Paul Ryan Brushes Off Criticism That He Enabled Trump

WASHINGTON ― House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) attempted in an interview airing Sunday to frame his legacy on his own terms, brushing off the criticism that he facilitated President Donald Trump’s makeover of the Republican Party.

The speaker announced last week that he plans to retire at the end of his term to spend more time with his family. Ryan is finishing his career in Congress under Trump, a man he repeatedly criticized during the 2016 presidential  campaign for racially charged, derogatory and vulgar statements and proposals but whose agenda he has helped enact.  

NBC’ “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd asked Ryan about the criticism that he enabled the rise of Trump.

“Enabling ― So, so what did we do?” Ryan asked in the interview, which took place on Friday, according to a transcript provided by NBC News. He went on to spotlight what he sees as his own achievements ― such as establishing empowerment zones in poor communities, passing tax reform and spurring economic growth ― and said he hopes to accomplish more this year. 

When pressed about Trump, Ryan said that they had agreed on an agenda, but wouldn’t say definitively whether they shared a vision for the GOP. “You’d have to ask him that,” Ryan said, adding that he and the president differed on policies for trade and some entitlement programs, but are “rolling in the same direction” on most things.

“Sure, no two people are going to agree on everything,” Ryan said. “We have different styles. We have different ideas. But it’s a big tent party. And we represent different corners of the tent.”

Todd read him a quote from former Wisconsin radio host Charlie Sykes, who said of Ryan, “When people write the history of this era, it will be the triumph of Trumpism over Ryanism, and that’s got to be a bitter pill to swallow.”

“I just don’t see it like that,” Ryan said.

The speaker also said that though it is Congress’ role to serve as a check on the executive branch if there is abuse of civil liberties or power, he didn’t see a need for one potential action: a bill that would bar the president from firing special counsel Robert Mueller. The Justice Department special counsel is investigating whether the Trump campaign worked with the Russian government to meddle in the 2016 election.

Trump sought to have Mueller fired in December, The New York Times reported last week. The president denied that report and said he is taking a cooperative approach to dealing with the special counsel.  

Ryan said that he did not think a bill to protect Mueller, which a bipartisan group of senators are pushing, would be necessary because the White House was not going to fire him.

“I don’t think he should be fired. I think he should be left to do his job,” Ryan said of Mueller. “And I don’t think they’re really contemplating this.”

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

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Following Poland’s lead, Lithuania Now Considering a Bill Outlawing Criticism of Its Role in the Holocaust

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Egypt Tolerates No Internal Criticism

Egypt Tolerates No Internal Criticism

by Stephen Lendman ( – Home – Stephen Lendman)

Egypt under self-anointed/illegitimate president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is a brutal US-supported fascist dictatorship.

Anyone challenging junta rule risks imprisonment or death. Countless thousands are imprisoned for political reasons, many others sentenced to death by state-controlled kangaroo tribunal proceedings.

Press freedom is banned, dozens of journalists imprisoned for doing their jobs responsibly.

Disclosing anything Sisi wants suppressed assures arrest, incarceration, and brutal treatment amounting to torture.

Reporting anything critical of junta rule is considered a “terrorist crime.”

On Tuesday, Masr al-Arabia news website editor-in-chief Adel Sabry was arrested after being fined nearly $3,000 for republishing a NYT article, criticizing Egypt’s electoral process – a sham by any standard.

In late March, Sisi re-anointed himself president, running virtually unopposed, arresting or intimidating other aspirants from running against him.

His only legitimate challenger Ahmed Konsow was sentenced to six years in prison for “stating political opinions contrary to the” official narrative – for daring to challenge Sisi’s iron grip on power. 

He re-anointed himself president with a 97% majority – despite being widely despised.

Sabry is charged with operating a website unlicensed and publishing false news, something unheard of in civilized countries.

On Tuesday, regime security agents stormed Masr al-Arabia’s office, seizing computers and other materials.

Hundreds of websites in Egypt are blocked, Masr al-Arabia the latest one – press freedom in the country a non-starter, truth-telling about regime policies considered a high crime against the state, harmful to national security.

An earlier article called Sisi Egypt’s Pinochet – a common thug, a brutal despot, ruling by iron-fisted brute force, tolerating no opposition or criticism, a US favorite.

He’s Washington’s man in Cairo, complicit with its imperial agenda. A climate of fear pervades the nation from mass arrests, disappearances, torture and mass murder.

Muslim Brotherhood members, human rights activists, academics, union heads, independent journalists, student activists, and other suspected regime opponents are targeted.

Last April, Trump met with Sisi at the White House, calling it “an honor to welcome” him, saying “(h)e’s done a fantastic job in a very difficult situation. We are very much behind Egypt” – disgraceful remarks.

Sisi’s repressive regime is one of many enjoying strong US support, their high crimes ignored. 

One fascist regime supports another, democratic governments like Venezuela targeted for regime change – along with all other sovereign independent states.

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at

My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

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Pathetic! ‘Hardball’ Panel Offers Gooey, Criticism-Free Love Letter to Liberal Media

MSNBC’s Hardball
January 17, 2018
7:03 p.m. Eastern

CHRIS MATTHEWS [on Huckabee Sanders criticizing Flake]: Well, that was pathetic. Anyway, then there was the theater of the absurd for weeks, the President has been teasing in an award ceremony of sorts for “THE MOST DISHONEST & CORRUPT MEDIA AWARDS OF THE YEAR.” He wrote “Subjects will cover dishonesty and bad reporting in various categories from the Fake News Media.” Last week, he wrote: “The Fake News Awards, those are going to the most corrupt and biased of the Mainstream Media, will be presented to the losers Wednesday, January 17th.” Of course, that’s today. At her briefing today, Sanders promised something later today. But as of this hour, it’s still a mystery what it is. That’s the absurd. Here’s the reality. According to the Committee to the Protect Journalists, 42 were killed last year doing their jobs. Another 262 were imprisoned, 21 arrested on charges of false news. Those were the phrase used.


MATTHEWS: Tell me what’s the danger of the press, just using the press as his tackling dummy, if you will, because he doesn’t like objective reporting, not opinion like Eugene. He is afraid, it seems to me, of front page facts that are thrown out there as part of regular daily reporting. He doesn’t want that objective reality confronting his behavior. 

KATIE TOWNSEND: These relentless attacks on the credibility of journalists, the use of the fake news term repeatedly, calling the press the enemy of the people, these have real world effects, not just here in the United States where we’ve seen an uptick in threats against members of the media just simply doing their jobs but also abroad. I think as both Senator McCain and Senator Flake pointed out today, the President’s words matter. They have an impact when the President of the United States uses the term “fake news” to criticize reporting that he doesn’t like, that language is used as a license by people like Assad in Syria, Duterte in the Philippines to call reporting — they don’t like fake news. 


DEMOCRATIC SENATOR RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (Conn.): When the history of this time is written, Chris and I’ve said it before on this very show, the heroes will be our free press and the judiciary bulwarks of our democracy. When the President says he won the popular vote, when he says that the crowd at inaugural was the biggest ever, the press has stood up to him. Think about what we would not know now about Russian meddling in our election, about the attempts to cover up and obstruct justice, whether it’s the Air Force One statement or the Trump Tower meeting, and Katie is absolutely right. The real world effects are staggering, not only abroad where 262 journalists have been imprisoned over the last year alone, the most dangerous year to be a journalist in the world[.]


EUGENE ROBINSON: You and I have been doing this for a long time. As a journalist you have to have a thick skin, right? You have to a thick skin because guess what, if officials love everything you write, then you’re probably not doing a very good job. You’re supposed to hold them accountable. What President Trump is doing is something different. He’s trying to erase the line between what is true and what is not true. He wants to erase the line between reality and his own convenient fantasy, his own version of reality. To have a democracy, we have to have a chronicle of events that we all agree on and we have to have an encyclopedia of facts we all agree on and then we can argue what to do with those things and what those events mean and what those facts mean. But — but he’s trying to warp reality to suit his own political purposes, and his own ego half the time. I think it’s more psychological than political, but it’s very dangerous. 


TOWNSEND: Well, Chris, I think that and I want to underscore too that Senator Flake is absolutely right in how important it is that Republicans as well as Democrats speak out against this type of rhetoric. This is a bipartisan issue or it should be or a nonpartisan issue. Press freedom is not only a bulwark of American democracy, but it’s also, I would say, an American value. And I think in terms of what needs to be done, as I said, we’ve seen the uptick in threats against journalists, not only threats to take them to court but physical threats and physical attacks on journalists not just abroad but here in the United States and so I think this rhetoric we’re seeing from the President underscores precisely why it’s important for organizations like ours to continue to support journalists.

MATTHEWS: Well, I’m telling you as a consumer of print, you’re a consumer like him. You get up and have your coffee at 7:00 in the morning usually and you look at papers like The New York Times, which is an amazing newspaper, it covers the world and it’s all there in print. You just open it up. The whole world — it covers everything. You get The Washington Post with the best political coverage. It’s all over the coverage. You learn so much in maybe an hour at the breakfast table. By the time you’ve had your cereal and coffee, you are really damn informed with pretty damn objective facts. I don’t know anywhere in the world we benefit from this system and to have this clownish leader making fun of one of the best things we have in the country as a free press, it’s wonderful especially if you have curiosity like we all do. We want to know what’s going on.


BLUMENTHAL: I think that dismissing it as a clown show is a disservice to how threatening and how dangerous it really is because it is undermining and corrosive to our democracy and the real threat here is that people will lose faith although frankly, what I hear in Connecticut is that folks are watching MSNBC.


BLUMENTHAL: They’re watching this show. They’re watching other cable. They’re reading at levels never before seen, and I think it is that kind of reaction that should be inspiring to many of us.

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Re: US threatens, again, to pull out of UNSC unless it ends criticism of Israel

US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, has warned the UN Human Rights Council that the US is ready to pull out of the inter-governmental body unless it changes its attitude towards Israel.

Speaking over the weekend at the annual Washington conference of the Israeli American Council, Haley once again struck out at the UN over its alleged bias against Israel.

Haley told the applauding audience that the US is ready to pull out unless the UN institute reforms including removing Israel as a permanent item on its agenda. The former governor of South Carolina reiterated longstanding US demands on the Human Rights Council to remove Item Seven, which requires a report on the “Human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories”, every time the Council meets.

Accusing former US President Barack Obama of “betraying” the Israelis for allowing through a UN Security Council resolution condemning settlements, Haley said: “As long as I was US ambassador, such an act of betrayal would never happen again.”

Israel vs. the United Nations: the Nikki Haley doctrine

Haley also revealed that the US delegation was working to block the publication of a list compiled by the UN of companies doing business in illegal settlement.

Last month the UN announced that it was planning to blacklist companies that violate international law by doing business in occupied Palestinian territories; up to 190 companies (130 Israeli and 60 international) received threatening letters from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein.

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Ex-Chancellor Schroeder brushes aside criticism over joining Rosneft board

“I will do this. This is about my life, and I decide – not the German press,” said Schroeder as cited by German news agency DPA, adding that he couldn’t see a problem and was not going to allow anyone to make it into one.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and the leader of Schroeder’s own center-left Social Democrats, Martin Schulz, both strongly disapprove of Schoeder’s nomination to the Rosneft board.

Rosneft along with other Russian companies became the target of Western sanctions over Moscow’s alleged role in the Ukrainian conflict. The firms are banned from accessing technology for oil and gas projects.

Schroder is expected to be elected to the board at the end of September, and responded to his critics, saying that they were trying to push Germany into a “new Cold War.”

The ex-chancellor stressed German newspapers falsely portrayed the company.

“Imagine if I had been proposed not for a Rosneft board position but Exxon in America. Nobody would ask my true motives,” Schroder said at an election campaign event for the Social Democrats (SPD) in the northern town of Rotenburg.

“It is the largest oil company in the world, with important links to Germany. It is not the long arm of the Kremlin. They are the majority shareholder, but BP is a shareholder – not a small shop. Qatar is a shareholder,” he added.

READ MORE: EU policy to blame for Ukraine crisis – Ex-Chancellor Schroeder

Schroeder has been previously called “Gazprom Gerd” for his relations to with another major Russian energy company. He joined the Nord Stream pipeline consortium controlled by the corporation after he was not re-elected chancellor in 2005.

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White House pushes back against criticism of Trump’s Charlottesville response

After coming under fire from all sides of the political spectrum for his response to the violence in Charlottesville, Va., the White House said on Sunday that President Trump “condemns all forms of violence” — including hate groups.

“The president said very strongly in his statement yesterday that he condemns all forms of violence, bigotry, and hatred,” read the statement issued by an unnamed White House spokesperson. “Of course that includes white supremacists, KKK neo-Nazi and all extremist groups. He called for national unity and bringing all Americans together.”

Violence erupted during a rally protesting the removal of a Confederate statue in Charlottesville on Saturday. A 32-year-old woman was killed and 19 other people were injured when a car rammed into a group of counterprotesters. Two Virginia state troopers were also killed when their police helicopter crashed nearby.

Slideshow: Violent clashes erupt at ‘Unite the Right’ rally in Charlottesville, Va. >>>

A vehicle drives into a group of protesters demonstrating against a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., on Aug. 12, 2017. (Ryan M. Kelly/The Daily Progress via AP)A vehicle drives into a group of protesters demonstrating against a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., on Aug. 12, 2017. (Ryan M. Kelly/The Daily Progress via AP)

Slideshow: Mourning and acts of solidarity for the victims of the Charlottesville attack at a white nationalist rally >>>

Trump responded to the incidents during a previously-scheduled press event at his golf club in New Jersey Saturday afternoon, saying “many sides” were to blame. The president later tweetedcondolences” to the families of the victims. But lawmakers on both sides of the aisle blasted Trump for not explicitly condemning the white supremacists involved.

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence, on many sides,” the president said on Saturday. “On many sides. It’s been going on for a long time in our country. Not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama. This has been going on for a long, long time. It has no place in America.”

Related: Charlottesville mayor blames Trump for white supremacist violence

On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, Trump’s national security adviser, said Trump’s denunciation of hate groups went without saying.

“When he condemned bigotry and hatred on all sides, that includes white supremacists and neo-Nazis, and I think it’s clear,” McMaster said. “I know it’s clear in his mind.”

Earlier Sunday, Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and White House adviser, issued a two-part statement on Twitter calling out the hate groups by name.

“There should be no place in society for racism, white supremacy and neo-nazis,” Ivanka Trump tweeted. We must all come together as Americans — and be one country UNITED.”

On CNN’s “State of the Union,” White House homeland security adviser Tom Bossert bristled at criticism of Trump and dismissed the idea that the president’s reaction to the violence was too vague.

“Are you willing to at least concede that President Trump was not clear enough in specifically condemning white supremacy?” CNN’s Jake Tapper asked.

“No,” Bossert replied. “What I would say is that the president not only condemned the violence and stood up at a time and a moment when calm was necessary, and didn’t dignify the names of these groups of people, but rather addressed the fundamental issue.”

Bossert himself refused to call out white supremacists by name until he was pressed by Tapper to do so.

“You, on this show today, have said that you condemn groups and condemn actions and condemn bigotry,” Tapper told Bossert. “But I haven’t heard you say, ‘I condemn white supremacists. I condemn neo-Nazis. I condemn the alt-right.’ I haven’t heard that. And I think a lot of people were upset, a lot of Republican officials, that they didn’t hear it from President Trump. But I don’t want to belabor this point.”

“I think you have belabored it,” Bossert replied. “So, let me say, I condemn white supremacists and racists and white Nazi groups and all the other groups that espouse this kind of hatred and exclusion. I can’t be clearer.”

After Trump’s initial statement on Saturday, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle blasted the president for not explicitly condemning the white supremacists involved.

“It’s very important for the nation to hear @potus describe events in #Charlottesville for what they are, a terror attack by #whitesupremacists,” Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., tweeted.

“We reject the racism and violence of white nationalists like the ones acting out in Charlottesville,” New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said in a statement. “Everyone in leadership must speak out.”

“Mr. President, we must call evil by its name,” Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., added. “These were white supremacists, and this was domestic terrorism.”

Former Vice President Joe Biden put it bluntly.

“There is only one side,” Biden tweeted.

Read more from Yahoo News on the violence in Charlottesville:

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'May you die in pain': Lawmakers face fierce criticism as they return home

As members of Congress return to their districts for the customary August recess, at least one California lawmaker received a hostile reception back home.

Rep. Doug LaMalfa, R-Calif., appeared at a town hall in Chico, Calif., on Monday. While LaMalfa won reelection easily last year, he was met by critics of his vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act and defund Planned Parenthood, as well as his denial of man-made climate change.

The most heated moment, according to the Los Angeles Times, was when a man told LaMalfa, “May you die in pain.” The speaker appeared to be protesting LaMalfa’s vote to advance the American Health Care Act, which later sputtered in the Senate.  

Other protesters called on LaMalfa to resign for supporting the health care bill, which would have rolled back numerous key Obamacare provisions, including Medicaid expansion in states like California. One LaMalfa critic channeled “The Wizard of Oz,” dressing up as the “Wicked Witch of the West Coast.”


But LaMalfa was unmoved, arguing that middle-class families in his Northern California district were being hurt by Obamacare.

“We really want to help middle-income Californians, middle-income Americans be able to afford health insurance as they see fit and not … a government mandate,” LaMalfa told a local TV station after the event.

And when the boos and jeers rained down on him during the town hall, LaMalfa didn’t back down.

“I have the mic, folks. Yep, boo away,” he taunted at one point.

Other lawmakers are facing similarly unfriendly crowds — if they host town halls at all. Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., faced criticism over his support for President Trump’s penal immigration policies at a Monday event in his rural district.

While that town hall lacked the fireworks of LaMalfa’s, the county sheriff was forced to take over the microphone on at least one occasion to restore order. Yet Meadows, who chairs the conservative House Freedom Caucus, praised the crowd at the end for being “respectful — even vocal.”

“If you guys disagree, send me the information,” Meadows told protesters at one point, as a member of the crowd grilled him over single-payer health care.

Even some of the most vulnerable Republican members of Congress are engaging with their detractors. Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, is expected to be a top Democratic target in the 2018 midterm elections.

This didn’t stop Hurd from launching a weeklong circuit of Dairy Queens in his Southwest Texas district, beginning Sunday with a stop in suburban El Paso.

Given the area’s proximity to the Mexican border, many residents were concerned again about Trump’s crackdown on illegal immigration, the Austin American-Statesman reported.

“The bills that they’re passing, it’s profiling,” one man said. “I want you to take this back to Mr. Trump to let him know what he is doing to our country.”

Hurd insisted the events were important to have, even as other members of Congress have shied away from meeting with angry constituents.

“That’s why I’m doing 20 town halls in six days to hear these concerns,” he told voters. “That’s why I’m out in a place that I didn’t win — because I represent everybody, not just the people that vote for me.”

Read more from Yahoo News:


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Germany starts testing face recognition surveillance amid criticism


Germany has test launched a new face recognition surveillance system at one of Berlin’s railway stations. Security officials say the system would contribute to anti-terrorism efforts while data protection bodies warn against human rights violations.

Three CCTV cameras, each equipped with different face recognition software, have been installed at the Berlin’s Suedkreuz railway station as part of the test project run jointly by the German federal police, the interior ministry and German Railways.

The two main objectives of the trial run is to determine whether the cameras can automatically recognize faces of specific persons and single them out from a crowd and to establish which face recognition program is the most reliable.

“We want to test it under normal circumstances,” in which people in question can “wear a hat or a motorcycle helmet… or just vanish in the crowd,” a federal police spokesman told Deutsche Welle (DW).

So far, more than 250 people volunteered to take part in the trial. They provided their names, biometrical data as well as two photos of their face to the police, which were then placed into a special databank to be accessed by the face recognition software.

All personal data collected for the project would be deleted in a year, six months after the end of the test, Jens Schobranski, a German federal police spokesman said as quoted by the German BZ Berlin daily.

During the six-month test phase, the software would compare and match the surveillance footage taken by the cameras at the railway station with the volunteers’ images stored in its databank.

The volunteers will also carry a small transponder that will work independently from the software and will send a signal each time one goes through the station area monitored by the cameras to help the police establish if the cameras indeed recognize the faces of all test participants.

Most volunteers are commuters who regularly use the station on their way to work and back home, so they are expected to frequently pass through the surveilled areas.

Even though the volunteers will not receive any payment for participating in the project, those, whose face is recognized by the cameras daily during 25 days, would receive a € 25 coupon from the internet-based retailer Amazon.

Three volunteers, whose faces would be those most frequently recognized over the course of six months, would also receive one of three special prizes, including an Apple Watch.

People that do not want to be picked up by the face recognition cameras can easily avoid being sighted, as the three units only monitor one entrance, one exit and one escalator at the station, which are marked with special blue signs.

‘Useful instrument against criminals and terrorists’

German police justify the deployment of the software, saying it’s necessary to fight terrorism and criminality. They say they have high expectations of the software and believe it would be helpful in tracing “people, who pose a danger to public security,” the German regional broadcaster Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (RBB) reports.

When a person known to police as a criminal or terrorist suspect enters or exits a public transport facility, the new system would immediately warn the police, allowing it to take prompt measures.

“Potential threats could be exposed and averted ahead of a planned [terrorist] attack” through the use of this technology, a police spokesperson told RBB.

The German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere also expressed support for the project. “Video surveillance makes an important contribution [to the police effort] as it serves as a deterrent against crime and helps to investigate offenses,” he said, as cited by the BZ Berlin daily.

An MP from German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party, Marian Wendt, is one of the volunteers. The politician said he “hopes that this recognition system would be used all over Germany one day.”

“It is a useful instrument for the police [in its fight] against criminals and terrorists. It would be wrong to abandon something like this,” he added, as cited by BZ Berlin.

‘Major violation of fundamental rights’

The initiative, however, is causing major concern and unease among German data protection authorities who questioned its legality and warned it could result in human rights violations.

“A considerable danger lies in the fact that an extensive data on the movements of ordinary citizens could be collected [through the use of this software] and the right for the freedom from surveillance in public could be thrown into question,” Berlin data protection commissioner, Maja Smoltczyk, told RBB.

Her words were partly echoed by the German Federal Data Protection Commissioner Andrea Vosshoff, who told DW that “it would be a major violation of fundamental rights” should these systems be put “into actual use.”

Ulrich Schellenberg, the head of the German lawyers’ association, also warns against the initiative. “Not everything that is technically possible is something we want to do as a society,” he said, as cited by AP.

“We must ask ourselves how much surveillance we really want to allow,” he added, according to BZ Berlin.

Christopher Lauer, an internet and data protection expert and a member of the Social Democratic Party, warned that the freedom for anonymity in a public place could be lost and thus sacrificed to a measure that has “crime-fighting benefit amounting to zero,” as reported by DW.

Some security experts estimates that the potential failure rate of the new face recognition software could account for one in one million and amount to about three erroneous police alarms a day as Berlin’s city-wide transport system carries about three million people every day, according to DW.

Other critics say that knowledge of potential suspect’s location contributes little to actual terrorist attack prevention. As an example, they cited the case of the Berlin Christmas market attacker Anis Amri, saying police were well aware of his whereabouts but still failed to prevent the deadly attack.



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Kremlin dismisses Ukraine’s criticism of ‘assault divisions’ deployment

The Russian Federation is free to change the configuration of military forces on its territory in line with what is considered most reasonable,” Peskov told reporters on Monday. He noted, however, that the media should address the defense ministry for more detailed comments on troop movements.

The statement came shortly after Ukrainian Chief of General Staff Viktor Muzhenko wrote on Facebook that Russia had allegedly moved three motorized rifle divisions near its border with Ukraine, adding that the divisions are “assault forces” specially trained and equipped for rapid advance operations.

Muzhenko’s claims come amid preparations for NATO maritime exercises near the Ukrainian Black Sea port of Odessa. The Royal Navy’s HMS Duncan and the Turkish Navy frigate Yildirim arrived in Odessa on Monday, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry wrote on its website. Both ships are expected to remain in Ukrainian waters until July 27. 

The British and Turkish warships will participate in more naval drills, including establishing communications with the Ukrainian Navy in times of war or in case of urgent humanitarian operations.

The new NATO exercises in the Black Sea begin just several days after the US, Ukraine, and 14 other nations deployed warships, combat aircraft, and special operations teams for ‘Sea Breeze 2017’ exercises off the Ukrainian coast.

Moscow has long objected to NATO’s large-scale war games near Russian borders, which intensified after the March 2014 referendum in which Crimea voted to reunite with mainland Russia. In February this year, Dmitry Peskov said that such developments were a threat to Russian national security and interests, “Especially as it concerns a third party building up its military presence near our borders.”

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