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China Daily: “Western Sanctions Will Make Moscow Back The Chinese Yuan Against The Dollar”

By , September 12, 2014 10:58 pm

China Daily: “Western Sanctions Will Make Moscow Back The Chinese Yuan Against The Dollar”
By: Zerohedge on: 12.09.2014 [15:12 ] (182 reads)

China Daily: “Western Sanctions Will Make Moscow Back The Chinese Yuan Against The Dollar”

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 09/12/2014 09:21 -0400

Op-Ed posted in China Daily

West’s Antics Pushing Russia closer to China

The recent NATO summit in Wales, held against the background of the armed conflict in Ukraine, has brought back the Cold War atmosphere to Europe. NATO’s partnership with Russia remains formally suspended. In fact, NATO is treating Russia more as an adversary than a partner.

The alliance is setting up a “Rapid Reaction Force” to deal with emergencies on Europe’s eastern flank. The alliance’s military infrastructure is moving toward that exposed flank, and closer to Russia’s borders. NATO forces will now spend more time exercising in the east, and their presence there will visibly grow. NATO-leaning Ukraine, which the alliance alleges is an object of “Russian aggression”, has been promised financial and military support.

The Ukraine crisis is not just about Eastern Europe, it is also about the world order. The Kremlin is seeking Washington’s recognition of what it regards as its core national security interest: keeping Ukraine as a buffer zone between Russia and the West, particularly NATO. Washington, on principle, denies Moscow this “imperial privilege”, and insists on the freedom of all countries, including Ukraine, to choose alliances and affiliations.

The stakes are high. Should Russia be rolled back in Ukraine, not only will its international position materially suffer, but also the power of the Kremlin inside the country might be dangerously undermined. On the other hand, if the US were to eventually accept Russia’s demand for a “zone of comfort” along its borders, Washington’s credibility as the global dominant power, the norm-setter and arbiter will suffer.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization, of course, is no military alliance, and even less a rival of NATO. Its member states, however, are closely watching the US-Russian match being played out at the western end on the great Eurasian continent. Some, like the Central Asian states, are essentially ducking, hedging, or running for cover. China, which seeks to defend its own core interests in East Asia and the Western Pacific, looks at the current Russian-American competition through the prism of its own relations with Washington and Moscow.

China has a very important relationship to keep with the US. Playing a long game, Beijing usually avoids direct collisions with Washington, and means to profit from the US-initiated globalization to the fullest extent possible. Like Russia, however, China would also want to carve out a comfort zone for itself along its eastern borders and shores, and, like Russia again, it faces the reality of the US’ physical presence and US-led alliances there. What Washington is now doing in an effort to contain Moscow in Eastern Europe provides important information to Beijing in East Asia.

There is more to Beijing’s reaction than just watching and drawing conclusions. The apparently long-term rupture of Russia’s relations with the West offers an opportunity to the Chinese leadership to enhance its already close relationship with the Kremlin and thus turn the global geopolitical balance in its favor – not unlike former US president Richard Nixon and former secretary of state Henry Kissinger who reached out to Chairman Mao Zedong in 1972. The Russians, angry with Washington, are now more amenable to giving China wider access to their energy riches and their advanced military technology. The Western sanctions pushing Russia out of the international financial system are also making Moscow more ready and willing to back the Chinese yuan against the US dollar.

A Sino-Russian military alliance against the US is still a rather long shot. Yet the two countries’ political, economic and military alignment is getting thicker. An expellee from the G8, which is now back to G7, Russia is now eagerly embracing the non-West, particularly in Asia and Latin America. Within the non-West, China is unquestionably the premier power. Managing Russia will not be easy for anyone, but the country is a precious resource for China. So far, Beijing has displayed more tact in dealing with Moscow than any other major player in the world. Building on this success, it can now set its bar higher.

To a China which is rising and raising its global profile, BRICS is an asymmetrical equivalent of the G7, albeit in a very different shape and form. The SCO, to use a similar analogy, is an asymmetrical analogue to NATO, but as a political organization of continental Asia (including Russia), rather than a military bloc. The inclusion of India and Pakistan into the SCO is a logical next step. Iran, currently an observer, can follow later. Turkey, an SCO dialogue partner and a member of NATO, can become a useful link to the North Atlantic alliance.

Enhancing the SCO’s security credentials and extending its reach requires a major qualitative upgrade of China’s strategic thinking and diplomacy, and an even closer partnership with Russia. The SCO summit in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, will probably not see this yet, but it might become a point when the balance of Eurasia has decisively turned in China’s favor. Beijing would need to thank Washington for it.

Indeed, “thanks Obama” for firmly cementing the anti-western military, monetary and political alliance.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-09-12/china-daily-western-sanctions-will-make-moscow-back-chinese-yuan-against-dollar

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Moscow and Kiev swap troops as Ukraine port girds for rebel assault

By , August 31, 2014 5:05 pm

Moscow and Kiev swap troops as Ukraine port girds for rebel assault
By: Zamantoday on: 31.08.2014 [15:48 ] (204 reads)

Moscow and Kiev swap troops as Ukraine port girds for rebel assault

Ukrainian troops withdrew from the rebel-held town of Starobesheve, eastern Ukraine, on Saturday. Ukrainian government forces have succumbed to a series of military failures and have seen their holdings in the conflict-ridden east shrink in recent days as Russian-backed rebels continue their fast-paced offensive. (Photo: AP)

August 31, 2014, Sunday/ 17:24:48/ REUTERS / MARIUPOL

Ukraine and Russia swapped soldiers who had entered each other’s territory near the battlefield in eastern Ukraine, where Kiev says Moscow’s forces have come to the aid of pro-Russian insurgents advancing for an assault on a major port.

Ukrainian troops and local residents were reinforcing the port of Mariupol on Sunday, the next big city in the path of pro-Russian fighters who pushed back government forces along the Azov Sea this past week in an offensive on a new front.

The new rebel advance has drawn increasing concern from Ukraine’s Western allies, who say its success is a result of reinforcement by armored columns of Russian troops.

European Union leaders agreed on Saturday to draw up new economic sanctions against Moscow, a move hailed by the United States, which is planning tighter sanctions of its own and wants to act jointly with Europe.

Some residents of Mariupol have taken to the streets to show support for the Ukrainian government as the pro-Russian forces gain ground. Many others have fled from the prospect of an all-out assault on the city of nearly 500,000 people.

“We are proud to be from this city and we are ready to defend it from the occupiers,” said Alexandra, 28, a post office clerk wearing a ribbon in blue and yellow Ukrainian colours.

“We will dig trenches. We will throw petrol bombs at them, the occupiers,” she said. “I believe our army and our volunteer battalions will protect us.”

Ihor, 42, and his wife Lena, 40, were packing their car to flee with their five-year-old daughter. They had sheltered in Mariupol after battle came to their home city Donetsk in July.

“We will not wait for another repetition of war. We did nothing to provoke it and we do not want to be a part of it,” said Lena.

Troop swap

The swap of soldiers overnight at the frontier was a rare gesture to ease tension, but Kiev and Moscow have given starkly opposing accounts of how their troops came to be on each other’s territory.

A Russian paratroop commander said an unspecified number of Russian paratroops were swapped for 63 Ukrainian soldiers. A Ukrainian military source said the Russian soldiers numbered 15.

Kiev and its allies in Europe and the United States say the new rebel offensive has been backed by armored columns of more than 1,000 Russian troops fighting openly to support the insurgents. The rebels themselves say thousands of Russian troops have fought on their behalf while “on leave”.

Moscow denies its troops are fighting in Ukraine and says a small party of its soldiers crossed the border by accident.

Russian Major-General Alexei Ragozin said the paratroops had been handed back after “very difficult” negotiations.

“I consider it unacceptable that our servicemen were detained by the Ukrainian side for so many days. Our lads are upset about everything that happened. They will all receive the necessary psychological and other kinds of help. The lads will all be OK.”

Ragozin said Russia, by contrast, had promptly returned hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers who at various times have crossed the border when squeezed by rebel forces. He said the latest group of 63 had entered Russia on Wednesday.

Kiev has in the past said some of its soldiers crossed into Russia to escape from fighting on the Ukrainian side of the frontier, behaviour that contrasts with that of the Russians it says crossed the border to wage war in Ukraine. Ukraine’s military spokesman has mocked the idea that the Russians had “got lost like Little Red Riding Hood in the forest.”

Sanctions

The United States and European Union have gradually tightened economic sanctions against Russia, first imposed after Moscow annexed Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula in March following the ousting of Kiev’s pro-Russian president by protesters.

So far, however, the measures have done little to deter President Vladimir Putin, who has referred to southern and eastern Ukraine as “New Russia.”

On Sunday, Russian news agencies quoted Putin as saying it was up to Kiev to halt the fighting, and accusing the West of contradicting democratic values by supporting Kiev’s military action against the rebels. Russia could not stand aside while people were shot at point-blank, Itar-Tass quoted him as saying.

Putin gave a typically defiant public appearance on Friday in which he described Russians and Ukrainians as “practically one people” and compared Kiev’s attempts to recapture rebellious cities with the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union. Russia is a nuclear power that will defend its interests, and foreigners should understand that “it’s best not to mess with us.”, he said.

Moscow has responded to sanctions by banning the import of most Western foodstuffs, stripping French cheese and Polish apples from store shelves and shutting down McDonalds restaurants. The moves reinforce a sense among Russians that they are isolated from a hostile world, as in Cold War days.

Agreeing the Western sanctions has been tricky, not least because the 28-member European Union must take decisions by consensus and many of its countries depend on Russian energy resources.

Nevertheless, the EU has gone further than many had predicted, agreeing to impose sanctions on Russia’s financial and oil industries last month after a Malaysian airliner was shot down over rebel territory, killing nearly 300 people, most of them Dutch.

EU leaders agreed on Saturday to ask the executive European Commission to draw up more sanctions measures, which could be adopted in coming days after review.

The White House praised the move to “show strong support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity”. But in a sign of the difficulty in achieving an EU consensus, the leader of tiny Slovakia threatened to veto any sanctions that damaged his country’s national interest.

http://www.todayszaman.com/world_moscow-and-kiev-swap-troops-as-ukraine-port-girds-for-rebel-assault_357269.html

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‘Wrong time, altered images’: Moscow slams Kiev’s MH17 satellite data

By , August 1, 2014 9:26 pm

‘Wrong time, altered images’: Moscow slams Kiev’s MH17 satellite data
By: RT on: 01.08.2014 [18:37 ] (196 reads)

‘Wrong time, altered images’: Moscow slams Kiev’s MH17 satellite data
Published time: August 01, 2014 10:27
Edited time: August 01, 2014 14:28

Satellite images Kiev published as ‘proof’ it didn’t deploy anti-aircraft batteries around the MH17 crash site carry altered time-stamps and are from days after the MH17 tragedy, the Russian Defense Ministry has revealed.

The images, which Kiev claims were taken by its satellites at the same time as those taken by Russian satellites, are neither Ukrainian nor authentic, according to Moscow’s statement.

The Defense Ministry said the images were apparently made by an American KeyHole reconnaissance satellite, because the two Ukrainian satellites currently in orbit, Sich-1 and Sich-2, were not positioned over the part of Ukraine’s Donetsk Region shown in the pictures.

Moscow claims weather and lighting conditions in the images were not possible at the dates and times Ukraine claims they were made, the Russian ministry said.

At least one of the images published by Ukraine shows signs of being altered by an image editor, the statement added.

The ministry also criticized images published by Kiev to back its allegations that Russia smuggled heavy weapons over the border and shelled Ukrainian army positions.

The images lack proper time stamps and coordinates, while Kiev didn’t bother to explain why it believes that whatever vehicles are shown in them are Russian, the statement said.

“It’s the latest ‘masterpiece’ in the Ukrainian exercise in conspiracy theories, an attempt to divert responsibility,” the ministry said.

“It can take a deserved place next to other allegations against Russia voiced by Kiev that claimed that Russia was responsible for masterminding the Maidan protest and the tragedy in Odessa.”

“Apparently that’s why the real owners of those photos are hesitating to publish them under their own name, since it would derail the myth of the omniscience of their space reconnaissance,” the Russian ministry said.

Image from mil.ruImage from mil.ru

A comparison of satellite images published by Russia and Ukraine as presented by Kiev in an attempt to dispute the authenticity of Moscow’s photos. The shadows are cast in different directions in the two images, proving that they could not have been almost at the same time two days apart, as indicated by the time stamps.

Image from mil.ruImage from mil.ru

The weather is also clearly different, with the Russian image showing a cloudy day, while the image presented by Kiev shows a clear day – showing that the images could not have been taken less than an hour apart, as claimed by the time stamps. The Russian military say the actual weather conditions at the time can be easily double-checked by independent sources.

Image from mil.ruImage from mil.ru

In another comparison with the images used by Ukraine, it was purposely degraded in quality in order to point out some irregularities. No such irregularities are present in the original image, the Russian military said.

Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 crashed in Ukraine’s Donetsk Region, which is engulfed by armed hostilities between Ukrainian troops and local militias. The plane was apparently shot down by a missile, although neither the type of missile nor who shot it has yet been properly established.

As a troubled investigation into the tragedy, which claimed almost 300 lives, is underway, Kiev and some Western countries were quick to say that the militias and Russia were culpable for the deed. Kiev said it had no capabilities to take down the plane.

The Russian Defense Ministry published satellite images and radar data, saying that evidence proved that Ukraine had both ground-based anti-aircraft batteries and military aircraft capable of firing an air-to-air missile deployed in the region on the day of the MH17 shoot-down.

Some days later Kiev published its own set of images, claiming that those released by Russia were false.

http://rt.com/news/177296-ukraine-mh17-satellite-images/

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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/

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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/

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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