Displaying items by tag: Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed legislation that suspends the country's participation in the Cold War-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty between Moscow and Washington.

The law, which was backed by parliament last month, was published on the government portal for legal information on July 3.

In February, the United States suspended its participation in the 1987 INF Treaty, with Washington and its allies accusing Russia of deploying a missile system that violates the pact.

Russia, which denies the allegation, later followed suit. Moscow accuses the United States of breaking the accord itself, a claim rejected by Washington.

The INF Treaty was the first of its kind to eliminate an entire class of missiles.

It banned the United States and Russia from developing, producing, and deploying ground-launched cruise or ballistic missiles with ranges of between 500 and 5,500 kilometers.

Based on reporting by Reuters and TASS

More at:https://www.rferl.org/a/putin-signs-law-suspending-russia-participation-in-inf-treaty/30035114.html?ltflags=mailer

Pray: That parties to this agreement will return to the negotiating table.
Pray: For a new treaty to be brokered and an end to the production of these and other nuclear missiles.

The U.S. charge d’affaires in Kyiv has condemned Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine after reports of deadly attacks on medical personnel and called on Moscow and the “forces it backs” to end the fighting “immediately.”

“Attacks by Russia-led forces on medical personnel show a complete lack of respect for human life, international standards, and the Minsk agreements," William B. Taylor said on July 2 in a statement on the embassy's Facebook page.

“We call on Russia and the forces it backs to end the fighting immediately, protect civilians and humanitarian personnel, and withdraw armed forces and weapons,” he wrote.

Taylor is the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine who was brought back to serve as charge d’affaires in Kyiv last year.

Ukraine’s Defense Ministry on July 1 said one of its soldiers was killed after Russia-backed separatists opened fire at a medical vehicle in the eastern region of Donetsk.

The ministry said two other servicemen -- a soldier and a military physician -- were injured in the anti-tank-missile attack on July 1. Officials said that the medical specialist died later from wounds at the hospital.

The Defense Ministry said on July 2 that separatist fighters violated a cease-fire 25 times in a 24-hour period, using 120- and 82-millimeter mortars that are banned under the Minsk peace agreements.

The ministry said Ukrainian armed forces had killed three separatists and wounded five others.

Separatists in Donetsk said one of their fighters had been killed and another one wounded by Ukrainian armed forces.

Since April 2014, some 13,000 people have been killed in fighting between Kyiv's forces and the separatists who control parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

Cease-fire deals announced as part of the Minsk accords -- September 2014 and February 2015 pacts aimed at resolving the conflict -- have contributed to a decrease in fighting but have failed to hold.

A new cease-fire agreement was reached on March 8, but both sides have accused each other of repeated violations since then.

On July 1, Ukraine's embassy to Britain posted on Twitter the photos of the nine Ukrainian soldiers it said were killed by "Russia-led forces in occupied Donbas" in June, referring to the areas under separatist control.

With reporting by Interfax for Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

More at: https://www.rferl.org/a/u-s-envoy-demands-russia-forces-it-backs-immediately-end-fighting-in-eastern-ukraine/30033542.html?ltflags=mailer

Pray: For a lasting cease-fire agreement.
Pray: For a long term negotiated resolution to the ongoing conflict.
Pray: That Russia would withdraw its support and involvement with the separatist forces.

Thursday, 25 July 2019 22:47

South Korea: jets fire at Russian aircraft

South Korean F-15 fighter jets, sent to intercept a Russian surveillance plane, fired 360 machine-gun rounds to prevent it from entering the airspace over the disputed Dokdo/Takeshima islands, occupied by South Korea but claimed by Japan. Russia denied violating the airspace, saying two of its bombers carried out a planned drill with China over ‘neutral waters’, and denied any warning shots were fired by South Korean jets. Russian and Chinese bombers and reconnaissance planes have occasionally entered the zone in recent years, but now Japan has confirmed that its military has also deployed fighter jets in response to the Russian incursion. Because it claims sovereignty over the islands, Japan's government said that Russia had violated its airspace. It also said that South Korea's response was extremely regrettable.

Published in Worldwide
Friday, 05 July 2019 09:39

Global: post-G20 foreign bribery unchecked

China, Mexico and Russia are just some of the countries represented at this year’s G20 summit which are failing to enforce their laws and promises against corruption, and in particular foreign bribery. International bribery is one of the many ways in which corruption heavily impacts sustainable development and economic growth. It hinders fair access to markets as well as progress on today’s most pressing issues like education, healthcare, gender equality and the climate crisis. To make economic development work for all, anti-corruption should be mainstreamed into every decision and policy. G20 governments must enable clean contracting provisions, publish open registers of beneficial owners of companies, and create strong whistle-blower protection. G20 leaders must focus on implementing their commitments and not feel tempted just to keep making more promises.

Published in Worldwide

..Commits To NATO Membership

Ukraine's president said he is ready to negotiate with Russia to end the war in eastern Ukraine, but he also reaffirmed his country’s course toward NATO membership -- a move strongly opposed by Moscow.

Volodymyr Zelenskiy made the comments on June 4 during a visit to Brussels, where he met withtop European Union and NATO officials as part of his first foreign trip as president.

Fighting between government forces and Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine has killed some 13,000 people since April 2014, shortly after Russia seized control of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula.

Cease-fire deals announced as part of the Minsk accords in September 2014 and February 2015 have contributed to a decrease in fighting in the eastern provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk but have failed to hold.

"We are ready to hold negotiations with Russia [and] to implement the Minsk agreements. But first we must be capable to protect ourselves and get stronger economically, politically, and militarily," Zelenskiy said at a joint press conference with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg at the alliance's headquarters.

Zelenskiy also said that Ukraine's "strategic course to achieve full-fledged membership in the EU and NATO" remained unchanged.

Moscow has made explicit its opposition to NATO’s further expansion, especially as regards to Ukraine and Georgia. Tbilisi is also seeking to become a member of the Western military alliance.

Calling Ukraine a "highly valued partner," Stoltenberg expressed NATO's support for the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, saying: "Allies do not, and will not, recognize Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea."

The NATO chief also called on Ukraine to implement reforms on fighting corruption and strengthening the rule of law.

"These reforms are essential to ensure security and prosperity for all Ukrainians and to bring Ukraine closer to NATO," he said.

Zelenskiy is scheduled to attend a session of the NATO-Ukraine Commission later in the day. The commission is the key format for cooperation between Kyiv and NATO.

A comedian-actor with no political experience, Zelenskiy was inaugurated on May 20 after defeating incumbent Petro Poroshenko by a large margin.

In addition to the conflict in the east and Russia's occupation of Crimea, Ukraine faces entrenched corruption and major economic hurdles.

With reporting by Reuters, TASS, Interfax, and Rikard Jozwiak in Brussels

More at: https://www.rferl.org/a/ukraine-s-president-says-he-s-open-to-peace-talks-with-russia-commits-to-nato-membership/29981348.html

Pray: For peace and stability to be restored in this region.
Pray: For wisdom, strength and statesmanship for President Zelenskiy despite his lack of experience.
Pray: For an end to the aggression and threats being made directly and indirectly by Russia.
Pray: That efforts to tackle corruption in the Ukraine will succeed.

Thursday, 13 June 2019 21:24

Russian journalist falsely accused

Moscow police had detained Ivan Golunov, an anti-corruption journalist, for alleged drug offences. However, they had to drop charges against him after his arrest caused displays of support from other Russian journalists and cultural figures, 25,000 people expressing their disgust on Facebook, and a threatened protest march. Police involved in the case were removed from duty pending investigations, and President Vladimir Putin will be asked to dismiss more senior personnel. The Kremlin admitted that ‘mistakes had possibly been made’. Forensic tests did not detect Ivan’s fingerprints on the drugs purportedly seized from his home, neither was there any trace of drugs in his urine or on his fingers. Photographs supposedly showing a drug lab at his flat were later deleted after a policeman admitted they were taken at a different location and bore no relation to the journalist. Human rights groups said police in Russia often plant drugs on suspects.

Published in Europe
Friday, 31 May 2019 07:05

Syria: Another wave of conflict

Over 40 civilians killed on 28 May were the latest casualties from barrel bomb bombardments in northwest Syria that have damaged schools and hospitals. Families are dying from government fire on towns in Idlib and the Aleppo countryside which is under the control of jihadi group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham. The region is supposed to be protected from government offensives by a buffer zone deal, but the area has come under increasing bombardment by the regime and Russia since late April. 260+ civilians have been killed in the spike in violence since then. The UN said that over 200,000 civilians have already been displaced by the recent upsurge of violence and an all-out offensive on the region would lead to a humanitarian catastrophe for its nearly 3 million residents. Over 20 health facilities have been hit by the escalation. Nineteen remain out of service.

Published in Worldwide
Thursday, 23 May 2019 21:55

Austria: Russian video scandal

On 18 May Austria's vice-chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache resigned after German media published a video that purportedly showed him offering government contracts to a woman posing as the niece of a Russian oligarch, in exchange for media coverage and political funding. The scandal drove Austria’s Chancellor Sebastian Kurz to call for snap elections instead of trying to revive his weakened coalition government. ‘Enough is enough,’ Kurz told reporters, while Strache, who leads Austria's far-right Freedom Party, described the incident as a ‘targeted political assassination.’ The video was reportedly just months before Austria's last election, where Strache's party received 26% of the vote and 51 seats. In the wake of the video, Kurz said the abuse of power, taxes and interference in media affairs were among his concerns. Strache vowed to take legal steps to address the video.

Published in Europe
Thursday, 02 May 2019 21:11

Russia: internet censorship

Reporters Without Borders and nine international human rights NGOs called on Vladimir Putin not to sign the 'sovereign internet' bill into law because it would take Russia across a major threshold in online censorship. The law the Russian parliament approved on 22 April, which Putin is poised to sign, would take Russia closer to the Chinese model of online censorship. It would establish a 'sovereign' internet, independent of the international internet and closely controlled by the Kremlin. Internet service providers would have to direct traffic through a centralised system of devices controlled by Russia, with approved internet exchange points, and to use a national domain name system that would facilitate surveillance and, in the event of unspecified 'security threats’ would allow the authorities to block traffic between Russia and the rest of the World Wide Web partially or fully, and within Russia.

Published in Europe

29 April was a day of chaos and violence after opposition leader Juan Guaidó called for a military uprising in Caracas and urged supporters to take to the streets to force his rival Nicolás Maduro from power. The US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, said that Maduro had told America that he would leave Venezuela and live as an exile in Cuba and had an airplane on the tarmac, ready to leave: then Russia convinced him to stay. Recently Russian military personnel entered Venezuela to keep its sophisticated S-300 surface-to-air missiles operational despite its crumbling infrastructure and frequent power failures. Also Tareck El Aissami, Maduro’s closest confidant, is being investigated by the intelligence agency about helping Hezbollah militants into the country, partnering with a drug lord, and shielding 140 tons of chemicals to be used for cocaine production - making him a rich man as Venezuela spiralled into poverty. See

Published in Worldwide