RT Russia & Former Soviet Union /russia/ RT Russia & Former Soviet Union en Wed, 19 Jun 2024 20:12:23 +0000 RT /static/img/logo-rss.png RT Russia & Former Soviet Union 125 40 Putin’s state visit to North Korea: Warm welcome, bilateral agreements and a new comprehensive partnership treaty /russia/599585-putin-north-korea-visit-recap/ Moscow and Pyongyang have agreed to work together to enhance cooperation in all spheres and defend each other in case of foreign aggression
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Moscow and Pyongyang have agreed to enhance cooperation in all spheres and defend each other from potential foreign aggression

Russian President Vladimir Putin paid a state visit to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea on Wednesday, where he met with the country’s leader Kim Jong-un and participated in comprehensive bilateral talks on economic, security, and global issues.

The trip marked the first time the Russian president had traveled to North Korea since first taking office in 2000, when he visited Pyongyang to meet with then-leader Kim Jong-il.

Putin’s delegation included Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Defense Minister Andrey Belousov, Health Minister Mikhail Murashko, Transport Minister Roman Starovoyt, and several other senior officials, including Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov and Putin’s foreign policy aide Yury Ushakov.

Grand reception in Pyongyang

Putin touched down in the North Korean capital in the early hours of Wednesday and was greeted by Kim Jong-un at the airport. Ahead of his arrival, the streets of Pyongyang were decked out with countless Russian flags, alternating with DPRK flags. Multiple banners were also placed along the route of the presidential motorcade, featuring greetings in Russian and Korean, and portraits of the Russian head of state.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Russia and North Korea agree on mutual aid against aggression – Putin
]]> A ceremony was also held in honor of Putin’s arrival on Kim Il Sung Square in central Pyongyang. The event featured a performance by a DPRK military orchestra, as hundreds of residents packed the square for the occasion.

Aside from formal negotiations and signing official documents, Putin exchanged gifts with Kim, attended a gala concert, laid flowers at a monument to Soviet soldiers who helped liberate Korea from Japan during World War II, and took part in a reception in honor of the Russian delegation’s visit.

Negotiations

Talks between Kim Jong-un and Putin, which involved the countries’ delegations, lasted for an hour and a half, and were followed by a one-on-one discussion between the two leaders.

During the meeting, both sides expressed appreciation for each other’s support. The Russian leader noted that relations between the two nations are rooted in history, and based on the principles of “equality and mutual respect of each other’s interests.”

Kim stated that North Korea sees Russia as “the most honest friend and comrade” and noted Russia’s mission and role in “upholding strategic stability and balance in the world.” He also expressed Pyongyang’s support for Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine.

Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Treaty

Following the bilateral negotiations, Putin and Kim signed a Treaty on Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, designed to “lay the groundwork” for future bilateral relations in all spheres, including cultural and tourist ties, trade, economic relations and security.

The agreement also includes a pledge by Russia and the DPRK to assist each other in case of foreign aggression, as both leaders decried attempts by the US and its satellites to destabilize the situation in Southeast Asia.

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Pyongyang welcomes Putin with spectacular ceremony (VIDEO)
]]> Putin emphasized Pyongyang’s right to take “reasonable steps” to ensure its security and protect its sovereignty, and vowed to engage in political and diplomatic efforts to prevent a new armed conflict on the Korean peninsula.

He also denounced the “indefinite restrictions regime” imposed on Pyongyang by the UN Security Council and urged for it to be revised.

Kim described the new agreement as a “peaceful and defensive” document that “provides for maintaining peace and stability in the region.” He added that the treaty promotes the common interests of Russia and the DPRK, and expressed confidence that it would become “a driving force in accelerating the creation of a new multipolar world.”

Following his official visit, Putin formally invited Kim to make a return visit to Moscow at some point in the future, and thanked the residents of Pyongyang for the warm welcome.

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Wed, 19 Jun 2024 16:58:04 +0000 RT
WATCH Ukrainian armor get blown up near key Donbass town /russia/599580-ukrainian-armor-destruction-video/ A Ukrainian armored personnel carrier was incinerated in a powerful explosion near Chasov Yar, drone video shows
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The vehicle was destroyed close to Chasov Yar while driving infantry to their positions, footage circulating online shows

Drone footage has emerged showing the destruction of a Ukrainian armored personnel carrier as it transported an infantry unit to positions near the town of Chasov Yar in Russia’s Donetsk People’s Republic. 

The vehicle, likely a Ukrainian-designed Kozak-7 APC based on a commercial Ford Super Duty chassis, was captured in drone surveillance footage driving off road towards a wooded area. The APC, which is seen firing its mounted machine gun towards an unseen target, is suddenly obliterated by a powerful blast.

The carrier apparently hit an anti-tank mine, which judging by the magnitude of the explosion was either reinforced by additional explosives or featured two munitions stacked on top of each other. The vehicle ended up overturned and caught fire. Two of its crew apparently survived the blast, rushing to hide in nearby shrubbery after escaping the wreckage.

Chasov Yar, which has long served as a key logistics hub and a major stronghold for Ukrainian forces in the conflict with Russia, has seen active fighting over the past few weeks. The town, split in two uneven parts by a major canal, is located some 10km west of the city of Artyomovsk (known in Ukraine as Bakhmut), which was the scene of intense combat for months before being captured by Russian forces in May 2023.

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Wed, 19 Jun 2024 15:29:57 +0000 RT
EU state imprisons Russian academic for ‘spying’ /russia/599570-estonia-jails-russian-academic/ An Estonian court sentenced erstwhile professor Vyacheslav Morozov to six years in prison for allegedly providing intelligence to Moscow
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An Estonian court has sentenced university professor Vyacheslav Morozov to over six years in prison for allegedly providing intelligence to Moscow

Former Tartu University professor Vyacheslav Morozov has been sentenced by an Estonian court to six years and three months in prison for allegedly working for a foreign intelligence service, the news outlet ERR reported on Tuesday.

Morozov, a Russian citizen, was detained by Estonian police in January on charges of collaborating with Moscow by supposedly collecting and providing information about the Baltic state.

According to the court documents, the academic had worked at St. Petersburg State University until 2010. He later joined the faculty of the University of Tartu in Estonia, where, from 2016 to 2023, he held the position of Professor of European Union and Russian Studies. He then worked there as a professor of International Political Theory until his arrest.

“Morozov was tasked by the Russian special service to collect information from the Republic of Estonia about Estonia’s internal, defense and security policy and related people and infrastructure,” the leading state prosecutor Taavi Pern was quoted as saying in a press release by the Estonian internal security service (Kapo).

According to Pern, the professor was forwarding information about Estonia’s “political situation and elections, allied relations, and integration and social integration.” The prosecutor claimed that while most of this information was publicly available, and some had been obtained by Morozov thanks to his “position as a scientist,” it could be used to “threaten Estonia.” Pern noted that Morozov did not have any access to state secrets.

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RT
British man faces 14 years in jail on Russia spying charges
]]> The prosecution also claimed that Morozov had been working with Moscow “for a long time” and alleged that he was recruited by Russian intelligence services when studying at a Russian university in the 1990’s.

At the same time, Kapo Director General Margo Polloson noted that in his actions, Morozov “did not damage or manipulate his own educational or research activities in any way. The science he did and guided is still relevant today.” Nevertheless, Polloson claimed that Morozov “pretended to be a professor of international relations, which gave him access to various entities, events and people, which he took advantage of.”

The head of the Tartu University Johan Skytte Institute for Political Studies, Kristiina Tonnisson, had previously stated that Morozov’s arrest in January was a “shock to us all.” She added that while the university had “no grounds for complaints regarding Morozov’s previous work,” his past activities would be critically reviewed.

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Wed, 19 Jun 2024 13:22:06 +0000 RT
Killers of Donbass commander sentenced in Russia /russia/599564-pavlov-murder-sentense-russia/ A Russian military tribunal has sentenced members of an SBU “terrorist cell” who killed Arsen ‘Motorola’ Pavlov
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The crime was reportedly part of an assassination campaign run by Kiev in the years before the conflict with Russia

A Russian military tribunal has ordered lengthy prison sentences for four people in the case related to the 2016 murder of Arsen Pavlov, a senior military officer in the then-breakaway Ukrainian region of Donetsk.

Pavlov, also known under his nom-de-guerre, ‘Motorola’, was killed in October 2016 by a powerful explosive device planted over an elevator cabin in his apartment block in Donetsk. His bodyguard, Vasily Churilov, also died in the attack.

In February, the New York Times reported that the assassination had been conducted by members of the CIA-trained Fifth Directorate of the SBU, the Ukrainian successor to the KGB. The newspaper said the people involved in the operation were given commemorative patches, each one stitched with the word ‘Lift’. Previous reports in the Western press described a program of political assassinations run by the Ukrainian government.

The Russian tribunal passed a life sentence to the person who planted the IED, Aleksandr Pogorelov. The case included several other charges against him and three other members of what Russian prosecutors labeled an “SBU-created terrorist cell.”

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FILE PHOTO: The seal of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is seen on the floor at the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, US, on January 21, 2017.
CIA has built vast anti-Russian spy network in Ukraine – NYT
]]> These included the attempted assassinations of another military official in Donetsk in 2016 and the head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, Aleksandr Zakharchenko. There was also the assassination of a military leader in the Lugansk People’s Republic in 2016. The Ukrainians also tried to kill Pavlov months prior to the successful bomb plot, Russian investigators have said.

The other accomplices were given prison terms ranging between 12 and 17 years. All four pleaded not guilty during the proceedings. Pogorelov reportedly declared during the trial: “Overall I do not disclaim my actions, but I don’t consider myself guilty, since I committed no crime on Russian territory.”

The two Donbass republics split from Ukraine in the wake of the US-backed armed coup in Kiev in 2014. After the new authorities attempted to quash their rebellion by military force, people in Donetsk and Lugansk successfully resisted and declared themselves independent from Ukraine.

]]> READ MORE: Ukraine will never join NATO – Moscow

]]> Moscow backed a roadmap for reconciliation between Kiev and the ethnic Russian separatists in the form of the 2014-2015 Minsk Agreements, which would have given them broad autonomy. Ukrainian officials later admitted that they had taken the deal purely to win time and build up their military with NATO’s help. The self-proclaimed entities joined Russia in late 2022, giving it jurisdiction over the case.

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Wed, 19 Jun 2024 12:23:28 +0000 RT
US-supplied F-16s to be stationed inside Ukraine – White House /russia/599557-us-f16-stationed-in-ukraine/ Vladimir Zelensky and President Joe Biden have signed a bilateral security agreement on the delivery of F-16s to Ukraine
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Vladimir Zelensky and President Joe Biden had previously signed a bilateral security agreement on the fighter jets

F-16 warplanes transferred to Kiev by Washington will be stationed on Ukrainian territory, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan has announced in an interview with PBS news channel.

He revealed the plan after US President Joe Biden and Vladimir Zelensky signed a ten-year bilateral security agreement last week, under which Washington has pledged to continue backing Kiev in its conflict with Moscow.

Zelensky announced after the deal was signed that the US had promised to supply Ukraine not only with weapons, including Patriot air-defense systems, but also with “squadrons” of fighter jets comprising F-16s as well as other aircraft.

The US, Belgium, Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands, have pledged to provide Ukraine with up to 60 F-16 jets by the end of this year. Kiev has on several occasions suggested that the Western-supplied fighters could be stationed outside Ukraine, on the territories of neighboring NATO countries where they would be “safe.”

Sullivan, however, said the “plan is to put the F-16s in Ukraine,” adding that the bilateral security agreement signed by Biden and Zelensky had “reinforced this point.”

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File Photo: Banner on a bus, calling for F-16 jet deliveries to Ukraine.
Ukraine frustrated with US over F-16 pilot training
]]> “We want to help Ukraine have this capability. It should be a capability based in Ukraine,” he said.

Meanwhile, Moscow has repeatedly warned that any Western weapons delivered to Ukraine would become legitimate targets for strikes by Russian forces and would not have any effect on the ultimate outcome of the conflict, leading only to more bloodshed.

The chair of the Russian parliament’s Defense Committee, Andrey Kartapolov, has also warned that if any of Kiev’s F-16s are stationed outside of Ukraine and are used in combat operations against Russia, then Moscow would consider those foreign bases to be “legitimate targets.”

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Wed, 19 Jun 2024 10:57:27 +0000 RT
Concerns grow over press freedom in Ukraine – NYT /russia/599543-ukraine-press-freedom-zelensky/ The Ukrainian government’s restrictions and pressure on the media exceed wartime security needs, local journalists have told the NYT
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Restrictions and pressure on the media are going beyond wartime security needs, local journalists told the paper

Ukrainian journalists and monitoring groups have sounded the alarm over attempts to curtail press freedom in the country under Vladimir Zelensky, the New York Times has reported.

According to media workers, restrictions and pressure on them from the government go beyond Ukraine’s security needs amid the conflict with Russia, the paper said in an article on Tuesday.

The authorities in Kiev are trying to make sure that the opposition, in particular the party of former president Petro Poroshenko, does not get positive coverage in the press, and that the government and the military are never criticized, the report read.

Late last year, management at the state-run news agency, Ukrinform, provided a list of opposition figures, activists and elected officials labeled “undesirable” for quoting in its articles, according to the NYT. Those blacklisted included the mayor of Lviv, Andrey Sadovoy, who is viewed as a possible future presidential candidate, it added.

The deputy director of Ukrinform, Marina Singaevskaya, resigned this year over what she described as political meddling by the authorities.

“If we name desirable and undesirable speakers, it is a big step back for democracy,” Yury Stryhun, a reporter with Ukrinform, told the outlet.

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Head of Ukraine's Defence Intelligence Kirill Budanov
Telegram a ‘huge’ problem for Ukraine – intel chief
]]> Stryhun said he received a notice to renew his draft registration one day after he appeared on Suspilne broadcaster to talk about the government’s guidelines for journalists. The timing of the notice was “suspicious,” he added.

Last month, Ukrainian media watchdog, Detector Media, said members of Zelensky’s Servant of the People party accounted for some 70% of political guests on the Telemarathon, a round-the-clock multi-channel broadcast set up by the Kiev government as a single source of televised information about the conflict with Russia, during the first quarter of this year.

The only broadcaster that gave airtime to representatives of Poroshenko’s European Solidarity party during the Telemarathon was Suspilne, which had since withdrawn from the project. The channel’s leadership said its decision to quit the Telemarathon was linked to pressure from the government, the report read.

The paper noted that the Ukrainian authorities also had “tense relationships” with Western media throughout the conflict as they revoked military press passes for journalists from several outlets, including the NYT, following reports criticizing the military. However, credentials were later restored, it added.

It also mentioned a story that made headlines in Ukraine in January, when it was revealed that Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) officers had spied on reporters attending a holiday party of an investigative news website, Bihus, by drilling peepholes in their hotel rooms.

]]> READ MORE: Ukrainians tired of ‘state propaganda’ on TV – NYT

]]> “The only way people can change things for the better is through journalism. That’s why some people in the government try their best to control it,” Sevgil Musaeva, the editor in chief of Ukrainskaya Pravda national news outlet, told the NYT.

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Wed, 19 Jun 2024 08:35:26 +0000 RT
Details emerge of alleged contract hit ordered by ex-Zelensky mentor /russia/599542-kolomoysky-attempted-murder-case/ The case against Igor Kolomoysky concerns the attempted murder of a lawyer who worked for Victor Pinchuk, according to Ukrainian media
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The Ukrainian government has accused businessman Igor Kolomoysky of attempting to arrange the murder of a lawyer in 2003

Ukrainian media have published new details about a criminal case against businessman Igor Kolomoysky, who was charged with ordering a contract killing over two decades ago.

The mogul is believed to have played a key role in Ukrainian leader Vladimir Zelensky’s rise to power. Prior to running for the presidency in 2019, Zelensky had a comedy show platformed by a Kolomoysky-controlled media holding.

Ukrainian authorities placed Kolomoysky in pre-trial detention last September over alleged financial crimes and have since added fresh charges, including in May.

The most recent statement on the case alleged that in 2003 “a famous businessman” hired a gang to exact revenge against a lawyer for rejecting his demand to overturn the outcome of a shareholder meeting. The gang assaulted its target but failed to kill him, the office of Ukraine’s prosecutor general said. It did not name Kolomoysky, although a photo of the accused clearly showed the businessman.

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FILE PHOTO.
EU sets up Ukraine corruption watchdog??
]]> On Tuesday, the Ukrainsky Novini (Ukrainian News) media outlet claimed to have access to the court papers and shared more details of the allegations against Kolomoysky. According to prosecutors, he engaged the gang through a bodyguard. They initially targeted the wrong man, badly beating him, but eventually made an attempt on the lawyer’s life. They failed to kill him “due to circumstances outside of their control,” the case stated.

The victim was identified in the documents as working for businessman Victor Pinchuk, the son-in-law of then-President Leonid Kuchma. The details coincide with the circumstances of the 2003 assault against lawyer Sergey Karpenko, for which Kolomoysky was investigated in 2005.

According to reports in the Ukrainian media, Karpenko was involved in the fight for ownership of the metal plant Dneprospetsstal and opposed Kolomoysky’s attempts to seize control. Kolomoysky allegedly asked his bodyguard, a man surnamed Nikitin, to hire a group of criminals to carry out retaliation. They reportedly first attacked Karpenko’s business partner and later the lawyer himself, using metal rods, hammers, and knives in both assaults.

]]> READ MORE: New charges against ex-Zelensky sponsor announced

]]> In 2005, Ukrainian prosecutors opened a criminal case against Kolomoysky. In a bizarre twist, a request for an arrest warrant was recalled by the prosecutor general’s office a day after it was filed. The investigation was closed several months later.

Some in Ukraine had expected the case to reemerge at the High Court in London, which in 2015 was due to hear an ownership dispute between Pinchuk, Kolomoysky, and a third Ukrainian businessman. The row was settled out of court.

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Wed, 19 Jun 2024 08:12:56 +0000 RT
US soldier jailed for nearly four years in Russia /news/599531-us-soldier-sentenced-russia/ A Russian court had handed US soldier Gordon Black a prison term of almost four years for grand larceny and death threats
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Gordon Black pleaded guilty to theft charges, but denied assaulting a woman he was staying with in Vladivostok

A court in the Russian city of Vladivostok has sentenced US soldier Gordon Black to three years and nine months in prison, after he was found guilty of theft and making death threats against a woman with whom he was reportedly having an affair.

Black had pleaded guilty to theft charges, but denied allegations that he had assaulted and threatened to kill his girlfriend, who has been identified as Aleksandra Vashuck. The 35-year-old army staff sergeant reportedly lived with Vashuck in her Vladivostok apartment for around a month earlier this year. Following an argument, he allegedly choked her and took 10,000 rubles ($116) from her purse.

On Tuesday, a Vladivostok judge sentenced the US soldier for grand larceny and death threats. Black’s lawyer told the press that he will appeal the sentence.

At a hearing the day before, Black claimed he had wanted to return the money to Vaschuk, and had transferred funds to her via an acquaintance. His defense had asked the court to acquit him of all charges.

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FILE PHOTO: Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich.
Russia formally charges WSJ journalist with spying for CIA
]]> The prosecution had requested a sentence of four years and eight months, alongside a 40,000 ruble ($466) fine. “The victim said that the stolen funds have not been reimbursed,” the prosecution said.

According to US media reports, Black met Vashuck on Tinder while he was stationed in South Korea. They dated until she moved back to Russia, settling in Vladivostok. His mother told the New York Post that the soldier was in the middle of a divorce from his wife, with whom he has a six-year-old daughter. Black reportedly took leave in April, and instead of going back to his home base in Texas, he traveled to Russia via China without permission from his superiors.

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Wed, 19 Jun 2024 06:45:53 +0000 RT
Pyongyang welcomes Putin with spectacular ceremony (VIDEO) /russia/599530-putin-pyongyang-welcoming-ceremony/ North Korea’s Kim Jong-un has welcomed Russian President Vladimir Putin to Pyongyang with a spectacular ceremony
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North Korea’s Kim Jong-un welcomed Russian President Vladimir Putin to Pyongyang with a spectacular ceremony on Wednesday, marking the Russian leader’s first official visit to the country since 2000. 

The two leaders began the official ceremony at Kim Il Sung Square in central Pyongyang at around noon on Wednesday. A military orchestra played the national anthems of the two nations, with artillery guns firing a welcoming salvo. The square, which can hold more than 100,000 people, was packed with local residents, who came to greet the Russian president. 

Ahead of President Putin’s visit, the streets of the North Korean capital were decorated with countless Russian flags, welcoming banners both in Korean and Russian, and portraits of the Russian head of state. 

Official talks between the two delegations began immediately after the ceremony, and the heads of state are expected to hold a one-on-one discussion later in the day.

]]> READ MORE: Putin’s state visit to North Korea: As it happened

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Wed, 19 Jun 2024 04:55:24 +0000 RT
Putin’s state visit to North Korea: As it happened /russia/599519-putin-state-visit-north-korea/ Russian President Vladimir Putin is on a state visit to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
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The Russian president held a lengthy discussion with Kim Jong-un after a lavish welcoming ceremony

Russian President Vladimir Putin is on a state visit to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and has held comprehensive talks with the country's leadership on economic and security cooperation, along with global issues.

Kim Jong-un personally greeted Putin upon his arrival at Pyongyang airport early on Wednesday, and the two leaders held face-to-face talks on “the most important, the most sensitive issues” after an official welcoming ceremony.

Russia and North Korea signed a number of bilateral documents, including a landmark Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Agreement.

This live stream has ended.

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Wed, 19 Jun 2024 02:01:10 +0000 RT
Ukraine will never join NATO – Moscow /russia/599518-ukraine-never-join-nato/ Ukraine will never become a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov has predicted
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The US-led bloc has set unrealistic preconditions for Kiev, according to Russia’s deputy foreign minister

Ukraine will never become a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov has said, while warning the US-led military bloc against repeating past mistakes.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stated last week that “there is no membership issue to be discussed” unless Kiev defeats Moscow on the battlefield. “We need to ensure that Ukraine prevails, that’s an absolute minimum for Ukraine to become a member of the alliance,” he said.

“This means this will never happen,” Ryabkov told TASS news agency on Tuesday. “I hope Mr. Stoltenberg understands this.”

The Russian diplomat said Stoltenberg should be aware of what happened after NATO announced at its Bucharest summit in 2008 that Ukraine would eventually become a member.

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Ukrainian soldiers of the 43rd Infantry Brigade in Kharkov Region, June 5, 2024.
Ukraine must defeat Russia to join NATO – US
]]> “This became the trigger for much of the entire crisis that we are observing today. If NATO members are ready to fall into the same trap again and history teaches them nothing, then they will get hit again and their bruises will get worse,” he said, reiterating that Ukraine joining NATO is “ruled out.”

President Vladimir Putin has warned for nearly two decades that NATO’s policies undermine Russian national security. He signaled last week that Moscow could order a ceasefire and start negotiations as soon as Kiev completely withdraws its troops from the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, and the Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions. However, he stressed that a lasting peace can only be achieved if Ukraine commits to neutral status and abandons plans to join NATO.

Both Kiev and NATO dismissed the offer as an unacceptable “ultimatum,” but the head of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), Sergey Naryshkin, noted that Ukraine would be better off accepting Putin’s offer now. “The next terms under which a ceasefire can be achieved and some kind of peace agreement signed will be tougher with regard to Ukraine,” he warned.

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Wed, 19 Jun 2024 01:29:23 +0000 RT
Moscow’s envoy to US outlines ‘thorny’ path to peace /russia/599516-russia-thorny-path-peace-ukraine/ Moscow’s clear and specific proposal is in contrast with empty words and fake conferences of the West, Anatoly Antonov has said
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Anatoly Antonov has elaborated on Russia’s proposal for ending the Ukraine conflict

Russia’s ambassador to the US has reiterated Moscow's specific and realistic proposals for ending the Ukraine conflict, contrasting them with the “advertising campaign” coming from the West.

In an interview with Newsweek published on Tuesday, Russian ambassador in Washington, Anatoly Antonov, elaborated on President Vladimir Putin’s statements last week, in which he outlined the conditions for peace talks with Kiev. 

“There is a path to peace, even if it is thorny,” Antonov said. 

It involves “withdrawal of the Ukrainian Armed Forces from four regions of Russia; confirmation of the status of Crimea, Sevastopol, [Donetsk People’s Republic], [Lugansk People’s Republic], Kherson and Zaporozhye regions as subjects of the Russian Federation; Kiev’s refusal to join NATO; Ukraine’s status as neutral, nonaligned and nuclear-free state; its demilitarization and denazification; lifting of Western sanctions; [and] ensuring the rights, freedoms and interests of Russian-speaking citizens of the republic,” the diplomat explained.

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RT
Putin names conditions for Ukraine peace talks
]]> “Talks on the above-mentioned issues should be conducted without ‘imperial’ dictates and orders from the White House,” Antonov added. “It is high time the US recognized the futility of constant pursuit to enforce its will on all countries and realized that it will no longer be possible to deter the growing shift towards multipolarity.”

Scare stories about Moscow plotting to attack NATO once Ukraine is defeated are simply “an embodiment of the US intentions to keep a tight rein on its satellites, primarily in Europe,” according to Antonov. “The aim is to finally turn the continent into the US ‘back yard’, which is not entitled to its own opinions nor its own history.”

Such policies are actually undermining US leadership, though American policymakers “prefer not to notice” that, Antonov added.

The purpose of the peace conference in Switzerland this weekend was “purely opportunistic: to create an illusion of widespread support for the ‘peace formula’ in various capitals, but in reality, to hush up any doubts about the legitimacy of the Kiev regime, which has already been bankrupt for a long time, both politically and economically,” the ambassador said.

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Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) Director Sergey Naryshkin.
Russia’s next peace offer could come with ‘tougher terms’ for Kiev – intel chief
]]> Putin’s clear and verifiable conditions stand in stark contrast to “idle talk and failed conferences” of the West, Antonov said. The “advertising campaign” by the US and its allies intends not to stop, “but to prolong the bloody ‘project’ that the West has been implementing for more than 10 years,” since the 2014 coup in Kiev, he added.

Russia pursues dialogue and peace, and is “ready for a serious, thoughtful conversation” without any deadlines or rushed photo-ops, Antonov noted. What Moscow wants is “truly equal and indivisible security in Eurasia, based on mutual respect for one and all.”

In a new political architecture reflecting the transition to multipolarity, there would be “no place for aggressive political and economic dominance of individual nations,” or division into blocs, Antonov said. 

“If in response we continue to hear only Russophobic barking and calls to use more Western weapons and economic sanctions against us, global risks will only increase,” Antonov concluded. “I am sure this is not in the best interests of the citizens of the United States.”

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Tue, 18 Jun 2024 22:32:56 +0000 RT
Russia names main condition for BRICS membership /russia/599511-brics-expansion-sanctions-mechanisms/ Countries seeking to join the group must not be involved in unilateral sanctions schemes, Russia’s Deputy FM Sergey Ryabkov has said
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Countries seeking to join the group must not be involved in unilateral sanctions schemes, Russia’s deputy foreign minister has said

Any country seeking to join the BRICS group should not participate in illegal unilateral sanctions, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov has said, emphasizing that this is a key criteria for Moscow to welcome new members.

Speaking at a press conference in Moscow on Tuesday, the diplomat touched upon Russia’s vision for the further enlargement of BRICS.

“For us, one of the key criteria for admission to BRICS and welcoming partner states is non-participation…in the illegal sanctions policies, illegal restrictive measures against any BRICS participant, first of all, of course, against Russia,” Ryabkov stated. 

This stance is met with “full understanding” by other BRICS members, Ryabkov noted. Moscow expects such a position to maintain its “core nature” as the group grows in the future, he said.

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RT
Malaysia moving to join BRICS – PM
]]> “The fact that BRICS will grow and find new forms both with partners and in terms of its own expansion is indisputable,” the diplomat said, adding that the current ten members of the group have already “adjusted” to each other and are now working “as a team.”

BRICS was founded in 2006 by Brazil, Russia, India and China, while South Africa joined in 2011. The group expanded this year by welcoming Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, and the United Arab Emirates as full-fledged members. The group, now colloquially known as BRICS+, has opted to keep its original name despite the expansion.

Numerous other countries have officially declared an intention to join the organization as well. The latest expression of intent came over the weekend from Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, who pledged to file the necessary paperwork shortly. 

“We have made our policy clear and we have made our decision. We will start the formal process soon. We are waiting for the final result and the feedback from the South African government,” Ibrahim stated.

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Tue, 18 Jun 2024 20:01:26 +0000 RT
WATCH Putin arrive in North Korea /russia/599488-putin-plane-north-korea-video/ Russian President Vladimir Putin has landed in North Korea, where he is expected to hold talks with Kim Jong-un
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The Russian president is expected to sign a number of bilateral documents and discuss sensitive topics with Kim Jong-un

Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived at Pyongyang International Airport, marking the start of his two-day visit to North Korea, during which he is expected to have a lengthy face-to-face meeting with Kim Jong-un.

The Russian president arrived in the country on Wednesday, with most of the talks and events scheduled for the next day. He was greeted at the airport by a delegation of North Korean officials, as well as plaques praising the friendship between the two nations, while the road leading from the airport was lined with Russian flags and portraits of Putin.

The Russian delegation includes numerous top officials, including Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, First Deputy Prime Minister Denis Manturov, Defense Minister Andrey Belousov, Health Minister Mikhail Murashko, and Transport Minister Roman Starovoyt, as well as Roscosmos chief Yuri Borisov, and the head of Russian Railways Oleg Belozyorov.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin landing at the Yakutsk airport.
Sky News misreports Putin’s North Korea arrival
]]> Putin and Kim are expected to sign a number of bilateral documents, with the Russian leader having earlier authorized the signing of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Agreement with North Korea, which outlines “the prospects for further cooperation” between Moscow and Pyongyang.

Putin’s last visit to North Korea was in 2000, when he met with Kim Jong-il, the father of the current leader. Kim traveled to Russia’s Far East last September, with the visit focusing on military and economic cooperation.

In the run-up to his visit, Putin said Russia had consistently supported North Korea in its long “struggle against the treacherous, dangerous and aggressive enemy,” referring to the Western states. The Kremlin has also praised North Korea’s vocal support for Russia in the Ukraine conflict, noting that Pyongyang “understands the true reasons and the essence” of the crisis.

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Tue, 18 Jun 2024 19:37:28 +0000 RT
Putin begins visit to North Korea /russia/599481-putin-begins-visit-north-korea/ Vladimir Putin has begun his visit to North Korea to discuss a wide range of topics, including security and international affairs
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The Russian president will meet with Kim Jong-un to discuss “most sensitive issues,” according to the Kremlin

Russian President Vladimir Putin has begun a two-day state visit to North Korea, where he will meet with the country’s leadership for talks on economic, security, and international issues.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un personally greeted Putin at the Pyongyang airport, for the Russian president's first visit since 2000.

The trip, which kicked off on Tuesday, will involve a “very busy agenda,” according to Putin’s foreign policy aide, Yuri Ushakov, who noted that the two sides intend to sign several agreements. The Russian president has already authorized the signing of a landmark Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Agreement with North Korea.

Ushakov also said Putin and Kim were expected to hold lengthy face-to-face talks to discuss “the most important, the most sensitive issues.” The visit will be largely focused on the international agenda.

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Putin reveals goals of North Korea trip
]]> “The approaches of the two countries to current foreign policy problems are very close or completely coincide,” Ushakov said, noting that Moscow and Pyongyang advocate the formation of a multipolar world on the principles of equality, respect for sovereignty, and non-interference in internal affairs. He also said Moscow highly appreciates the fact that North Korea “understands the true reasons and the essence of the Ukraine crisis.”

Putin’s visit to North Korea, his first since 2000, follows Kim Jong-un’s trip to Russia’s Far East in September. At the time, Kim spent nearly a week in the neighboring country, touring the Vostochny Cosmodrome, meeting with top officials, and inspecting advanced Russian weaponry. Following the visit, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said relations between Russia and North Korea had reached a “strategic level.”

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Tue, 18 Jun 2024 17:46:51 +0000 RT
Russia withdraws from MH17 resolution process /russia/599504-russia-icao-mh17-probe/ Moscow says it won’t take part in a biased, Western-dominated ICAO panel seeking to scapegoat it for the Malaysian jet’s disaster
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The ICAO proceedings have been a farce of Western making, Moscow has said

Moscow is not interested in participating in a “performance” before a Western-dominated International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) panel about the 2014 downing of a Malaysian passenger jet in Donbass, the Russian Foreign Ministry has said.

Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it was shot down in Ukrainian airspace. Kiev immediately blamed Donetsk People’s Republic forces and Russia for the incident.

In March 2022, the Netherlands and Australia opened an investigation against Russia at the ICAO Council. However, the council first claimed judiciary powers it did not have, then tried to admit as evidence the two investigations into the MH17 disaster that explicitly excluded Russia – by the Dutch Security Council (NSB) and the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) – while welcoming Ukraine and other adversely interested parties, according to Moscow.

“The ICAO Council is not the right place to look for the truth. It makes no sense for us to remain a part of the ‘performance’ started in it,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Monday.

Russia had initially agreed to take part in the proceedings “because we believed that the ICAO platform could be used for professional dialogue about the plane crash,” the ministry said. 

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A picture taken on July 17, 2014 shows wreckages of the malaysian airliner carrying 295 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur after it crashed, near the town of Shaktarsk, in rebel-held east Ukraine.
MH17 probe suspended
]]> Russia has proposed “a full, thorough and independent international investigation into the crash of flight MH17, as required by UN Security Council Resolution 2166 and the ICAO Dispute Resolution Rules,” but the council refused, the foreign ministry said.

“Ruled by the countries of the collective West and their satellites, the ICAO Council also refused to take into account the decision of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) of January 31, 2024,” which rejected Ukraine’s claims against Russia in the MH17 case, the ministry noted.

The council consists of 36 members, who vote according to instructions from their governments. Australia and 12 others had already publicly blamed Russia for MH17 before any investigation began, the ministry said. When Russia asked them to abstain from voting in the matter, they refused.

This pattern of behavior “runs counter to the minimum requirements for the objectivity of the proceedings,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said. “Under such circumstances, it is impossible to talk about an unbiased establishment of facts, much less a fair decision.” 

The “extensive and convincing evidence,” both factual and legal, that Russia was not involved in the MH17 incident has been made available to 193 ICAO members, the ministry noted. 

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Tue, 18 Jun 2024 16:11:19 +0000 RT
Russian offensive will continue if Ukraine refuses Putin proposal – Medvedev /russia/599502-medvedev-russia-ukraine-offensive-talks/ Russia will continue its offensive against Ukraine if Kiev rejects Putin’s proposal for peace talks, Dmitry Medvedev has warned
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Kiev risks making its situation “worse,” if it turns down peace talks, Dmitry Medvedev said

Ukraine is making a huge mistake by refusing to consider Russia’s offer to open peace talks because its negotiating position will only deteriorate as time goes by, former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev has said.

Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin signaled that Moscow would immediately open peace talks with Kiev if it withdrew its troops from Russia’s Donbass, as well as Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions.

Any such deal would also include Ukraine committing to neutral status, as well as its “demilitarization” and “denazification.” Western sanctions against Moscow would also have to be lifted, the Russian leader insisted.

Vladimir Zelensky has rejected the overture as an ultimatum, with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg suggesting that the proposal had not been made in “good faith.” Kiev has consistently demanded that Russia withdraw its troops to the Ukrainian borders of 1991 as a condition for starting talks.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Medvedev, who is currently the deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, said Ukraine was “taking the discussion back to square one” by rejecting peace initiatives.

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FILE PHOTO: A Ukrainian soldier launches a military drone.
Hackers expose Ukrainian ‘drone pilots’
]]> “They shouldn’t have done that. It will get worse,” the former president warned.

However, Medvedev said Kiev still had time to accept the offer, but this window of opportunity will not last. If Ukraine does not agree to Putin’s terms, this will result in a scenario in which Russia’s “offensive actions will continue, and it is difficult to say where the border of the cordon sanitaire that our president spoke about will end,” he remarked, adding that the zone’s boundaries would not be drawn in favor of Kiev.

The Russian president first spoke about the possibility of establishing a ‘cordon sanitaire’ in Kiev-controlled territories to protect Russian border regions from constant artillery strikes this spring. To achieve this goal, Moscow’s forces launched a major offensive in Ukraine’s border Kharkov Region in early May, capturing about a dozen settlements.  

Against this backdrop, several Western nations, including the US, authorized Ukrainian long-range strikes deep inside Russian territory, with the supposed goal of enabling Kiev to target military deployment areas and installations. The move was condemned by Moscow as escalatory, with Putin noting that the West had essentially signed off on Kiev’s attacks on Russian civilians.

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Tue, 18 Jun 2024 15:50:06 +0000 RT
Zelensky introduces arms training for high school students /russia/599492-zelensky-school-arms-training/ A new law aims to prepare Ukrainian citizens for “national resistance,” according to an explanatory note attached to the bill
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A new law aims to prepare Ukrainian citizens for “national resistance,” according to an explanatory note attached to the bill

Ukraine’s Vladimir Zelensky has signed a new law that introduces mandatory combined arms training for high school students and those attending higher education institutions in the country, according to a publication on the Verkhovnaya Rada’s website.

The bill was initially introduced in March. In May, Rada MP Yaroslav Zheleznyak reported that the Ukrainian parliament had adopted it. On Monday, a notice appeared under the website of the bill that it had been returned with Zelensky’s signature.

Under the new legislation, the training will be conducted as part of a new course developed in conjunction with the Defense Ministry, aimed at preparing citizens for “national resistance,” according to the explanatory note attached to the bill.

“The law is aimed at improving the system of combined arms training, which is carried out by studying the subject ‘Defense of Ukraine,’” the note reads.

Previously, the Rada published information outlining six modules featured in the new curriculum, which includes terrain orientation, shooting training, drone control skills, and various forms and methods of information warfare.

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Prisoners drafted into Ukrainian military ‘will run like Forrest Gump’ – official to WaPo
]]> The introduction of initial combat training for school and university students comes as the Ukrainian military struggles to replenish its ranks after suffering heavy casualties in the conflict with Russia, prompting Kiev to ramp up its mobilization efforts.

In April, Zelensky signed a law lowering the conscription age in Ukraine from 27 to 25, expanded the powers of enlistment officers, and introduced severe penalties for draft dodgers. He has also been urging citizens who have fled the country to avoid the draft to come back home.

In May, Zelensky approved legislation that provides a way for the military to draft certain prisoners, offering them parole if they enlist. According to the Washington Post, nearly 3,000 criminals, including those jailed for drugs, theft, armed assault, and murder, have already joined the army since the law was signed. Ukrainian Justice Minister Denis Maliuska told the outlet he expects at least 4,000 convicts to be drafted in the first round of recruitment.

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Tue, 18 Jun 2024 13:17:45 +0000 RT
WATCH Russian missile destroy US-made armored vehicle /russia/599487-russian-missile-us-vehicle-ukraine/ Russian troops have destroyed a Ukrainian US-made M113 armored personnel carrier, according to a video released on Tuesday
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A Ukrainian-operated M113 APC was blown up near the town of Svatovo, according to the Defense Ministry

The Russian military has published a video that it claims shows a successful attack against a US-made armored personal carrier used by Ukrainian forces.

The footage was reportedly filmed near the Donbass town of Svatovo. It includes the moment a 9K111 Fagot anti-tank missile was launched by Russian forces, followed by apparent drone confirmation of the hit on an American-made M113. The vehicle operated by Ukrainian troops was badly damaged and could not be identified by the video alone.

The Defense Ministry said that in addition to the M113, a Ukrainian fixed position was hit in the same operation.

The 9K111 Fagot is among the older and simpler weapons in the Russian arsenal, and has been in service since the 1970s. It uses wire-guided rockets fired from their tube containers mounted on a man-portable launch post, similar to the American BGM-71 TOW system.

The gunner needs to keep sight of the target until the projectile reaches it. This can become a test of resolve if the enemy spots the attack in time to fire back, a Russian military instructor explained in another video published earlier this week.

The standard Fagot missile has a range of 2,000 meters and travels about 200 meters per second, which can make the window of opportunity relatively long. An anti-tank crew usually changes position after every launch.

]]> READ MORE: Russian military tests heavy drones capable of carrying commandos (VIDEO)

]]> On Monday, the Russian Defense Ministry showed experimental use of a heavy drone with what appeared to be a Fagot tube mounted at its top. The weapon was fired from both land and air, but apparently was not guided during the tests.

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Tue, 18 Jun 2024 12:40:19 +0000 RT
Hackers expose Ukrainian ‘drone pilots’ /russia/599485-hackers-ukrainian-drone-pilots/ A self-described pro-Russian hacker team has published what it claims to be a database of Ukrainian military drone pilots
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Purported details have been published of military personnel involved in operations against Russia

A hacker group has leaked a purported database of more than 1,000 Ukrainian military personnel, including drone pilots allegedly linked to attacks on civilian targets.

The list was revealed on Tuesday by a group calling itself ‘Russian angry hackers did it’ (RaHDit). It includes profiles of over 1,100 people who are allegedly part of Kiev’s robotic aircraft forces, described as “those who drop grenades from the sky on our guys, give targets to artillery, and strike civilians in the deep rear.”

The entries include images, phone numbers, home addresses, serial numbers of identification documents, email addresses, links to social media pages, and other kinds of personal information.

Roughly half of the doxxed individuals are allegedly members of the 383rd Remotely Controlled Aircraft Regiment. RaHDit claims it obtained an entire list of personnel from the unit. The roster is male-dominated, but women supposedly serving in the 383rd are also named, including a cook and a medic.

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Russian oil depot ablaze after drone strike (VIDEOS)
]]> The unit is notable for its suspected role in attempted strikes with Soviet-era Tu-141 Strizh drones in the early phase of the Ukraine conflict. Kiev converted several of the large fixed wing reconnaissance aircraft into long-range kamikaze drones. Infamously, one of them crashed in central Zagreb, Croatia in March 2022, although the NATO nation’s leadership declined to directly blame Kiev.

The 383rd was also responsible for an attack on an airfield in Ryazan Region in December 2022, in which three Russian military personnel were killed and seven others injured, according to Russian investigators, as reported by Kommersant last year. Another episode in the same criminal case happened in October 2022 and involved a weaponized UJ-22 Airborne drone that unsuccessfully targeted an airfield in Kaluga Region.

Colonel Sergey Burdenyuk, the Ukrainian regiment’s commander, is currently wanted in Russia after a court issued an arrest warrant against him in absentia. His profile is among those published by the hacker team.

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Tue, 18 Jun 2024 11:14:53 +0000 RT
Sky News misreports Putin’s North Korea arrival /russia/599484-sky-news-misreports-putin-korea/ The British news outlet reported that the Russian president had already landed in Pyongyang while showing footage from the city of Yakutsk
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The British broadcaster claimed the Russian president had already landed in Pyongyang while showing footage from the city of Yakutsk

Sky News erroneously announced that Russian President Vladimir Putin has already landed in North Korea during its morning broadcast on Tuesday. The channel showed footage of the Russian leader disembarking his plane in the Russian city of Yakutsk while claiming that the pictures were from the North Korean capital of Pyongyang. 

The British outlet also published a post on X claiming that Putin had already touched down in North Korea, although that message has since been deleted. The TV broadcast has also stopped claiming that Putin is already in Pyongyang.  

While Putin is indeed scheduled to travel to North Korea on Tuesday for what will be his first visit to the country since 2000, he is first holding several meetings in the Siberian city of Yakutsk. 

According to the Kremlin, Putin is expected to travel to Pyongyang later in the day, where he will stay until Wednesday. After that, the president will travel to Vietnam. 

In North Korea, the Russian leader is scheduled to meet with his counterpart Kim Jong-un and take part in talks on a wide range of issues, including the economy, security, and international affairs. 

]]> READ MORE: Russia and North Korea to sign strategic partnership treaty

]]> The two sides are also set to close a comprehensive strategic partnership agreement, according to the Kremlin, which stated that the signing of the deal will take place “at the highest level.” According to Putin’s foreign policy aide Yury Ushakov, the treaty will “outline the prospects for further cooperation” between Moscow and Pyongyang and will be aimed at ensuring greater stability in Northeast Asia.

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Tue, 18 Jun 2024 11:08:34 +0000 RT
Schoolkids to study housekeeping in Russia /russia/599479-huisekeeping-schools-family-values-russia/ A school course in family studies is set to be introduced in Russia, as the government strives to promote traditional values
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The lessons will be part of a family studies course starting in the new academic year

A course in family studies for school children, which includes housekeeping, is set to be introduced in Russia, Kommersant newspaper has reported. A study plan will soon be distributed to schools across the country.

The proposal to include family studies in the school education program was first put forward last year by the State Duma Family Committee, in line with the government’s push to promote traditional values. In April, Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova confirmed that Family Studies would be introduced as part of extracurricular classes for high-school children from September.

The study plan consists of five sections, according to Irina Uskova, a representative of the state-run Institute for Education Development Strategy, the body tasked with developing the course. She presented the plan at a round table at the Civic Chamber, a civil society institution that has consultative powers, Kommersant wrote.

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Russian deputy minister slams ‘gay nationalism’
]]> The first section is titled “Man, Family and Society,” and focuses on the purpose of the family, the outlet cited Uskova as saying. The second section, “My relatives, so similar and so different,” looks at the history of the family and explores relationships within a family, such as ties between grandchildren and grandparents. Other sections detail the basics of housekeeping, good family atmosphere, and family law.

Earlier this month, Russian President Vladimir Putin said children and family values were of the utmost importance for both society and government. In February, he called on all levels of government, civil society, and religious institutions to work together to make large families the social norm.

]]> READ MORE: Russia facing ‘terrible demographic hole’ — deputy PM

]]> The government’s push to promote family values comes as the birth rate in Russia has been steadily falling since 2014, and plunged to its lowest level since the turn of the century in 2023. According to a recent study, the trend could translate into a significant decline in the population and lead to various problems for the economy.

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Tue, 18 Jun 2024 09:41:21 +0000 RT
Russian warships launch exercises in Far East (VIDEO) /russia/599472-russia-pacific-fleet-navy-drills/ Russia’s Pacific Fleet has launched naval exercises in the Far East involving 40 warships and 20 aircraft and helicopters
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Dozens of navy vessels, aircraft, and helicopters will take part in the drills, the Defense Ministry has said

Russia’s Pacific Fleet is deploying forces as part of planned exercises in the Far East. The drills will involve dozens of vessels, aircraft, and helicopters, the Defense Ministry reported on Monday.  

According to a statement, the Pacific Fleet’s Primorsky Flotilla will conduct maneuvers with the joint command of troops and forces in the northeast of Russia. Marine corps units and combat crews tasked with manning the Bal and Bastion coastal missile systems will also take part.  

Russian sailors will train in repelling attacks by UAVs and unmanned boats, as well as conducting combat training exercises, anti-submarine operations, and launching joint missile strikes against naval groups of a mock enemy, the ministry said.  

Around 40 warships, boats, and support vessels and about 20 naval aircraft and helicopters will participate in the drills, which will take place between June 18 and 28, the Defense Ministry revealed.   

The exercises will be conducted in the Pacific Ocean, the Sea of Japan, and the Sea of Okhotsk under the leadership of the commander of the Pacific Fleet, Admiral Viktor Liina.  

Last week, a four-vessel task force from the Russian Navy’s Northern Fleet sailed into Havana, Cuba, on a long-range expedition intended to “show the flag” and “ensure a naval presence in operationally important areas,” according to the Defense Ministry.

Leading the group was the missile frigate Admiral Gorshkov, along with the Yasen-class nuclear-powered submarine Kazan, two of Russia’s most modern naval assets. The Russian flotilla, which also includes the oil tanker Pashin and the salvage tug Nikolay Chiker, reached Cuba last Wednesday.

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Tue, 18 Jun 2024 09:16:51 +0000 RT
Russia and North Korea to sign strategic partnership treaty /russia/599478-russia-north-korea-sign-strategic-treaty/ Vladimir Putin has approved the signing of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Agreement with North Korea
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The Kremlin has said the agreement seeks to boost regional stability and is not directed against third countries

Russian President Vladimir Putin has approved the draft of a strategic partnership treaty with North Korea, which is expected to be signed during his upcoming visit to Pyongyang.

The Russian leader will begin a two-day state visit to North Korea on Tuesday, which will include a face-to-face meeting with the country's leader, Kim Jong-un, as well as talks on a wide range of issues, including security, the economy, and the international agenda.

Hours before Putin’s scheduled arrival in Pyongyang, Moscow released a presidential decree stating that it accepts “the proposal of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the signing of… Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Agreement between the Russian Federation and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.”

The signing of the deal will take place “at the highest level.” The decree also allows the Russian Foreign Ministry to “introduce changes to the draft agreement that are not of a fundamental nature.”

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FILE PHOTO. Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hand with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un
Details of Putin’s upcoming visit to North Korea revealed
]]> Putin’s foreign policy aide, Yury Ushakov, said on Monday that the treaty will supersede several agreements between the two countries dating back to the Soviet era and the early 2000s.

Ushakov noted that the treaty “will outline the prospects for further cooperation” and will take into account recent developments in relations between Moscow and Pyongyang.

The agreement, he added, “will not be confrontational and directed against any countries, but will be aimed at ensuring greater stability in the North-East Asia region.”

The announcement came after Putin said earlier this month that Russia intends to develop relations with North Korea “whether anyone likes it or not.” In an article for the North Korean daily Rodong Sinmun published on Monday, he also said that Moscow and Pyongyang “will develop alternative trade and mutual settlements mechanisms not controlled by the West, jointly oppose illegitimate unilateral restrictions, and shape the architecture of equal and indivisible security in Eurasia.”

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Tue, 18 Jun 2024 09:08:36 +0000 RT
Türkiye warned Russia about potential Moscow terror attack – media /russia/599473-turkey-russia-warning-second-terrorist-attack/ Türkiye warned Russia of a second terrorist attack that was supposed to follow the Crocus City Hall shooting, Hurriyet reports
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ISIS-K planned to target “a crowded shopping mall” after the deadly shooting at the Crocus City Hall, Hurriyet reports

Turkish intelligence warned Russia of a second terrorist attack intended to follow the deadly massacre at the Crocus City Hall outside Moscow this spring, Hurriyet reported on Tuesday.

The attack on the venue took place in late March when a group of armed men – later identified as ethnic Tajiks – stormed the venue ahead of a rock concert, killing 145 people and injuring more than 500 others. It was the deadliest act of terrorism in the country since the early 2000s.

Russian officials said the attack was prepared, financed, and coordinated by the Islamic State-Khorasan (ISIS-K) terrorist organization, but claimed that the group was used by Ukraine as a proxy. Kiev has denied any involvement.

Hurriyet noted that Türkiye has long been on the lookout for threats posed by ISIS-K. Ankara’s special services also identified and questioned numerous persons of interest in the aftermath of an attack on a Catholic church in Istanbul in late January, establishing contact with the Russian side on the matter.

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Federal Security Service (FSB) Chief Alexander Bortnikov attends a joint meeting of the Federation Council's Committees on Defence and Security and on Constitutional Legislation and State Building in Moscow, Russia.
Ukrainian spies involved in Moscow terror attack – FSB chief
]]> The paper said two of the culprits who carried out the Crocus City Hall attack had resided in Moscow for a long time and had on numerous occasions briefly entered Türkiye to extend residence permits, adding that Russia was notified of this.

By interrogating the captured ISIS-K members, Türkiye learned that “the terrorist organization had planned a second attack after the first attack on the concert hall,” Hurriyet said, adding that Ankara told Moscow that the organization was planning to target “a crowded shopping mall.”

The head of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), Aleksandr Bortnikov, previously said that before the Crocus City shooting, Moscow was warned by the US about an impending terrorist attack, but the information was “general” in nature. He said Russia “had taken appropriate measures” to prevent terrorist attacks, noting that they targeted a certain group of individuals, and that “information did not check out at the time.”

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Tue, 18 Jun 2024 08:05:06 +0000 RT
Russian oil depot ablaze after drone strike (VIDEOS) /russia/599470-azov-oil-tanks-fire/ Russian officials have reported a serious fire at an oil storage facility in the city of Azov following a drone attack
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The attack on the port city of Azov comes days after a massive Ukrainian raid on the region

A Ukrainian drone attack on the city of Azov in Russia’s Rostov Region caused a major fire at an oil storage facility on Tuesday morning, according to officials.

The incident was first reported by Governor Vasily Golibev, who said nobody had been injured and assured residents that the fire had been contained.

The Emergencies Ministry said around 200 firefighters had been deployed to tackle the blaze, which covered an area of about 3,200 square meters. The ministry released footage showing personnel dealing with the situation.

Unconfirmed reports said residents in Azov had heard four or five explosions early in the morning. The city of over 80,000 is located on the coast of the eponymous sea about 25km west of Rostov-on-Don, the regional capital.

The region itself is relatively close to Kiev-controlled territory and is subjected to regular kamikaze drone raids. Last week, Ukraine targeted the area with a massive wave of robotic aircraft. The Russian Defense Ministry reported shooting down 70 drones overnight.

Ukrainian military officials have claimed they have “no choice” but to target Russian energy infrastructure due to the difficulties that their forces are experiencing on the front line.

The Russian military has been targeting Ukrainian energy infrastructure that it perceives as crucial for Kiev’s military capability. According to Ukrainian officials, some 80% of the country’s thermal power plant capacity has been disabled by Russian missile strikes.

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Tue, 18 Jun 2024 07:40:10 +0000 RT
Putin reveals goals of North Korea trip /russia/599459-putin-north-korea-goals/ Russia intends to build better ties with Pyongyang, free from Western pressure, Vladimir Putin has said ahead of his visit to the DPRK
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The Russian leader wants better relations free of pressure from the West

Moscow and Pyongyang will develop their own trade and security arrangements, immune from pressure from the West, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said, ahead of his visit to North Korea on Tuesday. The Russian president outlined his goals in an article published by the leading DPRK daily, Rodong Sinmun.

To bring “more democracy and stability to international relations,” Russia and North Korea “will develop alternative trade and mutual settlements mechanisms not controlled by the West, jointly oppose illegitimate unilateral restrictions, and shape the architecture of equal and indivisible security in Eurasia,” Putin wrote.

He also pledged to increase “people-to-people interaction” between the two countries, including “academic mobility” between higher education institutions, tourism, “as well as cultural, educational, youth and sports exchanges” to promote confidence, mutual understanding and well-being.

Putin reminded Koreans that the Soviet army helped liberate them from Japanese occupation in 1945 and that Moscow was the first to recognize the DPRK and establish diplomatic relations with Pyongyang. The USSR also helped rebuild the country after the devastation of the Korean War (1950-1953) with the US-backed South.

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Russia supports North Korea against ‘treacherous’ West – Putin
]]> “Russia has incessantly supported and will support the DPRK and the heroic Korean people in their struggle against the treacherous, dangerous and aggressive enemy, in their fight for independence, identity and the right to freely choose their development path,” the Russian president wrote.

Tuesday’s visit will be Putin’s first trip to North Korea since 2000, when he met with Kim Jong-Il. Last September, he hosted the current DPRK leader Kim Jong-un at the Vostochny spaceport in eastern Russia.

According to the Kremlin, the Russian delegation will also include Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, First Deputy Prime Minister Denis Manturov, Defense Minister Andrey Belousov, Health Minister Mikhail Murashko, Transport Minister Roman Starovoyt, space agency Roscosmos chief Yuri Borisov, and Russian Railway head Oleg Belozyorov.

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Mon, 17 Jun 2024 22:45:01 +0000 RT
Russia supports North Korea against ‘treacherous’ West – Putin /russia/599457-putin-north-korea-visit/ Moscow and Pyongyang are on the same side in the fight for more democracy and stability in international relations, Vladimir Putin has said
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Vladimir Putin is scheduled to visit Pyongyang for the first time since 2000

Russian President Vladimir Putin has thanked the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea for its friendship and support and pledged to assist Pyongyang in its own struggle to assert its independence and its own identity.

Putin is scheduled to visit North Korea on Tuesday, for the first time since 2000. Ahead of his trip, the Russian president has written an article published by the leading DPRK daily, Rodong Sinmun.

“Russia has continuously supported and will support the DPRK and the heroic Korean people in their struggle against the treacherous, dangerous and aggressive enemy, in their fight for independence, identity and the right to freely choose their development path,” Putin wrote.

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FILE PHOTO
Putin reveals goals of North Korea trip
]]> The Russian leader thanked North Korea for its “unwavering support” of the military operation in Ukraine, international solidarity, and “willingness to defend our common priorities and views” at the UN.

Putin also described Pyongyang as “our committed and like-minded supporter, ready to confront the ambition of the collective West to prevent the emergence of a multipolar world order based on justice, mutual respect for sovereignty and consideration of each other’s interests.”

The “rules-based order” the US has been trying to impose on the world is “nothing more than a global neo-colonial dictatorship that relies on double standards,” Putin noted.

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FILE PHOTO. Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hand with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un
Details of Putin’s upcoming visit to North Korea revealed
]]> While Kim Jong-un and the DPRK leadership have repeatedly offered to resolve differences by peaceful means, the US has refused to implement previous agreements and “keeps setting new, increasingly harsh and obviously unacceptable requirements,” Putin wrote.

The Russian president complimented North Koreans for “effectively defending their interests” even after years of “economic pressure, provocations, blackmailing and military threats” by the US.

According to the Kremlin, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, First Deputy Prime Minister Denis Manturov, Defense Minister Andrey Belousov, Health Minister Mikhail Murashko, Transport Minister Roman Starovoyt, Roscosmos chief Yuri Borisov, and Russian Railway head Oleg Belozyorov are scheduled to accompany Putin on his trip to North Korea on Tuesday.

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Mon, 17 Jun 2024 21:06:54 +0000 RT
Zelensky’s ‘peace conference’ will go down in history, but not in the way you might think /russia/599447-historic-zelenskys-peace-summit/ The gathering in Switzerland could become a rare thing which is forgotten about now but remembered as significant decades later
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The gathering in Switzerland could become a rare thing which is forgotten about now but remembered as significant decades later

There was nothing memorable about it. It didn’t even produce a notable meme. Despite the hype, Vladimir Zelensky’s ‘peace summit’ in Switzerland was rather uneventful and is likely to be forgotten in a couple of weeks or even days.

One could certainly mock the summit’s agenda (some say the most important event was the banquet) or the participants (which included the International Boxing Association, the minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme of Australia, and the minister of Correctional Services from New Zealand), and the possible belief of some that Russian President Vladimir Putin was the main speaker (he proposed his own peace plan the day before); we could also note that some countries refused to sign the final communiqué while others withdrew their signatures, and so on.

However, it may turn out that the summit in Switzerland could still go down in history, and in the future, historians will call the failure of Kiev’s diplomacy a turning point that marked the beginning of major changes in the world.

Classic and contemporary diplomacy

Let’s talk theory for a moment. There are two kinds of peace negotiations. First, there is the classic kind that developed over the centuries: Two countries engage in war, one of the parties gains the upper hand, and imposes its will on the other. The war ends when one or both sides realize that the price of continuing hostilities is greater than that of concluding peace. At this point, diplomats step in – their task is to determine the most favorable conditions for both sides. There have been many examples in history when a country that lost a war managed to conclude peace with minimal bloodshed, after incurring minor or even symbolic losses.

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Vladimir Zelensky attends the summit in Lucerne, Switzerland on June 15, 2024.
Fyodor Lukyanov: Here’s why this weekend’s Ukraine ‘peace conference’ is a sham
]]> However, after World War II and with the advent of the UN era, the concept of ‘war’ was replaced in international law by that of ‘armed conflict’. While in the past, countries often resorted to war to solve their problems, after the catastrophe of World War II, a ‘global policeman’ emerged whose task was to stop armed conflicts (by force if necessary), pull the participants apart, and resolve the contradictions at the negotiating table.

Classic peace treaties became a thing of the past, and gave way to endless ‘peace processes’ under the auspices of the UN and other international organizations. Such has been the case in Palestine, Korea, Cyprus, Kashmir, West Africa, the Balkans, and republics of the former USSR. 

In some cases, this strategy worked and helped end the hot phase of a conflict and establish peace, while in others, it led to decades of bloodshed. However, we must note that following 1945, the chain of causation was broken, and there was no longer a direct link between the result of combat and the result of peace negotiations.

However, while things changed on paper, post-war reality was still determined by the balance of power. Such was the case in Korea (both sides were exhausted and neither won), Palestine (nobody could expel Israel from occupied territories which it was not willing to leave), and Vietnam (the US de facto lost the war and their ally was left at the mercy of the winning side).

After the end of the Cold War, the US became the world’s sole policeman, and decided that it could do anything it wanted. In Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, and Iraq, Washington acted on the same principle: America is right and everyone else is wrong.

How it started...

For this reason, several generations of politicians came to believe that if they enlisted the support of Washington, they could use any peace process to turn the course of a given conflict in their favor, no matter what happened on the battlefield. For the past ten years, Ukraine’s diplomacy has been based on this ‘postmodern’ concept.

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FILE PHOTO: Russian servicemen practise assault techniques on an enemy stronghold amid Russia's military operation in Ukraine.
Ivan Timofeev: Russia and NATO are drifting towards a major war
]]> Let’s briefly recall the chronology of the conflict in that country. The 2014-15 war in Donbass de facto ended with Kiev’s defeat and the signing of the Minsk agreements. However, backed by the US, Ukraine did not comply with the terms, and it became another hopeless peace process that, instead of solving contradictions, only swept them under the rug.  

As a guarantor of the deal, Russia tried to force Ukraine to comply with the terms in February 2022. At the same time, it wanted to press the West to stop supporting Ukraine. The result was the proposed Istanbul peace treaty – a compromise which would have been beneficial to everyone. Had it been implemented, Ukraine’s statehood could have been preserved and even strengthened, Russia would have been provided with the buffer zone that it required, wider Europe would have been guaranteed peace, and the US could have retained its authority and prolonged the existence of Pax Americana.

However, such assumptions were quite naive. Apparently, the Kremlin still hoped that a peace process may resolve the contradictions. This didn’t work, and the format of the special military operation did not allow Moscow to impose its will, since it lacked sufficient forces to achieve its goals.

In autumn 2022, Ukraine carried out several successful offensives near Kharkov and Kherson. At that point, a wise leader would have proposed peace on the terms that corresponded to the real situation at the front, called it a success, and ended the conflict, which was a great burden for his country.

...and how it’s going

However, Zelensky did the exact opposite: He legally prohibited himself from holding negotiations with Putin and drew up a ‘peace formula’ consisting of ten points, which basically required Moscow to surrender. This stipulated the complete withdrawal of troops to the 1991 borders (i.e. not only from the new territories, but also from Crimea), the payment of reparations, a war crimes tribunal, and so on.

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RT
Do the new US sanctions mark Russia’s final divorce from the dollar?
]]> Did Zelensky get dizzy from relative success and put his complete trust in the power of the US? Or was his proposal just a starting point that could have been adjusted later on? This could have been the case if the diplomatic process had continued. However, as soon as it appeared, Zelensky’s peace plan formed a bubble of distorted reality around itself.

At first, following the Ukrainian army’s success in 2022, the West sympathized with Zelensky’s idea – the US, UK, France, NATO, and many Western countries expressed support for his plan.

However, words are just words, and any putative deal is just a piece of paper unless it leads to a real peace process. Eventually, this was launched. Zelensky’s goal was to obtain the written support of as many countries as possible and then present this document to Moscow as an ultimatum. 

In the past year, a number of meetings have been held – in Copenhagen (June 2023), Jeddah (August 2023), Malta (October 2023), and Kiev (December 2023). There were others as well, which were less notable – nine in total.

The tenth and most grandiose was supposed to be the Switzerland summit, where Zelensky’s ‘peace formula’ was to be signed by the world majority.

In the meantime, the situation on the battlefield changed considerably, and not in Ukraine’s favor. Kiev’s counteroffensive failed, and the West could not defeat Russia in the trade war. Nor could it provide enough weapons and meet Kiev’s demands on the battlefield.

From the start it was an arrogant – but at least noteworthy – declaration, but now Zelensky’s proposal has turned into idle chatter which no one believes in.

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RT
Dmitry Trenin: Here’s how Russia can prevent WW3
]]> Have your cake and eat it too

The organizers of the summit in Switzerland resorted to their usual tricks – they organized an event that appeared to be global in scale but was actually pro-Western. The plan was simple – order everyone to show up, unfurl banners, and have them clap at the right moment. No one really cared what the participants themselves thought.

However, things did not go as planned. Many of those at the gathering dared to disobey the West. The resistance was not very strong (there’s no reason to make a scandal right now), but for the first time in decades, the West had to make a choice: Either stand its ground (and meet with even greater resistance) or seek compromise.

The compromise didn’t really work either. For the sake of appearances and obtaining the support of as many participants as possible, the agenda was reduced to three meaningless points – but even in this form, the most important countries of the world majority (i.e. those that are not allied with the West) either didn’t go to Switzerland or didn’t sign anything.

And it’s not just because Iraq, Brazil, India, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Jordan, or China all greatly support Russia – no, for the most part, they don’t care about it that much. Simply, with each year and even each month, fewer countries are ready to be at the beck and call of the West.

While a full-fledged row did not break out at the summit in Burgenstock, some leaders made provocative speeches – for example, the president of Kenya spoke about the illegality of appropriating Russian assets, the prime minister of East Timor mentioned the hypocrisy of the West and its so-called ‘rules-based order’, and so on.

Moreover, all non-Western participants stressed the fact that negotiations are not worthwhile without the equal participation of both sides of the conflict. At the conclusion of the summit, even the minister of foreign affairs of Ukraine, Dmitry Kuleba, was forced to admit this. While for Zelensky this signifies the collapse of his entire policy, for the rest of the world it may mean a return to the classic principles of diplomacy based on the balance of power – which means there is still a chance that something may change for the better.     

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NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
Fyodor Lukyanov: Russia needs to explain its ‘red lines’ to the West
]]> By the way, we must note the behavior of US President Joe Biden – as a smart politician, he knew everything in advance and did not go to the summit. Had he attended, it could have been a more energized event, but without him it was simply meaningless.

The elephant in the room

Putin, of course, proposed his own peace plan – just as delegates prepared to travel to Switzerland. Of course, it was immediately rejected by the West and Kiev – but nevertheless, in the new reality, Russia’s position will have to be taken into account. His words made it clear that the outcome of the conflict – and following it, the future world order – will be determined not by the demarcation line, but by the regime that will run Kiev after the ceasefire.

If it accepts Putin’s conditions (refusal of NATO membership, disarmament, and the prohibition of nationalist Ukrainian ideology), this will lead to the reestablishment of the Ukrainian state on the basis of friendly relations with Russia (otherwise, things will go badly for Kiev). This new state may be built by the current Ukrainian elites – so it’s no wonder that Putin hinted that they should overthrow Zelensky, break ties with the West, and start with a clean slate.

If Moscow fails to achieve this, Kiev will remain under Western control. In this case, Ukraine (even with less territory) will remain the West’s battering ram against Russia, and after a short hiatus, the conflict might resume.

The third option, which unfortunately is quite likely at the moment, is that the fighting will drag on until Ukraine falls apart, is left in ruins, and the former Ukrainian lands – and the remaining population – are gradually absorbed by neighboring countries.

There is also a fourth scenario – a major escalation of the conflict, direct hostilities with NATO, and unpredictable nuclear consequences.

The only thing that’s off the table now is the fifth option – a Ukrainian military victory. The big difference is that Putin still has a chance to implement his ‘peace formula’, while Zelensky’s plan has completely failed.

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Mon, 17 Jun 2024 18:44:38 +0000 RT
WATCH Russian heavy flamethrower strike Ukrainian positions /russia/599443-heavy-flamethrower-strike-ukraine/ The Russian military has shared fresh footage of a TOS-family multiple rocket launcher striking Ukrainian positions in Donbass
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The Defense Ministry has shared new battlefield footage featuring the TOS multiple rocket launcher

The Russian Defense Ministry on Monday shared footage of a TOS-1A multiple rocket launcher striking Ukrainian positions. 

The battlefield video was taken near Soledar, a Donetsk People’s Republic town located to the northeast of the city Artyomovsk (known in Ukraine as Bakhmut). The system, widely known by the nickname ‘Solntsepyok’ – ‘Scorching Sunlight’, is seen firing multiple projectiles at night.

The strike was observed by a surveillance UAV fitted with an infrared camera. The massive 220-mm thermobaric weapon is seen leaving large glowing spots on the ground after hits, footage shows. While the system is effectively a short-range multiple rocket launcher mounted on a tank chassis, TOS-1As are classified in Russia as “heavy flamethrowers.”

In its most recent daily briefing, the Defense Ministry claimed that Ukraine lost an estimated 1,800 soldiers lost over the past 24 hours. It also reported the destruction of various pieces of hardware used by Kiev’s forces, including multiple artillery pieces, both Western-supplied and older Soviet-era systems.

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Source: Telegram @ReklamaRudenko
WATCH Russian military strike Ukrainian airfield
]]> The most intense combat continued near Artyomovsk, as well as in Ukraine’s Kharkov Region, with an estimated 535 and 300 casualties inflicted on Ukrainian troops in the two areas, respectively, according to the briefing. Russian forces recently crossed the border at multiple locations into Kharkov Region.  

The offensive comes as part of the effort to push Ukrainian forces further away from Russian territory and thus stop the indiscriminate artillery and drone strikes on border settlements, including the city of Belgorod. The Ukrainian strikes, which the Russian Defense Ministry says primarily target civilian infrastructure and residential areas, have inflicted considerable material damage and resulted in dozens of civilian deaths.

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Mon, 17 Jun 2024 18:08:07 +0000 RT
Ukrainian man ‘commits robbery to avoid draft’ /russia/599431-ukrainian-draft-dodger-robbery/ A Ukrainian man has claimed he committed a robbery so that he would be convicted and avoid mobilization
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The suspect now faces up to ten years behind bars after allegedly snatching a handbag from a woman in the street

A Ukrainian man has claimed he robbed a woman in the port city of Odessa so that he would avoid being drafted into the military, local police said on Monday.

The 18-year-old suspect snatched a handbag from a woman in the street in broad daylight, fleeing the scene on foot before taking public transport to get home, police in Odessa said in a statement. The victim alerted the authorities and the suspect was apprehended soon afterwards. 

The man reportedly confessed to the crime, telling police he had deliberately committed the robbery so that he would receive a criminal conviction and would avoid mobilization into the military. The suspect claimed he had discarded the handbag while fleeing the scene. The item and its contents have not been recovered, the police noted. 

According to the victim, the handbag contained her documents, a smartphone, headphones, and cash, estimated to be worth around $300. The suspect is now facing robbery charges aggravated by “considerable damage.” Under Ukrainian law, the offense is punishable by up to ten years behind bars. 

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Vladimir Zelensky speaks at the 2024 Ukraine Recovery Conference in Berlin, Germany, on June 11, 2024.
Zelensky asks Ukrainians abroad to ‘come home’
]]> Technically, the 18-year-old suspect does not fall under Kiev’s mobilization drive, which currently only targets individuals aged 25 and older. Over the past few months, however, multiple Ukrainian officials and public figures have repeatedly said mobilization efforts should be expanded to all adults, as “everyone” in the country must be involved in the fight against Russia. 

Kiev has maintained a mobilization drive since the early days of the conflict with Russia, which broke out in late February 2022. The draft effort has apparently grown increasingly draconian. Numerous videos circulating online have shown Ukrainian enlistment officers raiding public transport, chasing potential recruits in the streets, and subjecting them to various kinds of abuse.

The draft effort became even more severe with a controversial law enacted in April. The legislation lowered the conscription age from 27 to 25 and greatly expanded the powers of enlistment officers, also introducing additional penalties for draft dodgers.

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Mon, 17 Jun 2024 15:26:13 +0000 RT
Details of Putin’s upcoming visit to North Korea revealed /russia/599440-putin-north-korea-visit-details/ The Russian president will travel to Pyongyang later this week after receiving a personal invitation from Kim Jong-un
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The Russian president will travel to Pyongyang on Tuesday on the personal invitation of Kim Jong-un

Russian President Vladimir Putin will travel to North Korea on Tuesday and will stay for one night, the Kremlin announced on Monday.   

The trip will mark the first time Putin has visited the country since 2000, when he met with Kim Jong-il, the father of current leader Kim Jong-un. 

A senior foreign policy aide to the Russian president, Yuri Ushakov, has outlined some of the details of the upcoming trip, stating that Putin will be accompanied by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, First Deputy Prime Minister Denis Manturov, Defense Minister Andrey Belousov, Health Minister Mikhail Murashko, Transport Minister Roman Starovoyt, Roscosmos chief Yuri Borisov, and Russian Railway head Oleg Belozyorov, among others. 

The two sides are expected to sign a number of documents during the visit, according to Ushakov, including a potential comprehensive strategic partnership agreement. The Russian delegation will also engage in extensive talks with its North Korean counterpart on a number of issues, including bilateral relations, the economy, security, and international cooperation. 

Putin is also expected to attend a state concert being held in honor of his visit and hold informal talks with Kim. 

“The relationship between the Russian Federation and the DPRK is friendly and good-neighborly,” Ushakov said, emphasizing that they are built on “the principles of equality and respect for sovereignty.” 

Kim Jong-un invited Putin to visit North Korea while on a visit to the Russian Far East in September 2023, where he met the Russian president.   

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North Korea leader Kim Jong Un (L) attends a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin (R).
US troubled by Russia’s ‘complete embrace’ of North Korea – senior diplomat
]]> In January, Pyongyang extended an official invitation to Putin, calling him “the closest friend of the Korean people” and stating that the republic would warmly welcome the Russian leader with “all its heart.” 

When Putin’s potential visit was initially announced, Japan, South Korea and the US, who have voiced concern over the growing ties between Moscow and Pyongyang, stated that they would be “closely monitoring” the situation and would respond decisively to any provocations by the North. 

Meanwhile, China has publicly supported the strengthening of friendly relations between Russia and North Korea. Foreign Ministry spokesman Lin Jian said last week that China “welcomes the fact that Russia is strengthening and developing traditional friendly relations with relevant countries” and noted that Beijing also maintains good neighborly ties with Pyongyang.

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Mon, 17 Jun 2024 15:08:14 +0000 RT
Kremlin dismisses Kiev’s ‘peace summit’ expectations /russia/599430-peskov-ukraine-peace-talks-russia/ Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov has dismissed Kiev’s claim that Russia will attend the next ‘peace summit’ to sign a truce
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
Ukraine is well aware of Russia’s position and what needs to be done before talks can begin, Dmitry Peskov has said

Russia’s conditions for peace with Ukraine remain unchanged from those outlined by President Vladimir Putin last week, regardless of Kiev’s expectations, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday.

Last weekend, Switzerland hosted the Ukraine ‘peace summit’, to which Russia was not invited at Kiev’s request. Speaking to journalists on Sunday, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba said he wants the next event to include a delegation from Moscow ready to sign a truce.

”The approach of the Russian side is transparent, consistent and well-known, including to Mr. Kuleba,” Peskov said. Putin detailed this last Friday, he added.

In a keynote foreign policy speech last week, Putin said he would order a ceasefire as soon as Kiev announces the withdrawal of troops from all territory claimed by Moscow and vows not to seek NATO membership. The Ukrainian government has rejected the proposal, calling it an ultimatum.

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Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba
Ukraine admits need for peace talks with Russia
]]> The gathering in Switzerland, as envisioned by Ukrainian officials, was meant to formulate a “just” resolution of the Ukraine conflict, which Kiev and its supporters would then present to Russia to accept under pressure.

The final joint statement was signed by less than 80 nations, plus three separate bodies of the EU, the human rights organization Council of Europe, and the breakaway Serbian region of Kosovo. Most of the signatories were already following the US’ lead in supporting Kiev. Major players of the Global South, including China, India, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Indonesia, and others, either boycotted the conference or did not sign the communique.

The document did not include many of the points in the ‘peace formula’ advocated by Kiev, such as the demand for Russia to pay war reparations and the creation of a tribunal for alleged war crimes. The three key articles approved in Switzerland urge nuclear safety, food security, and an exchange of prisoners of war between Russia and Ukraine. The statement also calls for “dialogue between all parties” to achieve peace.

]]> READ MORE: ‘Zelensky regime’ incapable of negotiating – Moscow?

]]> Moscow dismissed the conference as irrelevant before it was held, as no serious results could be achieved without Russia’s participation, according to senior Russian officials. Given the situation on the front line, Ukraine will receive progressively worse terms with time and could end up losing its statehood, they have warned.

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Mon, 17 Jun 2024 13:42:56 +0000 RT
Russia will demand compensation for sanctions – Medvedev /russia/599427-medvedev-russia-compensation-western-sanctions/ Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev says Moscow will at some point demand compensation from the West for sanctions-related damage
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The deputy chair of the Russian Security Council has urged other nations targeted by Western economic restrictions to do the same

Russia will assess the damage done to its economy by Western sanctions and demand restitution at some point down the road, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has said.

Commenting on the latest batch of restrictions imposed on Moscow by Washington last week, the official, who currently serves as deputy chair of the Russian Security Council, claimed that the West is waging a “war without rules” on Russia.

The US has sanctioned more than 4,000 Russian individuals and companies since February 2022, when the Ukraine conflict began. The EU, UK, Canada, Japan, and several other nations have also imposed similar restrictions on Russia.

On Monday, Medvedev said that Moscow was going to “be evaluating [the damage done] so as to be able to demand [compensation from] the countries that have imposed sanctions on Russia.” 

He suggested that “one could start systematizing and evaluating the damage done to countries [that have] suffered from sanctions adopted in circumvention of the UN Security Council.” The former Russian head of state added that quite a significant number of nations would be subject to potential claims and that a “register of losses inflicted by crimes of the colonial epoch and neo-colonialism” would likely be necessary to get this process off the ground.

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RT
G7 demands $486 billion from Russia
]]> Medvedev stressed the importance of “seeking justice from former colonial powers.”

Last week, the deputy chair of the Security Council argued that Moscow should exploit every weakness of the US and its allies to inflict “maximum damage” on them. Reacting to the sanctions announced by the US Departments of State and Treasury last Wednesday, Medvedev insisted that Russia should retaliate in every possible way instead of just ignoring the Western punitive measures.

The latest sanctions target 300 additional individuals and entities in Russia, China, Kyrgyzstan, and Türkiye, including those in the energy, metals and mining, and financial sectors. According to the US authorities, the measures are intended to sever the “remaining avenues for international materials and equipment… from third countries.”

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen explained that Washington was thus “increasing the risk for financial institutions dealing with Russia’s war economy and eliminating paths for evasion.”

Estimated by the Department of the Treasury to impact more than $100 million in trade between Russia and its foreign partners, the latest US sanctions package is one of the largest since the outbreak of the Ukraine conflict.

The measures compelled the Moscow Exchange to suspend all trade in the US dollar and euro last week.

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Mon, 17 Jun 2024 13:12:38 +0000 RT
Black US embassy worker assaulted in Kiev – Ukrainian media /russia/599432-black-us-embassy-worker-assaulted-ukraine/ A black employee of the US embassy in Kiev was sprayed with a gas canister by a group of Ukrainian teenagers, local media have reported
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The 27-year-old man was reportedly sprayed with a gas canister by a group of teenagers in a suspected racially motivated attack

A group of Ukrainian teenagers assaulted a black employee of the US embassy in Kiev, several Ukrainian media outlets reported on Sunday, citing law enforcement sources.

Police in Kiev have confirmed that a criminal investigation has begun a case involving “hooliganism against a foreigner,” but did not identify the victim. The attack occurred in a supermarket in the western part of the Ukrainian capital when two 12-year-olds and one 13-year-old approached the foreigner, with one of them spraying the man using a gas canister.

It is unclear whether the victim of the attack suffered injury.

Ukrainian officials said it took two hours for police to identify the suspects, adding that they had been invited to a police station with their parents to testify. Police also said they had confiscated the canister used in the incident.

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FILE PHOTO.
Spanish drug gangs fighting police with Ukrainian weapons – media
]]> Meanwhile, Strana.ua identified the victim as a 27-year-old male working in security at the US embassy in Kiev, adding that the juvenile justice department was also looking into the incident. The Ukrainian Telegram channel ‘All-seeing Eye’ suggested that the motive for the attack was “most likely the color of the skin.”

While those convicted of such an offense could face up to four years in prison, the suspects are all under the age of 14, making them immune from prosecution.

The Ukrainian police shared images of the suspects, whose faces are blurred, surrounded by several unidentified adults, as well as a photo of the canister used in the attack.

While pepper spray canisters are heavily regulated or outright banned in many EU states, it is legal to purchase most types of these devices in Ukraine for people over 18, typically costing around $5 each.

The latest incident is not the first time that an employee of the US embassy in Kiev has been attacked. In 2020, a female American citizen working for the diplomatic mission was found unconscious near a railway line. She had suffered a head injury and died several hours later. While Ukrainian police announced a manhunt in the wake of the incident, local media later suggested that the woman may have been killed in a train accident.

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Mon, 17 Jun 2024 12:59:58 +0000 RT
Major botulism outbreak leaves 30 Muscovites in intensive care /russia/599424-botulism-outbreak-moscow-hospital/ More than 120 people have suffered symptoms of botulism after eating contaminated food, according to Moscow’s deputy mayor
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
The cases of the rare and potentially fatal disease have been blamed on salads sold by food delivery companies

More than 120 people have sought medical help in the Russian capital after suffering symptoms of botulism, a rare and potentially fatal disease caused by eating contaminated food, according to the city authorities.

Fifty-five people are in serious condition in the hospital, with 30 in intensive care, Moscow Deputy Mayor Anastasia Rakova told the media on Monday.

Foodborne botulism is caused by eating foods that have been contaminated with botulinum toxin, described by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as “one of the most lethal toxins known.” It can be found in homemade foods that have been improperly canned, preserved, or fermented. Store-bought foods also can be contaminated with botulinum toxin.

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RT
No Covid FLiRT variants detected in Russia – watchdog
]]> Botulism causes difficulty breathing, muscle paralysis, and if left untreated, can lead to death. Early symptoms include fatigue and vertigo, usually followed by blurred vision, dry mouth, and difficulty in swallowing and speaking. Vomiting and diarrhea may also occur.

The patients in Moscow sought help in a timely manner and their lives are not in danger, Rakova said.

The first cases were reported in the capital on Friday and Saturday. Russia’s consumer health watchdog, Rospotrebnadzor, launched an investigation over the weekend.

]]> READ MORE: Russian health minister reveals cancer vaccine progress

]]> The outbreak has been blamed on ready-to-eat salads sold by two local food delivery services. The companies’ operations have been suspended.

A criminal case has been launched, the Russian Investigative Committee has said.

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Mon, 17 Jun 2024 12:58:33 +0000 RT
NATO chief saber-rattling with nuclear weapons – Kremlin /russia/599422-peskov-stoltenberg-nuclear-nato/ Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has criticized NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg for remarks about nuclear weapons
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
The suggestion that more warheads should be put on standby is an example of double standards, Dmitry Peskov has said

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is fueling tensions with Russia with his revelation that the US-led military bloc is considering putting more nuclear weapons on standby, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said.

Consultations between member nations on moving some warheads from stockpile to combat readiness are ongoing, the NATO chief told The Telegraph on Sunday. He said the bloc may soon “face something that it has never faced before, and that is two nuclear-powered potential adversaries – China and Russia” and therefore needs to send the foes a message.

Peskov on Monday suggested that Stoltenberg was using a double standard, since the NATO chief had previously accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of “nuclear saber rattling” for mentioning his country’s nuclear arsenal publicly. However, Putin “does not make such remarks on his own volition,” but only when asked directly by journalists, his press secretary claimed.

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NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a press conference at NATO Headquarters in Brussels on June 14, 2024.
NATO could put more nuclear weapons on ‘standby mode’ – Stoltenberg
]]> Stoltenberg’s remarks also seem to clash with the joint declaration signed this past weekend at the so-called “peace summit” convened in Switzerland on Kiev’s behalf, Peskov added. He said: “This is nothing but the latest move to fuel tensions.” The document emerging from the gathering states that “any threat or use of nuclear weapons in the context of the ongoing war against Ukraine is inadmissible.”

Putin addressed the issue during a meeting with foreign media earlier this month. He said he believed nuclear-armed nations should abstain from issuing nuclear threats, but said that Western nations delude themselves if they expect Russia not to follow its own nuclear doctrine.

“If someone’s actions pose a threat to our sovereignty and territorial integrity, we consider ourselves in the right to use all means at our disposal,” he said. “This issue must not be treated lightly.”

]]> READ MORE: Russia could consider changing nuclear doctrine

]]> Stoltenberg claimed that NATO’s aim is “a world without nuclear weapons” but said the current status will not change “because a world where Russia, China and North Korea have nuclear weapons, and NATO does not, is a more dangerous world.”

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Mon, 17 Jun 2024 12:37:57 +0000 RT
Crimean Bridge has little military value – Ukraine /russia/599419-crimean-bridge-military-value/ Ukrainian Navy spokesman Dmitry Pletenchuk has said that Russian forces now have almost no use for the Crimean Bridge
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
Officials in Kiev previously called the destruction of the strategic link a priority for its supposed role in Russian operations

The Crimean Bridge, which Kiev maintains is a legitimate military target, is currently seldom used by Russian forces, a spokesman for the Ukrainian Navy has said.

Senior Ukrainian officials, including Vladimir Zelensky, have justified the country’s repeated attempts to destroy the link between the Crimean Peninsula and Krasnodar Region by claiming that it has significant logistical value to the Russian Defense Ministry.

Dmitry Pletenchuk, a Ukrainian naval spokesman, undermined that position in an interview with RBK Ukraine published on Monday. Asked what effect the destruction of the bridge would have on Russian operations, he said it would not be significant.

”It is almost not used for military logistics. Less than a quarter or the volume goes over it. The rest goes over the ferry line,” he said.

He claimed without presenting evidence that the current situation was the result of “damage caused to it” by a Ukrainian drone attack.

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A patrol boat is seen near the Crimean Bridge, repaired after the July 17 sea drone strike by the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Republic of Crimea, Russia.
We really want to destroy Europe’s longest bridge – Zelensky
]]> Ukraine has caused significant damage to the Crimean Bridge twice. In October 2022, a truck carrying explosives disguised as rolls of plastic tape was blown up on the bridge. It killed five civilians, including a commercial vehicle driver. And in July 2023 a naval drone attack took place, to which Pletenchuk may have been referring. A couple was killed and their daughter injured when their car was caught in the explosion.

In April, Zelensky reiterated his desire to demolish the bridge in an interview with German media, saying it would serve as a morale boost for Ukrainian troops. Senior Ukrainian intelligence officials have said that they continue working on plans for further attacks against the crossing.

The first bombing was described by the Russian government as a turning point in the conflict. Afterward, the military was reportedly given the greenlight to strike the Ukrainian electricity grid, which it said was to undermine Kiev’s capability to produce weapons and deploy troops.

]]> READ MORE: Ukraine warns of more power outages

]]> Ukraine’s electricity generation capacity has been seriously degraded since, with officials telling people to brace for major blackouts in case of heat waves this summer and during the upcoming winter.

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Mon, 17 Jun 2024 11:19:24 +0000 RT
Russia’s next peace offer could come with ‘tougher terms’ for Kiev – intel chief /russia/599411-ukraine-putin-peace-tough-terms/ Ukraine should agree to Putin’s current peace proposal or face more rigid conditions later, Russia’s intelligence chief has said
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Ukraine should seriously consider President Vladimir Putin’s latest proposal to end the conflict, SVR head Sergey Naryshkin has said

Ukraine’s refusal to accept Russian President Vladimir Putin’s latest proposal to end the conflict will result in Moscow placing tougher conditions on any potential peace talks next time around, the head of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), Sergey Naryshkin, has said.

Last Friday, Putin signaled that Russia could order a ceasefire and start negotiations as soon as Kiev completely withdraws its troops from the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions. He also noted that a lasting peace could be achieved if Ukraine commits to neutral status and cedes its claims to all five former Ukrainian regions that chose to join Russia, including Crimea. All of these terms along with several others should be recognized at the international level and followed by the removal of Western sanctions on Russia, the president said.

Both Kiev and NATO dismissed the offer. Ukraine’s Vladimir Zelensky, who previously insisted on the withdrawal of Russian troops to the 1991 Ukrainian borders as a precondition for peace talks, called Putin’s overture an “ultimatum.”

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Russia's Permanent Representative to the UN Vassily Nebenzia on March 25, 2024 in New York, USA.
‘Zelensky regime’ incapable of negotiating – Moscow?
]]> Speaking to reporters on Monday, Naryshkin signaled that Kiev would be better off accepting Putin’s offer now.

“The next terms under which a cease-fire can be achieved and some kind of peace agreement signed will be tougher with regard to Ukraine,” he warned.

A similar warning was earlier voiced by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. Commenting on Putin’s reaction to Kiev’s refusal to accept his latest offer, he said the Russian president considered it “quite predictable,” but noted that “even in the Kiev regime, there will be people who will start weighing whether it’s worth to wait for the terms to worsen even further.”

Speaking to reporters at the Swiss-hosted ‘peace conference’ on Sunday, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba said that Kiev is largely prepared to negotiate with Russia, but only when it is at its “strongest” bargaining position.

]]> READ MORE: Ukraine admits need for peace talks with Russia

]]> Russia was not invited to the Swiss-hosted event, describing it as meaningless due to its exclusive focus on Kiev’s demands. Out of 92 countries attending the talks, 78 signed its final communique, while some others argued that no meaningful progress with regard to finding a peaceful solution to the conflict could come without Russia’s participation.

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Mon, 17 Jun 2024 10:52:56 +0000 RT
Prisoners drafted into Ukrainian military ‘will run like Forrest Gump’ – official to WaPo /russia/599416-ukraine-convicts-run-forest-gump/ There are major concerns over the reliability of around 2,750 Ukrainian convicts who have joined the military, the WaPo has reported
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Almost 3,000 former inmates have joined Kiev’s military amid recruitment struggles

More than 2,750 convicts have been released from prison to join the Ukrainian military and help ease manpower shortages, the Washington Post reported on Sunday. Some service members, however, have voiced concerns about the reliability of former inmates.

Ukrainian leader Vladimir Zelensky last month approved a bill that allows certain categories of convicts to be paroled if they agree to enlist in the military and fight Russia. Former inmates will be assigned to special high-risk assault units, although anyone convicted of crimes such as murdering more than two people, rape, terrorism, corruption, or undermining Ukraine’s national security, is ineligible for the program.

According to the Washington Post, many of the convicts joining the fight were “jailed for dealing drugs, stealing phones, and committing armed assaults and murders.” Ukrainian Justice Minister Denis Malyuska insisted to the newspaper that “the motivation of our inmates is stronger than our ordinary soldiers,” arguing that they are enlisting not only to be released, but also because they “want to protect their country and they want to turn the page.” 

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RT
Zelensky approves military enlistment of convicts
]]> The minister also claimed there is “competition between military commanders” to recruit from prisons as they want to address manpower shortages.

Some disagree, however, and one unnamed official expressed concern about possible desertion by former inmates. “They’re all going to run like Forrest Gump,” he stated, adding that despite these misgivings, the measure is still necessary.

The official noted that he would prefer to see Ukraine lower the draft age to 18, which he said would allow Kiev to fill the ranks with young and fit soldiers, rather than convicts. He admitted, however, that this measure is unlikely anytime soon.

Malyuska said he expects at least 4,000 men to join the military in the first stage of recruitment. In May, he estimated the total number of convicts ready to enlist at between 10,000 to 20,000. However, the Strana.ua outlet cast doubt on those figures, pointing out that there are a total of 28,000 inmates in Ukraine, including women and those unfit for service. The outlet also claimed, citing its own poll, that very few are actually willing to volunteer.

Kiev has tried to address acute manpower shortages by passing two bills this spring, one of which lowered the draft age from 27 to 25, while the other significantly tightened mobilization rules. Earlier this month, Russian President Vladimir Putin estimated Ukraine’s monthly combat losses at 50,000 soldiers.

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Mon, 17 Jun 2024 10:03:21 +0000 RT
Russian military tests heavy drones capable of carrying commandos (VIDEO) /russia/599399-heavy-military-transport-drone/ The Russian military is developing a heavy transport drone, according to a video of the aircraft released by the Defense Ministry
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
The Perun transport aircraft can lift an armed soldier and can be used as a weapons platform for high-risk environments

A Russian heavy transport drone is being tested by the military. The large quadcopter aircraft can lift up to 200kg of payload and is touted as an affordable frontline logistics solution.

Called ‘Perun’ after the Slavic god of thunder, the drone was showcased by the Defense Ministry on Monday, which released footage of the vehicle in action.

The video shows two distinct versions of the aircraft, one of them featuring coaxial rotors that generate enough lifting power to fly an armed person on a wire. According to the ministry, it uses domestically-developed software. The video shows a maneuver in which it countered the swinging motion of a passenger before he was lowered to the ground.

There is also footage of a different model of the drone with what appears to be a shoulder-launched Fagot anti-tank missile mounted on top. The weapon was fired both from the ground and air in the short clip, which has circulated on social media since at least January.

Perun is reportedly the result of a Russian effort to develop a platform similar to Ukraine’s Baba Yaga drone. Kiev’s forces have militarized a relatively large six-rotor agricultural drone model and are using these aircraft in the conflict with Russia to supply troops and drop small munitions on opposing forces.

The Russian version apparently has greater carrying capacity and can be used for medical evacuations from the front line, according to the Defense Ministry. It is also being considered for transporting small commando teams for surprise attacks and as a weapons platform. The military plans to test it with a machine gun and a standard air-launched rocket.

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Mon, 17 Jun 2024 07:50:30 +0000 RT
‘Zelensky regime’ incapable of negotiating – Moscow? /russia/599398-zelensky-regime-incapable-of-negotiating/ Russia’s envoy to the UN has claimed Kiev’s actions prove a lack of negotiating capacity within the leadership
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Kiev has proven to be inconsistent when it comes to conducting peace talks, Russia’s ambassador to the UN has said

Ukraine has repeatedly shown that it is untrustworthy when it comes to peace negotiations, despite Russia’s numerous attempts to resolve the conflict with Kiev diplomatically, Moscow’s ambassador to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, has said.     

In an interview with RIA Novosti on Monday, the diplomat noted that Moscow has consistently expressed readiness for dialogue, stressing that these initiatives are not just “statements of a declarative nature.”  

“In April 2022, our negotiators initialed the Istanbul Agreements. They were also signed by the heads of the Ukrainian delegation,” Nebenzia recalled, referring to the peace deal almost concluded between Russia and Ukraine in the early stages of the conflict.  

Under the conditions of the deal brokered by Türkiye, which Kiev later abandoned, allegedly under British pressure, Ukraine would commit to neutrality in exchange for international security guarantees.   

According to Nebenzia, a quick peace settlement did not sit well with “Kiev’s Anglo-Saxon sponsors,” so they did everything to prevent it.    

“Everyone saw the interview with the leader of the Servant of the People faction in the Verkhovnaya Rada, David Arakhamia, who headed the Ukrainian delegation in Istanbul,” Nebenzia continued.  “He directly said that everything was ready, but [then UK Prime Minister] Boris Johnson came and said that it was necessary to continue to fight,” the diplomat added, claiming that the story of Johnson’s “voyage” to Ukraine is well known.   

“The only logical conclusion that we made as a result is that the Zelensky regime is incapable of negotiations,” he stressed.

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FILE PHOTO: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan meets with Russian and Ukrainian delegations before a round of peace talks in Istanbul, Turkiye, on March 29, 2022.
NYT publishes alleged draft of failed Russia-Ukraine peace deal
]]> Nebenzia also pointed out that Ukrainian leader Vladimir Zelensky last year signed a decree formally banning any talks with the current Russian leadership, further questioning the possibility of reaching an agreement without a dialogue.   

“Such blatant inconsistency is the hallmark of Kiev’s entire foreign policy,” he argued.   

Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin signaled that the Kremlin is ready to start negotiations as soon as Kiev withdraws its forces from the four regions which joined Russia after referendums in 2022.   

The proposal was flatly rejected by Kiev and its Western backers, including German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who dismissed it as “not serious.”  

Meanwhile, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba acknowledged on Sunday that Kiev will eventually have to sit at the negotiating table with Russia, but only after it has reinforced its bargaining position. His comments came at the conclusion of a Western-backed ‘peace conference’ in Switzerland, where over a dozen participants declined to sign the final communique. 

 

 

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Mon, 17 Jun 2024 06:55:32 +0000 RT
NATO state’s president calls for break-up of Russia /russia/599395-nato-state-leader-calls-for/ The Polish president has labeled Russia “the largest colonial empire” in the world
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Poland’s Andrzej Duda has suggested that different ethnic groups should revolt against the government

Polish President Andrzej Duda has called for the “decolonization” of Russia, claiming that Russia's many ethnic minorities should form their own states.

Russia is one of the most diverse countries in the world and comprises over 190 ethnic groups that speak more than 270 languages and dialects, according to the government.

Speaking at the so-called “Peace for Ukraine” conference in Switzerland on Sunday, Duda described Russia as a “prison of nations.” The country is “home to almost 200 ethnic groups,” which “became the residents of Russia as a result of methods used in Ukraine today,” the Polish leader claimed, referring to the conflict between Moscow and Kiev. 

“Russia remains the largest colonial empire in the world, which, unlike European powers, has never undergone the process of decolonization and has never been able to deal with demons of its past,” Duda stated. “As a member of the international community, we have to finally say – there is no [space] for colonialism in the modern world.”

Poland has been one of the most vocal proponents of aid to Ukraine since Russia launched its military operation in the neighboring state. According to the Polish media, Duda’s main mission in Switzerland was to “highlight the scale of the Russian threat.”

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RT
EU leaders ‘fooling’ people with horror stories about Russia – Kremlin
]]> Earlier this year, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk suggested his country’s readiness to potentially host US nuclear weapons, which Moscow called a “provocation” and “deeply hostile policy.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly stated that Moscow has no intention of attacking NATO members and has dismissed claims to the contrary as scare tactics.

In August 2023, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote an op-ed for the Izvestia newspaper, condemning “the crimes of colonialism” committed by the West and arguing that Western overseas possessions, such as France’s New Caledonia, Britain’s Gibraltar, and US’ Guam, are modern-day “colonies.” She insisted that “the free world will undoubtedly win, and the process of decolonization will be completed.”

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Mon, 17 Jun 2024 01:53:07 +0000 RT
Ukraine admits need for peace talks with Russia /news/599393-ukraine-wants-russia-negotiations/ Ukraine wants Russia at the negotiating table, but only after Kiev has have a stronger bargaining position, Kiev’s foreign minister has said
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba has acknowledged that Moscow will eventually have to be involved in negotiations

Ukraine is prepared to negotiate with Russia but only when it has a stronger bargaining position, Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba told journalists at the Swiss-hosted ‘peace conference’ on Sunday.

Speaking to the press at the Alpine resort of Burgenstock on the second day of the two-day event, Kuleba acknowledged that both sides of the Ukraine conflict will have to negotiate at some point to reach a definitive peace.

“The idea is that the next summit should be the end of the war. And, of course, we need the other side at the negotiating table as well,” he said.

“It is obvious that both sides are needed to end the war, our job is to ensure that Ukraine is in the strongest position at that time,” Kiev’s top diplomat stated. He claimed that Ukraine understands “perfectly well that the moment will come when it will be necessary to talk to Russia.”

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RT
Putin names conditions for Ukraine peace talks
]]> Russia was not invited to the Swiss-hosted event, and described the conference as meaningless, given the unwillingness of Kiev and its Western backers to consider Moscow’s terms. The summit was largely based around Ukrainian leader Vladimir Zelensky’s proposed ten-point ‘peace formula,’ which Moscow has firmly rejected. Russian President Vladimir Putin voiced his terms for a ceasefire on Friday, conditions which Kiev and the West have roundly dismissed.

Speaking to reporters, Kuleba noted that some countries outside Europe and North America have a different view of the conflict. “Yesterday there were voices from the Global South about difficult compromises that need to be made. This is not the language we hear from Western partners,” he admitted.

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RT
Zelensky conference not about peace – Kremlin
]]> Out of 92 countries represented at the summit, 78 left their signatures on the final communique, according to a list published by the Swiss Foreign Affairs Department. Several attendees argued that Russia should have been present at the negotiating table.

Any meaningful progress towards peace will require “Russia’s participation,” as well as “difficult compromise” between the parties, Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud said. Saudi Arabia did not sign the final communique.

Türkiye, meanwhile, reiterated its readiness to host peace talks, as it did in spring 2022 when Russia and Ukraine failed to reach an agreement. Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan warned that the hostilities could escalate and potentially trigger a global nuclear conflict. That is why the “Ukrainian peace plan,” as well as Russia’s recently reiterated terms, are “important steps” and a “glimpse of hope” that could eventually end the bloodshed, Fidan said.

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Mon, 17 Jun 2024 01:31:37 +0000 RT
Kiev hosts heavily policed gay parade (PHOTOS) /russia/599389-kiev-host-gay-parade-pride/ A gay parade held in Kiev for the first time since the start of the conflict between Ukraine and Russia lasted only ten minutes
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The event reportedly lasted only ten minutes before law enforcement called it off for security reasons

The Ukrainian capital, Kiev, hosted a gay parade on Sunday for the first time since the start of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. The event featured a large police presence and was stopped after just a few minutes for “security reasons,” according to local media reports.

The parade was organized by the KyivPride group, an organization that promotes LGBTQ rights in Ukraine, to mark Pride Month. The organizers announced their intention to hold the march in early May but provided few details about the event.

According to Ukrainian media, strict security measures were imposed. Preliminary registration was required for attendance and the starting location and route details were only divulged to registered participants.

The organizers reportedly initially planned to parade in the Kiev metro but this was not allowed by the city authorities on the grounds that stations also serve as bomb shelters and are thus “dual-use facilities and a part of the city’s critical infrastructure.”

Participants instead gathered in the Kiev office of the Ukrainian Ukrinform news agency in the city center and walked past it for around ten minutes before the police called the event off, citing security reasons. Around 500 people took part, according to media estimates.

Photos and videos from the parade published on social media showed a crowd of people waving the Ukrainian flag and LGBTQ flags. Many people in the crowd were also holding banners and placards demanding more weapons for Kiev.

“Artillery, air defense, tanks, HIMARS – arm Ukraine now!” one of them read. Another banner called for Kiev to be armed so that a “Pride in Mariupol” could be possible. Mariupol is a city in Russia’s Donetsk People’s Republic that was taken by Moscow’s forces in May 2022 following a months-long siege.

Some participants were also seen wearing military uniforms and camouflage. The Danish and French ambassadors to Ukraine also posted photos on social media showing them walking together with other participants. Both wrote they were there “with colleagues” from the diplomatic corps. The Italian embassy in Kiev also said on X (formerly, Twitter) that the nation’s diplomats “joined” the parade.

According to some reports, a “crowd of people” also gathered at a different location in central Kiev and sought to stage a counter-protest to defend “traditional values.” They reportedly tried to reach the KyivPride march but the latter ended before they could do so. The number of participants in the counter-protest remains unclear.

The LGBTQ movement in Ukraine has been seeking to take a more prominent role in society amid the conflict with Russia. Its proponents have reportedly argued that an increased LGBTQ presence in the country would somehow hurt Moscow.

]]> READ MORE: Kiev to stage gay parade

]]> Ukrainian officials and activists also expressed their hope that supporting the LGBTQ movement would help Kiev win the approval of its Western backers. In 2023, former Deputy Culture Minister Inna Sovsun submitted legislation to recognize same-sex civil unions. She openly argued at the time that the move would please the West and boost Ukraine’s chances of joining the EU.

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Sun, 16 Jun 2024 20:57:22 +0000 RT
Russian news photographer killed in Ukrainian drone strike /russia/599383-russian-news-photographer-ukraine-drone/ Russian correspondent Nikita Tsitsagi was mortally wounded during a drone attack near the Donbass city of Ugledar
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Nikita Tsitsagi was fatally injured in an attack near Ugledar

Russian news photographer Nikita Tsitsagi has died from injuries sustained in a drone strike in the Donetsk People’s Republic, the portal News.ru reported on Sunday. According to the publication, the correspondent was killed in an attack by Ukrainian drones in the area of the Nikolsky Monastery near the Donbass city of Ugledar, where he was filming a report.

The tragedy was confirmed by Tsitsagi’s colleagues working in the area and local operational services. The details of the incident are unclear so far.

Tsitsagi collaborated with several Russian media outlets, including TASS and Lenta.ru. In June last year, he received the ‘Editorial Board’ journalistic award for a report he did on the Ukraine conflict and its repercussions in the Russian border town of Shebekino in Belgorod Region.

Earlier this week, another photojournalist, NTV crew member Valery Kozhin, died from wounds he suffered in a Ukrainian drone attack on Gorlovka, also in the Donetsk People’s Republic. Kozhin was filming in the area when a mortar round exploded on top of his crew. Journalist Aleksey Ivliev and an accompanying Russian military officer were also injured.

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FILE PHOTO: Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.
Western silence encourages Kiev’s atrocities – Zakharova
]]> At least 30 Russian journalists have lost their lives in the Ukraine conflict since it began in February 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a press briefing during the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) earlier this month. Among them are Boris Maksudov, who worked for Russia 24 TV, RIA Novosti’s Rostislav Zhuravlev, Tavria TV’s Oleg Klokov, and RuBaltic’s Aleksey Ilyashevich.

Moscow has repeatedly accused Ukrainian forces of deliberately targeting members of the Russian press who are reporting from the frontline. Earlier this week, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova lashed out at international human rights organizations, including the UN, for remaining silent in the face of Ukrainian attacks. She accused them of becoming Kiev’s accomplices in “this monstrous hunt for our correspondents” and encouraging further atrocities.

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Sun, 16 Jun 2024 16:20:04 +0000 RT
Twelve states refuse to sign Zelensky ‘peace conference’ declaration /russia/599384-twelve-states-refuse-ukraine-peace/ The UAE, India, Saudi Arabia, and Brazil are among the countries that have not supported the Swiss summit’s final document
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The UAE, India, Saudi Arabia, and Brazil are among the countries that have not supported the Swiss summit’s final document

Twelve countries attending the Swiss-hosted Ukraine ‘peace conference’ have refused to sign the final communique. This is based on the list of countries that approved the document, RIA Novosti reported on Sunday.

According to the list, Armenia, Brazil, India, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, and the UAE are among the states that did not sign the declaration, as well as four organizations, including the UN and OSCE. Meanwhile, 79 nations, including Hungary, Serbia, Argentina, Türkiye, and Georgia, as well as four international bodies, joined Ukraine in endorsing the document.

The final communique has not yet been made public, but according to Reuters, citing a June 13 draft, it places the blame for the “war against Ukraine” on Russia, accusing it of causing “large-scale human suffering and destruction” and “creating risks and crises with global repercussions.”

The document calls for Ukraine’s territorial integrity “within internationally recognized borders” to be respected – specifically, the restoration of Ukrainian control over the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant, as well as access to sea ports in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. The document also demands the release of all prisoners of war through a “complete exchange,” and the return of “deported and unlawfully displaced” Ukrainian children.

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FILE PHOTO: Deputy chair of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev.
Ukraine ‘peace summit’ is ‘Animal Farm’ – ex-Russian president
]]> It is so far unclear why several attendees did not support the document. However, Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud said earlier on Sunday that any meaningful progress toward a peaceful resolution to the conflict would require Russia’s participation.

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer earlier predicted that not all attendees would sign the declaration, because “it’s a question of the specific choice of words.”

Russia was not invited to attend the conference, and said it would not have taken part even if invited due to the exclusive focus on Kiev’s demands.

]]> READ MORE: No meaningful peace in Ukraine without Russia – Saudi Arabia

]]> More than 160 participants were invited to the talks, but nearly half declined due to the absence of a Russian delegation. The final list of attendees included representatives from 92 countries and eight international bodies.

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Sun, 16 Jun 2024 14:58:22 +0000 RT
Kremlin tells Zelensky to ‘think about’ Putin’s peace proposal /russia/599381-peskov-zelensky-think-peace-offer/ Zelensky should consider Putin’s proposal on starting peace talks as Kiev’s frontline situation will further deteriorate, the Kremlin says
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The current dynamics at the front do not favor the Ukrainian military, spokesman Dmitry Peskov says?

Vladimir Zelensky should seriously consider Russian President Vladimir Putin’s proposal to end the Ukraine conflict because Kiev’s battlefield situation will further deteriorate as time passes, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said.  

On Friday, Putin stated that Moscow would immediately open peace talks with Kiev once it withdraws its troops from Russia’s Donbass, as well as Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions. According to the president, Ukraine must also commit to neutral status, “demilitarization” and “denazification” as part of a possible deal. An agreement would need to be followed by the lifting of Western sanctions against Russia.   

Both Zelensky and NATO dismissed the offer out of hand. Kiev has insisted on the withdrawal of Russian troops to the Ukrainian borders as of 1991 as a precondition for peace talks.  

In an interview with Russian journalist Pavel Zarubin released on Sunday, Peskov warned that “the current dynamics of the frontline situation clearly demonstrates that it will continue to worsen for the Ukrainians.”   

He recalled that Zelensky’s rise to the presidency in 2019 was largely attributable to his promises to bring peace to Ukraine, adding that he has always said that he would do anything for his country.  

“Perhaps, a politician who puts the interests of his motherland above his own and even above his masters will think about such a proposal. Let’s see what happens,” Peskov noted.  

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Vladimir Zelensky attends the summit in Lucerne, Switzerland on June 15, 2024.
Fyodor Lukyanov: Here’s why this weekend’s Ukraine ‘peace conference’ is a sham
]]> The spokesman also stressed that Putin’s overture should in no way be interpreted as an “ultimatum” but rather as “a peace initiative that has been put forward while taking into account the realities on the ground.”  

Asked whether Moscow considers Zelensky a viable negotiating partner, given that his presidential term expired last month, Peskov said that “this is not a person with whom agreements could be signed because de jure this would not be legitimate.”  

According to the spokesman, however, Putin does not rule out any negotiating options, as Kiev has legitimate authorities that could appoint anyone to hold talks. “Negotiations are usually conducted by experts, and they are signed by the legitimate authorities.”  

Zelensky’s presidential powers expired on May 20, after he opted not to hold a new election, citing martial law imposed after the start of the conflict with Russia in February 2022. Putin has said that Zelensky essentially usurped his post after that point and that the Ukrainian parliament is now the only legitimate authority in the country.

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Sun, 16 Jun 2024 14:28:51 +0000 RT
Kiev deals in illegal arms – procurement agency founder /russia/599374-ukraine-illegal-arms-trade/ Kiev buys weapons from speculators due to insufficient supplies from the West, the Defense Procurement Agency founder reveals
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Vladimir Pikuzo says his company is forced to scout murky parts of the world and pay extra to speculators to obtain critical weaponry

Kiev has been forced to seek alternative and sometimes illegal sources of weapons to make up for insufficient Western supplies, Ukraine’s Defense Procurement Agency founder and deputy director Vladimir Pikuzo revealed in an interview with the British news outlet The Times, published on Sunday.

What led Ukraine to start looking further afield for weapons was the fact that in the first few months of the conflict only some 60% of the weapons used by the country’s armed forces were supplied by the West, while the rest Kiev had to purchase through other sources.

The agency, which Pikuzo founded in July 2022, drawing funds from Ukraine’s defense budget, has the aim of securing more weapons for the military. The organization scours the world for arms that are not stockpiled or manufactured in NATO countries, including Soviet-era weaponry. However, Pikuzo notes that this market is “dominated by middlemen and speculators,” which makes some of the deals bordering on illegal. He cited a case when his agency attempted to buy ammunition from a country where exports are banned.

“We get categorical refusal, but then we receive a call with advice that we have to send a letter of intent to a particular intermediary company… we immediately receive permission to deliver this batch into Ukraine,” he recalled, noting that his agency “understands” the situation was likely illegal, but calling it an “acceptable risk.”

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FILE PHOTO: Ukrainian marines install camouflage netting on a M109 155mm self-propelled howitzer.
Pentagon opens ammunition plant to supply Ukraine – media
]]> “I will not name specific countries… but in many such countries, their corruption is our ally. In these countries, we sometimes do things that are prohibited by their own law,” he stated.

He also revealed that Kiev uses a network of Western officials and intelligence agencies to scout for weapons on the “gray” market and smuggle arms from countries that “refuse direct supplies to Ukraine.” However, he noted that this often leads to “pricing wars” and stretches the supply chain.

According to Pikuzo, the major problem with arms speculators is the price. According to The Times’ sources, the cost of some key weapons on the global market has spiked as much as sixfold since the start of the conflict. Pikuzo suggested that this is likely attributable to profiteering, calling the modern arms market “a weapons stock exchange.”

]]> READ MORE: NATO stumbles over 40 billion Ukraine plan

]]> Pikuzo complained that neither Ukraine’s budget nor Western aid is currently enough to cover the army’s needs. According to the most recent calculations, the US, UK, and EU have jointly provided roughly $72 billion worth of military aid to Kiev since the start of the conflict, with $60 billion more from Washington incoming, and, potentially, €40 ($43) billion from NATO. Pikuzo estimates that, given the current costs, Ukraine needs a total of up to $800 billion in order to achieve its objectives in the conflict.

Kiev has complained that NATO countries have not provided it with enough aid. Moscow has called the Western arms shipments “completely irresponsible,” warning that the actions of Kiev’s Western backers may have “dangerous consequences” and will only worsen the plight of the Ukrainian people.

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Sun, 16 Jun 2024 13:01:22 +0000 RT
Ukraine ‘peace summit’ is ‘Animal Farm’ – ex-Russian president /russia/599377-ukraine-summit-animal-farm-medvedev/ The Swiss-hosted Ukraine ‘peace summit’ is “pure surrealism,” ex-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has said
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
The Western-dominated event in Switzerland is “pure surrealism,” Dmitry Medvedev has said

The Swiss-hosted Ukraine ‘peace conference’ has turned out to be an erratic and dysfunctional event whose participants have no clue what they are doing there, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has said.

The June 15-16 conference at the Burgenstock Hotel near Lake Lucerne has focused on three points of Vladimir Zelensky’s ‘peace formula’, including prisoner exchanges, nuclear and food security. The plan calls for Russia to withdraw from all territories claimed by Kiev, but it has been dismissed by Moscow as divorced from reality.

Russia was not invited to the event, which President Vladimir Putin has argued is simply an attempt by the West to create the illusion of a global anti-Russian coalition and distract attention from the root causes of the conflict.

Writing on Telegram on Sunday, Medvedev, who is currently the deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, compared the summit to George Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’. The novel, which is considered to be a veiled reference to the Stalin-era Soviet Union, reflects on how ideals of equality and freedom can become distorted and betrayed after a ruthless leader takes over.

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Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud.
No meaningful peace in Ukraine without Russia – Saudi Arabia
]]> The ex-Russian president said the Swiss event is “pure surrealism” and that “none of the participants in the ‘peace forum’ know what they are doing there and what their role is.”

He went on to say that the Swiss “shepherd boys” invited only “trustworthy animals,” including a “crazy puny swine” and his sidekick, as well as “a flock of slow-witted Western Alpine sheep blithely bleating about peace, as well as a pack of European chained dogs to guard the livestock.” Medvedev did not specify who these remarks were directed at.

According to the former president, the ‘dogs’ are “barking and spitting poisonous saliva” to maintain order, which he said is warranted since the “sheep often bleat out of place and confuse the memorized statements.”

In an apparent reference to US President Joe Biden, he said the flock is led by “an elderly, weak-minded owner” suffering from “progressive dementia.” He added that the US, instead of sending Biden, sent “a soft-headed deputy who… said a phrase learned by heart and quickly went home,” referring to Vice President Kamala Harris.

”To sum it up, the grazing of cattle in the Alps is just a sad pile of poop that is burning up taxpayers’ money,” Medvedev said.

According to an earlier Bloomberg report, Biden skipped the summit because it overlapped with a campaign fundraiser in California ahead of the presidential election this November. Zelensky criticized the US president’s absence, suggesting it “would only be met with applause by Putin.”

A number of Western officials have acknowledged that the Ukraine conflict cannot be resolved without Moscow’s participation in talks.

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Sun, 16 Jun 2024 12:29:21 +0000 RT
‘ISIS terrorist’ inmates take hostages in Russian prison /russia/599372-inmates-terrorism-hostages-prison/ Russian law enforcement agencies freed two hostages at a prison in Rostov-on-Don, with all the perpetrators “eliminated,” officials say
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
The situation was resolved after several hours and law enforcement officers were not harmed, officials say

Two law enforcement officers have been freed after being taken hostage by a group of inmates at a prison in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, local officials have said.

The hostage situation began on Sunday when a group of prisoners, some with terrorism convictions, reportedly broke out of their cells and into the facility's duty station, overwhelming two officers.

The Russian Federal Penitentiary Service issued a statement confirming that two of its agents working with the penitentiary inspectorate were being held by undisclosed perpetrators. It noted that talks were underway and that law enforcement agencies were working at the scene.

Several outlets have reported that terrorists were among the hostage-takers. The Baza Telegram channel has claimed that there were six perpetrators, three of whom are serving sentences for belonging to Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) and preparing an attack on the Supreme Court in the Karachaevo-Cherkessian Republic in southern Russia.

The two hostages reportedly included the head of the operational department and a junior inspector of the duty service. The perpetrators reportedly demanded a vehicle to leave the prison.

A video shared on social media shows one of the assailants, armed with a knife and wearing a black do-rag with an inscription in Arabic, sitting next to one of the handcuffed hostages, who appeared to be unharmed. The other agent also appeared to be in unhurt, except for blood on his elbow.

The 112 Telegram channel reported that the inmates were blocked inside one of the areas of the detention center, and were unable to reach the gun room. Later, it said law enforcement agencies launched an assault on the detention center, as the talks did not yield any results. At least several shots were fired in the area, according to videos shared on social media. Baza noted that it took the law enforcement agents three minutes to storm the building.

The Federal Penitentiary Service confirmed that there had been “a special operation to free hostages in a detention center” in Rostov Region, adding that “the criminals were eliminated” and the hostages were not injured.

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Sun, 16 Jun 2024 06:59:59 +0000 RT
No meaningful peace in Ukraine without Russia – Saudi Arabia /russia/599361-pathway-to-peace-in-ukraine/ The Saudi foreign minister has said that reaching a peace agreement in Ukraine is not possible without involving Russia in the talks
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Moscow’s involvement in talks is essential to ending the conflict, the kingdom’s foreign minister has said

Russia’s participation is critical to any credible negotiations aimed at ending the Ukraine conflict, Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud has said.

Speaking at the international Ukraine ‘peace conference’ in the Swiss resort of Burgenstock, Prince Faisal reiterated the kingdom’s commitment to “supporting all efforts at reaching an end” to the fighting between Moscow and Kiev and “achieving sustainable and just peace and security.”

He noted that any meaningful progress “will require difficult compromise” between the parties. “It is essential to emphasize that any credible process will need Russia’s participation.” 

Faisal highlighted the importance of “peacefully resolving differences through dialogue,” expressing Saudi Arabia’s readiness to “mediate and bring the conflict closer to a solution.”

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RT
Russia is making another real peace proposal today – Putin
]]> Several major countries, including Russia and China, did not attend the Swiss-held event promoted as a ‘peace conference’. Moscow was not formally invited and has accused the organizers of being unwilling to consider its terms for peace, arguing that the West was trying to use the summit to force “an ultimatum” on Russia.

The summit is thought to revolve around the ten-point ‘peace formula’ proposed by Ukrainian leader Vladimir Zelensky, which Moscow has firmly rejected. Russian President Vladimir Putin laid out his own terms for a ceasefire on Friday. Ukraine and its Western backers have dismissed his proposals as well.

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Sun, 16 Jun 2024 01:54:44 +0000 RT
Fyodor Lukyanov: Here’s why this weekend’s Ukraine ‘peace conference’ is a sham /russia/599357-why-peace-conference-sham/ Zelensky hoped the Swiss summit would be a huge propaganda victory, but it hasn’t worked out
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Zelensky hoped the Swiss summit would be a huge propaganda victory, but it hasn’t worked out

Ukraine – with the support of its Western patrons – has been preparing this weekend’s “peace conference” in Switzerland for a long time. However, the main goal of the organizers – a major international event to condemn Russia in general – has only been marginally achieved. Its impact is diminished by the unwillingness of the countries of the global South and East to participate in such an event. Some very important countries (e.g. China) refused to come at all, while the majority behaved in the usual way – they do not want to quarrel with the West, so they showed the minimum permissible interest (which everyone judged for themselves). But these players do not want to be used to legitimize a certain line.

Difficulties in attracting guests forced the organizers to narrow the agenda to make it meaningful to a less engaged public. Food and nuclear safety, as well as the humanitarian issue of prisoner exchanges, are worthy of discussion in their own right. The basic idea has also been changed – Zelensky’s ‘peace formula’, which implies Russia’s capitulation, has disappeared from the agenda. The outcome of the meeting can be predicted in advance – a lot of pathos-laden speeches from the Ukrainian and Western participants, with shorter and more evasive comments from the others, and some kind of streamlined resolution with a call to continue working within the framework of an ‘inclusive’ peace process. There will be some propaganda gains, but not on the scale for which the whole thing was conceived.

The background to the conference is more interesting. The EU has held difficult elections to the European Parliament. The composition of the bloc’s representative body did not change dramatically. The mainstream parties retained control and the ability to decide among themselves on the distribution of seats in the European Commission. But in some countries, and some very important ones, there have been shocks that have been extremely unpleasant for the establishment. 

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FILE PHOTO: Russian servicemen practise assault techniques on an enemy stronghold amid Russia's military operation in Ukraine.
Ivan Timofeev: Russia and NATO are drifting towards a major war
]]> France is the most affected – the failure of Emmanuel Macron’s movement against the backdrop of the success of the far right is so obvious that the president has found it necessary to immediately announce new parliamentary elections. It is a risky move, but otherwise the feeling of being a lame duck would only increase. In Germany, the governing coalition did extremely badly – the main opposition CDU/CSU bloc gained almost as much as the three governing parties combined. The second place of the Alternative for Germany (AfD), against which an aggressive smear campaign was organized, is a clear signal to the elites. Other notable results include the victory of the scandalous Freedom Party (also far right) in Austria and the success of the nationalists in Belgium and the Netherlands.

It is wrong to link the results solely to the Ukraine issue; the range of issues on the minds of European voters is much broader. However, Emmanuel Macron deliberately made the defense of Ukraine one of the pillars of his party’s campaign, hoping to use the Russian threat to divert attention from France’s domestic situation. In Germany, the supply of arms, including long-range weapons, to Kiev has been a source of constant debate, and the chancellor has been criticized for his constant indecision. The result, however, is ambivalent. The victorious CDU/CSU are the real hawks, while the second-placed AfD opposes arming Ukraine. The Netherlands and Belgium are among the bastions of support for Kiev, but the vote there was driven by very different factors. Finally, in Austria, which officially maintains its status of neutrality, there is a debate about its position in the context of the European crisis – whether there is a risk of becoming a participant in the confrontation.

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RT
Do the new US sanctions mark Russia’s final divorce from the dollar?
]]> What unites all the results of the European elections is not this or that stance on the Ukraine conflict, but the diverging agendas of ever wider sections of the population and the political establishment. In France, some people were probably alarmed by Macron’s bellicose activism when he talked about sending the military into the Ukrainian conflict zone. But domestic issues, from security and migrants to living standards, undoubtedly seem more important to the vast majority of French people. And the main feeling about the current leadership is that it is not dealing with the real aspirations of the people, but instead focusing on its own problems, which are mainly of interest to its own circle.

And this, as the expression goes, is not a bug but a feature (not a failure of the program, but its function). The same Macron appeared on the political scene in 2017, when the country’s two leading parties were in deep crisis and the US and the UK had just experienced political upheavals – the arrival of Trump and the vote to exit the European Union. A fresh, combative figure with elastic views capable of changing in any direction was the French establishment’s response to the threat of undesirable ideological and political alternatives coming to power. In other words, an imitation of renewal without touching the essence. In Macron’s case, it worked. But when internal contradictions reach insurmountable proportions, substantive solutions are needed. And decisions on the issues that matter most to the majority of the population, not to those at the top. France seems to be the first big Western state to have reached such an impasse. 

This is relevant to the meeting on Ukraine in Switzerland in the sense that priorities will inevitably change in the long term. Not on the Ukraine issue, but in general. Then the time will come for a real peace conference.

This article was first published by Rossiyskaya Gazeta newspaper, translated and edited by the RT team

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Sat, 15 Jun 2024 22:01:48 +0000 RT
Ukrainian border guards admit firing shots to stop draft dodgers /russia/599354-ukraine-border-firearms-stop-fleeing/ The Ukrainian border patrol has opened fire in an attempt to stop a group of people trying to cross the border with Hungary
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
Nine people have been detained in just one region in a single day, authorities have said

Ukrainian border guards have resorted to firing shots to stop people from fleeing the country, the State Border Service said on Saturday. A patrol in Ukraine’s western Transcarpathia Region had to fire several rounds while chasing a group that was attempting to illegally cross into Hungary, a statement posted on Facebook claims.

Border guards detained a total of nine people fleeing Ukraine through the Transcarpathia region in just one day, the service said. The first group, including three Kiev residents, tried to cross the border at night using online maps. They stumbled upon a patrol several hundred meters from the frontier, the social media post said.

The first group was soon followed by another consisting of four Transcarpathia residents. The men had contacted traffickers and paid $5,500 each for safe passage across the border, authorities said. They were chased by border guards, according to the statement, and shots were fired.

Two more men tried to cross into Hungary elsewhere on the same night but were also intercepted. Those detained, from the northern Chernigov Region, had paid $7,000 to traffickers to get into Hungary, according to the authorities.

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RT
Dozens of Ukrainians drowning while fleeing country – officials (GRAPHIC PHOTOS)
]]> Ukraine is trying to mobilize more troops in order to replenish heavy losses sustained in the fighting with Russia. Announced shortly after the start of the conflict, the campaign has been marred by widespread draft dodging and graft, as well as attempts to flee the country. This spring, Kiev significantly expanded conscription rules and lowered the age limit from 27 to 25.

In early June, the Ukrainian Border Service said that at least 45 Ukrainian men had died in attempts to flee to the EU. Most men between the ages of 18 and 60 are barred from exiting Ukraine in case they are called up to serve. Kiev also barred dual citizens from leaving this month.

In May alone, ten people were confirmed to have drowned in the Tisza River, which flows from Ukraine’s southwestern border through Romania, Hungary, Slovakia and Serbia, according to the authorities. The Border Service’s western regional branch said in early June that bodies had recently been found in rivers and mountainous terrain in areas bordering the EU.

Russian Defense Minister Andrey Belousov said on Friday that Ukraine lost more than 35,000 troops in May alone. Earlier in the month, Moscow estimated Kiev’s losses since the start of 2024 at over 111,000.

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Sat, 15 Jun 2024 19:14:03 +0000 RT
Most Russians fear outbreak of WWIII – survey /russia/599350-russia-world-war-survey/ Around 60% of Russians say they fear the world is headed towards a global conflict, a survey has found
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Roughly seven in ten named Moscow and Washington as the main parties in a potential global conflict

Around 60% of Russians are concerned that a Third World War could begin soon, a survey conducted by the Field research group in Moscow has found.

According to a report published on Friday, 57% of survey respondents believe a global conflict could begin in the next 5-10 years, though 13% said they are confident this will not happen.

Among those surveyed, people aged 30-59 with higher education and who source news online were more likely to speak about a possible  world war than those with lower education and income.

Around seven in ten of the 1,617 survey respondents named the US and Russia as the most likely parties in the hypothetical war, with the UK, France, Germany, Poland, and the Baltic States mentioned among Washington’s potential allies. Only one in ten respondents named Ukraine as a potential enemy of Russia in a global conflict. The respondents named China, Belarus, Iran, North Korea, India, and Kazakhstan as Russia’s main allies in the event of a global war.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a meeting with the leadership of the Russian Foreign Ministry in Moscow, Russia.
Ukraine peace terms, Europe’s biggest threat, Zelensky’s fate: Putin outlines Moscow’s foreign policy goals
]]> More than 60% of respondents said they believe that Russia or a coalition led by Russia would win a world war, while only 6% said the US and the Collective West would achieve victory, and 18% believe that neither side would win.

The survey was conducted among 1,617 Russian citizens over 18 years old from May 23 to June 2. It also touched on the matter of support for Moscow’s military operation against Kiev. Almost three-quarters of respondents (73%) said they believe Russia is currently moving in the right direction with regard to the conflict, with 79% saying the operation is going well for the Russian army. Around half of the respondents believe it is time for peace talks and a diplomatic solution.

]]> READ MORE: Russia-NATO war unlikely – Stoltenberg

]]> Warnings of a potential global conflict have been voiced repeatedly over the past two years, since the start of the Ukraine conflict in 2022. While Moscow has warned that growing Western involvement could spark a global war, and some Western analysts have said that a Russian victory will inevitably lead to this outcome, some officials and analysts believe that a world war has already begun given the scope of NATO and EU involvement.

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Sat, 15 Jun 2024 17:05:50 +0000 RT
Russian tennis stars to skip Olympics – media /russia/599348-russian-tennis-stars-skip-olympics/ Andrey Rublev, Karen Khachanov and Lyudmila Samsonova won’t participate in the Paris Games, the Russian Tennis Federation chief has said
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A number of the country’s top players had been approved for participation

Renowned Russian tennis players Andrey Rublev, Karen Khachanov and Lyudmila Samsonova will not take part in the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris, according to Russian Tennis Federation (RTF) president Shamil Tarpishchev, TASS has reported. 

The official told the agency that Rublev needs to recover after participating in numerous tournaments, adding that the world number six is not made of iron. Tarpishchev provided no details about why the other two named players would not be heading to Paris. 

According to Tarpishchev, the RTF still has several days to complete team selection out and send the list to the International Tennis Federation (ITF). 

Earlier this week, the ITF approved all Russian tennis players who qualified for the Games by virtue of ranking. This includes Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev, Karen Khachanov, Roman Safiullin, Daria Kasatkina, Lyudmila Samsonova, Ekaterina Aleksandrova, and Mirra Andreeva. 

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FILE PHOTO: A sign featuring the IOC logo at the Olympic village.
IOC names first Russian athletes approved for Paris games
]]> However, the final approval for taking part in the Games depends on the decision of a commission set up by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) which monitors public statements by athletes in support of the government in Moscow. 

After the start of the Ukraine conflict in February 2022, the IOC recommended that athletes from Russia and its close ally Belarus should not be allowed to compete in international events. In December, the body ruled that a limited number of people from the two countries could participate in the Olympics as individual neutral athletes.

On Saturday, the IOC published a list of the first athletes it deemed eligible to take part in the Games under a neutral flag after assessing cycling, gymnastics, taekwondo, weightlifting, and wrestling. The list includes 14 Russians athletes and 11 from Belarus. The lists from other sports, including tennis, swimming, and judo, are likely to follow within days.

The 2024 Olympic Games will take place in Paris from July 26 to August 11. The Paralympic Games will run from August 28 through September 8.

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Sat, 15 Jun 2024 15:37:10 +0000 RT
Zelensky conference not about peace – Kremlin /russia/599345-ukraine-peace-conference-kremlin/ Russia has ‘nothing to say’ to the participants of the Ukraine ‘peace summit’, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said
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Talks on the Ukraine conflict, which Russia has not been invited to attend, have begun in Switzerland

Russia has ‘nothing to say’ to the participants of the ongoing Swiss-hosted Ukraine ‘peace conference’, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Saturday.

The Kiev-sponsored event is taking place at the Burgenstock Resort in Switzerland, and is reported to involve over 160 delegations, including those from the G7, G20, and BRICS countries. Despite being a party to the conflict, Russia has not been invited to the event, prompting Peskov to state that Moscow has no message for the participants.

“We have nothing to tell them, we want to get together next time at a more substantive and promising event,” Peskov said, reiterating earlier statements that the talks cannot yield a peaceful solution to the conflict without Russia.

“The issue of peace in Ukraine is not being discussed in Switzerland. Humanitarian and quasi-humanitarian issues are being discussed...” he stated, noting that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s most recent proposal for a truce has been openly shunned by the participants of the summit.

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German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
Putin’s peace offer ‘not serious’ – Scholz
]]> Speaking at a Foreign Ministry meeting on Friday, Putin signaled that Russia would order a ceasefire and start negotiations if Kiev fulfilled several conditions: ceding all five former Ukrainian regions that voted in referendums to join Russia, including Crimea; removing troops currently present in these regions; giving up its bid to join NATO; pledging not to seek to acquire nuclear weapons, as well as “demilitarization,” “denazification,” and respect for the rights of the Russian-speaking population.

To achieve a lasting peace, all of these points should be recognized at international level and be followed by the removal of Western sanctions on Russia, the president said.

Putin’s offer was immediately rejected by Ukraine’s Vladimir Zelensky, who called it an “ultimatum.” Western officials were also quick to criticize the proposal. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said the conditions are a ploy to distract the public from the Swiss talks, while US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin claimed that Putin is “not in any position to dictate” the terms of a peace deal.

Commenting on the Western reactions to Putin’s offer, Peskov dismissed them as “not constructive.”

Russia has stated that it would not take part in the Swiss conference even if invited. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in March that the event would likely only focus on Ukraine’s positions and promote Zelensky’s so-called ‘peace formula’, which goes against Russian interests.

]]> READ MORE: Moscow reveals next steps after Putin’s Ukraine offer

]]> The number of countries and organizations taking part in the summit has been steadily dropping in recent days, with many invitees opting out due to the absence of a Russian delegation. The final list of attendees includes representatives from 92 countries, nearly half of the originally expected number, and eight international bodies.

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Sat, 15 Jun 2024 15:36:22 +0000 RT
Ukraine warns of more power outages /russia/599337-ukraine-blackouts-energy-russia/ Ukraine’s energy chief has said further power cuts across the country cannot be avoided amid high demand and scheduled maintenance works
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Vladimir Zelensky earlier said that nearly 80% of the nation’s energy capacity was cut due to the conflict with Russia

Power generation in Ukraine will worsen as soon as next week, Vladimir Kudritsky, the head of Ukrenergo, the national power grid operator, has warned. In an interview with Ukrainskaya Pravda on Friday, he said it would not be possible to restore all of the damaged energy capacity by winter.

According to the top official, Ukraine will not be able to avoid power outages due to high seasonal energy demand and scheduled maintenance works at several nuclear power plants.

Kudritsky said Ukrenergo expects capacities at nuclear power plants to be reduced starting Saturday, with additional steps towards decreasing energy generation to be made in the last third of the current month. He added that the current maintenance works involve refueling and thus cannot be rescheduled or canceled.

He noted that power generation capacity will not be completely restored by winter, but expressed hope that some operations will be resumed.

“The winter will be very difficult; if we have shortages now, consumption is usually 35% less than in winter, then it is obvious that winter will bring even more problems related to covering energy deficit,” he stated.

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RT
Ukraine to buy US gas for first time
]]> Earlier this week, Ukraine’s Vladimir Zelensky said that up to 80% of the country’s energy capacity, including coal-fired power plants and hydroelectric power, have been damaged or destroyed amid the conflict with Russia. Zelensky also asked Western supporters for more air defense systems to protect the nation’s power infrastructure.

Ukraine’s energy infrastructure has been targeted by Russian forces since October 2022, following the bombing of the Crimean Bridge, which Kiev later claimed responsibility for. Russia’s latest strikes came in response to Kiev’s attacks on oil depots and refineries inside Russia. The Kremlin has stressed that the strikes are not aimed at civilians.

Kiev has been trying to conserve energy and repair its damaged infrastructure. The authorities have introduced power cuts and hiked consumer electricity tariffs by 60% to provide financial support for repair works. Earlier this month, Prime Minister Denis Shmigal said the government was planning to suspend import duties and VAT on equipment and components used for generating and storing electricity. The government is also considering loans to citizens to install power generation units at their homes, and is planning to boost imports of electricity from the EU.

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Sat, 15 Jun 2024 11:14:33 +0000 RT
IOC names first Russian athletes approved for Paris games /russia/599341-ioc-names-russian-athletes-olympics/ The International Olympic Committee has unveiled a list of Russian athletes allowed to take part in this year’s games in Paris
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The list includes fourteen people allowed to take part in individual competitions

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has published a list of the first athletes confirmed as eligible to take part in the Olympic Games in Paris under a neutral flag. The list includes 14 Russians and 11 athletes from Belarus.

Those approved will be able to take part in cycling, gymnastics, weightlifting and wrestling competitions. While the IOC offered quota places for several other disciplines, no athlete has been declared eligible. For instance, no competitors from either Russia or Belarus have been approved to take part in taekwondo, while only Belarusian athletes were invited to compete in weightlifting.

Among the Russian athletes invited to the Games are the country’s current road cycling champion, Tamara Dronova, a rising trampoline star, Anzhela Bladtceva, and wrestling champions Shamil Mamedov, Arslan Bagaev and Natalya Malysheva.

It is unclear whether the list is final or may be subject to change, as the IOC indicated it includes “the first” athletes confirmed to take part in the games as Individual Neutral Athletes (AINs).

The AIN status means the athletes will compete under a neutral flag and will not be allowed to display either Russian or Belarusian national symbols, including flags, national anthems, state emblems, or any military symbols including the colors of the St. George ribbon.

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RT
IOC ‘destroying Olympic ideals’ – Kremlin
]]> The IOC initially banned Russian and Belarusian athletes following the start of the Ukraine conflict in February 2022. However, in December last year the body removed its blanket ban and allowed a limited number of athletes from the two countries to participate in the Paris Games, but only under a neutral flag and as individual competitors. The IOC also placed many restrictions for qualifying. For instance, those who have publicly supported Moscow’s military operation or have been linked with Russian army sports clubs have been banned from the Games.

In March, the IOC said the maximum number of Russians who can qualify for the Paris Olympics is 55, while for Belarusians the limit was set at 28 athletes.

Moscow has repeatedly criticized the IOC’s restrictions on its athletes, with Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov accusing the body in March of “destroying Olympic ideals.”

This year’s Olympic Games will take place in Paris from July 26 to August 11. The Paralympic Games start on August 28 and will run through September 8.

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Sat, 15 Jun 2024 10:51:46 +0000 RT
Famous 1939 parade of Soviet athletes reenacted at Russia EXPO /russia/599291-soviet-athletes-parade-moscow/ More than 200 people marched at VDNKh to mark the Soviet-era physical culture parade this week
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The event was held at VDNKh in Moscow this week

A spectacular event replicating the famous Soviet parade of athletes was hosted on Thursday by the Russia EXPO international exhibition at the All-Russian Exhibition Center (VDNKh) in Moscow.

Designed to promote physical education and sports among the Soviet people, the all-athletes parade was held in Red Square, Moscow on July 18, 1939.

According to Russia EXPO, more than 200 people took part in the reenactment at the VDNKh. They marched around the landmark ‘Stone Flower Fountain’ holding flowers and flags and performing athletic stunts. The participants wore costumes similar to those seen in the ‘Blooming Youth’ movie, which captured the 1939 physical culture parade in color.

“This is exactly the kind of a parade shown in old movies. It is a wonderful tradition that emerged in the 20th century in the USSR,” said parade director Ekaterina Volosovskaya, adding that sport remains critically important.

“I hope that the tradition of physical culture parades will be revived, and that our younger generation will lead healthy lifestyles and engage in sports. Such demonstrations and parades will certainly contribute to this,” she said.

?  Sputnik / Anatoly Medved

The parade was held as part of the ‘Times and Epochs’ festival, and a broader ‘Summer in Moscow’ project, bringing together all of the city’s traditional festivals and entertainment programs.

Russian Sports Minister Mikhail Degtyarev revealed earlier that there are plans to hold the parade of athletes in Red Square again next year.

Russia EXPO was launched in November 2023 and will continue into next month. The forum has hosted numerous cultural, scientific, and political events. Its main objective is to present the achievements of the Russian people in a wide variety of sectors within a single venue.

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Sat, 15 Jun 2024 08:37:03 +0000 RT
Five people killed in Ukrainian strike on apartment block /russia/599327-ukrainian-strike-russian-shebekino/ The death toll from a Ukrainian strike on a residential complex in Russia has risen to five people
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A residential building in Shebekino, Russia has partially collapsed after the attack

Five civilians were killed when Ukrainian troops struck a five-story apartment block in the city of Shebekino in Russia’s western Belgorod Region, Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said in the early hours of Saturday. 

The death toll rose as rescuers recovered more bodies from the rubble of the residential building, which partially collapsed following the strike on Friday. 

Gladkov initially said that seven residents were hospitalized. He later wrote on Telegram that a female victim had succumbed to her wounds.

Shebekino is located near the border with Ukraine. It has been a frequent target of rocket and drone attacks since February 2022, when Russia launched its military operation in the neighboring state.

Also on Friday, a Ukrainian kamikaze drone hit a car in the village of Murom near Shebekino, killing the driver, Gladkov said. On the same day, a woman was killed when a rocket struck her home in the village of Oktyabrsky, while another person was hospitalized with shrapnel wounds after the village of Arkhangelskoye was shelled.

Moscow has repeatedly accused Kiev of indiscriminately firing at cities and deliberately targeting civilians, including with Western-supplied ammunition.

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Fri, 14 Jun 2024 23:20:34 +0000 RT
Putin estimates Russian troop numbers engaged in Ukraine conflict /russia/599325-putin-number-troops-ukraine-conflict/ The number of the Russian troops currently engaged in the conflict between Moscow and Kiev is almost 700,000, Vladimir Putin has said
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Almost 700,000 servicemen are currently taking part in Moscow’s military campaign, the Russian president has said

Roughly 700,000 Russian soldiers are engaged in the conflict between Moscow and Kiev, President Vladimir Putin said on Friday. The number has grown by almost 100,000 since his previous estimate in December 2023, when he put the tally at around 617,000.

The president made the comment during a meeting with military operation veterans, who are enrolled in a specialized state-supported educational program aimed at training public officials. “We love you all and consider you to be a part of the family,” Putin said, addressing the veterans.

In early April, the Defense Ministry said that more than 100,000 Russian citizens had enlisted voluntarily for military service since the beginning of the year. 

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FILE PHOTO.
Russia doesn’t need to draft more soldiers – Kremlin
]]> Moscow has also denied claims by Kiev and in Western media outlets of a planned mobilization wave. In April, Ukraine’s Vladimir Zelensky claimed that Russia was planning to mobilize an additional 300,000 troops by as early as June 1. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed that as simply “not true.”

In May, the Financial Times reported that a second wave of mass recruitment in Russia would “inevitably” come later this year. Peskov again dismissed the claim, saying it is “unlikely” that the British newspaper understands the “real picture.”

Russia carried out a partial mobilization in September 2022, seven months into the conflict. This allowed 300,000 people, primarily those with previous military experience, to be called to duty. Following this, further recruitment was carried out on a voluntary basis.

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FILE PHOTO.
Putin says Ukrainian losses five times higher
]]> In December, Putin said that out of 617,000 troops taking part in the military effort, 244,000 in the combat zone were called up when Russia announced the partial mobilization. Around 41,000 soldiers drafted during the September 2022 mobilization drive were subsequently discharged for health reasons or after reaching the maximum age, he added.

The Ukrainian army, meanwhile, has been struggling to replenish its ranks amid a series of military setbacks. In April, Kiev adopted a new mobilization law that lowered the conscription age from 27 to 25, expanded the powers of enlistment officers, and introduced stricter penalties for draft dodgers. In May, a law was also passed allowing some prison inmates to be released on parole for joining the military.

In early June, Putin estimated that the Ukrainian military was losing at least 50,000 people a month. While not specifying the number of Russian casualties, the president said that the number of irrecoverable losses was at least five times less than those incurred by Kiev’s forces.

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Fri, 14 Jun 2024 20:43:06 +0000 RT
Ukraine’s ‘room for compromise is diminishing’ – Medvedev /russia/599323-ukraine-russia-ultimatum-medvedev/ Kiev is running out of time to reach a deal with Moscow before it is forced to surrender, Dmitry Medvedev has said
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Kiev will either talk to Russia or be forced to surrender, the former Russian president has warned

Russia has repeatedly sought to resolve the Ukraine crisis through diplomatic means since 2014, but Kiev and its Western backers have always responded with “manipulation” and “deception,” former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Friday. Now that the latest peace proposal has been offered by Russia, the time for compromise is running out, he warned.

Kiev is about to face a “catastrophic scenario,” Medvedev, who currently serves as deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council, said in a statement published on social media. The former Ukrainian territories Kiev still lays claim to have officially become part of Russia as a result of referendums in 2022, he noted.

“And this is forever,” the former president said, adding that Moscow will only agree to peace talks if this fact is taken into account.

“The room for compromise is diminishing like shagreen leather, together with the shrinking territory of the dying country.”

Medvedev was referring to the latest peace proposal put forward by President Vladimir Putin during a meeting with senior Russian diplomats on Friday. Moscow is demanding that Kiev withdraw its troops from all the regions that voted to join Russia in 2022 and forgo its plans to join NATO. In exchange, Russia is ready to order a ceasefire and start talks the moment Ukrainian officials agree to these terms.

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Putin names conditions for Ukraine peace talks
]]> Medvedev described this weekend’s Ukraine peace conference in Switzerland as a “summit of the doomed” that will end in “total failure.”

Kiev has been actively promoting the conference, to which Russia has not been invited, to push its own peace plan. It includes the withdrawal of Russian troops from territories it claims as its own, a war crimes tribunal, and reparations.

Medvedev dismissed Kiev’s peace proposal as a “stillborn formula,” commenting that its only purpose is to provide legitimacy to Vladimir Zelensky.

Zelensky, whose presidential term officially expired in May, is nothing but an “usurper,” a “nobody” with “no real authority,” according to Medvedev. He has now seized power and “took the entire population hostage” while still “sending soldiers forth to die,” the Russian official said.

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Fri, 14 Jun 2024 18:33:30 +0000 RT
Moscow reveals next steps after Putin’s Ukraine offer /russia/599321-further-steps-putin-ukraine-offer/ Russia will communicate President Vladimir Putin’s peace proposal to the foreign nations and wait for their response, Sergey Lavrov has said
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Russia hopes that Kiev’s Western backers will take heed of the president’s proposal, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said

Russia’s diplomats will communicate President Vladimir Putin’s latest Ukraine peace proposal to Western leaders “in meticulous detail,” Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told journalists on Friday. Earlier the same day, Putin outlined Moscow's conditions for peace negotiations with Kiev.

Russia's criteria includes a demand that Kiev withdraws its troops from all former Ukrainian territories that joined the Russian Federation following referendums in the fall of 2022 and abandon its plans to join NATO. Moscow is ready to order a ceasefire and start negotiations “the minute” Ukraine agrees to those terms and starts the withdrawal, Putin told Lavrov and other senior Russian diplomats at a meeting.

Following the event, Lavrov told journalists that he believes the world is already well-aware of the president’s proposal. Moscow has no plans to issue the offer in a formal document, the minister said. Russia’s ambassadors will nevertheless hand the text of Putin’s speech to the relevant foreign officials and clarify the Kremlin’s stance, he said.

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Putin names conditions for Ukraine peace talks
]]> “We won’t chase after anyone,” Russia’s top diplomat said, adding that Moscow would simply make its position clear and “look at the reaction” of the foreign nations. He stated that his ministry plans to raise the issue at the meetings of BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization as well as in talks with China and the Latin American and African nations.

The minister also expressed his hope that the initiative would be discussed at the ongoing G7 summit in Italy and at the conference on Ukraine which Switzerland is set to host this weekend.

When further asked by journalist Pavel Zarubin if he believes the latest peace initiative could lead to some meaningful dialogue with the West, Lavrov responded by saying that “hope is the last to die.”

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FILE PHOTO: Vladimir Zelensky.
Zelensky responds to Putin’s peace offer
]]> “Those that have ears to hear, let them hear. Those that have brains, let them understand,” the minister said, adding that, although he was “not sure that everything is alright with those organs” when it comes to the Western politicians, he still hopes that some good can come of it.

Putin’s proposal was also lauded by Valentina Matvienko, the head of the Russian Federation Council – the upper house of the national parliament. She described the initiative as a “real peace offer” opening the “only possible path towards the end of the Ukraine conflict.” The Russian president’s words also made it clear that “the lack of will and responsibility on part of the Western elites is the main obstacle on the road towards a durable peace,” she said.

The initiative came just a day before the start of the Swiss-hosted summit supposedly meant to further peace in Ukraine. Kiev insisted that Moscow could not have been invited to the event because it would try to “hijack” the agenda by presenting alternatives to the plan being proposed by the Ukrainian government. Putin stated that the meeting was only meant to distract the public opinion from the real roots of the conflict.

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Fri, 14 Jun 2024 17:35:58 +0000 RT
Ukraine peace terms, Europe’s biggest threat, Zelensky’s fate: Putin outlines Moscow’s foreign policy goals /russia/599300-putin-foreign-policy-recap/ President Putin has delivered a keynote speech outlining Moscow’s foreign policy objectives, including resolving the conflict with Kiev
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The Russian president has urged Kiev to accept his new offer and engage in dialogue to ensure its “future existence”

Moscow’s conditions for resolving the Ukraine conflict will require Kiev to recognize that its former regions are now under Russian sovereignty, President Vladimir Putin said on Friday.

He warned that the current offer is the best Kiev is going to get, as Russia will not allow hostilities to be frozen while the West rearms Ukrainian forces.

Putin outlined Russia’s key policy goals during a meeting with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and other senior officials. The following is a recap of the keynote speech.

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NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Ukrainian leader Vladimir Zelensky at the 2023 NATO Summit in Vilnius, Lithuania on July 12, 2023.
NATO tells Ukraine it must defeat Russia to join
]]> Missed chance for a just world

The world missed an opportunity to create a better, more just and secure international order in the 1990s, and the US and its allies are to blame, as they refused to respect the interests of other nations, Putin said.

“They decided that they ‘won’ the Cold War and they alone could determine how the world should move on. The practical expression of this attitude was the project for the unrestricted expansion of NATO,” according to the Russian president.

NATO diplomacy victimizes nations

The approach of the US-led military bloc to resolving conflicts has proven to be a disaster, Putin argued. NATO’s brand of diplomacy boils down to “accusing the party they dislike of all sins and crushing it.”

That was done to Yugoslavia, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan and others, causing much human suffering and destruction, he added.

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FILE PHOTO: President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen speaks with US President Joe Biden.
Biggest danger to EU is the US –?Putin
]]> US is a threat to Europe

Contrary to claims by Western politicians, Russia is not the main threat to European nations, Putin insisted. They are harmed because they depend on the US in virtually all areas.

“Ruling European politicians and EU bureaucrats seem to be more afraid of displeasing Washington than of losing the trust of their own citizens,” according to the Russian president. Unlike European leaders of the past, they are mere “extras”.

The ideology that the US tries to impose on the world to save its “imperial status” is leading to a dead end, Putin warned. This “aggressive messianism based on belief in exceptionalism” keeps international relations from becoming more stable. 

West undermines market principles

US hegemony erodes the values that Washington claims to defend, including free competition and the global market economy, according to Putin.

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Do the new US sanctions mark Russia’s final divorce from the dollar?
]]> “As it fails to compete even under the rules it wrote to benefit itself, Washington resorts to trade restrictions and protectionism,” he stated. “They apply pressure not only on opponents, but also on allies. Just look how they are draining European economies that are on the brink of a recession.”

The US is seeking to confiscate immobilized Russian sovereign assets, but “theft is theft despite all the chicanery,” he added, as any nation can be targeted next.

Kiev was the aggressor

The West caused the Ukraine conflict, Putin stressed. A large portion of Ukraine’s population was pro-Russian, and no amount of propaganda could break that bond. So Western meddlers opted for violence, when they funded and masterminded the 2014 armed coup in Kiev.

The government that emerged and nationalist forces “unleashed terror” on dissenting Ukrainians in the east, instead of allowing them to peacefully break away, although they had the right to seek self-determination under international law.

“Russia did not start this war. The Kiev regime did,” the president insisted.

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FILE PHOTO: Vladimir Zelensky.
Zelensky responds to Putin’s peace offer
]]> West pushed Kiev into war

Since 2014, Moscow has encouraged reconciliation in Ukraine, even as Kiev and its backers stonewalled the efforts, Putin said. When people in Donbass declared independence, Kiev sent in troops.

As Russia began its special military operation in Ukraine to support the Donbas in February 2022, Moscow sought a negotiated peace, he continued. When Russian troops were close to Kiev, there was no intention to besiege the city, only to pressure the Ukrainian government to compromise.

However, Kiev opted for war, apparently on Western orders, delivered personally by then-British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, according to Putin.

A ploy to replace Zelensky

Vladimir Zelensky is an illegitimate leader of Ukraine and a criminal under the country’s own laws, since his presidential term expired last month, Putin said. Russia suspects that the West is behind Zelensky’s decision not to hold a presidential election or transfer power, as stipulated by the constitution of Ukraine.

“The true masters of Ukraine – the globalist elites across the ocean – are trying to pin on the current executive branch the burden of unpopular decisions,” he said, referring to policies that Kiev will need to pursue to keep fighting Russia. “Later they will replace them with new people, equally dependent on the West, but with an untarnished reputation.”

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China's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning
China explains snub of Zelensky ‘peace summit’
]]> Swiss summit is demagoguery

Putin lashed out at the so-called “peace summit” scheduled to take place in Switzerland this weekend. He dismissed it as a Western trick to create the illusion of a global anti-Russian coalition, distract attention from the roots of the conflict, and boost Zelensky’s claim to legitimacy.

“It will all boil down to general demagogic discussions and a new round of accusations against Russia,” the president predicted. The conference excludes Russia, so it cannot produce a solution to the crisis.

No going back to Istanbul deal

The situation has changed since Russia and Ukraine negotiated a potential truce in Istanbul in March 2022. Now Moscow insists that Kiev recognize its sovereignty over former Ukrainian regions, in which people voted in referendums to join Russia, Putin said.

Moscow is willing to reach a ceasefire and start peace talks when Ukraine begins the withdrawal of its troops from those territories, and declares that it no longer intends to become a member of NATO, Putin stressed, insisting that “the future existence of Ukraine depends” on engaging in dialogue with Russia.

If this latest proposal is rejected, the situation will only worsen for Kiev, he warned. Moscow wants the entire problem to be untangled and will not accept a frozen conflict, which would allow the West to rearm Ukraine.

Ultimately, Russia wants a pan-European security architecture, in which the safety of all nations including Ukraine is safeguarded, the president added. Such a system will require the removal of any foreign military presence from the country, he concluded.

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Fri, 14 Jun 2024 17:09:28 +0000 RT
Zelensky responds to Putin’s peace offer /russia/599302-zelensky-rejects-putin-peace/ Russia’s terms are an “ultimatum” Ukraine cannot accept, Vladimir Zelensky has said, rejecting Moscow’s peace overture
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The Ukrainian leader has rejected Russia’s terms for ending the conflict

The terms Russian President Vladimir Putin outlined for ending the conflict are an “ultimatum” to Ukraine and as such unacceptable, Vladimir Zelensky has said.

Speaking at a meeting with senior Russian Foreign Ministry officials on Friday, Putin said that Kiev would have to cede all the territory of four regions that chose to join Russia and guarantee it would never join NATO before peace talks could begin.

“What can I say? These messages are ultimatum messages, they are nothing different than other ultimatums that he has made before,” Zelensky told the TV network Sky TG24 while attending the G7 meeting in the south of Italy.

“He wants us to give up part of our occupied territories, but he also wants the unoccupied ones. He talks about regions of our country, and he won’t stop,” Zelensky claimed. 

Zelensky’s characterization of Putin’s offer as an ultimatum was dismissed as “a wrong understanding, definitely,” according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Friday.

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Putin names conditions for Ukraine peace talks
]]> “This is a comprehensive, very deep and constructive proposal,” Putin’s press secretary told Izvestia. If the terms seem harsher than those Moscow proposed in the spring of 2022, he explained, that’s because “a different situation has arisen,” with four regions choosing to become part of Russia. 

Residents of Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions as well as the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics voted overwhelmingly in September 2022 to leave Ukraine and join the Russian Federation. Kiev and its Western backers have denounced the vote as “rigged” and a “sham,” just as they refused to recognize Crimea’s return in 2014.

Peskov reminded Izvestia that Ukraine received very generous peace terms in March 2022, but rejected them “on orders from the British.” Ukrainian media and officials have confirmed that Boris Johnson, UK prime minister at the time, told them they should not accept any deal with Russia.

Announcing the military operation against the government in Kiev, in February 2022, Putin said that Moscow intended to achieve the “demilitarization and denazification” of Ukraine and secure guarantees that Kiev would never join NATO or any other anti-Russian military bloc.

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Fri, 14 Jun 2024 16:10:41 +0000 RT
Russia was ready to withdraw from southern Ukraine – Putin /russia/599297-putin-russia-kherson-zaporozhye-ukraine/ Moscow was open to the idea of withdrawing troops from Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions early in the conflict, the Russian president says
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Kiev could have retained sovereignty over two of its former regions if it had agreed to guarantee Moscow free land access to Crimea, the president has revealed

Russia was open to withdrawing its troops from Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions early in the Ukraine conflict on the condition that Kiev agreed to an uninterrupted land connection between Crimea and the mainland, President Vladimir Putin stated on Friday.

Speaking at a meeting with the country’s senior diplomats, Putin revealed that in early March 2022, as Russian troops were advancing into southern Ukraine, a senior foreign politician representing the West proposed mediating the conflict between Moscow and Kiev. While Putin did not name the leader, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev identified him as then-Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

According to the Russian president, Bennett asked officials in Moscow at the time why Russian troops were operating in Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions, given that their stated goal was to help Donbass.

Bennett was told the decision to send Russian troops to those regions was made based on the plans drawn by the General Staff, which sought to bypass heavily fortified Ukrainian positions in Donbass, Putin explained. According to the Russian leader, when Bennett asked whether Russian troops would remain in Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions after the end of the conflict, Putin said he was open to the idea of pulling them back to their bases.

“I replied that, in general, I do not rule out that Ukraine will retain its sovereignty over these territories, provided that Russia will have a solid land connection to Crimea.”

Putin noted that to secure the guarantee, Moscow and Kiev would have to sign a legally binding “servitude” agreement, a property law that ties rights and obligations to the ownership or possession of land.

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Putin names conditions for Ukraine peace talks
]]> The deal would then have to be finalized with the involvement of the UN Security Council, as well as local citizens and the Russian public.

However, when Bennett traveled to Kiev to present Moscow’s proposal to the Ukrainian government, it was rejected, and the Israeli leader was branded a Russian sympathizer, Putin noted.

Now, this proposal is off the table, given that Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions, along with the two Donbass republics, voted to join Russia in public referendums in the fall of 2022, Putin stated. “There can be no talk of violating our national unity... This question is closed forever and beyond any debate.”

At the same time, Putin signaled that Moscow was ready for talks with Ukraine on the condition that Kiev fully withdraws its troops from Donbass, Kherson, and Zaporozhye regions and abandons plans to join NATO. But the proposal has been rejected by Kiev, which insists upon returning the country to its 1991 borders.

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Fri, 14 Jun 2024 14:35:55 +0000 RT
Kiev rejects Moscow’s new peace proposal /russia/599296-kiev-rejects-putin-peace-proposal/ Vladimir Putin offered Ukraine a set of conditions in order to initiate a ceasefire and begin negotiations and Kiev has turned it down
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Russian President Vladimir Putin had offered Ukraine a set of conditions in order to initiate a ceasefire and begin negotiations

Ukrainian leader Vladimir Zelensky’s aide Mikhail Podoliak has rejected a peace initiative put forward by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday, suggesting it was not “realistic.” Putin has described his proposal as an attempt to end the conflict by initiating a ceasefire and launching bilateral negotiations.

During a meeting with the leadership of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Putin outlined the conditions that should be met in order to immediately halt hostilities and begin peace talks. These include a withdrawal of Ukrainian forces from Russia’s new territories, which should be internationally recognized, a promise by Kiev not to join NATO or seek to obtain nuclear weapons, and the lifting of sanctions on Russia.

Putin emphasized that Moscow is calling for “turning the tragic page of history and gradually restoring relations with Ukraine and Europe.” He warned, however, that if Kiev and the West refuse the proposal, they would be responsible for the continued bloodshed, while the situation on the battlefield will continue to change “not in favor of the Kiev regime.”

Responding to Putin’s suggestion, Podoliak wrote on X that the Russian president was offering “no real peace proposal” and showing “no desire to end the war.” The Ukrainian aide argued that Putin’s plan boiled down to Kiev giving up its territories and sovereignty and leaving itself “unprotected” by not joining NATO. 

He went on to suggest that Moscow’s plan was a “complete sham” and dismissed it as “highly offensive to international law” and to “common sense,” claiming Russia would continue the conflict in “new formats” if Kiev accepts any of the points of the proposal.

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Putin names conditions for Ukraine peace talks
]]> NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has also criticized Putin’s proposal, claiming that the request to withdraw Ukraine’s forces from Russia’s new territories was not an indication of good will but of Moscow’s desire to achieve its military goals and “occupy even more Ukrainian territory.”

Stoltenberg dismissed Putin’s proposal and vowed that NATO members will continue to strengthen their support of Ukraine as command posts in Germany and Eastern European countries will take part in coordinating arms supplies to the country.

Moscow has blasted the rejection of Putin’s proposal, with Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stating that Kiev and NATO’s refusal indicates their desire to “rob the Ukrainian people of a chance for peace.”

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Fri, 14 Jun 2024 13:35:36 +0000 RT
Apartment block partially collapses after Ukrainian strike on Russian town /russia/599295-belgorod-ukraine-attack-shebekino/ At least five people were hurt after a Ukrainian projectile hit a residential building in Russia’s Belgorod Region, the governor has said
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At least five people were injured in the attack on Shebekino in Belgorod Region, the local governor has said

A section of a five-story apartment block has collapsed as a result of a Ukrainian strike on the town of Shebekino in Russia’s Belgorod Region, local governor Vyacheslav Gladkov has said.

According to preliminary information, at least five people were injured in the attack, Gladkov wrote on Telegram on Friday. Three of them were hospitalized, while two others received medical assistance on site, he added.

Rescuers recovered two residents from the rubble and two others were evacuated from the fifth floor of the damaged building, the governor said.

The ongoing rescue operation involves around 80 emergency workers and 21 units of specialized equipment, Gladkov added.

Shebekino is located near the border with Ukraine and has a population of around 40,000. The town and surrounding settlements have been frequent targets of attacks by Kiev’s troops throughout the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

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Fri, 14 Jun 2024 13:29:42 +0000 RT
Ivan Timofeev: Russia and NATO are drifting towards a major war /russia/599286-russia-nato-ukraine-conflict/ It’s not impossible that the Ukraine conflict could eventually lead to a nuclear conflict. In which there will be no winners
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It’s not impossible that the Ukraine conflict could eventually lead to a nuclear conflict, in which there will be no winners

Is it possible that NATO forces could become directly involved in the military conflict between Russia and Ukraine? Until recently, such a question seemed very hypothetical given the high risks of escalation of the military confrontation between the US-led bloc and Russia into a large-scale armed conflict. But this scenario should be taken seriously now.

The direct participation of individual NATO countries or the entire bloc in hostilities could gradually spiral out of control. Crossing red lines can lead to the belief that there will be no consequences for engaging in war. The result of such movements can manifest itself at an unexpected moment and lead to a much more dangerous situation than the current one.

Strictly speaking, NATO countries have long been involved in the conflict. This takes several forms.

First, Western countries provide Kiev with substantial financial and military assistance, including increasingly advanced and destructive weapons systems. As the stockpiles of Soviet-style kit in the arsenals of the USSR’s former allies in the Warsaw Treaty Organisation have been depleted, the Ukrainian army is receiving more Western systems and ammunition. So far, mass deliveries have been limited by the production capacity of the Western defence industry and size of existing stockpiles. But if hostilities are prolonged, industrial capacity has the potential to grow. Increasing supplies are also inevitable in the event of a peaceful pause, which would allow Ukraine to prepare for a new phase of hostilities. Russia can hardly hope that the West lacks the political will and resources to increase support for Kiev. Moscow appears to be preparing for the worst-case scenario, namely a steady increase in substantial and long-term military assistance to Ukraine. In addition to the supply of arms and ammunition, this aid includes the training of personnel, help with the development of military industry and infrastructure, and the reimbursement of expenses in other areas that allow Ukraine to focus its resources on the defence sector.

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NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
Fyodor Lukyanov: Russia needs to explain its ‘red lines’ to the West
]]> Second, Ukraine receives extensive Western support in the form of intelligence, including technical data from satellites, radars, reconnaissance aircraft, etc. The information received enables a wide range of operations, from scoping the theatre of operations to the identification of specific targets. Data providers can be selective in granting the Ukrainian side access. But its use in military operations against Russia is not in doubt. 

Third, military specialists who are citizens of NATO countries are involved in combat operations. Their role does not always appear to be official. They may be ‘volunteers’ or simply mercenaries, whose participation the authorities of their countries turn a blind eye to. Russian estimates put their number at around 2,000 in October 2023. Whether that is accurate or not, it’s clear that foreigners are fighting on Ukraine’s side, that their participation is systematic rather than accidental, and that at least some of them are citizens of Western countries.

Their involvement has not yet created an excessive risk of direct military confrontation between Russia and NATO. For Kiev’s Western partners, the sluggish pace of the conflict allows them to gradually improve the quality of their support for Ukraine. Cruise missile deliveries have long been commonplace. The arrival of US fighter jets is only a matter of time. The Russian army is “grinding down” the Western equipment that arrives. But foreign supplies to Ukraine also require a concentration of resources on the Russian side.

A significant escalation factor that would amplify the risk of a direct clash between Russia and NATO, could be the appearance of military contingents form bloc members on the territory of Ukraine. The prospect of such a scenario has already been mentioned by some Western politicians, although their view has not been supported by the US and isn’t an official NATO position. A number of the bloc’s leaders have distanced themselves from supporting the idea of sending troops to Ukraine.

What might trigger such a decision and how might it be implemented? The most likely factor for direct intervention by individual states or NATO as a whole would be a possible major military success by the Russian army. So far, the front has remained relatively stable. But the Moscow's military has already achieved significant local victories, increased pressure, seized the initiative, extended the offensive front and possibly built up reserves for more decisive action.

There are no signs of a repeat of last year’s Ukrainian counteroffensive. Kiev is reportedly short of ammunition, although this shortfall could be filled in the future by external supplies. Periodic attacks on Russian territory with cruise missiles, drones and artillery cause damage and casualties, but do not disrupt the stability of the front.

Moreover, such strikes embolden Russia's determination to create buffer zones, i.e. territories from which Kiev will not be able to attack targets in Russian regions.

A possible collapse of certain sections of the Ukrainian front and significant territorial advances of Russian forces towards the west is becoming more and more realistic scenario.

The fact that no deep advances and breakthroughs have occured for some time does not mean that there is no possibility in the future. On the contrary, thire probability is increasing due to the army’s experience in combat, the supply of the military-industrial complex to the front, losses on the Ukrainian side, delays in the delivery of Western equipment, and so on.

The Russian army’s ability to make such advances and breakthroughs is also increasing. A catastrophic scenario for individual Ukrainian groups is not predetermined, but it is probable. A major breakthrough of the Russian army towards Kharkov, Odessa or another major city could become a serious trigger for NATO countries to introduce the question of intervention in the conflict into practical terms. Several such breakthroughs, simultaneous or successive, will inevitably raise the issue.

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FILE PHOTO.
Dmitry Suslov: It’s time for Russia to think about a ‘demonstrative’ nuclear test
]]> Here, individual countries and the bloc as a whole face a strategic fork in the road. The first option is not to intervene and to support Ukraine only with military equipment, money and ‘volunteers’. Perhaps to admit defeat and try to minimise the damage through negotiations, thereby preventing an even greater catastrophe. The second option is to radically change the approach to involvement in the conflict and allow direct intervention. 

Intervention can take a number of forms. It may involve the use of infrastructure, including airfields of NATO countries. It could mean the mass deployment of certain communications and engineering units and air defence systems, while avoiding their presence on the front line. An even more radical scenario is the deployment of a contingent of certain NATO countries on the border between Ukraine and Belarus. Finally, an even more radical option is the deployment of military contingents from NATO countries on the front line, which would probably be categorically unacceptable to the bloc. 

Each of these scenarios involves a direct clash between Russian and NATO forces. Such a situation would inevitably raise the question of deeper bloc involvement and, in the longer term, the transfer of military conflict to other areas of contact with Russia, including the Baltic region. At this stage, it will be even more difficult to stop the escalation. The more losses both sides suffer, the more the maelstrom of hostilities will grow and the closer they will come to the threshold of using nuclear weapons. And there will be no winners.

These are all hypothetical options. But they need to be considered now. After all, not so long ago such significant military deliveries to Ukraine seemed unlikely to anyone, as much as the conflict itself, three years ago. Now it is an everyday reality. The dangers of movement towards a major war between Russia and NATO should be taken seriously.

This article was first published by Valdai Discussion Club, translated and edited by the RT team.

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Fri, 14 Jun 2024 13:27:09 +0000 RT
Time of colonial powers is over – Medvedev /russia/599294-time-colonial-powers-over-medvedev/ More and more countries aspire to become free of the legacy of colonialism, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has argued
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A growing number of countries want to discard the vestiges of imperialism, the former Russian president has argued

A growing number of countries want to break free from colonial legacies, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has said. 

Numerous former imperial powers in the West have imposed unprecedented sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine conflict, triggering accusations from Moscow of neocolonialist policies.

Medvedev, who currently serves as deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council, made the comments in an opinion piece titled ‘The time of colonial powers is over’ for the Rossiyskaya Gazeta newspaper. The article was published ahead of a series of international events in the city of Vladivostok, dedicated to Russia’s chairmanship of the BRICS group.

“More and more countries […] are aspiring to live in a world […] that is free from the legacy of colonialism and is based on […] inclusive multilateralism, sovereign equality, peaceful coexistence and mutual respect between countries that have different political and social systems,” Medvedev wrote.

]]> READ MORE: West has declared ‘war without rules’ on Russia – Medvedev

]]> The former president criticized the West’s “unceremonious interference in the affairs of independent states,” referring to the policy of “illegal” sanctions adopted by the US and its allies, and accusing Washington of undertaking numerous coup attempts abroad. 

Medvedev argued that Western countries are transitioning to what he described as “global neocolonialism,” an attempt to impose a system of unequal economic and political relations on the rest of the world. He also proposed creating a UN database of crimes committed by colonial powers.

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FILE PHOTO: President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen speaks with US President Joe Biden.
Biggest danger to EU is the US –?Putin
]]> Medvedev was Russian president from 2008 to 2012, after which he served as prime minister until 2020. He is known for maintaining a hard line on the Ukraine conflict in his social media posts, which the Kremlin has never outright disavowed.

In February, Russian President Vladimir Putin described as “neocolonialism” the West’s attempts to “maintain its dominance” by economically subjugating other states, allegedly depriving them of their sovereignty while imposing alien traditions and values.

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Fri, 14 Jun 2024 13:20:25 +0000 RT
Russia points to major flaw in US-Ukraine ‘security deal’ /russia/599285-ukraine-secutiry-agreement-irrelevant/ The Russian Foreign Ministry has dismissed the US-Ukraine security agreement signed this week
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The 10-year agreement was touted as solidifying American commitments, but may be scrapped at whim by Donald Trump

The document signed by US President Joe Biden and Vladimir Zelensky on Thursday is largely irrelevant and meant to deceive the Ukrainian people, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has said.

The security deal was sealed on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Italy and declares Washington’s commitments to further Kiev’s goal of joining NATO by supporting and developing its military for years to come. Ukraine has similar arrangements with multiple other Western nations.

The terms do not include specific targets for military assistance or a pledge by the US to defend Ukraine, according to Western media reports. However, Washington has vowed to hold high-level consultations with Kiev within 24 hours if Ukraine is attacked in the future.

Zakharova on Friday called the deal a “scrap of paper” and claimed “some press releases are more important” than the document. She cited the lack of specifics and judicially binding power when explaining her dismissive attitude.

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US President Joe Biden and Ukraine’s Vladimir Zelensky during a press conference on the sidelines of the G7 Summit hosted by Italy, on June 13, 2024.
Biden tells arms buyers to wait behind Ukraine
]]> “Zelensky is a master of public relations and show business… He uses his entire artistic range to misrepresent bad things as good,” the official told journalists, referring to the politician’s previous career as a comedian and actor. The agreement is primarily meant “to show to the citizens of Ukraine, whom Zelensky has not yet sent to the slaughter, that the world community is supposedly with them.”

Biden described the deal as accelerating “Ukraine’s integration into the European and… trans-Atlantic communities” and furthering its objectives in the conflict with Russia, as he announced it at a joint press conference with Zelensky.

The document, however, is not a treaty ratified by the US Congress, so any future US leader can nullify it, US officials told The Washington Post. Ex-President Donald Trump has criticized the Biden administration for overspending on the Ukrainian armed forces. The Republican politician has claimed on multiple occasions that he could end the conflict “in 24 hours”, if elected again. WaPo sources said “they hoped the agreement would transcend political divisions within the United States,” should Trump win in the November election.

]]> READ MORE: Ukraine is a ‘gold mine’ – US senator

]]> Moscow perceives the hostilities with Kiev as part of a proxy war that the US and its allies are waging against Russia. The West’s goal is to contain and damage its opponent, Russian officials have claimed, and it would fuel the conflict “to the last Ukrainian.”

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Fri, 14 Jun 2024 12:15:11 +0000 RT
EU state to relocate Soviet soldiers’ grave sites? /russia/599251-lithuania-relocation-soviet-soldiers-graves/ Lithuania’s parliament voted to move the gravesites of soldiers killed in WWII as part of an effort to erase the country’s Soviet heritage?
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The burials allegedly promote a “totalitarian and authoritarian ideology”, the Lithuanian parliament’s legislation states?

Lithuania’s parliament, the Seimas, has approved legislation greenlighting the relocation of burial spots of Soviet soldiers who were killed in World War II, the state-run news agency LRT reported on Friday. 

According to the new law, which was supported by an absolute majority of 89 lawmakers, the gravesites could be moved if they are recognized as “promoting of totalitarian and authoritarian regimes and their ideologies.”

A special commission at Lithuania’s Genocide and Resistance Research Centre has been set up to decide whether such graves are symbols of Soviet and Russian propaganda. 

Along with its neighbors Latvia and Estonia, Lithuania has been rolling out a national campaign aimed at so-called de-Sovietization since the start of the Ukraine conflict in February 2022. Over the past two years, numerous memorials of Soviet soldiers killed in WWII have been dismantled at the behest of governments. 

The Baltic States were part of the Russian Empire in the 19th century, but declared independence in 1918 in the wake of the October Revolution. After the beginning of World War II, the three nations became part of the Soviet Union. However, shortly thereafter, they were seized by Nazi Germany. The Red Army liberated them from German troops, and they remained Soviet republics until the collapse of the USSR in 1991. The current governments in the nations, which have all joined the EU and NATO, claim this was a period of “Russian occupation” and view the Soviet-era monuments as symbols of oppression. 

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FILE PHOTO of Latvian police.
EU states arrest people for celebrating WW2 victory over Nazis
]]> In August 2022, Estonia announced plans to relocate 22 graves of Soviet soldiers, which, according to the government, were located in inappropriate places. The measure was expected to affect burial spots in parks, green areas, city squares, and densely populated areas. 

Last year, the Estonian War Museum pledged to relocate the remains of 16 soldiers interred in the Defense Forces Cemetery in Tallinn more than half a century ago. At the time, the Russian Foreign Ministry lodged a protest, saying that measures of the kind cannot be implemented without the relatives’ consent. 

Over the past several years, May 9 Victory Day celebrations across the Baltic States have been held by the region’s sizable ethnic Russian minority community in violation of multiple bans. Many continue to lay flowers to commemorate the heroes and victims of the 20th century’s bloodiest conflict.

In May, Latvian police arrested 19 people for displaying banned Soviet and Russian symbols during these commemorations. Among other violations reported by Latvian officers were the display of Soviet symbols on cars as well as attempts to lay flowers at the sites of dismantled and demolished war memorials.

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Fri, 14 Jun 2024 11:50:59 +0000 RT
Biggest danger to EU is the US –?Putin /russia/599284-europe-threat-russia-putin/ The main threat to Europe doesn’t come from Moscow but from a critical dependence on the US, the president said
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
The main threat to Europe doesn’t come from Moscow but from a critical dependence on the US, the president said

Western Europe needs to maintain good relations with Moscow if it wants to retain its status as one of the centers of world development, Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested on Friday, during a meeting with the country’s top diplomats.

Putin stressed that Russia is prepared to work together with the EU and insisted that Moscow bears no ill intent, pointing out that all the recent statements made by Western officials about a supposed Russian attack are “nonsense.”

The president emphasized that the biggest “threat” to the bloc today is not posed by Russia but by its own increasingly critical dependence on the US in “military, political, technological, ideological and informational spheres.”

“Europe [sic] is increasingly being pushed out to the margins of global economic development and is being plunged into the chaos of migration and other pressing problems,” Putin said, adding that European nationals are also being deprived of international subjectivity and cultural identity.

Putin also noted that today, many of the EU's political leaders and representatives of European bureaucracy appear to be more afraid of falling out of favor with Washington than losing the trust of their own people. This fact has also become obvious following the results of the latest EU parliamentary elections, the Russian president said.

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A general view of the count underway at the Royal Dublin Society during the count for the European elections. Picture date: Monday June 10, 2024
Fyodor Lukyanov: Here’s what the results of the European Parliament elections tell us
]]> Meanwhile, the US is simply “exploiting” European leaders by forcing them to buy American liquefied natural gas, which is nearly “three-four times more expensive than gas in the US,” and pushing them to boost military aid to Ukraine, even threatening sanctions against those who do not comply, Putin said.

The Russian President also pointed out that Europe is being tricked into wasting money and resources on expanding its production of artillery shells, suggesting that such munitions will be completely useless after the conflict between Moscow and Kiev ends and will do nothing to ensure Europe’s military security. The US, on the other hand, continues to invest in military technologies of tomorrow, which will determine the military-political potential of countries, Putin observed.

He stressed that the simple idea that Europe’s future lies in friendly relations with Russia was well understood in the past by politicians of a “truly pan-European and global scale,” such as France’s Charles de Gaulle and Germany's Helmut Kohl, who Putin described as “patriots of their countries” and “people who thought in historical categories” as opposed to today’s “extras” who can only follow someone else’s will.

Nevertheless, Putin expressed hope that the legacy of the wise leaders of the past would eventually once again be embraced by a new generation of European politicians.

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Fri, 14 Jun 2024 11:28:05 +0000 RT
Putin names conditions for Ukraine peace talks /russia/599276-putin-names-conditions-peace-talks/ President Vladimir Putin says Kiev must withdraw its troops from Russian territory before any peace talks can begin
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
Kiev must withdraw its troops from Russia’s new territories, the president has said

Ukraine must remove its troops from Russia’s new regions before any meaningful peace talks can begin, President Vladimir Putin has said.

Moscow rejects Kiev’s claims of sovereignty over five formerly Ukrainian regions, four of which voted to join Russia in 2022. However, fighting continues in the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics and Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions.

Ukrainian troops must be removed from these territories, Putin said on Friday at a meeting with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and other senior Russian diplomats.

“I stress: the entire territory of those regions as defined by their administrative borders at the time they joined Ukraine [in August 1991],” Putin stated.

“Our side will order a ceasefire and start negotiations the minute Kiev declares that it is prepared to take this decision and starts actual withdrawal of troops from those regions, and also formally informs us that it no longer plans to join NATO,” the Russian leader pledged.

Putin outlined the conditions after condemning Kiev’s Western backers for allegedly preventing it from holding peace talks with Moscow while accusing Russia of rejecting negotiations.

]]> READ MORE: Putin addresses top Foreign Ministry officials: As it happened

]]> “We are counting on Kiev to take such a decision on withdrawal, neutral status, and dialogue with Russia, on which the future existence of Ukraine depends, independently based on the current realities and guided by the true interests of the Ukrainian people and not at Western orders,” Putin stated.

At this point, Moscow will not accept a frozen conflict, which would allow the US and its allies to rearm and rebuild the Ukrainian military, Putin claimed. The full resolution of the issue will involve Kiev recognizing the four new regions as well as Crimea as part of Russia, he insisted.

]]> Read more
FILE PHOTO: Fortifications in the streets of Ukrainian capital, Kiev, in March 2022.
Russian troops never intended to capture Kiev – Putin
]]> “In the future, all those basic principled positions have to be enshrined in fundamental international agreements. Naturally, that includes the lifting of all Western sanctions against Russia,” Putin stated.

Accepting these terms will allow everyone involved to turn the page and gradually rebuild damaged relations, the president said. Eventually, a pan-European security system that works for all nations on the continent could be created, Putin added, noting that Moscow has sought this outcome for years.

The Russian president’s keynote remarks came ahead of a Swiss-hosted summit supposedly meant to further peace in Ukraine. Kiev has insisted that Moscow could not be invited to the event because it would try to “hijack” it by promoting alternatives to the “peace formula” pushed by the Ukrainian government.

Putin claimed that the event was meant to distract public opinion from the “true roots” of the conflict, and that Vladimir Zelensky has usurped power in Ukraine after his presidential term expired last month. Nothing but demagoguery and accusations against Russia can come out of the Swiss gathering, he predicted.

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Fri, 14 Jun 2024 10:48:06 +0000 RT
Putin addresses top Foreign Ministry officials: As it happened /russia/599260-putin-foreign-ministry-meeting/
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
The formation of a multipolar world and global security architecture is high on the agenda

Russian President Vladimir Putin has conducted a meeting with the country’s top diplomats, including Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. The agenda included the ongoing standoff with the West, NATO expansion, and the need for an enhanced security infrastructure.

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Fri, 14 Jun 2024 09:39:55 +0000 RT
Dollar becoming ‘toxic’ – Russia’s top MP /russia/599257-dollar-becoming-toxic-volodin/ The dollar has become “toxic” because the US is using it as a political tool to impose sanctions, Russia’s State Duma chairman has said
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
BRICS countries are abandoning the greenback because it is being used as a political tool, Vyacheslav Volodin has claimed

Washington has completely undermined trust in the US dollar as a global reserve currency by using it as a political tool to impose “illegal” sanctions on Russia, State Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin has said.  

The US government announced a new batch of sanctions against Russia on Wednesday, targeting the energy, metals, and mining industries, as well as the Moscow Stock Exchange and major lenders Sber and VTB. The measures, which cover 300 additional individuals and entities, are aimed at impacting trade between Russia and its partners in China, Türkiye, and Kyrgyzstan, as well as other nations in Central Asia, the Middle East, and the Caribbean.  

Russia’s top lawmaker said on Friday that by using the dollar as an instrument of political influence, Washington has pushed other countries to increasingly abandon the greenback.  

“The dollar has become toxic. Washington has totally undermined trust in the dollar as a global reserve currency by imposing illegal sanctions against our country’s financial institutions,” Volodin wrote on his Telegram channel.   

]]> Read more
RT
Yuan to replace dollar as Russia’s main foreign currency – Central Bank
]]> The sanctions, however, have not yielded the expected results for the US, according to the Russian lawmaker. The global trend towards using national currencies in trade instead of the greenback has gained momentum, Volodin said, claiming that many other nations – in particular BRICS members – are looking for alternatives to the dollar as they don’t want to become “hostages” of US politics.  

The lawmaker noted that since 2022, the share of “unfriendly” currencies in Russia’s export settlements has dropped from 84.7% to 17.8%. At the same time, transactions in the ruble and national currencies have surged by 3.5 and 15 times respectively.   

According to Volodin, more than 90% of payments between Russia and its partners within the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) bloc of post-Soviet nations are carried out in national currencies. Russia-China trade is now 95% settled in rubles and yuan, he added.   

Volodin went on to remark that payment restrictions and the “theft” of Russia’s gold and foreign exchange reserves should prompt other countries to think about the reliability of storing their funds in US currency.  

The dollar has “discredited” itself as a reserve currency and therefore “dedollarization is inevitable,” Volodin argued.

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Fri, 14 Jun 2024 09:09:46 +0000 RT
Details of record Russian crypto-bribery case revealed /russia/599246-record-bribery-case-russian-court/ Two Russian investigators have been charged with soliciting the largest bribe in the nation’s modern history
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
Two Moscow investigators have been charged with extorting the equivalent of $181 million from suspects

A Moscow Region court announced on Thursday that it is set to hear the biggest bribery case in Russia’s modern history and in which  Investigative Committee staff are the prime suspects.

At the time, the Russian law enforcement was cracking down on the Russian branch of an international cybercrime syndicate known as the Infraud Organization.

According to court documents, one of the men – major Marat Tambiev from the committee's Moscow district branch – demanded that the hackers pay him 2,718 bitcoins. The sum is equivalent to roughly $181 million in current bitcoin prices. According to the Russian media, that makes it the biggest known bribe in Russia’s modern history.

The group was involved in the trafficking and unauthorized use of credit card data, the theft of personal credit card and online banking information, and the illegal trade of that data. The syndicate members – detained in Russia in 2022 – caused some 1 billion rubles ($11.4 million) in damage and fraud, according to the authorities.

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Timur Ivanov takes part in the Moscow City Court court hearing from a detention center via a videolink on May 8, 2024.
Russian deputy defense minister charged over $11 million bribe – lawyer
]]> Another suspect in the case – an investigator identified as Kristina Lyakhovenko – is accused of illegally taking several data storage devices used by the hackers and seized by law enforcement officials – and handing them over to Tambiev, who then transferred the bitcoins stored on the devices to his crypto wallets.

In return, the suspects promised not to confiscate the rest of the hackers’ cryptocurrency assets worth 14 billion rubles ($159.6 million), which should have been forfeited in favor of the government, according to the Russian media.

The cybercrime syndicate members, who were all eventually sentenced to between two and a half and three years behind bars, but only in the form of suspended sentences, reported the bribe to the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB).

Tambiev was then arrested in March 2022. Both he and Lyakhovenko denied wrongdoing.

The Infraud Organization was founded in 2010 by a Ukrainian national, Svyatoslav Bondarenko. The US Justice Department stated in 2017 that the group had over 10,000 registered members all over the world and was the “largest cyber fraud enterprise” prosecuted by the US authorities.

In 2018, the US indicted 36 suspected members of the organization for their alleged roles in the group’s “racketeering conspiracy.” According to the Justice Department, the group’s criminal activities resulted in losses of $530 million.

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Thu, 13 Jun 2024 22:27:34 +0000 RT
Bomb Ukraine with sex toys – Russian MP /russia/599242-milonov-sex-shop-ukraine-proposal/ Controversial Russian lawmaker Vitaly Milonov has proposed shutting down sex-shops and using their products as bombs against Kiev’s troops
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
Adult stores should be closed and their merchandise put to better use, Vitaly Milonov has said

Russia should shut down all adult stores in the country and use their merchandise as projectiles against Ukrainian troops, a controversial lawmaker has proposed.

State Duma Deputy Vitaly Milonov, one of the sponsors of the 2013 “gay propaganda” ban, made the comment in an interview with the Govorit Moskva radio station on Thursday.

“We need to take all the stuff from sex shops, load it onto bombers and drop them on the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Let these rubber p***ies slap them upside the head,” Milonov said.

Milonov is an outspoken supporter of Russia’s military operation against the current Ukrainian government, and had volunteered to fight in Donbass in 2022.

The United Russia lawmaker currently serves as the deputy chair of the Duma committee on families, fatherhood, motherhood and childhood. He has had a history of colorful proposals intended to promote family values and counter Western “degeneracy.”

]]> Read more
Vitaly Milonov
Russian MP proposes male sterilization ban
]]> During Thursday’s show, Milonov also denounced the “Bubble Baba Challenge,” a proposed event in his native Leningrad Region that would involve using inflatable sex dolls as rafts. 

“I believe that anyone who has such an accessory [sex doll] - definitely a candidate for a mental hospital,” he said on air, adding that he sincerely wished “piranhas would appear in the river” during such an event “to take revenge on these crazy people.”

The event’s organizers are “idiots” and “cucks,” he added.

In another radio appearance on Govorit Moskva over the weekend, Milonov called for a crackdown on prostitution, accusing streetwalkers of “destroying families and seducing people with their imaginary silicone beauty.”

Last month, he proposed hosting a dating app on the state services platform Gosuslugi, with the intent to promote marriage. On International Women’s Day, he told the same radio station that the best March 8 gift for a Russian woman would be “a new pregnancy.” 

In January, he suggested outlawing vasectomies and punishing divorce with a fine or mobilization to the Ukrainian front.

Milonov has also campaigned to ban men from walking around without shirts, labeling as “extremist” anyone who promotes a child-free lifestyle, outlawing Halloween celebrations, and banning fathers who failed to pay child support from being listed as male on official documents, because “a real man will never abandon his children.”

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Thu, 13 Jun 2024 21:07:55 +0000 RT
Western silence encourages Kiev’s atrocities – Zakharova /russia/599239-zakharova-silence-complicity-ukraine-attack/ Refusing to condemn Ukraine’s targeting of Russian journalists makes one Kiev’s accomplice in those crimes, Maria Zakharova has said
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
The Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman has highlighted Ukraine’s targeting of journalists

International institutions that stay silent in the face of Ukrainian atrocities become Kiev’s accomplices in these crimes, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has said, highlighting the targeted attack on a Russian news crew near Gorlovka that killed a photographer and seriously injured two others.

On Thursday morning, an NTV crew reporting from Donbass came under Ukrainian fire near Gorlovka. Journalist Aleksey Ivliev, camera operator Valery Kozhin, and their Russian military escort were wounded. Kozhin later died of his injuries.

“Once again, representatives of the journalistic community and Russian media find themselves in the crosshairs of the Nazi regime in Kiev,” Zakharova told reporters at the regular press briefing.

She pointed out that according to some sources, the crew was deliberately targeted by a Ukrainian drone, which dropped a mortar shell on their location. 

According to Zakharova, international organizations from the UN on down have either remained silent or voiced “general concerns” about “this monstrous hunt for our correspondents,” practically becoming Ukrainian accomplices and encouraging further atrocities on Kiev’s part.

]]> Read more
NTV cameraman Valery Kozhin
Russian reporter dies of injuries from Ukrainian attack
]]> “The blood of Russian journalists is not only on the hands of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, but also the international officials in Vienna, Geneva, Paris and New York,” Zakharova said. “I hope that now at least, the spokesman for the UN secretary-general, Mr. [Stephane] Dujarric, will not let this pass without comment at his next briefing, and will find the courage to say who carried out the attack, and condemn it.”

Zakharova’s comments came as Iliev, Kozhin and their escort were still undergoing surgery for their injuries. Kozhin has since passed away.

The 46-year-old camera operator began working at NTV in 2006. He had spent months at a time in conflict zones, including Syria and the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. 

Ivliev has reportedly survived the surgery and is recovering. The 56-year-old reporter has worked at NTV since 1993, mainly covering armed conflicts and environmental issues.

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Thu, 13 Jun 2024 18:30:25 +0000 RT
Ukraine’s top general ‘considered himself Russian’ – stepson /russia/599224-general-syrsky-stepson-exclusive/ Aleksandr Syrsky betrayed his family for the sake of his career in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, his adoptive son Ivan has said
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
Ivan Syrsky has opened up about his father’s character and betrayal

Aleksandr Syrsky, the commander-in chief of Ukraine’s armed forces, was once a good father and an honorable man, but never considered himself Ukrainian, his stepson Ivan has told RT in an exclusive interview. The ethnic Russian general landed the post earlier this year after Vladimir Zelensky fell out with Syrsky's predecessor, Valery Zaluzhny.

Ivan Syrsky lives in Australia, where he moved with his mother and half-brother Anton 15 years ago. Unlike his stepfather, he has applied for Russian citizenship and supports Moscow in the Ukraine conflict. 

“Several times, when I was still in elementary school, we went to his parents in Russia: first in Moscow Region, then in Vladimir,” Ivan told RT. “We were all considered Russians back then, and I never heard a bad word from him about Russia or Donbass. But he definitely never considered himself a Ukrainian.”

Syrsky stayed in Ukraine after the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991, where he continued to serve in the armed forces. Following the US-backed coup in Kiev in 2014, the new government launched its so-called “anti-terrorist operation” (ATO) against the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk in the east. By now a general, Syrsky was in charge of troops during the early 2015  military confrontation in Debaltsevo. 

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Ivan Syrsky outside the Russian consulate in Sydney on March 17, 2024.
Stepson of Ukraine’s top general guards Russian consulate (IMAGES)
]]> “We were stunned when we learned that he had been appointed commander of the Joint Forces Operation in Donbass [in 2014],” Ivan told RT. “Especially remembering that he was never a patriot of Ukraine, he never even wanted to learn Ukrainian.”

Aleksandr Syrsky was made head of the ATO in 2017 and was promoted again to lead Ukraine’s ground forces in 2019. He became commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in February, after Vladimir Zelensky sacked General Valery Zaluzhny.

“When he was appointed commander-in-chief, this was the last straw for me,” Ivan said. Since the start of Russia’s military operation, he has not once communicated with his stepfather, he revealed. “And I don’t intend to. He sold his homeland for his career.”

Ivan’s mother and Syrsky divorced in 2009. She moved to Australia the following year, with Ivan and Syrsky’s biological son Anton. Syrsky “already had another family and another life” by that point, Ivan said.

Before that, however, Syrsky had never treated him like a stepson. “He was like a real father to me,” Ivan told RT. He remembered Syrsky as a “strong, proud, purposeful person,” who would criticize the Ukrainian government for corruption and “stupid political decisions.”

]]> Read more
Ivan Syrsky (right) with 'Aussie Cossack' Simeon Boykov in Sydney, February 20, 2024.
Stepson of Ukraine’s top general says he wants Russian citizenship
]]> “One day, he came home in a rage because someone who had copied from him at the military academy had been promoted to be his superior,” Ivan recalled. “He also became quite angry when, after the ‘Orange Maidan’ [in 2004] retired Major [Anatoly] Gritsenko was appointed minister of defense.”

Asked if he considered his father an enemy now, Ivan thought for a minute.

“It’s hard,” he said. “He is a traitor to me. We are definitely on opposite sides of the barricades. And if we met on the battlefield, then... I always have in mind the image from the film ‘Taras Bulba’ – only this time I am the Cossack, and he is with the Poles.”

In Nikolay Gogol’s masterpiece, the title character ends up killing one of his sons for siding with the Polish against the Zaporozhian Cossacks.

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Thu, 13 Jun 2024 17:51:53 +0000 RT
Ukraine wants Russian athlete banned from Olympics for mourning dead father /russia/599233-ukraine-russian-ban-olympics-mourning/ Kiev has demanded that Russian wrestling champion and her supporters be banned from Paris Games over post commemorating her deceased dad
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
Sports officials in Kiev claim wrestling champion Dinara Kudaeva’s dad died in the conflict in their country

Ukrainian sports officials have requested that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) bar three Russian athletes from participating in the upcoming Summer Games, over what they called “open support for the military action” against their nation.

The reason for the request was a social media post by Russian wrestling champion Dinara Kudaeva, in which she mourned her recently deceased father. According to Kiev, the man’s death occurred in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

The other two wrestlers – Natalia Malysheva and Olga Khoroshavtseva – responded to Kudaeva’s post with a like emoji, in a bid to console their fellow athlete.

”These athletes … do not meet the sufficient criteria for receiving the status of individual neutral athlete (AIN),” read a statement signed by the president of the Ukrainian Olympic Committee, Vadim Guttsait, acting Sports Minister Matvey Bedny and the national wrestling association head, Yury Kopytko. The three officials then claimed that the three Russian wrestlers in question “support the [Ukraine] war” and Moscow’s policies.

The written address, published on the Ukrainian Olympic Committee’s website, goes on to claim that Kudaeva called for her father to be honored as a “hero.” According to Ukrainian officials, who referred to him as an “occupier,” the man had died in the ongoing conflict in their country.

]]> Read more
RT
Russian media banned from displaying national symbols at Olympics
]]> The Russian athlete has reportedly since deleted her post and closed her social media page to the public. A video published by a Ukrainian media outlet on YouTube supposedly shows the social media posts published by Kudaeva when they were still accessible. There, the athlete can be seen wishing her father an ascent to Heaven after his death and saying “father, I’ve died with you.” In another post the athlete wrote: “Father, you are my hero.”

The video published by Ukrainian media also does not show Kudaeva calling on anyone to honor her father as a “hero.” Instead, the woman, who is a Muslim, called on fellow Russian Muslims to pray for her father.

Khoroshavtseva can be seen leaving a crying emoji under one of Kudaeva’s posts. The IOC has so far not reacted to Ukraine’s request. The head of the Russian Wrestling Federation, Mikhail Mamiashvili, slammed the country’s officials for “stepping over universally accepted moral principles” with such actions.

“What happened to Kudaeva is such a personal issue that it should not even be discussed. The girl has lost her father,” he told RIA Novosti. “And [the Ukrainians] are exploiting it,” the Russian official said, adding that “compassion” has become a crime for Kiev nowadays.

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Thu, 13 Jun 2024 17:27:46 +0000 RT
Russian reporter dies of injuries from Ukrainian attack /russia/599231-russian-journalist-killed-ukraine/ NTV camera operator Valery Kozhin was mortally wounded during the shelling of the Russian city of Gorlovka
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
NTV camera operator Valery Kozhin was mortally wounded during the shelling of the Russian city of Gorlovka

One of the members of the NTV crew wounded in the Ukrainian attack on Gorlovka, in the Donetsk People’s Republic, has died of his injuries.

Photographer Valery Kozhin was working with journalist Aleksey Ivliev on Thursday when a mortar mine exploded on top of them. A Russian military officer accompanying the crew was also wounded.

Kozhin succumbed to his wounds on Thursday evening, the mayor of Gorlovka, Ivan Prikhodko, announced on Telegram.

“The doctors tried to save him for several hours, but Valery’s wounds were too severe,” NTV said in a statement.

Kozhin was 46. He began working at NTV in 2006, first as a sound engineer and technician, then as a television photographer. He has repeatedly worked in war zones in Syria, Donetsk and Lugansk.

Ivliev survived the surgery and is reportedly in stable condition, NTV has said.

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Journalist Aleksey Ivliev
Reporters injured in Ukrainian attack on Russian frontline city
]]> According to DPR head Denis Pushilin, the crew came under Ukrainian attack in the village of Golmovsky, near Gorlovka. Both Ivliev and Kozhin were struck by shrapnel from an exploding mortar mine. According to some reports, the projectile was dropped from a Ukrainian drone.

Gorlovka is located roughly 30 kilometers north of Donetsk, the Russian federal subject’s capital. The city has not been under Kiev’s control since 2014, when two regions of eastern Ukraine opposed the government that assumed power in the wake of a Western-backed coup. The country’s new authorities tried and failed to crush the uprising using military force.

Russia incorporated the Donetsk People’s Republic as a new federal subjects along with three other erstwhile Ukrainian regions after a referendum in September 2022. Moscow had cited Kiev’s refusal to reconcile with the separatists, and continued attacks against Donetsk and other communities as key reasons for the escalation of the conflict.

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Thu, 13 Jun 2024 16:52:47 +0000 RT
Russia considers easing visa rules /russia/599223-tourism-visa-china-vakhrukov/ Visas for tourists coming to Russia should be made cheaper or entirely abolished, according to the Ministry of Economic Development
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
Tourist entry permits should be made cheaper or entirely abolished, the deputy minister of economic development has said

Russia’s Ministry of Economic Development has suggested significantly easing entry visa rules for tourists visiting the country, Deputy Minister Dmitry Vakhrukov has revealed.

A visa on arrival should be introduced in Russia, “not for everybody, but for specific countries, towards which we are oriented,” Deputy Minister Dmitry Vakhrukov said at the ‘Let’s Travel! Russian Tourism Forum’ in Moscow on Thursday.

The country’s authorities should also make the “important and fundamental decision” to allow Russia to simplify visa requirements for other nations on a unilateral basis, he insisted.

It is needed so that “we could – at our own discretion - make our country visa-free for certain states,” the deputy minister of economic development explained.

]]> READ MORE: Russia and India to hold talks on visa-free tourism

]]> According to Vakhrukov, his ministry and other government agencies are discussing lowering tariffs and prolonging the period of both regular visas and electronic visas, which became available to Russia-bound tourists last August.

The introduction of a multiple-entry visa that remains valid for 15 months or even two years could also help increase the flow of visitors to the country, he explained.

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FILE PHOTO: People at Sheremetyevo International Airport named after A.S. Pushkin.
Kremlin slams NATO state’s ban on Russian tourists
]]> The duration of the visas issued to tourists should also take into account seasonal factors, the official stressed. “For example, for China and the Middle East, there are different periods when tourism to Russia is at maximum demand,” he said. The Chinese usually visit in January and February when the Chinese New Year is celebrated, while the Middle Easterners come in December, July and August, Vakhrukov explained.

On Wednesday, Russia’s Minister of Economic Development Maksim Reshetnikov said that the tourist flow to the country during the January-April period had increased 40%-year-on-year.

According to the minister, over 400,000 foreigners have visited Russia by obtaining electronic visas over the past ten months. Visa-free group tours are also available to visitors from China and Iran, he said, adding that talks are underway to introduce a similar program with India.

There are no longer a significant number of flights between Russia and Europe, as a result of the Western sanctions which were imposed on Moscow over the Ukraine conflict. As a result, the country’s tourist industry has switched its focus to Asia and the Middle East.

The Ministry of Economic Development said earlier that it is seeking to boost the number of foreign visitors coming to Russia, mainly from those regions, to 16 million by 2030. Reshetnikov announced last month that mutual tourist flow between Russia and China exceeded 1.2 million last year; there are plans to increase it to 2 million in 2024.

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Thu, 13 Jun 2024 15:02:11 +0000 RT
Russia formally charges WSJ journalist with spying for CIA /russia/599222-russian-case-gershkovich-finalized/ Russian prosecutors have finalized their criminal case against Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who is accused of espionage
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
Evan Gershkovich is accused of collecting intelligence about the Russian military industry

Russia’s prosecutor general has accused Wall Street Journal journalist Evan Gershkovich of attempting to obtain military secrets for the CIA, it was announced on Thursday.

Investigators claimed in a statement that they have evidence proving the US citizen was acting on behalf of the foreign intelligence agency when he tried to collect classified information about Uralvagonzavod, a major Russian producer of tanks and armored vehicles, in Ekaterinburg in March 2023.

The case, which was compiled based on materials provided by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), has been sent for trial at a court in the Urals region of Sverdlovsk, it added.

The court has jurisdiction as Uralvagonzavod is located in the region and the alleged crimes were committed on its soil.

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Evan Gershkovich in a Moscow court, Moscow, Russia, June 22, 2023.
Putin doesn’t rule out release of US journalist
]]> Gershkovich and his employer have denied the Russian allegations and have claimed he is being held unlawfully. The newspaper has called on the US government to retaliate and has reportedly been told that Washington is looking for “creative solutions” to resolve the situation.

American officials have reportedly contacted other governments about potentially taking custody of prisoners who they believe may be of interest to Russia in a swap for Gershkovich. Brazil, Norway, Germany, and an unnamed former Soviet bloc country have been approached with such requests, according to Western media.

Former Fox News host Tucker Carlson asked Russian President Vladimir Putin about Gershkovich during an interview in February, claiming that his fellow US journalist was “obviously not a spy.” Putin responded by saying that “getting classified information in secret is called espionage,” and that Gershkovich was “caught red-handed when he was receiving this information.”

Moscow has no objections in principle to releasing Gershkovich eventually but won’t do so simply as a goodwill gesture because it has already “exhausted” such reserves in dealing with Washington, Putin added.

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Thu, 13 Jun 2024 14:04:38 +0000 RT
Russian nuclear icebreaker to ferry children to North Pole /russia/599211-north-pole-children-icebreaker-cruise/ Schoolchildren from Russia and other countries will sail to the North Pole aboard a nuclear icebreaker
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
Seventy high school students from different nations will navigate thousands of kilometers through the Arctic Ocean’s ice to reach the top of the world

Dozens of schoolchildren from Russia and abroad will travel to the North Pole in August on board one of the country's nuclear icebreakers as part of an international science project, the trip organizers said on Tuesday.

The “The Icebreaker of Knowledge” project, aimed at supporting gifted children around the world, will bring 70 schoolchildren aged between 14 and 16 from countries including India, China, South Africa, Hungary, Armenia, Uzbekistan and Russia, on a once-in-a-lifetime voyage.

“No [country] in the world, except Russia, sends children to the North Pole. We selected the strongest kids interested in natural science disciplines such as chemistry, physics, math and biology,” said Tatyana Terentyeva, the jury chair and an executive at the nuclear energy giant Rosatom, which operates the “50 Let Pobedy” (50 Years of Victory) nuclear powered icebreaker.

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World Youth Festival (WYF 2024) opening ceremony in Sochi, Russia, March 2, 2024.
World Youth Festival is opportunity to ‘innovate together’ – UN youth delegate
]]> While the previous five years have been focused on Russia, this year, the project has taken on an international dimension. Foreign participants were selected through the World Youth Festival, which was held in Russia earlier this year.

The students will be accompanied on their journey by renowned scientists, nuclear industry experts, and Arctic researchers.

The vessel will set off from the Arctic port of Murmansk on a 2,400 kilometer voyage to the top of the planet and back. 

Rosatom's “50 Let Pobedy” is one of the world’s largest nuclear icebreakers and is also used for commercial tourism. Tours to the North Pole and back normally take 13 days and have a price tag of at least 2.5 million rubles ($28,000).

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Thu, 13 Jun 2024 12:01:34 +0000 RT
Ukraine confirms deep strikes into Russia with Western weapons /russia/599214-ukraine-deep-strikes-russia-budanov/ The head of Kiev’s military intelligence, Kirill Budanov, claims Moscow is “already feeling” the effect of attacks on its soil
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
The head of Kiev’s military intelligence claims Moscow is “already feeling” the attacks

Ukraine is already using Western-supplied weapons for long-range strikes on Russian territory, the head of Kiev’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR) confirmed on Wednesday.

Asked by reporters how the use of foreign weapons has changed the situation on the battlefield and how Moscow is planning to respond to these attacks, Kirill Budanov said the Russian forces are “already feeling them.” 

He added that easing of restrictions on the use of Western-made munitions against Russian forces has “definitely made the situation easier” but “no more or less than that.”

The intelligence chief was also asked how Russia might perceive the crossing of a potential “red line.” Budanov argued that no such lines actually exist, claiming they have already been crossed multiple times.

Several of Kiev’s Western backers recently gave Ukraine the green light to use weapons supplied by them to strike targets deep inside Russian territory. The US and other countries claimed the move was needed to stall Moscow’s push into Kharkov Region, which borders on Russia’s Belgorod Region.

Russian forces have recently been making advances near Kharkov, Ukraine’s second-largest city, taking over key settlements and inflicting heavy casualties on the Ukrainian military. The cross-border operation, announced in response to Kiev’s repeated attacks on Belgorod, is aimed at creating a buffer zone to prevent further artillery and missile strikes on Russian cities. 

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FILE PHOTO: A Ukrainian military jet takes part in a joint exercise with NATO forces in 2021.
Kiev makes first airstrike on Russian border region – Sky News
]]> Top Ukrainian officials, including Budanov, have admitted that the situation in Kharkov Region is critical, and have ramped up demands for longer-range Western weapons. In late May the Biden administration granted permission to use the munitions on parts of Russia not claimed by Ukraine.

Russia, however, has repeatedly warned against using Western-produced weapons to strike deep into its territory, with President Vladimir Putin warning that such attacks amount to direct Western participation in the conflict and could lead to disastrous consequences.

“If someone deems it possible to supply such weapons to the war zone, to strike our territory… why shouldn’t we supply similar weapons to those regions of the world, where they will be used against sensitive sites of these countries?” the Russian president said last week. “We can respond asymmetrically. We will give it some thought.”

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Thu, 13 Jun 2024 11:03:47 +0000 RT
Reporters injured in Ukrainian attack on Russian frontline city /russia/599212-reporters-injured-ukrainian-attack/ Employees of Russian TV channel NTV have been seriously injured in a Ukrainian strike on Gorlovka in Donetsk People’s Republic
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
Crew and entourage of Russian television channel NTV were wounded while working in Donetsk People’s Republic

Three people, including two working for the Russian TV channel NTV, were seriously injured on Thursday in the Donbass city of Gorlovka as a result of a Ukrainian attack.

Journalist Aleksey Ivliev and two others were rushed to hospital after being injured during a work assignment in the settlement near the regional capital, Donetsk, Ivan Prikhodko wrote on social media.

NTV said in a statement on Telegram that the crew was working in a small settlement called Golmovsky just northeast of Gorlovka, when they were wounded. The other victims were cameraman Valery Kozhin and a Russian military officer who was accompanying them, it said. Earlier, the mayor’s report had erroneously said all three were members of the press.

TASS news agency, citing doctors, reported that the three remained unresponsive and were all undergoing surgery.

The reports would not immediately detail the circumstances of the incident, but Mayor Prikhodko had reported earlier in the day that Golmovsky had come under Ukrainian fire.

Gorlovka is located roughly 30 kilometers north of the Russian region’s capital, Donetsk.

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A damaged healthcare facility is seen in the town of Gorlovka in the wake of a Ukrainian strike on April 18, 2024.
Ukraine strikes hospital in Donbass, injuring eight – authorities
]]> 56-year-old Ivliev is a veteran journalist working in media since the 1990s. Most of his career has been with NTV, which he joined in 1993. He specializes in coverage of armed conflict and in environmental issues, according to his profile on the channel’s website.

The city has not been under Kiev’s control since 2014, when communities in eastern Ukraine opposed the government that assumed power in the wake of a Western-backed coup. The new authorities tried and failed to quash these rebellions by military force.

The Russian Federation incorporated the Donetsk People’s Republic as a new member after a referendum in 2022, amid continuing hostilities with Ukraine. Moscow had cited Kiev’s refusal to reconcile with communities in the east, and continued attacks against Donetsk and other settlements, as key reasons for the escalation of conflict.

In April, regional officials accused Ukrainian forces of striking a hospital and a blood-donation center in Gorlovka using a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), which is supplied by the US.

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Thu, 13 Jun 2024 10:38:20 +0000 RT
West has declared ‘war without rules’ on Russia – Medvedev /russia/599204-medvedev-maximum-damage-west/ Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has called for an all-out campaign to inflict damage on the US and its allies
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
There should be virtually no limits on how Moscow retaliates for the “maximum damage,” the former president has argued

Moscow should use every opportunity to inflict “maximum damage” on Western nations that have declared a “war without rules” on Russia, former president Dmitry Medvedev has argued.

Every weakness of the US and its allies should be exploited to undermine them and obstruct life for their citizens, the Russian official said on Thursday, reacting to the latest round of sanctions announced by Washington earlier this week.

”Are they afraid that we would transfer our arms to the enemies of the Western world? We should send every kind of weapon, except nuclear (for now)!” Medvedev wrote on social media. “Are they afraid of anarchy and crime waves in large cities? We should help disrupt their municipal authorities!”

Russia could trigger a war in space, wage a psychological warfare campaign against Western citizens so that they “tremble under blankets in their cozy homes” and unleash a tsunami of fake news “to turn their life into a never-ending nightmare, in which they cannot distinguish reality from the wildest fiction.”

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Headquarters of the Moscow Exchange, 2022.
Restrictions on Moscow Exchange and banks, fate of the ruble: Key takeaways from new US sanctions
]]> Moscow should “obliterate their energy infrastructure, industry, transport, banking and social services. Instil fear over an imminent collapse of all critical infrastructure,” according to Medvedev, who currently serves as deputy chair of the Russian Security Council.

The latest round of American restrictions against Russian entities targets energy, metals and mining as well as the financial sector. Among other things, it has forced the Moscow Stock Exchange to suspend all trade in the US dollar and the euro.

The package is one of the biggest since the Ukraine conflict escalated into open hostilities in February 2022, impacting over $100 million in trade between Russia and its foreign partners, according to estimate from the US Department of the Treasury.

Medvedev claimed that a campaign of “maximum damage” as outlined in his post was preferable to simply ignoring the Western pressure, and urged Russian citizens to act accordingly.

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Thu, 13 Jun 2024 09:17:27 +0000 RT
Restrictions on Moscow Exchange and banks, fate of the ruble: Key takeaways from new US sanctions /russia/599194-russia-us-sanctions-exchange/ The US has targeted Russian industries, banks and the Moscow Stock Exchange in the latest round of sanctions
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
Washington has unveiled a major new set of measures targeting Russia’s financial sector and currency market

The US government announced a new wave of sanctions against Russia on Wednesday, targeting the energy, metals and mining industries, as well as some of the nation’s major lenders and the Moscow Stock Exchange.

The latest round of restrictions appears to be one of the biggest since the start of the Ukraine conflict in February 2022.

According to the US Department of the Treasury, the measures will impact more than $100 million in trade between Russia and its foreign partners, and affect companies and individuals in China, Türkiye, Kyrgyzstan and other nations of Central Asia, the Middle East, and the Caribbean. RT breaks down the immediate effects and potential consequences, as well as Moscow’s reaction.

Moscow Exchange in the crosshairs 

Washington has blacklisted some 300 additional individuals and entities in Russia and beyond, accusing them of having links to Moscow’s “war economy.” The measures are focused on Russia’s ability to procure military-related materials and “critical supplies” from third countries, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said.

American citizens have been prohibited from providing IT services to anyone in Russia. The US Treasury added two major Russian banks – Sberbank and VTB – to the blacklist, which makes other financial institutions dealing with them potential targets of secondary sanctions. In addition, the National Clearing Center and the National Settlement Depository of the Moscow Stock Exchange (MOEX) have also been blacklisted. 

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RT
Moscow exchange suspends trading in dollars and euro
]]> Dollar and euro trading halted 

The Moscow Stock Exchange announced the suspension of trade in US dollars and euros on Wednesday. The suspension affects foreign and precious metals trade, as well as stock and currency trading on Russia’s largest public markets, MOEX said in a statement. The order is due to take effect on Thursday. 

In the meantime, all other financial instruments remain operational, MOEX said.

Russia’s top banks respond

Russia’s Central Bank said in a statement on Wednesday that trading in dollars and euros would continue “on the over-the-counter market.” Individuals and companies will be able to purchase and sell both currencies at Russian banks. All bank deposits made in dollars and euros will remain secure, the financial regulator stated. 

The Bank of Russia said it will use “bank records and information from digital over-the-counter trading platforms” to establish exchange rates for dollars and euros in the future. 

Sberbank and VTB stated that the new restrictions would not impact their day-to-day operations in Russia and abroad. Both lenders confirmed that operations with the currency continue to be available at their offices. 

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EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen gives a speech at the Ukraine Recovery Conference in Berlin, Germany on June 11, 2024.
EU agrees to give Ukraine $1.6 billion proceeds from Russia’s assets
]]> What about the ruble?

The new restrictions will likely strengthen the Russian currency, several financial analysts told the business news outlet RBK on Wednesday. The growing uncertainty will reduce speculative trade and lead to a more favorable ruble-to-dollar exchange rate, they said. “There is nothing at the moment that could definitively point towards a weakening of the ruble,” Sofya Donets, a lead economist at T-Investitsii, told the publication. 

Alex Isakov, an economist at Bloomberg, told the BBC that he expects “a structural increase of the ruble’s volatility” and a weaker ruble in the future. However, a deficit of foreign currency in Russia is unlikely, he said. “The main effect will not be a currency deficit, but rather that exporters and importers will see a rise in the operational expenses from their transactions, such as the cost of operations with currency, money transfers, and so on,” Isakov said. 

Moscow vows to retaliate 

Russia “will not leave the aggressive actions of the US unanswered,” Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement, without elaborating.  

Some members of the State Duma have suggested that additional foreign restrictions could incentivize making Russia’s economy more resilient and competitive. “We are actively developing domestic industries and innovations, which contribute to the modernization of our economy,” member of parliament Dmitry Belik told Ria Novosti on Wednesday. He argued that Russia has developed “an immunity” to sanctions over the years. 

State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin also argued that Moscow has learned to counter Western sanctions. “Despite the statement from Washington and Brussels, saying that they will tear apart the Russian economy, the country is [successfully] developing,” he wrote on Telegram, noting that Russia’s GDP grew by 3.6% in 2023 and has increased by 5.4% since the beginning of 2024.

The State Duma’s deputy speaker, economist Mikhail Delyagin, told news website Lenta.ru that the Moscow Exchange’s regulations could be revised in order to tackle the sanctions. “The trade can also be moved to a different platform,” he said. 

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Thu, 13 Jun 2024 00:18:01 +0000 RT
US company won’t supply life-saving drug for Russian children /russia/599192-insulin-children-delivery-stopped/ Eli Lilly has instructed its Swiss subsidiary to wind down deliveries to Russia of a type of insulin mainly used by diabetic children
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
An Eli Lilly subsidiary has halted deliveries to Russia of its widely used insulin product

The supply of Humalog-brand insulin produced by Eli Lilly has practically run out in Russia, the Kommersant newspaper has reported. Most of the drug’s customers in the country are children with type-1 diabetes.

In March 2022, following the start of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, Lilly announced that it would stopping the export of “non-essential” drugs to Russia, such as the erectile dysfunction pill Cialis, but that cancer and diabetes drugs would be unaffected. 

Since then, the US pharma giant delegated its Russia operations to a Swiss subsidiary, Swixx BioPharma. According to Kommersant, that company notified Russian authorities in February that it was halting new deliveries of Humalog, also known as insulin lispro. No reason was given for the move.

Russia’s drug monitoring body Roszdravnadzor said that as of Monday, there were more than a million doses of insulin lispro in circulation, “which meets the annual need for the drug.” 

Three domestic substitutes are already in circulation and “patients’ need for this drug will be fully met,” Roszdravnadzor added.

Two generic substitutes for Humalog have been manufactured by the Russian company Geropharm. Another company, JSC Pharmsintez-Nord, began producing the same kind of insulin earlier this year. Lilly had accounted for almost all the insulin on the Russian market as late as 2019.

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Russian lawmaker Aleksandr Petrov
SPIEF 2024: Russian MP warns Western pharma giants about patents
]]> “The departure of Eli Lilly should not affect Russian patients – the foreign manufacturer systematically reduced the volume of supplies of original drugs to our country, giving preference to other markets, which may be due to both economic considerations and the political position of the manufacturer,” a Geropharm spokesperson told Kommersant. 

This has been cold comfort to some parents of diabetic children, who said they might be willing to pay a steep markup to get the American drug on the “gray market,” according to Maria Blokhina, who runs the Telegram channel T1D News.

Blokhina is a mother of a child with type 1 diabetes, a congenital condition that requires external insulin. 

“Parents are generally afraid to switch their children to other insulins,” she told Kommersant. “Besides, Humalog is time-tested, one might say, the standard fast-acting insulin. Almost 30 years of use has played a role in its reputation, as did the Lilly company itself, a pioneer in the production of insulin in the world.”

According to Blokhina, some parents are unwilling to switch to the Geropharm product and will continue to buy Humalog from Germany, Türkiye and other countries.

“True, the price of such packaging from Germany will be 15,000 rubles instead of 1,700 rubles we used to pay at the pharmacy,” she said. “Parents are simply afraid to experiment.”

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Wed, 12 Jun 2024 21:36:49 +0000 RT
CEO of major Russian metal plant charged with pedophilia /russia/599179-metal-plant-ceo-pedophilia/ Pavel Khodorovsky, the long-time CEO of the Chelyabinsk Electrometallurgical Plant, has been arrested on suspicion of pedophilia
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
The 72-year-old director of Chelyabinsk Electrometallurgical Plant is suspected of having had sex with multiple underage girls

A court in central Russia on Wednesday placed the director general of the Chelyabinsk Electrometallurgical Plant (ChEMK), under arrest in a high-profile pedophilia prosecution. 

The hearing, which was held behind closed doors, concluded with an order that ChEMK CEO, Pavel Khodorovsky, be held in pre-trial detention for two months, which is standard practice in Russia.

The local chapter of the Russian Investigative Committee has announced that “Criminal cases have been initiated against the director and other persons for committing crimes against the sexual integrity of minors and public morals,” .

The court has also ordered the detention of a young woman whose identity has not been publicly disclosed. According to local media reports, the woman had sexual relations with Khodorovsky when she was a minor, and allegedly acted as a pimp on his behalf, after coming of age.

“The middlewoman used to be a girlfriend of Khodorovsky, but she grew too old, and he asked her to get him younger girls. The girlfriend delivered girls she knew to him, getting money in exchange,” a source close to the investigation told local 74.RU media outlet.

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File photo: Pouring ferroalloy at the Chelyabinsk Electrometallurgical Plant.
Russia arrests billionaire industrialist
]]> At least two underage girls have reportedly been identified in the case. One, who is already 16-years-old, the age of sexual consent Russia, allegedly slept with Khodorovsky for money, while another, a younger minor, became the target of “indecent actions” on his part.

The suspect is also reportedly accused of possessing and procuring illegal pornographic material, a large cache of which was allegedly discovered on his phone by investigators.

Khodorovsky has held top management posts with ChEMK since the early 1990s and has served as the plant’s director general since 2001. The pedophilia case against the CEO comes amid troubled times at the plant and the larger ChEMK conglomerate, which was seized by Russian authorities early this year over alleged privatization irregularities in the 1990s.

The group’s now-former owners, billionaire Yury Antipov and his associates, were also ordered to pay 105 billion rubles (nearly $1.2 billion) in restitution over a debt write-off scheme, deemed by the court to have been unjust enrichment.

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Wed, 12 Jun 2024 15:47:17 +0000 RT
Member state to leave Russia-led military alliance – PM /russia/599183-russia-military-bloc-member-exit/ Armenia will leave the Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has pledged
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has branded the CSTO a “bubble alliance”

Armenia will leave the Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan told parliament on Wednesday. Yerevan is seeking to improve ties with Western powers amid strained relations with Moscow.

The landlocked Caucasus country was one of the founding members of the CSTO, and has been a part of the military alliance since 1992. However, relations between Yerevan and the bloc have soured over the past year, with Armenia accusing the CSTO of failing to stop its neighbor Azerbaijan from reclaiming the Nagorno-Karabakh region through military force.

Baku effectively took control over the long-disputed region in September 2023, and in February 2024, Pashinyan said his nation had suspended its membership of the CSTO, stating that “in Armenia’s case, the treaty has not been implemented.”

During a question-and-answer session in parliament on Wednesday, Pashinyan once again branded the CSTO a “bubble alliance” and accused some of its members of “plotting a war” against his nation together with Azerbaijan. When further pressed by a lawmaker as to whether Yerevan would quit, the prime minister said: “we will leave.”

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Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan speaks at an event in Paris on February 21, 2024.
Armenia ‘suspends’ security pact with Russia
]]> The timeline of the withdrawal has yet to be determined, Pashinyan noted, adding: “we will decide when we go out.” The Armenian premier also stated that he did not want to make such an announcement prematurely, and maintained that Yerevan “won’t go back” to full CSTO membership, and that “there is no other way” but to leave.

Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan clarified later on Wednesday that Pashinyan had not spoken about initiating the CSTO withdrawal process but had merely said that it may happen in the future.

In early May, Yerevan officially refused to participate in funding the military alliance through 2024. The move drew criticism from the Russian Foreign Ministry, which said all members should maintain “financial discipline” regardless of their desire to “suspend” their membership.

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US and Armenian flags
Russian ally to become ‘strategic partner’ of US
]]> Russian peacekeepers were deployed to the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region back in 2020, after Azerbaijan reclaimed parts of the area in a brief war with the local Armenian militia. Pashinyan later recognized Baku’s sovereignty over the province, and argued that its loss had long been inevitable.

Wednesday’s statement came a day after the US and Armenia vowed to elevate their bilateral relations to a “strategic partnership.” The two nations issued a joint statement on Tuesday, saying Yerevan sought “closer cooperation with Euro-Atlantic institutions and the West.”

Pashinyan’s government has also made overtures to France for military technology, and reportedly offered his country as a possible destination for asylum seekers turned away by the UK.

In March, Moscow warned of NATO’s desire to get a foothold in the South Caucasus, adding that the bloc’s aspirations would not benefit the region.

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Wed, 12 Jun 2024 15:40:00 +0000 RT
WATCH Russian military strike Ukrainian airfield /russia/599175-ukraine-iskander-strike-airfield/ Earlier reports and footage suggest Russian forces targeted a large military airfield in Poltava region
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
Footage shared by a war correspondent appears to show a Su-27 fighter being wiped out in the city of Mirgorod

Moscow has conducted long-range strikes and drone attacks against various Ukrainian Armed Forces targets including a military airbase, the Russian Ministry of Defense stated Wednesday, without providing location details.

Earlier, Ukrainian media reported blasts in the city of Mirgorod in Poltava Region, where a large military airfield is located. 

Russian war correspondent Andrey Rudenko published a brief video on his Telegram channel on Wednesday which apparently showed a Su-27 fighter jet being destroyed by a short-range Iskander ballistic missile. The clip was filmed from a bird’s-eye view by a surveillance drone. He added that it was the airbase in Mirgorod.

“Nearby you can see a dump of aircraft debris from previous attacks on this airfield,” Rudenko pointed out.

The Defense Ministry also published footage showing an Iskander strike on an S-300 air defense system in the area near the Mirgorod airfield, located in the village of Polyvyanoye. The system covered the airfield located to its west. Drone footage showed a blast and large plums of billowing smoke.

The clip also showed a secondary detonation, the ministry added. It reported destroying two launchers, two radar stations and a combat control cabin in the attack.

The S-300 is a Soviet-designed surface-to-air defense battery which has been in service since the late 1970s; several versions have been produced. This marks the ninth time Ukraine has lost such a system this year.

The strikes come as Kiev prepares for the long-expected transfer of US-designed F-16 fighter jets by a group of European NATO members. Belgium, Denmark, Norway, and the Netherlands are expected to donate several dozen of the aircraft from their respective fleets.

The head of Ukraine’s Air Force Command, Sergey Golubtsov, said in an interview last week that Kiev intends to station some of the fighter jets at foreign bases. Ukraine does not have enough pilots to operate them all, he claimed, so spare planes would be redeployed from NATO nations as needed.

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Chairman of the Russian State Duma Committee on Defense Andrey Kartapolov
Russia ready to strike NATO airfields hosting Ukrainian jets – MP
]]> Andrey Kartapolov, chairman of the Russian State Duma Defense Committee, warned on Monday that any base from which Ukraine deploys F-16s for combat missions would be considered a legitimate military target by Moscow, regardless of which country it is in.

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Wed, 12 Jun 2024 12:03:59 +0000 RT
How this little-known Eurasian economic bloc helped blunt Western sanctions /russia/599135-eaeu-blunt-eu-sanctions/ The EAEU may not be a household name but it has delivered what the EU can’t – immediate results
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
The EAEU isn’t a household name, but it has delivered what the EU can’t – immediate results

The rumble of guns is now so loud across the world that it’s easy to forget that there can be any relationship between states other than those based on brute force. But that is not the case.

However fierce the contradictions between the great powers may be, international politics and economics are not all about conflict. There is always room for cooperation, which is no less natural to human nature than competition and coercion. And it would be a mistake to ‘fall for’ the West’s suggestion that the benefits are only one-sided – it is not necessarily the case. It only becomes so if the US and its Western European satellites initially see cooperation as a one-way street. The opposite is true, in reality. And it even produces quite tangible results.

Against the backdrop of dramatic events in the zone of direct confrontation between Russia and the West, the ten-year anniversary of a unique organization uniting five countries of the former USSR went virtually unnoticed by observers. We are talking about the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), whose founding treaty was signed in Astana in May 2014.

During those days, when Ukraine was sinking deeper and deeper into the abyss of civil war, the leaders of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia created an association of states with the main purpose of building favorable conditions for business. To think that this was premature, given the growing global crisis, is to distrust the strategic intentions of the three most experienced politicians of their time.

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On June 9, 2024, the leader of the French far-right party Rassemblement National, Marine Le Pen, addressed her party members at an evening meeting.
Slava EUkraini: Zelensky drives the EU anti-establishment to massive gains
]]> This is first and foremost because no conflict, even the most violent, should lead to the freezing of all other life. We in Russia have already seen this for ourselves during two years of confrontation with the West in Ukraine. The efforts of a modern state cannot be focused only on violent confrontation – because then it risks losing the time needed for development. Moreover, in the context of growing pressure from the US and EU on Russia’s position in Eastern Europe, the creation of a purely economic union was a bold, asymmetric response to this challenge.

The EAEU is first and foremost an experiment in organizing a fundamentally new way of life on a large scale. We have never tried anything like it before and, luckily, we took the risk. So far, the experiment is working and has already passed two serious tests: the Covid pandemic and a barrage of Western sanctions against the EAEU’s largest economy, Russia.

Initially, however, the feasibility of the project was questionable. After the collapse of the USSR in 1991, any close cooperation between Russia and its other former republics was seen as having only two alternatives: a mechanism for civilized divorce or a way of restoring a unified state.

This view partly reflected a lack of experience of relations other than the subordination of all to a single vertical of power. The other option for relations between Russia and its neighbors was mutual rejection by increasingly isolated nation-states. The West’s assessments and recommendations had actively contributed to making this the way forward. The US-led group has always been interested in hostility between other countries of the world. And they’ve tried to instil the idea of its inevitability into everyone’s consciousness. We have to admit that they were quite successful.

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FILE PHOTO: (L-R) British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron.
Dmitry Trenin: Europe will eventually have to choose between the US and BRICS
]]> That is why the EU and the US have never recognized the EAEU and refuse to engage in direct dialogue with it. Unlike China, which signed a cooperation agreement in 2015. The reason is that the West immediately sensed in the EAEU the most dangerous thing possible for the implementation of its plans – that there could be solutions other than those offered to the world by Washington and Brussels. In the long run, this is even worse for the West than political disagreements, simply because an essential part of its power lies in the absence of any choice for other states.

As soon as such options appear, the West’s fascination disappears. The most vivid example is modern Georgia, which has gone from being a pariah country to a fairly reliable participant in Eurasian economic relations.

Since the creation of the EAEU, mutual trade between its member countries has almost doubled, and their foreign trade has grown by 60%. Industrial production has increased by 22% and agricultural production by 25%. At the same time, investment in fixed capital has increased by a third, and the volume of bilateral settlements in national currencies has reached 90% in recent years. All this shows that in just 10 years the EAEU has become a vitally important driver of national economic growth for its members. 

The most impressive growth rates, directly related to participation in the EAEU common market, have been achieved by Armenia and Kyrgyzstan – small service economies. Like the Netherlands in Western Europe, they fulfil the functions of intermediate countries. Especially after the beginning of the Western economic war against Russia and Belarus, this type of activity has become the most in demand. In Armenia, GDP grew at a record rate of 11-13% in 2022-2023, and Kyrgyzstan set new records.

With few exceptions, the openness of the markets creates reasons for Russia’s EAEU partners to be more resistant to Western pressure to support sanctions. Pressure can be successful in areas where the West dominates the financial infrastructure. But in cases where the open market operates, it becomes completely powerless.

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SPIEF-2024. 'The Empire of Evil': Has the West Successfully Demonized Russia?
‘Has the West Successfully Demonized Russia?’ RT panel: Key takeaways
]]> Trade between EAEU countries and those partners in Europe with whom Russia has virtually cut off economic relations has also grown significantly. The current Armenian government cannot be considered pro-Russian at all, and there is room for serious misunderstandings in our relations. But no one is even considering the possibility of voluntarily curtailing economic ties. And the longer the relationship is driven by market logic rather than politics, the more dangerous it will be for any government to take drastic steps.

In other words, the practice of Eurasian integration has shown that the quiet work of officials can be a very effective weapon against the West’s attempts to isolate everyone. And it is completely superfluous to speculate now on how long and geographically large the integration project will be in the future. Eurasian integration has already existed for ten years and is bringing tangible economic benefits to its participants. Let us repeat: the benefits are now, not in the “bright future” that the European Union promises to the countries that depend on it.

This is the difference between a forward-looking model of development and a dead-end one: the former focuses on the outcome now, while the latter is based on the probability of complete happiness and prosperity sometime in the future. The second path has, as we know, been taken by Ukraine, where every coup d’état – and the resultant bloodshed – has been driven by the promise that something delightful lies ahead. The result is obvious. The other way is to work patiently to increase the number of people who personally benefit from good rather than bad relations between countries.

This article was first published by Vzglyad newspaper and was translated and edited by the RT team.

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Wed, 12 Jun 2024 09:45:59 +0000 RT
Russia explains why it’s striking Ukraine’s energy infrastructure /russia/599165-ukraine-energy-peskov-zelensky/ Ukraine’s Vladimir Zelensky has claimed that 80% of Ukraine’s thermal power generation capabilities have been destroyed by Russia
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
Some 80% of the country’s thermal power generation capacity has been destroyed in Russian attacks, according to Vladimir Zelensky

Russia has targeted Ukraine’s power grid because it provides energy to Kiev’s military infrastructure, Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov has said.

Peskov told journalists that it would be better to address the question of whether Ukraine’s energy facilities constitute a legitimate target to the Russian Armed Forces, when questioned about the issue on Tuesday.

However, the spokesman stressed that “undoubtedly, in specific cases it [the power grid] is related to the military infrastructure” of Ukraine.

Russian strikes on thermal and hydroelectric power plants in Ukraine have forced the country’s energy companies to institute nationwide rolling blackouts in recent weeks.

Speaking at a conference of Kiev’s backers in Berlin on Tuesday, Vladimir Zelensky claimed that energy remains “one of [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s main targets.”

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FILE PHOTO: A woman walks through a passage in Kiev during a blackout, after Russian strikes targeted Ukraine's power infrastructure, December 16, 2022.
Expect ‘years’ of power outages – Ukrainian PM
]]> Russia’s missile and drone campaign has already destroyed nine gigawatts of Ukraine’s electrical generating capacity, including 80% of thermal power and one third of hydroelectric power, the politician said.

Zelensky noted that Ukraine is going to need equipment for heating and electricity plants from its foreign supporters in the coming months. “This will allow us to respond to the situation here and now,” he explained.

Throughout the conflict between Moscow and Kiev, the Russian Defense Ministry has been saying that its missile and drone attacks have been solely aimed at Ukrainian military facilities and energy infrastructure, which ensures the operation of the country’s defense industry.

According to the ministry, the resumption of strikes against the power grid in recent months was a response to Kiev’s attempts to target Russian oil depots and refineries.

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Wed, 12 Jun 2024 07:47:46 +0000 RT
Zelensky asks Ukrainians abroad to ‘come home’ /russia/599152-zelensky-ukrainians-return-home/ Ukrainians should return to their country now as they are needed to rebuild it, Vladimir Zelensky is arguing
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
Those who have fled are needed now to “rebuild” the country, Vladimir Zelensky has said

Ukraine’s Vladimir Zelensky has urged his compatriots to return home without waiting for the end of the conflict with Russia, saying the country needs additional workforce to be “rebuilt.”

Zelensky made the remarks on Tuesday during a press conference amid a so-called Ukraine Recovery Conference hosted by Germany in Berlin. The event is a follow-up to a similar gathering held in London a year ago.

The conference, which is primarily aimed at luring private investors into the Ukrainian reconstruction endeavor, was marred by the resignation of a top reconstruction official, Mustafa Nayyem, right before it kicked off on Monday.

Nayyem, who headed the State Agency for Restoration and Infrastructure Development, blamed his departure on “constant opposition, resistance and the creation of artificial obstacles” by Prime Minister Denis Shmygal, according to his resignation letter, seen by the Financial Times.

Zelensky, however, painted an optimistic picture of the upcoming post-conflict reconstruction, claiming “everyone will come to rebuild our country,” which, he said, will be booming with “employment and security.”

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FILE PHOTO.
Ukraine no longer allowing dual citizens to leave
]]> “There are areas that need to be worked-on today already. There are people who are left without homes. They need help, they need workers. These professions are needed. We lost a lot of people who lost their profession because of the war, some went abroad. We are all for Ukrainians to come from abroad now,” Zelensky proclaimed.

It’s unclear whether Ukrainian refugees will actually heed the call, given that the Ukrainian leadership has already made significant efforts to force Ukrainians who fled to return and be enlisted to the army, rather than offer them lucrative jobs.

Ukraine restricted travel for all military-aged men early in the conflict, embarking on an increasingly controversial mobilization drive. Numerous videos circulating online show Ukrainian enlistment officers raiding public transport, chasing potential recruits in the streets, even brawling with them.

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FILE PHOTO: People inside a subway train in Kiev, Ukraine.
Kiev metro complains of worker shortages due to conscription
]]> The situation was further aggravated by a new mobilization bill enacted by Zelensky in April. The legislation lowered the conscription age from 27 to 25, while further simplifying draft procedures and greatly expanding the powers of enlistment officers.

The recruitment drive has also run into the issue of draft dodging, with those unwilling to serve trying to leave the country using any means. Dozens of dodgers perished while braving the waters of the Tisza River, a Ukraine border with Hungary and Romania, or freezing to death in border areas.

On Monday, a group of 32 dodgers reportedly fled Ukraine into Hungary. The group crashed through the border with an old Soviet GAZ-66 truck, disguised as an active-duty military vehicle with fake black number plates attached, imagery circulating online shows. Another instance of mass escape occurred on Tuesday, with a group of 18 dodgers driving a minibus to a remote location near the border with Hungary before ditching the vehicle, cutting through barriers and leaving Ukraine on foot.

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Tue, 11 Jun 2024 21:28:14 +0000 RT
Scott Ritter: Why did it take Russia so long to realize Donbass was worth fighting for? /russia/598862-russia-donbass-military-operation/ As its military operation enters a critical stage, the question of why it took Moscow eight years to intervene remains a sensitive topic
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
As its military operation enters a critical stage, the question of why it took Moscow eight years to intervene remains a sensitive topic

On May 26, the Donetsk People’s Republic marked the tenth anniversary of the first battle for the region’s international airport. This was a key clash in the fight between Ukraine and local citizens who opposed the nationalist-dominated government that had seized power in Kiev as a result of the US-backed coup in February 2014. The anniversary was but one in a succession of similar commemorations of events which, together, draw attention to the fact that the war in Donbass has been ongoing for a decade.

Earlier this year I traveled to the Chechen RepublicCrimea, and the New Russian territories of Kherson and Zaporozhye, all locations which comprised what I called Russia’s ”Path of Redemption,” the geographic expression of actions undertaken by Moscow. The fourth –and final– destination of my trip, the two people’s republics of Donetsk and Lugansk that are collectively referred to as the Donbass, brought this journey to a close. By visiting the literal ground zero of the current Russian-Ukrainian conflict, I was able to put a punctation mark at the end of a long and complicated passage which delved into the very essence of modern-day Russia – what it means to be Russian, and the price the Russian nation has been willing to pay to preserve this definition.

When I crossed the border between Zaporozhye and Donetsk, there was no doubt that I was entering a war zone. The bodyguards from the Sparta Battalion that had escorted my vehicle as we drove through Kherson and Zaporozhye was replaced by a heavily armed detachment of camouflaged Russian soldiers, a constant reminder of the ever-present threat posed by Ukrainian partisans and saboteurs. I was being driven in an armored Chevy Tahoe, the former property of a Bank of Russia executive which had been re-purposed for this trip. My host, Aleksandr Zyryanov, the Director of the Investment Development Agency of Novosibirsk, was at the wheel. My fellow passengers were Aleksandr’s close friend and comrade, Denis, and Kirill, a resident of Saint Petersburg who was our point of contact with several Russian military units in Donbass we were hoping to meet up with.

Our first stop in Donbass was the city of Mariupol, site of a bloody siege in March-May 2022 which saw the combined forces of the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Russian army, including Chechen fighters, defeat thousands of Ukrainian Marines and members of the Azov Regiment, a formation of Ukrainian ultra-nationalists who openly support the ideology of Stepan Bandera, the founder of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, or OUN, which fought alongside Nazi Germany during the Second World War. The last surviving remnants of the Ukrainian garrison which had holed up in a complex of tunnels underneath the sprawling Azovstal iron and steel factory that dominated the center of the city surrendered to Russian forces on May 20, 2022, bringing the battle to an end.

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FILE PHOTO. A Russian T-72 tank near Avdeevka, Donetsk People's Republic, Russia.
Donbass breakthrough, cluster munitions, and drone-proof tanks: The past week in the Ukraine conflict (VIDEOS)
]]> Mariupol suffered horribly because of the siege and the house-to-house fighting required to clear the city of its fanatic occupiers. The scars of war were so deep and prevalent as to leave the casual observer grasping to figure out how, or even if, the city and its population could ever recover. This was especially so when looking at the ruins of the Azovstal plant from the vantage point of the restored monument to the its workers who died during World War Two. And yet, like the patches of green that mark a charred forest after the first rainfall, Mariupol bore the evidence of a city coming back to life. The southern districts of the city had been completely razed, and new apartment complexes constructed which are populated by families whose children frolicked in playgrounds and parks nestled between the bright new buildings. Across the highway from the newly built neighborhood was a large new hospital complex. And as one drove into the center of the city, row upon row of damaged apartment buildings were undergoing reconstruction and repair work. Shops and restaurants were open, and people scurried about the sidewalks going about their business. Mariupol is very much alive, although the huge swaths of darkened neighborhoods, their buildings still uninhabitable, bear mute testimony to the work that still needs to be done.

The city of Donetsk, the capital of its eponymous people’s republic, is a living manifestation of the stark contrasts that define a modern metropolitan center during war – shiny high-rise buildings, their glass windows reflecting the morning sunlight, beckon, while in the streets below mothers walk hand in hand with their children, unflinching as the sound of artillery fire – incoming and outgoing – echo around them. Driving through the city, I was struck by the bustling activity at one street corner as families shopped for food and the basic necessities of life in stores fully stocked with the desired goods, only to drive around the next corner to find the ruins of a similar market scene, destroyed by the random artillery and rocket fire from Ukrainian forces who still treat the citizens of Donetsk as ”terrorists.”

I was taken to the Donbass Liberator’s monument, located in the Donetsk Culture and Leisure Park, next to the city’s arena, where we laid flowers to the memory of the fallen. Afterwards, as I was shown the monuments to the fallen heroes of the ongoing war with Ukraine, the sound of rocket fire shook the grounds. ”It’s ours,” said my guide, an attractive young lady whose calm demeanor belied the reality of her current situation. ”Uragan,” she said, a reference to the Russian 220-mm multiple launch rocket system. ”Don’t worry.”

That a female tour guide was serving as a walking resource for weapons identification to a former Marine intelligence officer who used to specialize in identifying Soviet arms and equipment only underscored the disparity between perception and reality which marked the city of Donetsk – a world where normalcy was randomly punctuated with the horrors of war. It would be easy to allow yourself to become shrouded in the kind of flinching paranoia that seizes you when you are convinced that every step you take could be your last. To prevent yourself from simply fleeing to a basement until the all-clear signal sounds, you can overcompensate by taking on a devil-may-care attitude of ”what happens, happens.”

But, for most, caution is the name of the game in Donetsk – while death may be randomly delivered in the form of Ukrainian artillery and rockets, you do not need to become a willing victim, especially if you know the Ukrainian enemy is actively searching for you in order to deliver a lethal blow.

I have been labeled by the Center for Countering Disinformation, a US-funded Ukrainian government agency, as an ”information terrorist” who deserves to be treated as an actual ”terrorist” in terms of punishment – a not-so-veiled threat to my life. Likewise, my name is on the infamous Mirotvorets (”peacekeepers”) ”kill list” promulgated by the Ukrainian intelligence service. Daria Dugina, the daughter of the famous Russian political philosopher, Aleksandr Dugin, and Maksim Fomin, a Russian military blogger who wrote under the name Vladlen Tatarsky, were both on this list and were murdered by agents of the Ukrainian intelligence services. While I would have to be an egocentric narcissist to believe that the entire Ukrainian war effort would grind to a halt in order to hunt me down during my short visit to Donbass, the fact that Ukraine has on a regular basis attacked the hotels frequented by journalists reporting on the conflict also means that one you’d have to have a callous disregard for innocent life by staying at a hotel in Donetsk as long as your name is on such lists.

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FILE PHOTO: A reconnaissance group serviceman of Russian Armed Forces Eastern Military District is seen in a vehicle moving on Kharkiv direction during the special military operation in Ukraine.
Scott Ritter: Russia’s victory over Ukraine is drawing near
]]> Discretion being the better part of valor, my hosts eschewed the offered room in a high-end Donetsk hotel for a more Spartan setting in a safehouse used during their frequent trips to the region. I traded the fine cuisine of Donetsk that my friend and colleague Randy Credico had bragged about during his visit to the region for the traditional soldier’s fare of fried potatoes and sausage cooked over a gas stove by Aleksandr’s friend, Denis.

Paranoia is the name of the game, however, when it comes to the day-to-day lives of those men and women who govern Donetsk and defend it from the Ukrainian army, if for no other reason than the Ukrainians are, in fact, actively trying to hunt them down and kill them. I had the honor and privilege of meeting with Denis Pushilin, the Governor of the Donetsk People’s Republic, and Aleksandr Khodakovsky, the commander of the legendary Vostok Battalion, one of the first military formations created in the Donbass region in 2014 to fight for independence from Ukraine. On both occasions, extensive security precautions were put in place to forestall any effort by Ukrainian intelligence to discover our meeting, identify its location, and attack it with artillery.

Pushilin and Khodakovsky both recalled their personal histories of the time of the founding of the Donetsk People’s Republic. Pushilin personally led a rally in Donetsk on April 5, 2014, calling for a referendum for the DPR to join Russia. He served as the first head of the DPR before stepping down in July 2014. In September 2018, he was brought back as the head of the DPR following the assassination of then DPR leader Aleksander Zakharchenko in a bombing of a Donetsk restaurant. He has served in that position ever since.

Up until early 2014, Aleksandr Khodakovsky was the commander of the elite Ukrainian police commando unit known as Alpha Group. Following the February 2014 Maidan coup that ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich, Khodakovsky and most of his Alpha Group commandoes defected to the Donbass resistance, where they were reformed into the Vostok Battalion. It was Khodakovsky’s Vostok Battalion which led the attack on Donetsk Airport on May 28, 2014, and which led the way into Mariupol in 2022. Today the Vostok Battalion has been expanded into a brigade-sized force operating as part of the Russian military, where it plays an active role in the ongoing battles for control of the Donbass region.

The contrast between Pushilin and Khodakovsky is quite stark. Both men are confident in the righteousness of their cause and the path of history they are embarked on. But while Pushilin brought with him the buoyant optimism of a politician looking forward to a better future, Khodakovsky exuded the quiet resignation of a soldier who knows that the victory he is fighting for can only come at a cost which, over the course of a decade’s worth of war, had become almost unbearable. Both men exhibited a deep love for the Donetsk People’s Republic, and a genuine appreciation for the sacrifice made by the Russian army and nation in coming to their assistance, and for bringing them into the fold of the Russian Federation.

The one thing both men had in common was a look of mental exhaustion whenever the subject of Russia’s military intervention was raised. I couldn’t quite put my finger on what caused this look until later, after our meetings had concluded and I found myself in the city of Lugansk, the capital of the Lugansk People’s Republic. The drive from Donetsk to Lugansk took us through towns and villages that had previously been on the front lines of the war with Ukraine. Some of these population centers showed signs of life. Many, however, did not. War, like a tornado, seemed to have a random character, targeting some places for destruction, while skipping over others.

Today, the city of Lugansk is not on the front line, and its citizens enjoy a life of relative calm when contrasted with their neighbors in Donetsk. But war has visited them in the past, with all the violence and horror that currently unfolds in the regions of Donbass located to the south and west of the city. On June 27, 2017, the citizens of Lugansk unveiled a memorial dedicated to children killed because of the fighting that had been raging since 2014. On that day, 33 white doves were released into the air to symbolize the young lives lost.

On January 17, 2024, I visited this memorial, known as the ’Alley of Angels.’ There is another, more well-known Alley of Angels located in Donetsk. Because of the proximity of the war to that city, media coverage of the Donetsk monument, which commemorates the more than 230 children killed in the Donetsk People’s Republic by Ukraine since 2014, has been extensive, to the point that much of the world has seemed to have forgotten that the war with Ukraine has ravaged Lugansk as well. Since the unveiling of the Lugansk monument, another 35 children have been killed, raising the total to 68, with more than 190 additional children injured, all due to indiscriminate Ukrainian shelling.

Aleksandr and I took part in a small ceremony marked by our laying flowers at the foot of the monument. By the time we had finished, a small crowd had gathered around to witness the sight of an American mourning the loss of their children. I was handed a book about the memorial and given an impromptu tour of the sculptures and plaques that were located there. A television crew asked me for a short interview.

“What are your impressions of this memorial?” the interviewer asked.

“It’s a touching tribute to the young lives that were so needlessly lost,” I replied. ”And a constant reminder as to why this tragic war needs to be fought and won.”

Afterwards, a lady emerged from the small crowd that had been watching the proceedings. ”We thank you for coming to visit our city, and to honor the memory of our children,” she said, tears welling in her eyes.

She held out her hand, and I took it in mine, a gesture of friendship and compassion.

“You must be relieved now that you are part of Russia, and the Russian army is helping drive the Ukrainians back,” I said.

]]> Read more
Scott Ritter with Kherson region governor Vladimir Saldo
Scott Ritter: We are witnessing the bittersweet birth of a new Russia
]]> “Yes,” she said, her voice cracking. ”Yes, of course. But why did it take them so long? These children,” she said, gesturing toward the memorial, ”did not have to die. Why did it take them so long?”

I looked into her eyes, and immediately was struck by a sense of déjà vu. I had seen that look before, in the eyes of Denis Pushilin and Alexander Khodakovsky, a mixture of relief and exasperation, of hope and dejection, of happiness and sorrow. Yes, the leadership and people of Donbass are overjoyed by the presence of Russian troops on their territory, and the fact that the region is now legally part of Russia. Yes, Russia loves them now. But where was Russia when the children started dying in 2014? Why did it take so long for Moscow to wake up to the need to bring the Donbass into the fold of the Russian nation?

This is the eternal question, one that Russia today struggles to find an adequate answer for.

Russia’s path of redemption ends in Donbass. Here, the sins, errors, and evil which combined to create the current Russian-Ukrainian conflict are manifest. Questions have been asked to which there may be no adequate answer. Today, the situation on the ground increasingly points to a Russian victory over both Ukraine and its supporters in the collective West. But this victory has come at a huge physical and psychological cost. While the dead may be buried and honored, the living will always have to struggle to come to grips over the sacrifices that have been made in support of the cause they were fighting for.

And, in the end, if they believe that the cause was a just one – and it is my firm position that they do, in fact, believe this to be the case – then the answer to the question as to why it took Russia so long to intervene on behalf of Donbass will hang there, unanswerable, if for no other reason than that the pain any honest answer will generate may be too much to bear for those who had been fighting for the liberation of Donbass these past ten years.

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Tue, 11 Jun 2024 19:40:46 +0000 RT
Russia could consider changing nuclear doctrine /russia/599151-nuclear-posture-potential-changes/ Moscow may amend its nuclear posture should actions by the US and its allies warrant such a move, Russian Deputy FM Sergey Ryabkov said
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
Actions of the US and its allies could prompt Russia to amend its nuclear posture, Deputy FM Sergey Ryabkov said

Russia could potentially make changes to its nuclear doctrine should the “escalatory actions” by the US and its allies push it into doing so, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov has warned.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a BRICS ministerial meeting in Nizhny Novgorod, Ryabkov admitted the international situation has been getting increasingly “complicated” and changes to his country’s nuclear posture could not be ruled out.

“The challenges that are growing thanks to the unacceptable and escalatory actions of the US and its NATO allies undoubtedly prompt a full-fledged question of how the basic documents in nuclear deterrence can be brought more into line with current needs,” Ryabkov said.

The diplomat refused to elaborate on the exact nature of the potential amendments, explaining that Moscow does not have a “practice of covering in advance what kind of changes can be made” before actual decisions are taken.

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RT
US wouldn’t rescue allies in nuclear war – Putin
]]> The remarks come shortly after Russian President Vladimir Putin again reiterated Moscow’s stance on nuclear weapons as a last-resort option. Speaking during a question-and-answer panel at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) last week, the president stressed that Russia has never been the first to resort to aggressive nuclear rhetoric.

The nation’s current nuclear doctrine allows the use of atomic weapons only in “exceptional cases” and the current situation does not actually qualify as such, Putin explained. The president expressed hopes an all-out nuclear war will not break out, adding that such a conflict would result in “infinite casualties” for everyone.

The president also cautioned European NATO nations against increasingly belligerent rhetoric and actions, suggesting they are bound to suffer the most in case of a global nuclear conflict, arguing that the US will not actually help them.

“The Europeans have to think: if those with whom we exchange such [nuclear] blows are obliterated, would the Americans get involved in such an exchange, on the level of strategic weapons, or not? I very much doubt it,” Putin stated.

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Tue, 11 Jun 2024 18:35:32 +0000 RT
WATCH Russian drone knock out US-supplied Abrams tank /russia/599132-kamikaze-drone-abrams-tank/ Russian forces have destroyed another Ukrainian US-made M1 Abrams tank, drone footage circulating online shows
Read Full Article at RT.com]]>
Another American-made piece of armor has fallen victim to Russian kamikaze drones, footage circulating online indicates

Russian forces appear to have knocked out another US-made M1 Abrams tank supplied to Ukraine, striking it with at least two kamikaze drones, footage circulating online shows.

The new video, which emerged online on Tuesday, shows a lone M1 Abrams tank traveling at night time on a road at an undisclosed location. The vehicle, tracked by a surveillance UAV, is hit by a kamikaze FPV drone to the front, with its crew evacuating.

According to the footage, the abandoned tank was targeted by another FPV carrying an RPG warhead the following morning, with the drone striking the vehicle at the rear of its turret.

The strike caused a fire on board, with the tank closely watched by another FPV drone, which was also apparently carrying a munition, the footage shows.

The latest M1 Abrams strike brings the total number of destroyed or heavily damaged Ukrainian vehicles of this type to at least ten, a third of the total believed to have been received from the Pentagon.

]]> Read more
RT
WATCH Russian forces destroy Ukrainian US-supplied armor
]]> Washington pledged to deliver some 31 M1 Abrams tanks and several M1150 Assault Breacher Vehicles – which are based on the same chassis – to Kiev early last year, ahead of the much-hyped but ultimately disastrous Ukrainian counteroffensive. The delivery was only completed in mid-October, by which time the counteroffensive push was largely exhausted.

The tanks, which have featured prominently in Ukrainian propaganda videos, made their actual battlefield debut in February this year, with the armor fielded by Kiev with the aim of stopping Moscow’s westward push in Donbass following the liberation of the key town of Avdeevka.

While the first of the tanks were fielded without any modifications, their arguably poor frontline performance prompted Kiev’s forces to upgrade at least some of the surviving tanks, fitting them with Soviet-era reactive armor and anti-drone nettings.

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Tue, 11 Jun 2024 15:42:32 +0000 RT
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