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Russia: US sanctions revenge for Ukrainian failure, Moscow may retaliate

By , July 18, 2014 3:41 am

Russia: US sanctions revenge for Ukrainian failure, Moscow may retaliate
By: RT on: 18.07.2014 [07:02 ] (71 reads)

Russia: US sanctions revenge for Ukrainian failure, Moscow may retaliate
Published time: July 17, 2014 07:15

Russia considers the latest package of sanctions against it issued by the US as revenge for the failure of Washington’s schemes in Ukraine and blackmail. Moscow reserves the right to retaliate.

READ: Putin: US sanctions contradict its national interests, will backfire

Moscow believes that America is targeting it with sanctions “because the events in Ukraine have not developed the way Washington scripted them,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

“The outrageous and groundless desire to blame Russia for the civil war in a neighboring country, which was caused by a deep internal crisis and already resulted in the loss of many lives, proves that the US and its clients in Kiev have failed to pacify the wide public dissent,” the ministry said.

Moscow said Washington is cynical in attempting to dodge responsibility for the bloodshed perpetrated by the Ukrainian troops in the east of the country, which the US is de facto encouraging.

The sanctions issued by the US on Wednesday won’t affect Russia’s position, the ministry warned.

“We’ve said on many occasions that speaking the language of sanctions to Russia is pointless, regardless of their scale. This path won’t lead to any positive outcome,” the statement said. “Those who believe in their own exceptionalism and claim the right to dictate their will to the world will be deeply disappointed.”

Russia warned that there is a price to be paid for targeting Russia with sanctions, and it would be American companies which would have to foot the bill for the White House. The Obama administration’s policies will deteriorate Russia’s relations with America in many regards, the ministry said.

“If Washington intends to ruin the Russian-American relations, it’s on their conscience,” the ministry said. “We won’t tolerate blackmail and reserve the right to retaliate.”

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin looks on while speaking with journalists in Itamaraty Palace in Brazilia, early on July 17, 2014. (AFP Photo / Alexei Nikolsky)

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin looks on while speaking with journalists in Itamaraty Palace in Brazilia, early on July 17, 2014. (AFP Photo / Alexei Nikolsky)

The new round of American sanctions against Russia targets a number of companies, particularly involved in arms production, energy and finance, as well as several Russian officials. The White House said it introduced the sanctions because Russia had failed to deescalate the crisis in Ukraine, where Kiev is waging a military crackdown on defiant regions of Donetsk and Lugansk, which formed armed militias and reject the central government’s rule.

Earlier Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that the sanctions would hurt America too.

“As for sanctions, they usually have a boomerang effect, and without a doubt will force US-Russian relations into a corner,” he explained. “This is a serious blow to our relationship. And it undermines the long term security interests of the US nation and its people.”

http://rt.com/news/173424-us-sanctions-revenge-ukraine/

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Russia: US sanctions revenge for Ukrainian failure, Moscow may retaliate

By , July 18, 2014 3:41 am

Russia: US sanctions revenge for Ukrainian failure, Moscow may retaliate
By: RT on: 18.07.2014 [07:02 ] (72 reads)

Russia: US sanctions revenge for Ukrainian failure, Moscow may retaliate
Published time: July 17, 2014 07:15

Russia considers the latest package of sanctions against it issued by the US as revenge for the failure of Washington’s schemes in Ukraine and blackmail. Moscow reserves the right to retaliate.

READ: Putin: US sanctions contradict its national interests, will backfire

Moscow believes that America is targeting it with sanctions “because the events in Ukraine have not developed the way Washington scripted them,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

“The outrageous and groundless desire to blame Russia for the civil war in a neighboring country, which was caused by a deep internal crisis and already resulted in the loss of many lives, proves that the US and its clients in Kiev have failed to pacify the wide public dissent,” the ministry said.

Moscow said Washington is cynical in attempting to dodge responsibility for the bloodshed perpetrated by the Ukrainian troops in the east of the country, which the US is de facto encouraging.

The sanctions issued by the US on Wednesday won’t affect Russia’s position, the ministry warned.

“We’ve said on many occasions that speaking the language of sanctions to Russia is pointless, regardless of their scale. This path won’t lead to any positive outcome,” the statement said. “Those who believe in their own exceptionalism and claim the right to dictate their will to the world will be deeply disappointed.”

Russia warned that there is a price to be paid for targeting Russia with sanctions, and it would be American companies which would have to foot the bill for the White House. The Obama administration’s policies will deteriorate Russia’s relations with America in many regards, the ministry said.

“If Washington intends to ruin the Russian-American relations, it’s on their conscience,” the ministry said. “We won’t tolerate blackmail and reserve the right to retaliate.”

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin looks on while speaking with journalists in Itamaraty Palace in Brazilia, early on July 17, 2014. (AFP Photo / Alexei Nikolsky)

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin looks on while speaking with journalists in Itamaraty Palace in Brazilia, early on July 17, 2014. (AFP Photo / Alexei Nikolsky)

The new round of American sanctions against Russia targets a number of companies, particularly involved in arms production, energy and finance, as well as several Russian officials. The White House said it introduced the sanctions because Russia had failed to deescalate the crisis in Ukraine, where Kiev is waging a military crackdown on defiant regions of Donetsk and Lugansk, which formed armed militias and reject the central government’s rule.

Earlier Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that the sanctions would hurt America too.

“As for sanctions, they usually have a boomerang effect, and without a doubt will force US-Russian relations into a corner,” he explained. “This is a serious blow to our relationship. And it undermines the long term security interests of the US nation and its people.”

http://rt.com/news/173424-us-sanctions-revenge-ukraine/

www.iraq-war.ru (en) RSS feed for articles and news

Russia: US sanctions revenge for Ukrainian failure, Moscow may retaliate

By , July 18, 2014 12:58 am

Russia: US sanctions revenge for Ukrainian failure, Moscow may retaliate
By: RT on: 18.07.2014 [07:10 ] (17 reads)

Russia: US sanctions revenge for Ukrainian failure, Moscow may retaliate
Published time: July 17, 2014 07:15

Russia considers the latest package of sanctions against it issued by the US as revenge for the failure of Washington’s schemes in Ukraine and blackmail. Moscow reserves the right to retaliate.

READ: Putin: US sanctions contradict its national interests, will backfire

Moscow believes that America is targeting it with sanctions “because the events in Ukraine have not developed the way Washington scripted them,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

“The outrageous and groundless desire to blame Russia for the civil war in a neighboring country, which was caused by a deep internal crisis and already resulted in the loss of many lives, proves that the US and its clients in Kiev have failed to pacify the wide public dissent,” the ministry said.

Moscow said Washington is cynical in attempting to dodge responsibility for the bloodshed perpetrated by the Ukrainian troops in the east of the country, which the US is de facto encouraging.

The sanctions issued by the US on Wednesday won’t affect Russia’s position, the ministry warned.

“We’ve said on many occasions that speaking the language of sanctions to Russia is pointless, regardless of their scale. This path won’t lead to any positive outcome,” the statement said. “Those who believe in their own exceptionalism and claim the right to dictate their will to the world will be deeply disappointed.”

Russia warned that there is a price to be paid for targeting Russia with sanctions, and it would be American companies which would have to foot the bill for the White House. The Obama administration’s policies will deteriorate Russia’s relations with America in many regards, the ministry said.

“If Washington intends to ruin the Russian-American relations, it’s on their conscience,” the ministry said. “We won’t tolerate blackmail and reserve the right to retaliate.”

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin looks on while speaking with journalists in Itamaraty Palace in Brazilia, early on July 17, 2014. (AFP Photo / Alexei Nikolsky)

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin looks on while speaking with journalists in Itamaraty Palace in Brazilia, early on July 17, 2014. (AFP Photo / Alexei Nikolsky)

The new round of American sanctions against Russia targets a number of companies, particularly involved in arms production, energy and finance, as well as several Russian officials. The White House said it introduced the sanctions because Russia had failed to deescalate the crisis in Ukraine, where Kiev is waging a military crackdown on defiant regions of Donetsk and Lugansk, which formed armed militias and reject the central government’s rule.

Earlier Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that the sanctions would hurt America too.

“As for sanctions, they usually have a boomerang effect, and without a doubt will force US-Russian relations into a corner,” he explained. “This is a serious blow to our relationship. And it undermines the long term security interests of the US nation and its people.”

http://rt.com/news/173424-us-sanctions-revenge-ukraine/

www.iraq-war.ru (en) RSS feed for articles and news

Moscow: Kiev allegations that Russian jet downed Ukraine plane absurd

By , July 17, 2014 11:22 am

Moscow: Kiev allegations that Russian jet downed Ukraine plane absurd
By: RT on: 17.07.2014 [17:11 ] (64 reads)

Moscow: Kiev allegations that Russian jet downed Ukraine plane absurd
Published time: July 17, 2014 14:24
Edited time: July 17, 2014 15:21

Kiev’s accusations that Russia shot down a Ukrainian Su-25 fighter jet are “absurd,” the Russian Ministry of Defense said.

“This is absurd, like all previous accusations from Kiev officials concerning Russia’s Ministry of Defense,” a ministerial official told journalists on Thursday.

Kiev has accused Russia of downing its Su-25 fighter jet on June 16. Andrey Lysenko, spokesman of the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council, said a Russian military jet shot down a plane that was fulfilling a military operation over the east of Ukraine at 19:00 local time. Earlier Kiev blamed the attack on self-defense forces.

On Wednesday, self-defense forces claimed they had shot down two of the Ukrainian Air Force Su-25 fighter jets.

The high-ranked Defense Ministry official said that “almost every day” Russia “gets exposed” and receives threats that “irrefutable evidence” will be released, but every time “this evidence disappears somewhere.”

“And the confusion is being covered with new, more fantastic accusations,” he added.

The Russian official, whose name was not disclosed, criticized Ukraine’s military management for lacking understanding and experience.

“You don’t need to be an expert to understand, after looking at bios of Ukraine’s current military management, and especially the ‘anti-terrorist operation’, that these people do not have either military education or practical experience of organized planning and use of troops and weapons,” he said.

Russia’s Security Council also issued a statement of Thursday saying that Moscow is not interested in war with its “brotherly nation.”

“We don’t want war with Ukraine. For us, that would be counterproductive because in that case we would be fighting a brotherly people,” Evgeny Lukyanov, deputy secretary of the body that advises President Vladimir Putin on security told RIA Novosti.

“War with Ukraine is not in our interest. It is our border, our family relations and our economic ties. It is a big problem for us and we don’t see any way out other than a political one.”

The Security Council said a war in eastern Ukraine entered a “stage of ethnic cleansing,” referring to the Russian-speaking population in the region.

“There is not a civil war in Ukraine, but an ethnic cleansing of the Russian-speaking population of the southeast of this country,” Lukyanov said.

On Thursday, another Ukrainian plane has been reportedly shot down in eastern Ukraine.

“About 4pm local time 13:00 GMT an An-26 was flying over the city. We saw a rocket hitting it, there was an explosion, the jet started falling leaving a black spoke behind,” a resident told RIA Novosti.

http://rt.com/news/173604-ukraine-jet-downed-absurd/

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10 killed, 100+ injured as Moscow Metro carriages derail in rush hour

By , July 15, 2014 4:56 am

10 killed, 100+ injured as Moscow Metro carriages derail in rush hour
By: RT on: 15.07.2014 [08:50 ] (59 reads)

10 killed, 100+ injured as Moscow Metro carriages derail in rush hour

Published time: July 15, 2014 05:42
Edited time: July 15, 2014 08:43

Rescuers and paramedics evacuate passengers injured as several subway cars derailed in Moscow, on July 15, 2014. (AFP Photo / Dmitry Serebryakov)

10 people have been killed and 120 injured as several subway cars derailed on the Moscow Metro on the Arbatsko-Pokrovskaya dark blue Metro line on Tuesday morning.

“The number of the dead is 10,” said Pyotr Biryukov, deputy mayor of Moscow, as cited by ITAR-TASS.

“One hundred and twenty people have sought medical help, 106 were taken to hospital. About a half of them are seriously injured,” Golukhov told ITAR-TASS.

Rescuers and paramedics use helicopters to evacuate passengers injured as several subway cars derailed in Moscow, on July 15, 2014. (AFP Photo / Dmitry Serebryakov)

The first carriage of the train sustained most of the damage, according to an eyewitness of the accident who spoke to RT. Ivan, said he was in the second car when the train suddenly braked and the lights went off.

“I was tossed up in the air,” the young man says. “There was blood on the floor, heads bruised, arms broken. Panic broke out.”

Rescuers and paramedics evacuate passengers injured as several subway cars derailed in Moscow, on July 15, 2014. (AFP Photo / Dmitry Serebryakov)

Ivan also says after the train derailed there was a flash and then the tunnel was filled with thick smoke.

“The car was badly damaged. We started to get out. We saw a door in the tunnel’s wall. Men eventually broke that door and we saw workers, constructing a parallel tunnel. They helped us to get out.”

Another eyewitness, who spoke to LifeNews, was in the fifth carriage and says they had to wait for 30 minutes before the evacuation started.

“So as we got out, we proceeded to march on foot, probably for two or three minutes – along the tunnel with cables underneath. The train driver had told us right away to stick to the right side, so we did. No sooner had we got to the surface than we realized it was a full-blown emergency.”

Law enforcement officials told that three train cars had derailed, “but not overturned.”

Moscow authorities do not consider the cause the accident in the Metro could have been a terrorist act, according to Maksim Liskutov, the head of the transport department in the Moscow government, cited by Dozhd TV channel.

About seven people reportedly remain trapped in one of the train carriages.

Attempts are being made to try and evacuate the stricken passengers, who are stuck in a tunnel between Park Pobedy and Slavyansky Bulvar stations, in the west of Moscow.

Members of the emergency services carry an injured passenger outside a metro station following an accident on the subway in Moscow July 15, 2014. (Reuters / Sergei Karpukhin)

There are some seriously injured people, according to preliminary reports. Doctors and rescue workers have deployed stretchers down the tunnel for their evacuation.

News of the derailment was preceded by reports of smoke detected on the dark blue line of the Moscow Metro. Later, Moscow’s emergencies agency denied reports of smoke and said a sudden failure in the electricity supply to a conductor rail could have caused the accident.

Moscow’s emergencies agency press service says the train derailed because it had to brake too suddenly.

“At 8:39am Moscow time 04:39 GMT on a stretch between stations of Park Pobedy Victory Park and Slavyansky Bulvar there was abrupt deceleration of a train,” a press service employee told RT.

RIA Novosti

Sixty-six buses, forty ambulances and eight helicopters have been deployed by rescuers for evacuations. Fifty people have already reportedly been evacuated from Slavyansky Bulvar and 200 from Park Pobedy.

http://rt.com/news/172808-train-moscow-metro-evacuation/

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Marching on Moscow

By , June 3, 2014 10:20 am
ukraine-russia-nato-eastern-europe-sanctions

A U.S. Marine with Black Sea Rotational Force 13 drills in Romania, Eastern Europe. While events in Ukraine appear to be closing in on a political solution, potential for miscalculation and military escalation among Kiev, Moscow, and NATO abounds. (Photo: Marines / Flickr)

British Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery had three laws of war:

One, never march on Moscow;
Two, never get in a land war in Asia;
Three, never march on Moscow.

So why are the United States, the European Union (EU), and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) all on the road to the Russian capital? And exactly what are they hoping to achieve?

Divided Command

As in all battlefields on the Eastern Front, complexities abound.

For beginners, the multiple armies marching eastward are not exactly on the same page. This sort of “divided command” (to use the military term) generally ends in debacle. Add to that the fact that many of the weapons are of such dubious quality that they might end up backfiring. And to top it all off, as in all great crises there’s a cost—in this case the sticker price may give even fire breathers pause.

That’s not to say that these aggressors are amateurs—to the contrary, professional armies are involved. NATO has deployed troops, aircraft, and naval forces in the region, and the Russians have parked 40,000 troops on Ukraine’s eastern border.

So far, bloodshed has been minimal. With the exception of the horrendous deaths of over 40 demonstrators in Odessa and dozens of separatist fighters killed in clashes over Donetsk’s airport, the crisis has been a remarkably calm affair. The Russians took over Crimea virtually without a shot, and while a worrisome increase of violent incidents has occurred in the south and east, they hardly measure up to the French and German invasions in 1812 and 1941, respectively.

But that doesn’t mean things couldn’t turn dangerous. Which is why it’s important to know the agendas of the players involved. 

What Could They Possibly Be Thinking?

The Russians have their eyes on national interest and security—and remedying the broken promises and missed opportunities that accompanied German reunification in 1990. At the time, Western powers promised they would not drive NATO eastward. Instead, they vacuumed up members of the old Soviet Warsaw Pact and recruited former Soviet republics into a military alliance specifically created to confront Russia.

Misrepresentations of the situation abound. Putin is not trying to recreate the old Soviet Empire, as some Western news sources have suggested. Meanwhile, although the overthrow of Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych was certainly a coup—what else do you call an armed uprising that causes an elected president to flee? — it wasn’t just ex-Nazis and fascists who caused it, as some Russian officials have claimed. The revolt reflected genuine mass anger at corruption in the Yanukovych government.

Nonetheless, two of the groups that spearheaded the coup—and who currently control seven ministries in the Western Ukraine government—openly admire those who fought with Waffen-SS divisions during World War II. The Germans killed some 25 million Russians during that war—so if the Russians today act a bit cranky about people who hold celebrations honoring the vilest divisions of an evil army, one can hardly fault them.

The Americans and the Europeans, for their parts, have long had their eye on Ukraine, though their interests diverge due to their differing economic relations with Russia.

The EU gets 30 percent of its energy needs from Russia; for countries like Finland and Slovakia, that figure climbs to 100 percent. The EU had $ 370 billion in trade with Russia in 2012, compared to a modest $ 26 billion for the United States. Moreover, several large European energy giants, including BP, Austria’s OMV, ENI, Royal Dutch Shell, and Norway’s Statoil, are heavily invested in Russian gas and oil. All told, its oil and gas combined make Russia the largest energy exporter in the world.

For Europe, Russia also provides a growing consumer market of 144 million people, with retail spending growing 20 percent a year between 2000 and 2012.

The Americans aim to expand NATO and open up a market of 46 million people in the heart of Eastern Europe. For that, they need to get the 28 members of the NATO alliance to finally pull their own weight. The United States currently foots 75 percent of NATO’s bills, and is caught between a shrinking military budget at home and a strategy of expanding the United States’ military presence in Asia, the so-called Asian “pivot.” NATO members are supposed to spend 2 percent of their Gross Domestic Product on the military, but very few countries—Britain, Estonia, and Greece among them—actually clear that bar. Nor is there any groundswell to do so in European economies still plagued with low growth and high unemployment. In other words: Yes, get the Russkies, but not at our expense.

At least in its rhetoric, NATO is pushing hard. U.S. general and NATO commander Gen. Phillip Breedlove recently called for beefing up NATO forces on the Russian border. But for all the talk about a new Russian threat, NATO is not going to war over Ukraine, anymore than it did over Georgia in 2008. A few neoconservatives and hawks, like U.S. Senator John McCain, might make noises about intervention, but it will be a very lonely venture if they try.

What about Sanctions?

An alternative to a military approach is sanctions, and these have received lots of attention. Understanding their potential requires coming to grips both with Russia’s standing, and also the appetite for these measures in the rest of the world.

Russia, the world’s eighth largest economy, is well integrated into the global economic system, particularly in Asia through the Shanghai Cooperation Council. The Council includes not only Russia and China, but also most Central Asian countries, with observer status from Iran, Pakistan, and India.

The emerging BRICS countries—Brazil, India, China, and South Africa (Russia makes up the “R”)—did not support the recent UN resolution condemning Moscow’s annexation of Crimea and would certainly not join any sanctions regime. In fact, the Russians and Chinese recently inked a 30-year, $ 400-billion gas deal, and bilateral trade between the two countries is set to reach $ 100 billion by 2015 and $ 200 billion by 2020. Russia and Iran are reportedly negotiating a $ 10-billion energy deal as well.

So far, sanctions have targeted individuals, although Washington and the EU have threatened to up the ante and ban Russia from using the Swift system of international banking. That would make transferring money very difficult. It has certainly crippled Iran’s finances. But Swift, as Gideon Rachman of the Financial Times points out, is a double-edged sword. “Cutting Russia out of Swift would cause chaos in Moscow in the short term,” but in the long term “it might hasten the day when Russia, and more significantly, China, establish alternative systems for moving money between international banks.” According to Rachman, China and Russia have already discussed such a system.

The EU’s army is all for rhetorical condemnation of Russia. But when it comes to increasing sanctions, its command is divided. Those countries with significant investments in Russia—Italy, Germany, Spain, Austria, and Greece—oppose cranking up the sanctions. In fact, isolating Russia runs against the interests of some very powerful businesses in Europe—and a few in the United States as well, such as Chevron, ConocoPhillips, and ExxonMobil. German Chancellor Angela Merkel must juggle her desire to support the United States with polls showing that the average German really doesn’t want to march east. As the saying goes, the Germans have been there, done that.

“Sanctions will not help anybody; they would not just hurt Russia, but also Germany and Europe as a whole,” says Rainer Seele, chair of Wintershell, an energy company owned by the German chemical giant BASF.

The Swedes and the Poles are fire-breathers, but their stance is as much about trying to offset German power in the EU as for any concern over Ukrainians.

In short, the EU looks like one of those combined armies of Austrian-Hungarians, Russians, and Prussians that Napoleon made his reputation beating up on.

Ways Out of the Mess

In the end, the solution must be diplomatic. It has to take into account Russia’s legitimate security interests and recognize that Ukraine is neither Russian nor Western European, but a country divided, dependent on both. The simplest way to deal with that would be through a system of federal states. It is the height of hypocrisy for the United States to oppose such a power arrangement when its own system is based on the same formula (as are many other countries in Europe, including Germany).

Polls show that Ukrainians in the east and south do not trust the Kiev government, but they also show that a solid majority wants a united country. That could shift if the there are major clashes between Kiev’s forces and separatists in the east. Once bodies start piling up, negotiations and compromise tend to vanish, and the possibility of civil war becomes real.

Last summer, Moscow proposed that the EU, Russia, and the United States jointly develop a plan to save the Ukrainian economy. The EU and the United States dismissed that proposal—and the current crisis is a direct outcome of that rejection. The parties need to return to that plan.

In spite of the tensions, events in Ukraine are moving toward a political resolution. The winner of the May 25 election, Petro Poroshenko, may be willing to compromise. Meanwhile, the Russians are re-deploying those 40,000 troops elsewhere, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made it clear that “We want Ukraine to be whole within its current borders, but whole with full respect for the regions.” Translation: No NATO.

The dangers here are many: the Kiev government could try to settle the conflict by force of arms; NATO might do something seriously provocative; the Russians may lose their cool. As Karl von Clausewitz once noted: “Against stupidity, no amount of planning will prevail.”

But the ducks are lining up for a political solution to the crisis. Sanctions will not force Russia to compromise its security, and may end up harming the EU and the United States. The commanders of the armies facing Moscow are divided on measures and means. Neither side in the Ukraine is capable of defeating the other. It is time to stop the bombast and cut a deal, particularly since Washington will need Moscow’s help in Iran, Syria, and Afghanistan.

Oh, and marching on Moscow? Really? Monty wasn’t the quickest calf in the pasture but he had that one figured out as a bad idea.

Foreign Policy In Focus

Assyrian, Russian Patriarchs Meet in Moscow

By , May 31, 2014 1:50 pm

Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill (left) and Assyrian Church of the East Patriarch Dinkha IV.Moscow (AINA) — On May 27, 2014, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, met with the Catholicos-Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East, Mar Dinkha IV, who is on a visit to Russia at the invitation of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.

During a warm talk, His Eminence Hilarion told the high guest about the recent celebrations marking the 1025th anniversary of the Baptism of Rus’ and the changes which have taken place in the Russian Orthodox Church since the previous millennial celebrations which Patriarch Mar Dinkha IV attended. The Primate of the Assyrian Church expressed deep satisfaction at the successes of church renewal in the historical Rus’, noting that Russia and the Russian Orthodox Church constitute a spiritual and moral guideline for many traditional Christian communities in the world. He wished the Russian Orthodox Church further thriving in its service of its millions-strong flock.

Special attention was given to the situation of Christians in the Middle East.

His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV expressed heartfelt gratitude to Russia and personally President Vladimir Putin for his efforts to help Christians in the Middle East. He said that the stand taken by Russia was decisive in preventing the bombing of Syria and remains a key-position in defending Christians in the Middle East, which befits the historical role of the Russian State.

His Holiness also recalled the genocide of Christian peoples in the Ottoman Empire in 1914-1918 and the losses suffered by the Assyrian people at that time. Those events became a pretext for the mass resettlement of the Assyrians to the Russian Empire, the centennial of which is marked this year.

The Assyrian Patriarch also spoke about the irreparable damage inflicted on Christians in the Middle East today as a result of the destabilization of the political situation in the region and engagement of radical Islamist forces in politics. Thus, in recent years in Iraq, a great number of Christian churches have been destroyed and thousands of Christians were killed for their faith in Christ.

Metropolitan Hilarion expressed profound compassion on the Assyrian Church of the East for the losses it has suffered in recent years in Iraq and Syria and assured his guest that Russia and the Russian Orthodox Church will continue giving all possible support to Christians suffering in the East.

The need was pointed out for the Russian and Assyrian Churches to be more active in informing the international public of the scale on which Christians in the Middle East are subjected to continued persecution and to join efforts in this task.

They also discussed prospects for further interaction between the two Churches, including in developing development of joint academic and theological projects and students’ exchange.

Patriarch Mar Dinkha IV also thanked the Russian Orthodox Church for its consideration of the needs of the Assyrian community in Russia, especially for its help in obtaining a plot of land for building a church for the Assyrian community in Rostov-on-Don.

In conclusion Metropolitan Hilarion presented the high guest with tokens of the meeting, among which was the Russian version of his book on St. Isaac the Syrian, a fruit of His eminence’s study of the spiritual legacy of this great saint venerated both in the Orthodox and the Assyrian Churches.

Assyrian International News Agency

Moscow Says Massive “Holy Grail” Gas Deal With China Is 98% Ready

By , May 16, 2014 7:05 pm

Moscow Says Massive “Holy Grail” Gas Deal With China Is 98% Ready
By: ZeroHedge on: 16.05.2014 [14:50 ] (213 reads)

Moscow Says Massive “Holy Grail” Gas Deal With China Is 98% Ready
Tyler Durden’s pictureSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 05/16/2014 08:19 -0400

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We have previously profiled the “holy grail” gas deal between Russia and China on several occasions, and with its announcement scheduled for next week (barring some unmitigated disaster) during Putin’s first visit to China since Xi’s appointment as president last March, it is time to do a status update on where it stands even if according to SCMP, at this point finding the “holy grail” is merely a formality.

The Hong Kong publication reports that China and Russia hope to sign a massive deal for natural gas supply when their leaders meet in a regional summit in Shanghai next week, a senior diplomat has said. Under the deal, Russia will supply 38 billion cubic metres of natural gas annually to China for 30 years. Deputy Foreign Minister Cheng Guoping told reporters yesterday that President Xi Jinping would discuss the deal and other points of co-operation with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, who will visit Shanghai on Tuesday.

Russian Deputy Energy Minister Anatoly Yanovsky said on Monday that the deal was “98 per cent ready”. Supply would begin no later than the end of 2018.

Indicating just how important China now is to Russia, Bloomberg adds that traveling with Putin will be the who-is-who of Russian politics and business:

•Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller also in delegation as Russian President Vladimir Putin visits China on May 20-21, Yuri Ushakov, Kremlin foreign policy aide, tells reporters in Moscow.
•Ushakov also says that Russia-China trade may reach $ 100b as early as this year.
•Gazprom working on China gas deal, Rosneft working onSinopec deal, Novatek working on deal
•China-Russia talks demand compromises on both sides
•Worsening relations with U.S. and allies “clearly to some degree influence” China talks
•Billionaire Oleg Deripaska also traveling to China
As reported previously, the deal is between Russia’s Gazprom and China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), but the two sides have yet to agree on pricing despite more than a decade of negotiations. Xi will meet Putin on the sidelines of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia, to be attended by 46 nations and agencies.

“The companies of the two nations are exchanging views on the pricing issue,” Cheng said. “We will strive to get the companies to sign the natural gas co-operation deal and have it witnessed by both state leaders while Putin is in China.”

Cheng said Xi and Putin reached a consensus over natural gas co-operation when Xi attended the Sochi Winter Olympics in February. Companies of both nations have reached agreement on many aspects of the deal.

More:

Russian business daily Vedomosti reported last month that the companies were negotiating a price in the range of US$ 360 to US$ 400 per 1,000 cubic metres.

Gazprom chief executive officer Alexey Miller said last year that the supply could be boosted to 60 billion cubic metres a year over the period of the contract. The gas would be supplied via two pipelines entering northeast and northwest China.

Russia has been trying to diversify its energy export base beyond the European market, where Gazprom generates about 80 per cent of its revenue.

China relied on imports for nearly a third of its natural gas needs, Xinhua said.

It imported 53 billion cubic metres of natural gas last year, according to the China National Petroleum Corporation.

Putin’s visit will be his first to China since Xi was named president in March last year.

Quid pro quo: “Observers expect both leaders to take a united stand on major international issues, and Putin may seek China’s support on Russia’s dealings with Ukraine.”

And also on the dollar as we reported in “Russia Holds “De-Dollarization Meeting”: China, Iran Willing To Drop USD From Bilateral Trade.” In which case expect random Chinese space rockets to mysteriously explode during take off too.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-05-16/moscow-says-massive-holy-grail-gas-deal-china-98-ready

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Moscow to ban US from using Russian rochet engines for military launches

By , May 13, 2014 5:37 pm

Moscow to ban US from using Russian rochet engines for military launches
By: RT on: 13.05.2014 [13:58 ] (245 reads)

Moscow to ban US from using Russian rochet engines for military launches

Published time: May 13, 2014 13:33

Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin (RIA Novosti)

Moscow is banning Washington from using Russian-made rocket engines, which the US has used to deliver its military satellites into orbit, said Russia’s Deputy PM, Dmitry Rogozin, who is in charge of space and defense industries.

According to Rogozin, Russia is also halting the operation of all American GPS stations on its territory from June 1.

Russia currently hosts 11 ground-based GPS stations, the Deputy PM said.

The move comes after the US refused to place a signal correction station for Russia’s own space-based satellite navigation system, GLONASS, on American territory, he explained.

DETAILS TO FOLLOW

http://rt.com/news/158680-russia-usa-rocket-gps/

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Ukraine deploys 15,000 troops to Russian border, NATO beefs up forces in E. Europe – Moscow

By , May 9, 2014 10:12 am

Ukraine deploys 15,000 troops to Russian border, NATO beefs up forces in E. Europe – Moscow
By: RT on: 09.05.2014 [15:21 ] (52 reads)

Ukraine deploys 15,000 troops to Russian border, NATO beefs up forces in E. Europe – Moscow

Published time: May 08, 2014 17:35

A Ukrainian soldier stands in front of Pro-Russian Civilians at a checkpoint near the town of Slaviansk in eastern Ukraine.(Reuters / Baz Ratner)

Ukraine has deployed 15,000 troops on its border with Russia, while NATO continues beefing up its forces in Eastern Europe, Russian Defense Ministry stated as the military alliance and Pentagon accuse Moscow of keeping armed forces close to Ukraine.

“The 15,000-strong grouping of Ukrainian forces has been deployed in the border areas. Military conscription has resumed in Ukraine,” Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said in a statement on Thursday. “At the same time NATO amasses its grouping of forces in Eastern Europe,” he stressed, adding that such actions are not contributing to the efforts to de-escalate tensions in Ukraine.

Antonov said Russia has pulled all its forces from its borders with its crisis-torn neighbor. He echoed President Vladimir Putin’s statement on Wednesday, when the Russian President assured OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and Swiss President Didier Burkhalter that Russian troops were relocated to ranges where they conduct regular drills.

However, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen insisted on Thursday that there is no sign that Russian troops have actually been withdrawn from the Ukrainian border.

“I have very good vision but while we’ve noted Russia’s statement so far we haven’t seen any – any – indication of troops pulling back,” Rasmussen said on his Twitter. “If we saw visible signs of a meaningful pullback by Russia troops I’d be the first one to welcome it,” he added.

Earlier, the Pentagon said that it also saw no change in the Russian force position along the Ukrainian border.

“We have seen no change in the Russian force posture and we’ve long called on the Russians … to withdraw their troops” from along the border, Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steve Warren said.

However, according to the Defense Ministry official, “there was traditionally no evidence supporting their positions, and especially American colleagues did not bother,” he said.

Antonov also urged official representatives of NATO and the Pentagon “to quit cynically deluding the international society concerning the real state of affairs on the Russian-Ukrainian border.”

He stressed that in the past two months Russia has contributed to about a dozen inspections, including emergency observation flight of Ukraine across the border region with Russia. The most recent flights took part on May, 6 when an American-Norwegian group held its inspection along borders with Kharkov and Lugansk regions, and on May, 7, when the same group flew across the city of Bryansk.

“There was not noticed any undeclared military activities in these regions,” Antonov said. But despite this fact was recorded “in the presence of Russian representatives in the official protocols”, on public “opposite propaganda cliché statements accusing Russia of violating its commitments were broadcast.”

The West has repeatedly accused Moscow of deploying armed forces close to the borders with Ukraine and demanded to pull them back. At the same time, NATO has lately increased its activity in the region near the borders of Russia. On May, 5 NATO started its Spring Storm drills in Estonia. The 6,000-troop exercise is the biggest since 2003 when Spring Storm was first held.

On Wednesday NATO said it may permanently station additional troops in Eastern Europe as a defensive measure.

Russia views this recent build-up of NATO forces as a provocation and counter-productive in the struggle to de-escalate tensions in Ukraine.

http://rt.com/news/157736-ukraine-troops-russia-borders/

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