Tag Archives: Russia

Borrell on situation in Idlib

“The war in Syria is now in its ninth year. The most severe humanitarian catastrophe and security crisis is unfolding right now in the northwest of the country. In other parts of Syria we continue to see instability and dramatic human suffering.

“Last Thursday we heard the United Nations Special Envoy [Geir] Pedersen and the Head of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs [OCHA] Mark Lowcock briefing the UN Security Council on the situation in Idlib. They described how regime forces, aided by Russia and Iran, are launching heavy military offensives with no regard for the civilian population or civilian infrastructure. “We appear to have lost sight of the principle of proportionality”, United Nations Special Envoy [Pedersen] said.

“The intensification of military operations in Idlib has resulted in the indiscriminate killings of hundreds of civilians. Attacks continue on civilian targets in densely populated areas, medical facilities and settlements for internally displaced people. These are blatant and serious violations of international humanitarian law. There has to be accountability for those responsible.

“Since military operations began in Idlib in February 2019, one year ago, more than 1 million people have been displaced towards Turkey. We are talking about one million displaced people in one year. Every day more Syrians are fleeing the fighting and another wave of refugees is quite possibly in the making.

“We also see clashes between the Syrian regime and Turkish forces, plus the risk of Turkish and Russian militaries confronting each other. These tensions could in turn trigger a wider regional conflict. The ceasefire agreed between Ankara and Moscow must be implemented.

“This is the situation. Now, let me say this. After almost a decade of violence, the suffering of the Syrian people at the hands of the regime and its backers must cease. Too many people have died, and those that are alive face a bleak future.

“The EU has major stakes in Syria and in the surrounding region. We cannot afford more regional instability and another migrant crisis. We must avoid a resurgence of Da’esh and other terrorist organisations at Europe’s doorstep. The EU has a duty to preserve the rules based international order including the legitimacy of the United Nations Security Council. Yes, I know, we say that once again and we have to continue saying that.

“Recent military gains by the Syrian regime are not translating into stability, on the contrary. The Syrian regime will not bring peace and stability to Syria if it continues to pursue a military logic and the repression of its people. The economic situation is deteriorating rapidly, exacerbated by the banking crisis in Lebanon. The regime must change its behaviour.

“[Honourable] Members of the European Parliament, we have stated from the very beginning that only a comprehensive and inclusive political solution in line with United Nations Security Council Resolution 2254 will allow sustainable peace and stability in Syria and the region.

“The European Union will continue to support the efforts of the United Nations Special Envoy Pedersen in relaunching the Constitutional Committee in Geneva. We also need to focus on other parts of this resolution [UNSCR 2254] such as a nationwide ceasefire, the release of detainees and getting progress on the file of missing persons.

“Let’s recall that the European Union is and remains the largest humanitarian donor in relation to crisis in Syria and to its people, both inside [Syria] and to Syrian refugees and host communities in neighbouring countries. We are supporting the resilience of ordinary civilians and civil society to maintain the social fabric of Syrian society.

“We are convinced that our support is a fundamental investment – it is not an expenditure it is an investment – in the future of Syria and the region which is part of our future. And as a partner in the Global Coalition to defeat Da’esh, the EU is conducting stabilisation projects in the north east of Syria.

“We are always prepared to do more on all these lines of action, within the limits of our common redlines. These are: no normalisation with the regime; no risking of our funding being diverted to the regime or to terrorists, and no reconstruction before a political process is firmly under way. Syria: Speech by HR/VP Josep Borrell in the EP on the current security situation in Syria, on February 12.

“Honourable members, we will continue to apply European Union sanctions targeting individuals and entities associated with the regime and responsible for its repressive and inhuman policies, and not the Syrian people.

“As I said before: the conflict in Syria is a geopolitical struggle. The European Union has a responsibility to lead, for the sake of the Syrian people and to protect our own interests. While difficult, we must redouble our efforts to identify common interests with other international stakeholders, Russia, U.S., Turkey and others.

“Maybe I will have the occasion to update you on our discussions in Washington about this issue. ” Strasbourg, European Parliament Plenary, Syria: Speech by High Representative Josep Borrell in the EP on the current security situation in Syria.

ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano returned

ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano touched down in the Kazakh Steppe at 09:12 GMT (10:12 CET), 6 February 2020 after his second six-month mission on the International Space Station. Luca returned to Earth in the Russian Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft alongside US astronaut Christina Koch and Russian cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov.

During his second mission, known as ‘Beyond’, Luca served as the third European and first ever Italian in command of the International Space Station. Before leaving the Station, he handed this role over to Russian cosmonaut Oleg Skripocha in a traditional change of command ceremony.

While in orbit, Luca also performed four complex spacewalks to maintain the cosmic-ray-detecting Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer AMS-02, remotely operated a rock-collecting rover in the Netherlands, supported more than 50 European and over 200 international experiments, gained the European record for longest cumulative spacewalking time, and publicly shared countless images as he warned of the challenges facing our planet.

Luca will now return to ESA’s Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany where he will continue to work with researchers to gather baseline data and undertake an extensive programme of rehabilitation supported by ESA experts. The findings of this research and Luca’s work in space will help shape the future of space exploration and enhance technological developments on Earth.

Russia-Bulgaria diplomatic raw

Bulgarian Prosecutor’s Office reported on its website on January 24 that pre-trial probes involving two Russian diplomats as part of an espionage case had been launched.

Diplomats from Russian Federation who were declared personae non gratae in Bulgaria on January 24 have left that country, a spokesman for the Russian embassy in Bulgaria told TASS News agency.

“The Russian diplomats left Bulgaria on Sunday,” the spokesman said.

Bulgaria’s foreign ministry said that one Russian diplomat had been declared persona non grata and one Russian embassy’s technical staff member had been declared an undesirable person. Both were given 48 hours to leave the country.

Following the incident, the Russian foreign ministry underlined that Bulgarian side had not presented any evidence to reason the decision to expel the Russian diplomats.

The Russian Foreing ministry warned that they reserved the right for symmetric response.

The Bulgarian Prosecutor’s Office reported on its website on January 24 that pre-trial probes involving two Russian diplomats as part of an espionage case had been launched. According to the prosecutors, their illegal activities included elections and the energy sector. In accordance with the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, Bulgaria halted criminal proceedings against the two Russian citizens. However, the Prosecutor’s Office claims that there are grounds for indicting them.

Moscow: seven Chinese hospitalised

Seven members of a tourist group from China were hospitalized in Moscow with high fever, Interfax news agency reports with reference to an informed source.

The tour group stayed in one of the capital’s hotels. After deterioration, seven people were hospitalized with high fever, ”the source told reporters. According to him, at the moment, other visitors to the hotel are examined by doctors, all are urgently taken tests.

World Health Organisation published hygiene recommendation to avoid contamination with coronavirus,

Aeroflot destroyed cats in luggage

The recent case of animal cruelty exposed Aeroflot inhumaine practices of transportation of animals with luggage, leaving a passenger devastated when receiving two cats crushed in cages, and one frozen to death. Brutal destruction of all tree cats, belonging to the same passenger, caused public outrage in Russia and beyond. (Image above: illustration).

The company acknowledged the need to change rules of animal transportation after the incident with Maxim Chumachenko, who reported death of two pets crushed in cages and the frostbite of a third cat after following Aeroflot rules to surrender the animals to the luggage compartment of a Boeing 777.

Upon arrival at Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport from the USA, the passenger received, according to him, “two broken boxes thrown from the third floor” with lifeless animals inside. The victim believes that employees of the Aeroflot, should be prosecuted for cruelty to animals. The management of Aeroflot company acknowledged responsibility for the incident.

Maxim Chumachenko said that on January 22 he arrived from New York at Sheremetyevo. “In the cabin, I transported two cats and three in three different containers (in the luggage compartment. One on flight to Sofia and two to Moscow,” Mr. Chumachenko said.

According to him, in Sheremetyevo he was given “broken boxes with animals” that “seemed to be thrown from the height of the third floor” – the cargo compartment of the Boeing 777 is situated approximately at that height. “Aeroflot employees provided me with the necessary assistance so that I and my cats got on a flight to Sofia, ”said Mr. Chumachenko.“ One cat died of internal bleeding on the Moscow-Sofia flight, and the second two hours after landing on the table at the veterinarian” devastated cat owner said.

Russian Aeroflot company is notorious for cruelty to animals, causing passengers to invent different ways to disobey the rules in attempt to save their pets lives. Recently a passenger became world famous, sharing his trick of avoiding to surrender his overweight cat Viktor to luggage. Fat cat Viktor enjoyed the flight next to his master, but Mikhail Galin lost thousands of spared airmiles (400K) in Aeroflot reprimand measure, He said he never regretted it, because he does not put price on his pet’s life.

AMENDED: According to the owner both cats crushed in cages in luggage department during transportation died from massive internal bleeding. The complete autopsie results will be issued on January 27. Image below: one of the cats killed during travel with Aeroflot. (Source: social media)

Japan aims at solution of Kuril Islands issue

The Japanese government is determined to achieve a solution to the territorial issue and sign a peace treaty with Russia, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said in his programme speech, addressing the Parliament on January 20.

Step-by-step, the agreements, which we reached with Russian President [Vladimir] Putin are being implemented,” Abe said. “Former residents of the [Southern Kuril] Islands go on a pilgrimage tour by plane to their relatives’ graves and joint economic activity is being cultivated on the four islands.

We will speed up talks based on the 1956 Joint Declaration, solve the territorial problem and sign a peace treaty,” Abe continued. “We are moving towards this without any hesitation. I’m fully determined to achieve this goal together with President [Vladimir Putin],” Prime Minister underlined.

Russia and Japan have been in talks to sign a peace treaty since the mid-20th century. The main stumbling block to achieving this is the ownership issue over the Southern Kuril Islands, called the Northern Territories in Japan.

After the end of World War II, the Kuril Islands were incorporated into the Soviet Union. However, the ownership of Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan Islands and the Habomai Islands has been challenged by Japan. The Russian Foreign Ministry has repeatedly said that Russia’s sovereignty over these islands, which is committed to paper in international documents, cannot be called in question.

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.

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