Tag Archives: Putin

Russia expands retaliatory list

Russia has made a decision to expand on a parity basis the retaliatory list of EU officials banned from entering the country, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement spokesperson Maria Zakharova read out at a news briefing on September 23.

“In response to European Union actions the Russian side has made a decision to expand the retaliatory list of representatives of the EU member countries and institutions who are prohibited from entering the territory of Russia. The number of names on the Russian list has been increased to match that on the existing EU list,” the diplomat said.

“We have repeatedly warned the European Union that this approach is harmful. But the EU ignores our proposals for a meaningful and professional dialogue on the basis of facts and continues to use the language of sanctions,” spokesperson has underlined.

Zakharova recalled that lately the EU took a number of unfriendly steps towards Russia and Russian citizens, thus bypassing the existing international norms and using sanctions on far-fetched and absurd pretexts.

The announcement came day after President Putin on argued September 22 that ending “illegitimate sanctions” against countries like his could boost the suffering from pandemic global economy and create jobs, using his annual speech at the U.N. General Assembly to stress the need for multilateral cooperation against the pandemic.

In his speech Putin told the U.N.’s 75th anniversary gathering that countries need to work together better to fight the virus and other global problems.

“Freeing world trade from barriers, bans, restrictions and illegitimate sanctions would be a great help in revitalizing global growth and reducing unemployment,” Russian President said.

Navalny assassination Europarl resolution

In a Resolution adopted on September 17 with 532 votes in favour, 84 against and 72 abstentions, Parliament strongly condemns the attempt to assassinate prominent Russian opposition politician and anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny with a nerve agent.(Image: illustration, European Parliament, Brussels)

The text notes that the poison used, belonging to the “Novichok group”, can only be developed in state-owned military laboratories and cannot be acquired by private individuals, which strongly implies that Russian authorities were behind the attack. Should someone else, nevertheless, be found responsible, it would still be a clear breach of Russia’s international legal commitments, according to the text.

MEPs underline that the attempted assassination of Navalny was part of a systemic effort to silence dissident voices in Russia, in particular with a view to influencing Russia’s local and regional by-elections on 11-13 September. His case is only one element of a wider Russian policy focusing on oppressive internal policies and aggressive actions worldwide, notes the text.

The resolution asks for an international investigation into Navalny’s case and the alleged breaches of Russia’s international commitments in the area of chemical weapons to be launched immediately, while urging the Russian authorities to fully cooperate with such an inquiry and to hold those responsible to account.

It also calls on EU member states to take an active stance on the matter such as swiftly putting in place ambitious restrictive EU measures vis-à-vis Russia and strengthening already existing ones. The text urges the deployment of sanction mechanisms that would allow the European assets of corrupt individuals to be collected and frozen in accordance with the findings of Alexei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson, said that certain political forces in the EU are boosting an information campaign aimed at making sure that Brussels won’t reverse its destructive policy towards Moscow.
The idea of naming the European Union’s new human rights sanctions after Alexey Navalny is aimed at directing the restrictions against Moscow, the diplomat said at a briefing on September 17, commenting on EU top diplomat Josep Borrell’s recent initiative.
“We view initiatives on naming new EU sanctions after Navalny as an overt attempt to direct them against Russia,” she concluded.

“We expect that common sense will prevail in the European Union, so that our partners will abandon the practice of passing the buck randomly and will draw conclusions only from documented facts in the future,” the Russian diplomat concluded.

Borrell:”Navalny sanctions”

We continue calling on Russia to investigate this crime through a fully transparent procedure, under the auspices of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. We can expect that the poisoning of Mr [Alexei] Navalny will have an impact on European Union-Russia relations. We are going to discuss that in the next Foreign Affairs Council” said the head of the EU diplomacy, addressing the European Parliament plenary debate.

Some of you talk about the possibility of this affecting Nord Stream 2. Once again, this is something that is outside of the possibilities of the European institutions. What I can tell you is that the European Commission has never shown a lot of enthusiasm about this pipeline, which from the Commission we have been considering as not a relevant priority infrastructure. But it is something that is up to the Member States that have been pushing for this infrastructure to be built. As I said, there is the scepticism of the Commission, which has never shown strong support for it“.

“Finally, about the possibility of sanctioning Russia with a kind of “Magnitsky-style” [human rights sanctions] regime: When I took office, I immediately launched [negotiations for] a global human rights sanctions regime, which has been discussed once again at the last Foreign Affairs Council. [There are] continued discussions in the Council. The legal acts are currently being drafted.

“I hope that what has happened to Mr Navalny will represent an encouragement for Member States to stop discussing and start acting and approving this human rights sanctions regime that, in the same way that the Americans call it the “Magnitsky Act”, we could call it the “Navalny sanctions regime”. This could be a good way of taking stock of what has happened and keep in the records for the future the name of Mr Navalny associated to a sanctions regime for people who violated human rights”.

Navalny hospitalised in Berlin

The operaiton of arilifing of Russian dissdent Alexey Navalny from Omsk was carried out as planned and a special medical planne has landed in Belrin Airport in the morning on Saturday, 22 august. The patient has been transported to the Charité hospital in Belrin as agreed previously with his wife Yulia, who accompanied him on the trip.

Rerportedly Alexei Navalny has been still in a coma after a suspected poisoning.

Navalny’s spokeswoman and a representative of the NGO that arranged the flight confirmed that the plane had landed.

“Navalny is in Berlin,” Jaka Bizilj, of the German organization Cinema For Peace, told The Associated Press.

Navalny, a 44-year-old politician and corruption investigator who is one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s fiercest critics, was admitted to an intensive care unit in the Siberian city of Omsk after the urgent landing of the plane on the caused by his dramtic collapse.

His supporters believe that tea he drank was laced with poison — and that the Kremlin is behind both his illness and the delay in transferring him to a top German hospital.

Navalny team claimed that he was kept hostage in the Omsk hospital to gain time for decomposing of the toxic agent, which was used to poison him.

The ban on the transportation of Navalny is needed only to gain time and wait until the poison in his body can no longer be traced. Moreover, every hour of delay creates a critical threat to his life” Navalny spokesperson Kira Yarmysh wrote.

The only purpose of retention of Navalny in Omsk hospital is in “décomposition of poison“, making it untraceable Lubov Sobol, the lawyer of Navalny anti-corruption Fund, tweeted.

ECHR defends Navalny right to life

The European Court of Human Rignt took a decision in Alexey Navalny favour, indicating to Russian government to allow access to family and medics to the patient to assess his condition regarding fit-for-flight.
The interim measure should be enforced without delay, and in any event by noon 22 August 2020 by noon.

The Court has also indicated to Russian government to ensure that Navalny wife Yulia has access to medical file from Omsk hospital; that medics appointed by the family has access to examine him and conclude if he can be issued fit-for-flight; inform the Court about the treatment Navaly receives at present, and submit his entire medical file to Court by latest 24 August noon, Strasbourg time.

The Court explisitly underlined that the family asked for Navalny airlifting to Berlin Charité clinic for treamtment, otherside feraing risks to his health and life in violation of the Article 2 – right to life – of the Euroepan Convention on Human Rights.

The interim measure has been granted to Alexey Navalny on an exceptional basis, taking into consideration his situation of real risk of irreversible harm.

As a member of the Council of Europe, Russia as all the States Signatoires is bound to follow the measures indicated by the Court.
A failure to do so can lead to violation of Article 34 of the Convention – the right of invividual application.

Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny is unconscious in hospital suffering from suspected poisoning, his spokeswoman has said.

The anti-corruption campaigner fell ill during a flight and the plane made an emergency landing in Omsk, where medics said he was in a coma and they were trying to save his life.

His team suspects faul game, and even assassination attempt, presuming that something was put in his tea at an airport cafe shortly before the flight back to Moscow from hism trip in Siberia.

The Kremlin said that it wished Mr Navalny a “speedy recovery”, however Navlny team was accusing the authorities to keeping him hostage in the hospital, and refusing access to his wife and medics from Germany, who arrived to Omsk to air-lift him to Berlin Charite hospitla to receive relevant treatment.

Mr Navalny, 44, has for years been among President Vladimir Putin’s staunchest critics.
In June he described a vote on constitutional reforms as a “coup” and a “violation of the Constitution”. The reforms allow Mr Putin to serve another two terms in office, after the four terms he has already had.
Recently Navalny was accused by Belrus President Alexander Lukashenko in acting as an agitator for the civil unrest.

Navalny in Omsk – stabilised but in coma

Russian opposition politician and relentless anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny, 44, is still unconscious in Omsk hospital suffering from suspected poisoning, his spokesperson Kira Yarmysh said.

Navalny wife, Yulia, and his GP arrived to Omsk, but they have diffiuclty in obtaining the necessary documents to move the patient to another, better equpped clinic. However the staff of the hospital do not share their plan, and refuse to release patient. They insist that they have all necessary equipment to provide required treatment, and that they have had a series of consulations via teleconferencing with the leading medical centers in Russia. Refering to the legislation the representative of the hostpial declined to comment of the diagnosis, he explaind his position with the legal restriciton, and added that there are ceratin improvements, which allow to regard the patient’s condition with cautions optimism.

Navalny spokesperson expressed indignation about the rumers circulating in different Russian media about Navalny alcohool poisoning. The pro-Kremlin newspapers suggested he suffered depression, and was drining poor quality alcohool, while travelling in Siberia.

The anti-corruption campaigner fell ill during a flight from Tomsk to Moscow, and the plane made an emergency landing in Omsk, where doctors said he was in a coma and they were trying to save his life. (Image below: Lubov Sobol, “FBK”)

Navalny team team suspects something was put in his tea at an airport cafe, blame the authorities the “special operation” of physical removal of the political opponent.

The Kremlin spokesperson said that it wished Navalny a “speedy recovery”.

The Kremlin is aware of the hospitalization of Alexei Navalny and wishes him “a speedy recovery.” Press Secretary of the Russian President Dmitry Peskov said that the Kremlin is ready to assist in transporting Navalny for treatment abroad.

The Kremlin is aware of the hospitalization of Alexei Navalny and wishes him “a speedy recovery.” Press Secretary of the Russian President Dmitry Peskov said that the Kremlin is ready to assist in transporting Navalny for treatment abroad.

Alexey Navalny has for years been among President Vladimir Putin’s staunchest critics.

In June he described a vote on constitutional reforms as a “coup” and a “violation of the constitution”. The reforms allow Presient Putin to serve another two terms in office, after the four terms he has already had.

Lukashenko in whirlwind of political crisis

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko is Europe’s longest-serving ruler and the 65-year-old former Soviet collective farm chairman now wants a sixth term as president.
But in the run-up to the 9 August presidential election he has faced the biggest opposition protests for a decade.

“An authoritarian style of rule is characteristic of me, and I have always admitted it,” he said in August 2003. “You need to control the country, and the main thing is not to ruin people’s lives.”

There have been hundreds of arrests in a wave of demonstrations since May.

Lukashenko has been in power since 1994, with an authoritarian style reminiscent of the Soviet era, controlling the main media channels, harassing and jailing political opponents and marginalising independent voices.

The powerful secret police – still called the KGB – closely monitors dissidents.
On 30 July tens of thousands rallied in the capital Minsk in support of political novice Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, now his main rival.

She stepped in to challenge Mr Lukashenko after her husband Sergei Tikhanovsky, a popular blogger, was firstly barred from running for presidency and then sent to jail.

A referendum in 2004 lifted the two-term limit on presidents, paving way for Lukashenko to stay life-long President of Belarus.
Lukashenko is self-made man from humble origins raised by a single mother in a poor village in eastern Belarus.
He is married to Galina Lukashenko, with whom he has two adult sons, Viktor and Dmitry, however she has been always out of public life. In spite of the fact of being separated for decades, he told an interviewer in 2015 that he had no intention of divorcing Galina.
He has a third son, Nikolai (Kolya), born in 2004, whose mother Irina Abelskaya was Mr Lukashenko’s personal doctor. It is still unclear if the mother has un opportunity to see her son, there is a predomiant public opinon among Belorussians that Abelskaya was denied any contacts with the boy. The child has been exposed to public to such an extend that many analysts suggested Lukashenko aims to restore monarchy and pass the presidency to his youngest son.

However recently in an interview to the Ukrainain press Lukashenko has denied his allegations and said that he did not with to see his youngest son Nikolai as president and is not preparing him to be his successor.

Answering the reporter’s question whether he would like Nikolai to assume the office of president, Lukashenko said, “No, no. My Kolya is unlikely to ever be president.”

In his address to the parliament which lasted exactly one and a half hours, Lukashenko covered the essence his entire election program.

The President promised not to allow a return to the “dashing 90s”, insisted on absence of alternative to evolutionary (on contrary to revolutionary) development, exposed the incompetence of opponents and urged against expecting «miracles».

At the same time, he paid a lot of attention to Russia: in particular, he made it clear that fraternal relations were in the past – and through the fault of Moscow, not Minsk.

Russia has always been, is and will be our closest ally, no matter who is in power in Belarus or Russia. This is an overwhelming factor. It is deep within our peoples. This is deep within our peoples, even though Russia has exchanged fraternal relations with us for partnerships. In vain! “ Lukahsenko underlined.

Talking about the rival candidates the President said: “Found these three unfortunate girls (the joint opposition headquarters: Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, Veronika Tsepkalo, Maria Kolesnikova). They don’t understand what they are reading. What are you writing to them? “

“Let’s hold unfair elections, release economic, political, drug addicts, criminals, hold fair elections and live”.

“But at least tell them that it is not the president in Belarus who calls the elections. That after the unfair elections the Belarusian parliament will never plunge the country into a series of election campaigns and will not appoint the next elections. Think about it at least. What are you writing to them? They don’t understand what they are saying and what they are doing. But we see who is behind them.”

Crimea: Putin attends keel-laying ceremony

President Vladimir Putin attended the keel-laying ceremony for the Russian Navy’s first helicopter carriers warships at the Zaliv Shipyard in Kerch, Crimea, on Monday July 20.

Together with the general director of the Zaliv plant Igor Obrubov, the head of state installed a mortgage board for the section of the Ivan Rogov universal landing ship.

Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov, Deputy Defense Minister Alexei Krivoruchko, Commander-in-Chief of the Navy Nikolay Evmenov installed the foundation board for the Mitrofan Moskalenko UDC section.

The head of state also watched the laying of the Voronezh and Vladivostok nuclear submarines in Severodvinsk, as well as the Admiral Yumashev and Admiral Spiridonov frigates in St. Petersburg in a video conference mode. Presentations were made by the Director General of PO Sevmash Mikhail Budnichenko and the Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov.

Three leading Russian shipyards simultaneously laid down six new vesssels on Monday: two universal amphibious assault ships in Kerch, Crimea, two frigates in St. Petersburg and two nuclear-powered submarines in Severodvinsk.

Following the tradition, the universal amphibious assault ships and next-generation frigates will be named after Russian glorified military and naval commanders “who did much for strengthening the Navy,” Putin said at the ceremon in Kerch.

These are the helicopter carriers Ivan Rogov and Mitrofan Moskalenko and the frigates Admiral Yumashev and Admiral Spiridonov, he specified.

The contract for building Project 885M ‘Yasen-M’ multi-purpose nuclear-powered submarines was signed at the Army-2019 international arms show in the summer of 2019.

The baseline Project 885 lead nuclear-powered underwater cruiser Severodvinsk entered service with Russia’s Northern Fleet in 2014. The upgraded Project 885M lead sub Kazan is preparing for its delivery to the Navy in 2020.

Five Project 885M submarines are at various stages of their construction at the Sevmash Shipyard.

Project 885/885M submarines will carry Kalibr-PL and (or) Oniks cruise missiles and also Tsirkon hypersonic missiles as their basic weapons.

Today, at the three leading shipyards of Russia, six new ships of the far sea zone are simultaneously laid. Here, in Kerch, these are two universal landing ships, in St. Petersburg at the Severnaya Verf shipyard, two frigates, and in Severodvinsk, at the Sevmash enterprise, two nuclear submarines” President Putin said.

“By tradition, the landing ships and frigates of the new generation will bear the names of our famous military leaders and naval commanders who have done a lot to strengthen the Navy. These are “Ivan Rogov” and “Mitrofan Moskalenko”, “Admiral Yumashev” and “Admiral Spiridonov”. And nuclear submarines are named after the cities of military glory – “Voronezh” and “Vladivostok”.

“The new ships will be equipped with advanced weapons, control and long-distance communication systems. They will significantly strengthen the combat potential of the Navy and increase its strategic capabilities.

“The Navy has always reliably defended the borders of Russia. And today he plays an extremely important role in ensuring the security of Russia, stands firmly on guard of national interests, and helps maintain a strategic balance and stability in the world.There are now about 60 of our ships and support vessels in key regions of the World Ocean. Almost half of them are in the far sea zone. And such long sea voyages, the demonstration of the Russian flag have been held in recent years on an ongoing basis” the President continued.

“Russia has one of the longest coastlines and access to three oceans, so we will continue to pursue the development of a modern combat-ready fleet, build ships equipped with advanced weapons and equipment.

“I would like to note that over the past eight years, the fleet has included more than 200 ships, boats and vessels of various classes. It is necessary to continue to consistently carry out the measures of the state armament program, so that by 2027, the share of modern ships in the Navy will exceed 70%.”

Europarl has no comment on Russian referendum

Statement by Members of the European Parliament David McAllister and Tomas Tobé on the constitutional referendum in Russia.

“A constitutional referendum took place in Russia from 25 June to 1 July.

The European Parliament has not been invited to observe this electoral process, and consequently will neither comment on the process nor on the results that will be announced afterwards. No individual Member of the European Parliament has been mandated to observe or comment on this electoral process on its behalf.

Therefore, any Member of the European Parliament who decided to observe this electoral process in the Russian Federation, or in the illegally annexed Crimean peninsula, where the European Union does not and will not recognise the holding of this consultation, has done so on her/his own initiative and should under no circumstances through any statement or action, associate her/his participation with the European Parliament.”

Mr McAllister (EPP, DE) and Mr Tobé (EPP, SE) are Co-Chairs of the European Parliament’s Democracy Support and Election Coordination Group.

Image: European Parliament building, Strasbourg

СOVID19: Russian Prime minister test positive

Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov will serve as acting Prime minister until Mikhail Mishustin recovered from the novel coronavirus illness. At present Mishustin is suffering from high fever, and other symptoms of COVID-19, he does not feel well, Russian newspaper Kommersant reports.

It has just been revealed that my coronavirus tests have come back positive,” Prime said Mishoustin during a video conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin. “In light of this and in accordance with Rospotrebnadzor (Russia’s consumer watchdog – TASS) requirements, I should self-isolate and follow doctors’ orders.” Mishustin added, “it is necessary to safeguard colleagues.”
“The government will continue working as normal, I plan to be in active contact via phone with colleagues on all key issues,” he noted, adding that he will be constantly available for video calls with Putin. He also assured the Russian leader that the government “is taking and will continue to take all the necessary measures” to fight the virus.

In the current conditions, I would like to once more address all the citizens of our country to ask them to treat the coronavirus infection and its spread with utmost seriousness,” he noted.

“I am certain that together we can defeat this infection and return to normal life.”
I ask you to remember that the date when our country can return to full-fledged life depends on the discipline and willpower of every one of us. Take care of yourself and your loved ones!” the prime minister concluded.

Putin signed executive order to appoint First Deputy Prime Minister Belousov as acting PM until Mishustin recovery from coronavirus.
The Russian leader has extended wishes of speedy recovery to the Russian Prime Minister. “I would like to wish you a speedy recovery, get well soon,” Putin stressed.

Mishustin also addressed the nation, urging them to stay home to curb the spread of the virus.

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