive in challenging Iran’s regional role. And I’d be curious about your reaction to that and the degree to which Russia could work with, or not work with, the United States on either of those things. Then there is Ukraine. Clearly a very complex problem, the Minsk Process I think to many outside observers really seems to have stalled. Is that process dead? Is there any way to move forward?

Sergey Lavrov: On Iran, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action was a product of collective work—it’s a compromise. But the key things were never compromised. It’s a compromise which allows for all of us, with the help of the International Atomic Energy Agency, to be sure that Iran’s nuclear program is going to be peaceful, that all the elements which cause suspicion would be removed, and handled in a way which gives us all certainty and gives us control over the implementation of those arrangements.

I don’t think that the Trump administration is thinking in the same terms as the slogans during the campaign, that Iran is the number one terrorist state; we don’t have a single fact to substantiate this claim. At least when we were facing a huge terrorist threat, when we were under terrorist attack in the 1990s in the northern Caucasus, we detected and discovered dozens and hundreds of foreign terrorist fighters from very close neighborship to Iran, but not from Iran at all. And we know that the political circles in quite a number of countries were really encouraging these terrorist groups to go into the northern Caucasus. Iran had never challenged the sovereignty of the Russian Federation, never used its own links with muslim groups  to provoke radicalism and to create trouble. What we do now with Iran and those that cooperate with us and the Syrian army is fighting terrorists in Syria. Iran is a powerful player on the ground, legitimately invited by the government. Iran has influence over Lebanese Hezbollah, which is also legitimately on the ground. And if we all want, you know, to topple, to defeat terrorists in Syria, there should be some coordination. I have already touched upon this.

The IAEA regularly reports on this Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action implementation. The latest report once again confirmed that there are no violations of the part of Iran, and that the deal is being implemented in line with the commitments of Tehran and all others. It’s another matter that the steps which were promised in return to the implementation, namely sanctions relief, are not being undertaken by all Western participants as fast and as fully as was promised. But that’s another matter.

On the Minsk agreements, I believe that the Ukrainian government and President Poroshenko personally want them dead. They want them dead in a way which would allow them to blame Russia and the people in the east of Ukraine. They certainly encountered huge opposition from the radicals, and the radicals believe that this government is weak enough just to wait it out and to have either early elections or to have another Maidan. The biggest mistake of President Poroshenko, I am convinced, was that after he signed this agreement in February 2015 in Minsk, and he came back with the success, with the support of Germany, France, then the Security Council in New York endorsed this deal, and he should have used this moment to impress upon his parliament, upon the opposition, that this was a good deal supported by the European Union, where he wanted to join.

Instead, he started apologizing in front of his opposition when he got back to Kiev saying, you should not think this is serious, I did not commit myself to anything in the legal way—in the legally binding way—this is not what you read. And so on and so forth. He cornered himself in the situation of an absolutely irresponsible politician who signed one thing and who was saying that this is not what he signed one week later when he came back. The opposition felt that this was his weakness and they started carving out of his position anything which was still reasonable. The fact that every day he is in contact with President Vladimir Putin, they talk over the phone sometimes, they talk on the margins of the meetings of the Normandy Format when the leaders have their meetings; the last one was in October in Berlin last year. But my impression is that he tries to be constructive, to find ways to come back to the Minsk implementation. But the next day he comes back to Kiev or goes abroad, and goes public saying things which are absolutely aggressive and are absolutely unfair.

One very simple example: the Minsk agreement, they provide for preparation for elections on the special status of these territories, the status itself is listed in the deal, and the law on this special status is already adopted by the Rada, but it is not in force. Then amnesty, because you don’t want to have a «witch hunt», and the constitutional confirmation that this special status is permanent. That was all. And after this is done, the Ukrainian government restores full control over the entire Russian-Ukrainian border. They are saying now: no elections, no special status, no constitutional change, no amnesty, until we first take control of the border. But everyone can read the Minsk agreement—it’s only three pages. And it says absolutely clearly that the border transfer is the last step, and everyone understood why when this was negotiated. Because if you just under these circumstances, with all these animosities, with all these so-called voluntary battalions, Azov, Donbass and all the radicals, not reigned in by the government—when you just say, okay, take the border and we trust you that will do everything else, these people would just be victims. They will be suffocated and burned alive like the people in Odessa. So the political guarantees are crucial, and Germany, France and others understood this very well, just like the Americans understood this very well, because we did have parallel track—parallel to the Normandy Format—with the U.S. and we are ready to revive it again.

But one very simple example. October 2015, Paris: the Normandy leaders meet. And there is very specific discussion regarding the law on special status. The logic and sequence of the Minsk agreement is that you first have the special status, and then you have elections. Because people would normally want to know what kind of authority those for whom they are going to vote would have. Poroshenko said, no, we first have to have elections. Then I, Poroshenko, would see whether the people elected are to my liking. And if they are, then, we will give them the special status.

Which is rather weird. But still, we decided just to move forward, we would be ready to have some compromise on this thing, in spite of the fact that it was absolutely clearly spelled out in the Minsk agreement. And then the former foreign minister of Germany, who was participating in the meeting, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who is now president of Germany, he said, why don’t we have a compromise formula which would mean that the law on the special status is adopted, but it enters into force on the day of elections temporarily, and it would enter into force, full fledged, on the day when the OSCE reports that elections were free and fair, and in line with democratic OSCE standards?

Everyone says okay. Poroshenko says okay. One year later, in October 2016 in Berlin, the same group of people, the leaders with the ministers. And President Putin is saying the formula of Steinmeier is still not embodied in any papers, in the Contact group process, because the Ukrainian government refuses to put in on paper. Poroshenko said, well, but it is not what we agreed, and so on and so forth. And then Putin said, well this is Mr. Steinmeier, ask him about his formula, and he reiterated this formula: temporary entry into force on the day of elections, full entry into force on the day the OSCE confirms they were free and fair. Merkel said the same, Hollande said the same, that this was absolutely what we agreed.

And then Poroshenko said, okay, let’s do it. October 2016 is almost half a year ago. And we are still not able, because of the Ukrainian government opposition in the contact group, to fix this deal on paper. So I can go for a long time on this one, but I am sure that those people who are interested can go and who follow the developments in Ukraine, they understand why we are not at the point of Minsk implementation.

The Ukrainian government wants to provoke the other side to blink first and to say, enough is enough, we drop from the Minsk deal. That’s why the economic blockade, that’s why the prohibition for the banks to serve the population in the east. By the way, in the Minsk agreements, two years ago we discussed the difficulties in banking services for this part of Ukraine and Germany and France committed themselves to organizing mobile banking, and they failed because they could never get cooperation from the Ukrainian authorities.

Well, I leave it to your readers to study what is going on, what is happening in Ukraine, Syria and elsewhere.

Related

World SITREP Heads and Tails

March 27, 2017
World SITREP Heads and Tails

Pentagon has finally discovered a “link between Russia and Libyan commander Haftar”

Marine General Thomas Waldhauser, the head of U.S. forces in Africa told reporters on Friday March 24 that there was an “undeniable” link between Russia and powerful Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar, underscoring U.S. concerns about Moscow’s deepening role in Libya.” as Reuters reported.

General Khalifa Haftar, commander in the Libyan National Army (LNA), visit to Moscow was announced last summer and he visited Moscow in November 2016,. His meeting with Sergey Lavrov took place on November 29, 2016

The information about the meeting between Lavrov and General Khalifa Haftar was posted the same day on the Ministry of the Foreign Affairs website.

The Pentagon’s presentation of this fact four months later as some kind of deeply classified Intel just discovered by their Intelligence services just to show you what kind of complete and utter morons work for the US military and intelligence.

That’s however, doesn’t mitigate an interference of the US into the relations of Russia with other countries.

It’s none of your business, Pentagon!

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A district court in Moscow threw out a civil complaint filed by Yuri Kanner, the head of the Jewish congress in Russia, and the vice president of the World Jewish congress (WJC). The complaint was filed against  Maksim Shevchenko, an opposition journalist and a member of the Council for Human Rights for the President of the Russian Federation.  A year ago Shevchenko published an article that criticized the policies of the state of Israel against occupied Palestine.

What makes this court decision truly remarkable is that the Jewish World Congress alleged his article to be an example of “anti-Zionist speech,” instead of traditionally used by them term “anti-Semitic speech.”

The court’s decision has underscore the fact that freedom of speech protects people as individuals, not political organizations and their geo-political concepts.

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An aftermath of Balaklaya arsenal explosion

The Balakleya lost one civilian killed, two wounded. And according to Vice Premier Zubko:

“We identified five destroyed private houses. Damages of different degrees were identified for 243 building, including 117 apartment buildings, 87 private houses, 12 social facilities, 22 facilities and industry. Assessment of volume of damage and destruction of these buildings is still underway”

90 servicemen were on duty at this military facility at any given time. Not a word a word about them from the government of Ukraine.

An unofficial  search was conducted across the local hospitals. No one reported any injured people arriving from this area. It looks like those 90 troops just vanished into thin air, literally or figuratively.

According to the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Center:

NATO troops are moving into the area around Kharkov.

NATO envoys arrive in Balaklia to assist in humanitarian demining NATO representatives are arriving in the town of Balaklia, Ukraine, to conduct demining operations in the area where a large-scale fire engulfed a military munitions depot on March 23, head of the Kharkiv regional state administration Yulia Svetlichna said on air of 112 Ukraine TV channel.

 “I can say that NATO envoys are already arriving to carry out demining the military munitions depot, at the request of the president,” Svetlichna said.

She also noted that the city’s electricity supply would be resumed on Sunday, while gas services would be renewed before next Thursday. Svetlichna emphasized that the residents had already been provided with humanitarian aid. She also reported on the preparation of applications for financial assistance from the Cabinet of Ministers to carrying out restoration work. Read also Almost 20,000 residents evacuated due to blasts at Kharkiv region military depot As UNIAN reported earlier, overnight Thursday, March 23, a fire broke out at Ukraine’s largest munitions depot in Balaklia, Kharkiv region. Mass detonations led to an evacuation of nearly 20,000 residents of nearby settlements. There were no casualties among the military, but one civilian woman was killed and several others were injured. Poroshenko said on March 23 that he instructed the Foreign Ministry, the Defense Ministry and the State Emergency Service “to attract NATO assistance for humanitarian demining in Balaklia.” On March 24, Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze said that the United States and Slovakia had already expressed their readiness to assist Ukraine in demining the military arsenal in Balaklia in the framework of cooperation with the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Center.”

 

Also, there are reports of NATO troops moving to take over Ukrainian nuclear stations.

This is a full-fledged overt NATO invasion of Ukrainian territory.

Now, we can safely suggest that it was NATO behind the organization and execution of this explosion at Balakleya in the middle of Donbass. Most likely, they will proceed with consolidating their army against the Donetsk and Lugansk republics.

By taking over the nuclear power stations with 15 nuclear reactors, NATO gets a tool to start blackmailing Russian government with the threats of nuclear explosions.

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Who makes claims for Daesh?

This question was asked by a blogger I closely follow, Cat (Matvey) Motja, after the attack on the military base in Chechnya left six servicemen dead and three wounded.  So, I decided to look into who or what was the initial source for this information.

After a bit of research, I came to a conclusion that an initial source of this claim was the SITE Intelligence Group.

It was their website  that has announced that it was ISIS, and not some kind of CIA special ops or Mossad, that organized and executed this attack on the territory of Russia and by the hands of the Russian citizens.

IS Claims 6-Man Suicide Raid on Russian National Guard Base in Chechnya http://tinyurl.com/m3mqh8d 

.@siteintelgroup Where did you get this image? Can you give us the url for this source? @katMotja pic.twitter.com/QqQGrS3UhR

View image on Twitter
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Last night, the Kulak had dropped me this link to an FP article about a new TV show recently broadcasted in Russia titled “Adaptation.” The FP recommends us to watch this show, which means that this shows is yet another Russophobic anti-cultural project financed by Gazprom.

The Kulak: “Reminds me of that old Russian joke from the 1980s Cold War: the CIA dispatched an elite operative whose Russian was perfect to infiltrate the country. When he parachutes in with his secret radio into eastern Siberia, a babushka captures him with the help of some local militsiya. As the CIA agent is led away to be flown to KGB headquarters the dejected agent asks ‘How did you spot me as an American spy?’ and the babushka ‘ Oh, dear, we don’t get many blacks in our region.’” It’s worth noting that the gas behemoth’s media arm, Gazprom Media, owns the TNT network.”

Gazprom Media also owns Echo of Moscow, one of the most liberal and anti-Putin and pro-Washington and pro Israel news opinions dump.

The question is, who owns Gazprom Media?

The Foreign Policy article quotes Alexey Kovalev, “a Russian journalist and founder of Noodleremover, a Russian site that monitors the media”

Just a reminder that he dedicates himself attacking RT, TASS and Sputnik News for  what he calls “Russian propaganda for the West.”

Another FP sentiments, which is exactly why they posted this article: “is that sanctions have put several oil and gas exploration and drilling projects on hold, such as a huge Arctic gas plan with ExxonMobil.”

This should explain to you why a Russophobic show that depicts “drunk Russians working for Gazprom” is made and why it’s being promoted by the FP.tru to get a Pro-Russian TV show to be promote by the FP.

To create a fake reality and to demonstrate that Russia cannot function under sanctions and without the US technologies.

In reality

In 2017 Russia LNG export from Yamal will increase by 12% to 11.2 million tons.

Photo gallery of  Russian Arctic gas exploration capital  Sabeta, Yamal

They went on without ExxonMobil, with mostly Russian made equipment

People living in Norilsk said that the show hurts their patriotic sentiments and that Yamal was much better than it was depicted in this show.
They even started a twitter hashtag #Yamalisbetterthaninthemovie #ЯмалЛучшеЧемВКино

In the US the entertainment industry depicts the US as ‘shining city upon a hill” above everyone else, disregarding the reality of how dilapidated and crumbling it really is.

In Russia, it’s a complete opposite. People employed by an entertainment industry try to instill gloom and doom upon the country that is growing, building, inventing, investing in its economy and has the best prospects for the future than anyone else in the world now.

Infrastructure of Yamal, a hometown for the liquefied natural gas project located deep in the Russian Arctic

View image on Twitter

infrastructure of Yamal, a hometown for the liquefied natural gas project located deep in the Russian Arctic http://sdelano-u-nas.livejournal.com/10833047.html 

The most colorful town in Russia – Anadyr, a capital of Chukotka

View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter

The most colorful town in Russia – Anadyr, a capital of Chukotka
https://sdelanounas.ru/blogs/84892/ 

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Kadyrov awards the servicemen of the Russian military police who have recently returned from Syria

Kadyrov awards the Chechen military police who have recently returned from Syria

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March 26th demonstrations in Russia

Red Jackets provocateurs

A professional provocateur “glued” himself to the road

 

Videos with the similar type of actions were also taken during the March 25th demonstration in Minsk.

In Belarus, these people were coming for the demonstration with arsenals of weapon and bottles of Molotov cocktail.

What kind of future do you think this arsenal owners would bring to Belarus?

On March 23rd, the Police searched a car that belonged to Sergey Kuntsevich, 32yo Minsk resident, and discovered bottles filled with flammable fluids.

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MOD video: Performance by Russian Knights at the Lima’17 International Expo

 

Cadets of the Ryazan Higher Airborne twice Red Banner Order of Suvorov Command School named after V.F. Margelov take horse-riding lessons

Known also as the Ryazan Airborne Senior Command School of the General of the Army Vasily Margelov

The Ryazan Higher Airborne Command School is one of Russia’s oldest military academies, having been established in 1918. The academy serves since 1941 as the premier staff college and advanced training center of the Russian Airborne Troops, named first in honor of the Komsomol and at present after one of the greatest commanders of the Airborne Troops, Vasily Margelov, who was instrumental in the modernization and capability upgrades done to the service in the 1950s, as well as for its full independence as a separate arm directly responsible to the Defense Ministry.

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Paris – the situation is very tense between the forces if law enforcement and 200 protesters

Paris – Tensions devant le commissariat du 19eme suite au décès d’un homme lors d’une intervention policière hier soir. pic.twitter.com/u6y9rlldr5

Paris – Situation tres tendue entre les forces de l’ordre devant le commissariat et 200 manifestants. pic.twitter.com/jchyTjuA8Z

Kuwait News Agency: France strongly concerned over Russian repression of demonstrations

“PARIS, March 27 (KUNA)– The French Foreign Ministry on Monday said that France was “deeply concerned” by the Russian break-up of an anti-corruption rally in Moscow.”

 

===============

Scott Humor

Director of Research and Development

author of The enemy of the State

Follow me on twitter

Could the fire at the Europe’s largest munitions depot be Ben Hodges’s fault?

March 25, 2017

Could the fire at the Europe’s largest munitions depot be Ben Hodges’s fault?

After hitting rock bottom will Ukraine begin to rise again? Hitting a rock bottom can be very educational, as I found out this week. After I dropped a piece of chocolate into a tin can with sweetened condensed milk, I decided that one cannot exist on sugar alone and bought a bottle of wine, to add an item of nutritional value to my diet. What else should I consume to keep up with the superhuman energy of our Ukrainian none-brothers?

For starters, a devastating fire at the 65th rocket and artillery arsenal died out on March 24th. Kiev authorities and the state controlled Ukrainian news agencies proclaimed the fire to be “extinguished,” which is their way to tell the world that the depot has burned out of its own.

A Ukrainian Daily News channel posted a video of what’s left of the 65th Arsenal  in Balakleya

 

The same news channel has also posted a video of some Ukraine military activities titled “How the military extinguished the fire with fire fighting tanks”

The video doesn’t show much with an exception of a serviceman transporting an artillery shell on his shoulder and two others assisting him.

 

The following is data posted by the Ukrainian news channel “Ukraine 112

“Military unit A 1352 (65th rocket and artillery arsenal) is deployed in the city of Balakliya. Until recently, it has been considered to be the largest place in Europe where different types of ammunition are stored.

It was established in 1918. Its technical area is 368 hectares. According to the passport, this base is designed for 150 thousand tons of ammunition, currently 125 thousand tons are kept there.

As of 2009, approximately 30% of all artillery shells in Ukraine were stored there. The media reported (with reference to some inner sources) that they store ammunition from small-caliber artillery shells to S-300 anti-aircraft missiles, but many of them were to be subjected to utilization. In 2010, Kharkiv regional state administration reported that the military unit A 1352 in Balakliya was by 20% loaded with ammunition; it was quite risky, so the object has been gradually unloaded.”

 

The last sentence gently guides us to a conclusion that for the past seven years, the load of ammunition was “gradually” “utilized” due to the “risks” of its “storage.”

I am sorry… I am laughing so hard, that I can barely type. God bless the Ukrainian journalists, they have got some ways with words that we have not even started to explore.

The Ukraine 112 channel confirms our common suspicion that the 65th Arsenal has been practically emptied out at the time of the fire. The most obvious reason is that the depot is located just 150 kilometers from Donetsk and was the source of munitions for the war on Donbass.

There are, however, a few other reasons why Ukraine is running out of its weapons, and few other places these weapons are going.

After the separation from the USSR in 1991, Ukraine had the largest military force in the world, after the US and Russia. The largest supply of the Soviet Union weaponry, like tanks, artillery, fighter jets, bombers, fire weapons and ammunition of all kinds, got concentrated on the territory of Ukraine. I personally believe that this was done by the people who divided the USSR with a war between Ukraine and Russia in mind.

Over the past twenty five years Ukraine has been the largest vendor of the Soviet made weapon in the world.

 “In the wake of the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union, Ukraine inherited from the USSR one of the biggest military-industrial complexes, employing over 3 million people at more than 3,000 enterprises across the republic.

Twenty-four years later a mere 140 such enterprises are still at work.” says the news-front’s report, “How Ukraine sells its weapons” due to an ongoing scandal over Ukrainian-made explosives and armor plates seized by Syrian armed forces from Daesh terrorists.

Just recently there were some sightings of the Cyprus-flagged cargo reefer with alleged load of illicit Ukrainian weapons destined for the North Africa.

 

What precipitated this fire, however, was the visit to Ukraine of Lt. Gen.  Ben Hodges, a commander of the U.S. Army in Europe. His visit was announced by the Ukrainian extremist nationalist online outlet maintained by SBU called censor.net. An announcement came just a few hours before the Arsenal went up in flames.

“Hodges visits Ukraine: NATO’s efforts to deter Russian aggression …en.censor.net.ua/…/us_army_europe_commander_hodges_visits_ukraine_asks_ukrain…3 days ago – Frederick Ben Hodges, commander, U.S. Army Europe visited Ukraine’s National Defense”

Another announcement from the same source about a mysterious “international inspection group” from the US that started working on the Ukrainian’s military sites

 

I can’t find any second source confirmation for this visit, with one exception being this video taken on March 23rd by someone in Balaklaya. At 1:30 a person on the video says that the arsenal was expecting some kind of foreign military commission that was supposed to do an inspection of the supplies, and that’s why he believes the depot was blown up.

It could be that this commission was visiting Ukraine in preparation for a full-fledged deployment of the American ground troops to Ukraine.

Over the past three years, the US conducts an ongoing deployment of its military servicemen to Ukraine, with no prove that any of the troops have ever left the country. Some 10,000 US Marines are guarding Poroshenko’s residence and Kiev authorities.

This is just one November 2016 announcement of deployment:

“1 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Oklahoma Army National Guardsmen with 1st Battalion, 179th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT), conduct squad-level lane training Nov. 22, 2016, during their pre-mobilization at Camp Gruber Training Center (CGTC), near Braggs, Oklahoma, in preparation for their deployment to Ukraine. The 179th is the first of two six-month rotations to the Ukraine as part of the Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine, a training mission focused on providing defensive and security training to Ukrainian forces within the U.S. Security Cooperation agreement. (Photo Credit: 1st Lt. Leanna Litsch) VIEW ORIGINAL

 

There are many indications that the US troops are the driving force behind the war on Donbass.

On March 22nd,  addressing the US Congress Curtis Michael “Mike” Scaparrotti, a four-star general in the United States Army, and is the current Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO Allied Command Operations, said

“In terms of lethal support, the Ukrainians are in a very tough fight which you saw. They are very disciplined soldiers, but they are facing what we say are separatists, they are actually Russian proxies in my mind. They are being provided very lethal equipment; the Russians are providing the separatists that.”

 

Following his speech, on the night between March 22nd and 23rd, the munitions depot near Kharkov went up in flames.

On March 23rd, President Poroshenko announced on his twitter that he ordered his power ministers to bring the NATO troops to Ukraine.

Kharkov region has started its descent into hell, with thousands of people evacuating, and the national guards taking over the region and immediately, claiming a need to “fight with marauders” have started the arrests of the locals who  refused to leave their houses.

 

Prime Minister of Ukraine Vladimir Groisman promised seven days of this hell.

A few hours later everything suddenly stopped.

Don’t’ tell me that it’s because of the Friday night and  Sabbath.

There are two things I want you to think about while I am researching further.

First, a radiation level in the region went many times up.  Chief military Prosecutor Anatoly Matios has denied on Friday that Ukraine has any nuclear weapons.

Second, a few hours ago witnesses reported powerful explosions around the Mariupol region, which is south from Kharkov. According to the statement issued by the  “command of an anti-terrorist operation,” explosions were controlled and conducted due to the “scheduled utilization of munitions.”

to be continued

The Secretary General of Macron’s French political party “en Marche” takes aims at The Saker, RT & Sputnik News!!

The Secretary General of Macron’s French political party “en Marche” takes aims at The Saker, RT & Sputnik News!!https://en-marche.fr/contre-tentatives-de-destabilisation-de-campagne-presidentielle/ 

 Scott Humor

Here’s why Ukraine is suing Russia in the International Court of Justice

March 11, 2017

by Alexander Mercouris for The DuranHere’s why Ukraine is suing Russia in the International Court of Justice

Ukraine’s case in the ICJ looks like a device to avoid paying the likely High Court Judgment for payment of the $3 billion debt Ukraine owes Russia

The case Ukraine is bringing in the International Court of Justice is attracting scant international attention and has been almost entirely ignored by Western governments and by the Western media.  Having said this it is an interesting case which begs a number of obvious questions.

Ukraine’s claim is set out in an indictment which apparently runs to 45 pages.  The summary of its claim, which is dated 17th January 2017, can be found here.

Essentially Ukraine is demanding compensation from Russia for the damage it says Russia has done to Ukraine through its aggression in eastern Ukraine and because of the harm Ukraine alleges Russia is doing to the Ukrainian and Tatar minorities in Crimea.

Two questions about this case immediately stand out: (1) its timing; and (2) why does it fail to ask that the International Court of Justice declare that Crimea’s unification with Russia is contrary to international law?

(1) Timing of the Case

The case was brought on 16th January 2017, three years after the Maidan coup, three years after Ukraine and Russia found themselves in conflict with each other, and almost three years after Crimea seceded from Ukraine and united with Russia and eastern Ukraine rose up against the new Maidan government in Kiev.

Why has this case been brought only now?

There is in fact an obvious answer to this question.  In January 2017, when this case was brought, the High Court in London finished hearing Russia’s application for summary Judgment in the case Russia has brought against Ukraine for payment of the $3 billion eurobond debt Ukraine owes Russia.  A decision is expected in April.

Ukraine’s defence in this case is that it does not owe Russia any money because of the amount of the $3 billion debt has been extinguished by the far greater amount Ukraine says Russia owes Ukraine arising from the damage Russia did to Ukraine as a result of its aggression in eastern Ukraine.

I have always said that I believe that the High Court is likely to rule that it has no jurisdiction to hear this defence to the Russian claim.  Way back on 21st April 2015, long before the case was brought, I explained why I thought this defence was unlikely to succeed

The debt is not repayable because Russia has made its repayment impossible by committing military aggression against Ukraine

Russia categorically denies it is committing aggression against Ukraine.

The Russians would undoubtedly argue that the question of whether or not Russia is committing aggression against Ukraine has been answered in their favour by Ukraine’s signature to the Minsk Memorandum. This treats the Ukrainian conflict as a civil war and commits Ukraine to a process for its settlement.

The High Court would anyway almost certainly refuse to look at this question. It would probably again say this a matter for the International Court of Justice. It is anyway doubtful even if Ukraine could persuade the High Court that Russia had committed aggression against Ukraine that this cancels Ukraine’s whole debt.

(bold italics added)

It seems to me that what has happened is that Ukraine’s lawyers have now given Ukraine the same advice.

They must have told Ukraine that Ukraine is likely to lose the case in the High Court because the High Court will almost certainly say it has no jurisdiction to hear Ukraine’s defence since the question of whether Ukraine is entitled to compensation from Russia because of Russia’s alleged aggression against Ukraine is not an issue the High Court in London is able to decide.  The High Court will almost certainly say this is a matter for the International Court of Justice.

Ukraine has therefore brought its claim in the International Court of Justice in order to pre-empt what looks like a Judgment against it in the High Court.

Possibly Ukraine is hoping to persuade the High Court to stay enforcement of its Judgment until after the International Court of Justice has made its decision.  If so then it is unlikely to succeed.  The High Court is most unlikely to order a stay of one of its Judgment for payment of a debt until another court makes a ruling on an entirely different matter.

More likely Ukraine is hoping to persuade the IMF – with which it is currently negotiating for further funding, and whose Board is due to review its lending to Ukraine on 20th March 2017 – to disregard any Judgment the High Court makes which declares Ukraine in default of its debt to Russia on the grounds that the question of whether Ukraine owes money to Russia will not be finally decided until the International Court of Justice makes its decision.

Russia is a member of the exclusive Paris Club of creditors.  The IMF is supposed to stop all lending to Ukraine if the High Court declares Ukraine is in default of its debt to a member of the Paris Club.  Presumably Ukraine is hoping that the IMF, which has already relaxed this rule, will set it aside completely in Ukraine’s favour on the basis that the question of whether Ukraine owes money to Russia will not be finally decided until the International Court of Justice makes its decision.

If this is the argument Ukraine intends to make to the IMF (which I suspect it is) then legally speaking it is desperate.

Even if Ukraine wins its case against Russia in the International Court of Justice, any compensation it is awarded cannot be enforced against Russia through the ordinary courts.  It would be entirely up to Russia to decide whether or not to pay it.  Russia would almost certainly refuse to pay it.

By contrast since the claim Russia is bringing against Ukraine in the High Court is for payment of a eurobond (which is a promissory note) any Judgment Russia obtains against Ukraine can be enforced immediately.

There are therefore no logical or legal grounds for the IMF to say that Ukraine is not in default to Russia if the High Court says it is, simply because Ukraine is bringing a case against Russia in the International Court of Justice.

At this point however a word of caution is in order.  Since the IMF has been lending to Ukraine for essentially political reasons all along, a cynic might say it will accept whatever argument Ukraine makes however legally dubious or threadbare it might be so that it can continue lending to Ukraine irrespective of what it’s own rules say.

All I would say about that is that that may indeed happen but if it does then legally speaking we are in unknown territory, with the Russians quite possibly in that case seeking to enforce their Judgment by taking legal action in the US and European commercial courts to seize Ukraine’s IMF bailout funds.  That would be an extraordinary and unprecedented situation, and I do not know what the eventual outcome or the long term repercussions would be, and I doubt anyone else does either.  However I suspect the long term repercussions would be huge, and I also suspect that there are people within the IMF’s bureaucracy who think the same and who will if only for that reason be counselling against it.

The High Court is expected to decide whether or not to grant Russia’s application for summary Judgment in April.  The stakes could not be higher.  That makes it understandable why Ukraine has brought its case in the International Court of Justice now, however desperate legally speaking that course might be.

(2) Crimea

Putting aside these highly technical (though potentially very important) issues,  the single most striking omission in the case is that though Ukraine repeatedly refers in its claim to Crimea’s unification with Russia as an ‘illegal occupation’, and claims compensation for the alleged ‘discrimination’ and ‘oppression’ by Russia of Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar minorities in Crimea, it does not actually seek a declaration from the International Court that the unification of Crimea with Russia is contrary to international law.

The reason Ukraine has failed to do this is because its lawyers have undoubtedly advised it that if it were to seek such a declaration the International Court of Justice would refuse to grant it.

This is because the International Court of Justice in its Advisory Opinion on Kosovo has previously ruled that a declaration of independence made by the people of a territory declaring themselves independent of a country to which that territory belongs are not acting contrary to international law even if their action is made unilaterally, is backed by the use of force (including outside force), and is contrary to the constitutional arrangements and laws of the country from which they are declaring themselves independent.

The Western powers lobbied the International Court of Justice hard to obtain the Advisory Opinion on Kosovo.  When they obtained it they hailed it as a famous victory.  Since then they have come to regret it bitterly, and since Crimea cited it in its unilateral declaration of independence from Ukraine they have completely stopped talking about it.

The Russians by contrast talk about the Advisory Opinion on Kosovo whenever the subject of the alleged ‘illegality’ of Crimea’s unification with Russia is brought up.  President Putin was the first to do so in the speech he made immediately following Crimea’s unification with Russia on 18th March 2014

As it declared independence and decided to hold a referendum, the Supreme Council of Crimea referred to the United Nations Charter, which speaks of the right of nations to self-determination. Incidentally, I would like to remind you that when Ukraine seceded from the USSR it did exactly the same thing, almost word for word. Ukraine used this right, yet the residents of Crimea are denied it. Why is that?

Moreover, the Crimean authorities referred to the well-known Kosovo precedent – a precedent our western colleagues created with their own hands in a very similar situation, when they agreed that the unilateral separation of Kosovo from Serbia, exactly what Crimea is doing now, was legitimate and did not require any permission from the country’s central authorities. Pursuant to Article 2, Chapter 1 of the United Nations Charter, the UN International Court agreed with this approach and made the following comment in its ruling of July 22, 2010, and I quote: “No general prohibition may be inferred from the practice of the Security Council with regard to declarations of independence,” and “General international law contains no prohibition on declarations of independence.” Crystal clear, as they say.

I do not like to resort to quotes, but in this case, I cannot help it. Here is a quote from another official document: the Written Statement of the United States of America of April 17, 2009, submitted to the same UN International Court in connection with the hearings on Kosovo. Again, I quote: “Declarations of independence may, and often do, violate domestic legislation. However, this does not make them violations of international law.” End of quote. They wrote this, disseminated it all over the world, had everyone agreed and now they are outraged. Over what? The actions of Crimean people completely fit in with these instructions, as it were. For some reason, things that Kosovo Albanians (and we have full respect for them) were permitted to do, Russians, Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars in Crimea are not allowed. Again, one wonders why.

(bold italics added)

By failing to ask the International Court of Justice to declare Crimea’s secession from Ukraine and subsequent union with Russia to be contrary to international law Ukraine appears to be conceding the point.  Though Ukraine and its Western allies will doubtless go on calling Crimea’s secession from Ukraine ‘illegal’, in terms of international law there are actually no grounds to do so.  Ukraine’s conduct of its case in the International Court of Justice effectively admits as much.

As to the eventual outcome of the case, I am not an expert in this field.  I understand the Russians are denying that the International Court of Justice has the jurisdiction to hear the case.   I suspect they are right and that the International Court of Justice will agree with them.

Even if it doesn’t and even if the case goes to a full hearing – which may take years – I doubt Ukraine will be able to prove many of the claims it is making, or that it will achieve much or indeed anything in the end by bringing the case.  The stony silence of Western governments and of the Western media about the case all but says as much.

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