Category Archives: Europe

Duma approves new Prime Minister

President Putin has signed a decree appointing Mikhail Mishustin as the Prime minister.
“In accordance with Article 83(a) of the Russian Constitution, Mikhail Vladimirovich Mishustin is appointed as Russia’s Prime Minister,” says the decree issued on the Kremlin’s website.

The decree comes into force on the day of its signing.
Earlier on 16 of January the State Duma endorsed the appointment. As many as 383 lawmakers voted ‘yes,’ and 41 abstained. Nobody rejected the candidacy.

Former Prime Minister Medvedev, appointed deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council, will hold a meeting with new Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin on January 17, the Russian government’s press service informed.
The meeting between the deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council and the Russian Prime minister will take place tomorrow [January 17] at the House of Government of the Russian Federation,” the press service stated.

The entire Russian government, headed by Dmitry Medvedev, resigned on January 15.
The Duma plenary session Mishustin promised to announce the new composition of the Cabinet of Ministers within a few days.

Putin optimistic about Kerch bridge

The Kerch Bridge connecting Crimea with Taman Peninsula of Russia has been built applying the latest technologies and can operate “for centuries, if maintained properly”, President Vladimir Putin said in an interview with the TV program ‘Moscow. Kremlin. Putin’ on the Rossiya-1 TV Channel.

On December 23, Putin took part in the ceremony of opening the railway service on the Crimean Bridge across the Kerch Strait that connects Crimea with mainland Russia.
Commenting on event he said that he experienced “a feeling of joy and satisfaction for the work done with a good result,” when crossing the Bridge.
“Judging by what experts opinion, it will serve for many decades and maybe centuries to come. It is only necessary to provide timely maintenance and repairs and it may operate for centuries”, Putin said, underlining that the construction has been conducted based on the most advanced technologies.

In the past there had been three attempts to build a bridge across the Kerch Strait but “all of them had been unsuccessful and all the structures had been swept away,” Putin recalled.
That is why, there were speculations that Russia would fail again in creating such a transport pass, he continued.

Such technologies did not exist before but we developed them. After that, all worked well and qualitatively and actually everything was done using domestic technologies,” Putin explained.

The Crimean or Kerch Bridge is the largest structure in Russia and Europe that connects the Kerch Peninsula in Crimea with the Krasnodar Region in the Taman Peninsula.

The transport link consists of two parallel motor and railway sections. The bridge’s motorway section was put into operation in May 2018 and traffic across it started to pass in the fall of the same year.
On December 23, 2019, Putin took part in the ceremony to open railway between Kerch and Taman. Cargo train traffic is set to start on the Crimean Bridge in July 2020.

Kerch railway bridge causes EU criticism

“The Russian Federation has finalised the construction of the railway section of the Kerch Bridge and is opening railway traffic to the Crimean Peninsula without Ukraine’s consent. This constitutes another violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity by Russia” European External Action Service spokesperson statement reads.

“The railway link is yet another step towards a forced integration of the illegally-annexed peninsula with Russia and Crimea´s isolation from Ukraine of which it remains a part.

“Furthermore, the bridge limits the passage of vessels through the Kerch Strait to Ukrainian ports in the Azov Sea. The European Union expects Russia to ensure unhindered and free passage through the Kerch strait, in accordance with international law.

“The European Union reiterates its full support for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders. The European Union does not and will not recognise the illegal annexation of the Crimean peninsula by Russia.”

It will take around 14 mln to travel over the Crimean Bridge and 13 mln tonnes of goods will be carried, President Vladimir Putin said at the opening ceremony for the railway traffic over the bridge, Russian new agency TASS reports.

“It is planned to carry 14 mln passengers and about 13 mln tonnes of goods in the next year [over the Crimean Bridge],” the head of state said.
The 19-kilometer Crimean Bridge, the longest one in Russia, links the Taman Peninsula (Russia’s Krasnodar Region) and the Kerch Peninsula (Crimea). It will provide uninterrupted transport link between Crimea and other regions of Russia.

Macron hosts Normandy Summit

The meeting in “Normandy format” concerning Donbass conflict will take place in Paris on December 9 in Élysée Palace, hosted by President Macron, and will include Russian President Putin, Ukrainian President Zelensky, and German Chancellor Merkel. The name of the event is a reference to 2014 peace talks, initiated by President Hollande on the margin of ceremonies to mark the anniversary of the D-Day landings.

Negotiations in Paris will focus on the implementation of the 2014-15 Minsk peace agreement, which provided for an immediate ceasefire in eastern Ukraine, the withdrawal of heavy weapons, and an effective truce, putting an end to casualties among military and civilians.

Since Zelensky’s election victory in April an exchange of 70 prisoners, the withdrawal of the troops from three small areas on the front line, and the return of Ukrainian warships seized by Russian coast guards.

Vladimir Putin had conceded “cautious optimism” on the issue of the break-away Russian-speaking regions of Lugansk and Donetsk, both proclaiming their independence in aftermath of the coup d’état in Kiev, when democratically elected Ukranian President Yanukouvych was overthrown and field the country.

Earlier in the week Zelensky indicated that he initially wanted the Paris talks to focus on three points: a new exchange of prisoners, the implementation of a durable ceasefire, and the dismantling of any armed group “illegally” in Ukrainian territory – implicitly referring to Russian-speaking militia in Donetsk and Lugansk.

Moscow’s priority, in contrast, is to create condition for the elections in the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, moving to the point “8” of the Minsk Agreements, guaranteeing de-centralisation of power, and permanent Special status of Donetsk and Lugansk regions. People of Donbass been also insisting on their linguistic rights, peoples militia, and border trade with Russia.

Macron and Merkel share the goal of reviving peace process, which is the only active armed conflict in Europe, which has caused more than 13,000 deaths since it occurred in 2014. Tomorrow’s gathering will be the first meeting between Putin and Zelensky, who was elected upon promise to resolve the Donbass conflict, and establish lasting peace in East of Ukraine.

Putin to meet Zelensky bilaterally

Russian President Vladimir Putin schedules bilateral meetings with Ukrainian, French counterpart Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and President Vladimir Zelensky at margins of the Normandy Four Summit in Paris on December 9, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov announced.

Peskov underlined that the Kremlin expected the Normandy Four summit will contribute to conflict resolution in southeastern Ukraine.

“[Putin’s] attitude is serious, the only expectation is to facilitate efforts to resolve the domestic conflict in southeastern Ukraine, ensure a common understanding that there is no alternative to implementing the Minsk Agreements and prevent attempts to dilute them,” spokesperson said.

Peskov expressed confidence in French authorities capabilities to succeed in creating necessary conditions for thec Summit despite the current protests in Paris.

We are not inclined to exaggerate the threats the Summit could face as we believe that the French authorities are capable of creating conditions for the meeting and will do it,” Peskov said.

London assailant hardcore djihadist

A man and a woman were killed and three pedastrians were stabbed on London Bridge on November 29. Police are still working to identify those who died.

The assailant in a fake suicide vest,carrying out the attack was named by police as 28-year-old Usman Khan, who was out of prison on licence at the time, having been convicted for terrorism offences in 2012.

Neil Basu, Scotland Yard’s assistant commissioner, said that Khan was “known to authorities” after being convicted in 2012. He had also been fitted with an electronic tag to monitor his movement since being released from prison on licence in December 2018, The Times newspaper reported.

Khan, who was from Stoke-on-Trent, in 2010 was arrested in a major counterterrorism operation, alongside eight others who had formed an al-Qaeda-inspired terror cell.
Khan was shot dead by police after members of the public restrained him. Passersby were widely praised by political leaders and others for showing “extreme courage”.

Police are carrying out searches at an address in Staffordshire where Khan had been living.

This morning, a police search believed to be linked to the London Bridge investigation is being carried out at a three-storey block of flats in Wolverhampton Road, Stafford, close to the town centre.

“Terrorist incident” at London Bridge

The UK police has declared the stabbing near London Bridge terror-related. Several people were injured, but at the moment the gravity of wounds in not made public. The suspect shot dead by police at scene, while wearing “hoax explosive device”.

At present neither of Islamists groups has claimed the attack, however the experts say in its style it is ISIS “inspired”.

There were some reports in social media about pedestrians, attempting to disarm the assailant, and they have succeeded.

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan thanked the emergency services, police and the “members of the public, who risked their own safety this afternoon – they are the best of us”, he concluded, asking Londoners to stay vigilant at all times.

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