Russia Demands US Warplanes Exit Syria Immediately

Russia’s upper house of parliament on Wednesday unanimously approved the country’s armed forces to be used abroad.

The decision includes only the use of the Air Force and does not foresee any ground troops operations, Kremlin Administration Aide Sergei Ivanov said Wednesday.

“We’re talking exclusively about operations of Russia’s Air Force, as our president has already said, the use of armed forces on the ground theater of military operations is excluded. The military goal of the operations is exclusively air support of the Syrian government forces in their fight against the Islamic State,” Ivanov said.

Syrian President Bashar Assad has turned to Russia with a request for military assistance, according to Ivanov.

“I would like to inform you that the president of the Syrian Arab Republic turned to the leadership of our country with a request to provide military assistance, so we may say that terrorism needs to be fought, efforts need to be combined, but it is still necessary to observe the norms of international law,” Ivanov told journalists.

Kremlin will inform foreign partners of the decision made by the parliament of using Russian armed forces abroad during the day through foreign ministry channels, and the military will do the same through their channels.

According to Ivanov, the decision was made to help Syria and protect Russian interests.

“First and, probably, the most important, we are talking about Syria alone, and we are not talking about reaching some foreign policy goals, satisfying some ambitions which our western partners accuse us of, we are talking about Russia’s national interests alone,” Ivanov told journalists.

Ivanov said that the Air Force operations would be temporary, but was unable to say exactly how long they would be in play.

“In regard to the timeline, the Russian Air Force operation, of course, cannot last forever and has a definite time period, but what the time period is, for example, in regard to the number of days as well as telling you how many aircraft will be used and which armament will be used by our Air Force, I cannot say right now for obvious reasons,” Ivanov said.

Commenting on the airstrikes carried out by Western powers, Ivanov said they were not in line with international law.

“As you all know very well, the United States… is launching airstrikes on the territory of Syria and Iraq, and maybe other Middle Eastern States. Recently France has joined the same analogous actions, Australia and a number of other coutnries are talking about the same thing.. I would like to note one principal moment — these actions are being carried out in circumvention of international law,” Ivanov told the press.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has earlier on Wednesday requested permission from the Federation Council to use Russian Armed Forces abroad.

According to the US Embassy in Moscow, the leaders of the United States and Russia have common interests in the fight against ISIL in Syria and have agreed to create a channel between the countries’ military branches to avoid any misunderstandings during operations in the area.

“I would simply reiterate that when President [Barack] Obama met with President [Vladimir] Putin, they agreed that the United States and Russia have a common interest in fighting ISIL in Syria”, US Embassy spokesman Will Stevens said.

“However, our position is clear that President Assad is not a suitable partner for the fight against terror and extremism in Syria. There is no sustainable path to stability within Syria that involves President Assad staying in power,” he added.

According to Fox News quoting a high-ranking US official, Russia has demanded that US airplanes immediately leave Syria.

Russia, Iran, Iraq, and Syria have recently created an information center in Baghdad in order to coordinate the fight against the Islamic State. The information center’s main goals are to provide reconnaissance on the number of IS militants, their weapons, and their movements.

Earlier this week, it was revealed that the new center would begin operations in October or November and be headed by Russian, Syrian, Iraqi and Iranian officers on a three-month rotational basis.


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Russia and Putin, the Nonexistent Threat. Who is the Aggressor; the US or Russia?

gmo_putin_russia_735_350 (1)

Russia is fast becoming our latest bogyman with neocons, war hawks, and a complicit corporate media, all beating the preliminary war drums, rapidly convincing a duped public that the Russian threat is real.  The record shows the Russian threat is nonsense, but the record also shows there is a threat, not from Russia, but from the US.

A couple of years ago the US was foaming at the mouth anticipating being able to bomb Syria into oblivion, claiming as pretext Assad was using chemical weapons.  Once again the US was using the tired argument that it was necessary to save the people by bombing them.  Ask the “people” of Libya, and Iraq, and Yemen, if they felt saved by being bombed?  We laid waste to Libya with 77 days of bombing and devastated that country, along with the complete destruction of Iraq, and now, with our invaluable assistance and weapons, we are doing likewise to “save” the people of Yemen.

Our thirst to bomb Syria a few years ago was foiled by those evil Russians, who stepped in diplomatically and got Assad to get rid of all Syria’s chemical weapons.  Those nasty Russians would not let us have our bombing and prevented it by using diplomacy. Is that why they now are our enemy?

Naturally we would not be stopped, and found the pretext to bomb Syria anyway.  Using ISIS as an excuse, we are currently bombing Syria trying to usher in the same kind of anarchy we brought to Iraq and Libya. Corporate media, shill mouthpiece of the US government, would have you believe that the US is part of a world coalition that is bombing Syria, when the fact is 99% of the bombing is done by the US alone. In any case the end game is to reduce Syria to chaos, death, destruction, and violence, which is well under way.  Those nasty Russians are again interfering by sending weapons to support the Assad regime.  It appears that our thirst to bomb, has forced the nasty Russians to draw a line in the sand.  They will support Assad and not tolerate his overthrow by the US.

We now know, thanks to the Guardian and other UK news outlets, but relatively unreported in the US, that apparently the Russians had negotiated a deal in 2012, in which Assad would either share power or would step down, but the deal was ignored and brushed aside by the US.  Why?  Because we wanted to rain down anarchy on Syria by bombing it to oblivion. We did not want a diplomatic solution, we wanted to bomb and cause pure anarchy, which is what we are currently doing. Those nasty Russians were diplomatically trying to prevent this from happening for the second time. They could not stop our desire to bomb.

The US orchestrated a coup of a democratically elected leader of the Ukraine and installed a US puppet, but blamed the next door neighbor Russia for the troubles in the Ukraine. We also inflamed the US public by accusing Russia of expanding by taking the Crimea by force, even though 99% of Crimeans wanted to belong to Russia, and this was achieved not by invasion, and not one single death in the Crimea.  Corporate media convinced the US public that Russia had invaded militarily, and taken over the Crimea.  Not so; there was no invasion and not one person died in a popular turn to Russia by the people of Crimea.

There are now various news reports that have the US planning to place nuclear weapons to Germany. That’s right, nuclear weapons on Russia’s front doorstep! First, how would you like it as a German citizen, and then how you like it as a Russian living next door?  This is a provocative, foolish, dangerous, militarily aggressive act by the US, but the media shills will depict the Russians as the bad guys.

So who is the aggressor nation? How many nations has Russia bombed in the past 25 years?  How many nations has the US bombed in the past 25 years? Russia has 2 military bases outside its borders, while the US has over 700. So which nation is the most aggressive? The US has killed approximately 4-5 million people since 1963. How many innocents has Russia killed during that time? The annual US military budget is 10 times higher than Russia’s, so who is the aggressor nation? There are US Special Forces operating in 81 foreign nations. Special Forces budget has increased fivefold since 2001 and their numbers have doubled.  So who is the aggressor nation? The US is planning to deploy nuclear weapons to Germany, and since 1776 the US has been at war for 93% of its history. The US with its bombings of 14 nations in the Middle East, has unleashed one of the biggest refugee crises in human history as people flee from US bombs and destruction.  So who is the aggressor; the US or Russia? Pay no attention to corporate media, get your own facts.

Joe Clifford lives in Rhode Island and writes for two online sites and regularly submits articles to Rhode Island newspapers. He writes mostly about US foreign policy but occasionally will venture into other venues.


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Auchan faces 3-month closure in Russia over repeated violations

The hearing at the Moscow Arbitration Court is scheduled for November 2.

The French retailer has already been fined 25 million rubles ($380,000) after failing a number of inspections. Recent checks by Russia’s agriculture watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor discovered horse meat in minced pork, out-of-date sausage in pizza and intestinal bacterium in pre-packaged meat.

© Andrey Iglov

Auchan has owned up to some of the reported violations and promised to rectify them. Following the inspections, several hundred employees were suspended, but no stores were shut, according to Rospotrebnadzor officials.

READ MORE: French embassy quizzes Russian hygiene watchdog over Auchan inspections

The company filed two lawsuits against the agriculture watchdog at the end of August, but both cases have been dropped.

Auchan became the largest foreign company working in Russia last year. It has a turnover of 371 billion rubles ($5.7 billion), according to Russian Forbes.

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Visa to stop guaranteed service operations in Russia

“Visa announced that from October 1 it does not guarantee the processing of authorization requests for local operations [in Russia – Ed.],” the Russian daily Kommersant cited an unnamed source. In effect, Visa is avoiding the responsibility for refusing to process transactions, for which it would have to pay a new guarantee fee to Russia’s Central Bank, the source added.

Visa confirmed it had notified the banks, according to Kommersant.

READ MORE: Visa may avoid huge Russian fines over data compliance as regulator eases terms

All Russian banks have to switch to Russia’s national system of payment cards (NSPC) by October 1. As for international payment systems, those who want to work in Russia, have to transfer local processing operations to NSPC.

The system was established in 2014 to ensure smooth operation of electronic payments across Russia, after Visa and MasterCard blocked specific US-sanctioned Russian banks from using their payment systems.

MasterCard transferred the processing of Russian operations to the country’s national payment system on time, thus avoiding penalties. Visa, however, failed to meet the deadline and had to pay a guarantee fee, which was later returned. The official size of the fee was not disclosed but experts estimated the sum at $50 million.

READ MORE: ​National Russian card payment system established

Since then, Russian banks have been working with Visa in two ways – directly and through NSPC. Nevertheless, according to the law, all card payments in the country should be made through NSPC starting next month.

The officials at NSPC along with market participants are confident that Visa’s new approach won’t lead to crashes in the system, according to Kommersant. A disclaimer of warranties from Visa “will not disrupt card holder’s transactions”, NSPC said.

Visa press service responded by reasuring its Russian cardholders, saying that Visa cards will continue to work in Russia as usual, before and after October 1.

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60 Minutes: Charlie Rose interviews Vladimir Putin


The following is a script from “Putin” which aired on September 27, 2015. Charlie Rose is the correspondent. Andy Court, producer.

There aren’t many world leaders who have generated as much interest as Russia’s Vladimir Putin. All eyes will be on Putin when he speaks at the U.N. tomorrow and meets with President Obama, at a time when he has placed himself and his country in the middle of the most pressing issues of our times. He helped the U.S. and its Western allies broker the nuclear deal with Iran, and now, with a Russian buildup of aircraft, military equipment and personnel in Syria, he has put himself and his country at the center of that civil war and the fight against ISIS.

Russian President Vladimir Putin CBS News Now, when his relations with the United States seem to be at a post-Cold War low, suffering under Western economic sanctions imposed on Russia, Putin may be looking for a way to restore his international influence and gain the respect he seeks for his homeland.

Just before his trip to the U.S., Putin invited us to meet him at his state residence outside Moscow where we found him characteristically confident and combative as he made the case that the focus in Syria should be on fighting ISIS rather than removing Syrian President Assad.

Charlie Rose: So you would like to join the United States in the fight against ISIS? That’s part of why you’re there. Others think that while that may be part of your goal, you’re trying to save the Assad administration because they’ve been losing ground and the war has not been going well for them. And you’re there to rescue them.

President Putin: Well, you’re right. We support the legitimate government of Syria. And it’s my deep belief that any actions to the contrary in order to destroy the legitimate government will create a situation which you can witness now in the other countries of the region or in other regions, for instance in Libya where all the state institutions are disintegrated. We see a similar situation in Iraq. And there is no other solution to the Syrian crisis than strengthening the effective government structures and rendering them help in fighting terrorism. But, at the same time, urging them to engage in positive dialogue with the rational opposition and conduct reform.

Charlie Rose: As you know some of the coalition partners want to see President Assad go first before they will support.

President Putin: I’d like to recommend to them the following. They should send this message to the Syrian people. It’s only the Syrian people who are entitled to decide who should govern their country and how.

Charlie Rose: President Assad, you support him. Do you support what he is doing in Syria and what is happening to those Syrian people, those many millions of refugees and the hundreds of thousands of people that have been killed, many by his own force?

President Putin: Well, tell me, what do you think about those who support the opposition and mainly the terrorist organizations only in order to oust Assad without thinking about what will happen to the country after all the government institutions have been demolished? Today, you have repeatedly said that Assad is fighting against his own population. But look at those who are in control of 60 percent of the territory in Syria. It’s controlled by either ISIS or by others

Charlie Rose: Al-Nusra?

President Putin:such as al-Nusra and other terrorist organizations. They are recognized as terrorist organizations by the United States, by other states and by the United Nations.

Charlie Rose: Are you prepared to put Russian combat troops on the ground in Syria if it’s necessary to defeat ISIS?

President Putin: Russia will not participate in any troop operations in the territory of Syria or in any other states. Well, at least we don’t plan on it right now. But we are considering intensifying our work with both President Assad and with our partners in other countries.

Charlie Rose: I come back to the problem that many people look at. And they believe that Assad helps ISIS. That his reprehensible conduct against the Syrian people using barrel bombs and worse is a recruiting tool for ISIS and that if he was removed, transitioned, at some point, it would be better in the fight against ISIS, al-Nusra and others.

President Putin: Well, speaking in a professional language of intelligence services I can tell you that this kind of assessment is an “active measure” by enemies of Assad. It is anti-Syrian propaganda.

Charlie Rose: Much is being read into this including this, that this is a new effort for Russia to take a leadership role in the Middle East and that it represents a new strategy by you. Is it?

President Putin: Not really. No. More than 2,000 fighters from Russia and Ex-Soviet Republics are in the territory of Syria. There is a threat of their return to us. So instead of waiting for their return, we are better off helping Assad fight them on Syrian territory. So this is the most important thing which encourages us and pushes us to provide assistance to Assad. And, in general, we want the situation in the region to stabilize.

Charlie Rose: But your pride in Russia means that you would like to see Russia play a bigger role in the world and this is just one example.

President Putin: Well, it’s not the goal in itself. I’m proud of Russia, that’s true. And we have something to be proud of, but we do not have any obsession with being a superpower in the international arena.

Charlie Rose: But you are in part a major power because of the nuclear weapons you have. You are a force to be reckoned with.

President Putin: I hope so. I definitely hope so. Otherwise why do we have nuclear weapons at all?

Recent tension between the United States and Russia began after Ukraine’s president Yanukovych was overthrown and fled to Russia. Putin responded by annexing Crimea, leading the U.S. and Western allies to impose tough economic sanctions against Russia.

President Putin: Ukraine is a separate and major issue for us. It is our closest neighbor. We’ve always said that this is our sister country. It’s not only a Slavic people. We have common history, common culture, common religion, and many things in common. What I believe is absolutely unacceptable is the resolution of internal political issues in the former USSR Republics, through “color revolutions,” through coup d’états, through unconstitutional removal of power. That is totally unacceptable. Our partners in the United States have supported those who ousted Yanukovych.

Charlie Rose: You believe that the United States had something to do with the ousting of Yanukovych, and he had to flee to Russia.

President Putin: I know that for sure.

Charlie Rose: How do you know that for sure?

President Putin: I know those people who live in Ukraine. We have thousands of contacts with them. We know who and where, when, who exactly met with someone and worked with those who ousted Yanukovych, how they were supported, how much they were paid, how they were trained, where, in which countries, and who those instructors were. We know everything.

For the record, the U.S. government has denied any involvement in the removal of the Ukrainian leader.

Charlie Rose: You respect the sovereignty of Ukraine?

President Putin: Sure. But we want countries to respect the sovereignty of other countries and Ukraine in particular. Respect for sovereignty means to not allow unconstitutional action and coup d’états, the removal of legitimate power.

Charlie Rose: How will the renewal of legitimate power take place in your judgment? How will that come about? And what role will Russia play?

President Putin: Russia has not taken part and is not going to take part in any actions aimed at removing the legitimate government.

Charlie Rose: You have a military presence on the border of Ukraine. And some even argue that there have been Russian troops in Ukraine.

President Putin: Well, you do have a military presence in Europe?

Charlie Rose: Yes.

President Putin: American tactical nuclear weapons are in Europe. Let’s not forget that. What does this mean? Does it mean that you’ve occupied Germany or that you’ve transformed the occupation forces into NATO forces? And if we have our military forces on our territory, on the border with some state, you believe this is a crime?

What Vladimir Putin thinks about America and about President Obama might surprise you. That, and some insights into his personality, when we come back.

Vladimir Putin has wielded power in Russia for more than 15 years, longer than many czars. He has not only reshaped his own country, but has begun to play a larger role in international affairs, as an occasional ally, but more often foe of U.S. policy.

Presidential candidates have portrayed him as a bully, a gangster or pragmatic opponent who can be bargained with.

One thing we found: a strong personality who will engage in a conversation with blunt talk, charm and wit.

Charlie Rose: You’re much talked about in America. There’s much conversation. More so than any–

President Putin: Maybe they have nothing else to do in America but to talk about me.

Charlie Rose: No, no, or maybe they’re curious people. Or maybe you’re an interesting character. Maybe that’s what it is. They know of a former KGB agent who came back and got into politics in St. Petersburg and became deputy mayor and then came to Moscow. And the interesting thing is they see these images of you bare-chested on a horse. And they say, “There is a man who carefully cultivates his image of strength.”

President Putin: You know, I’m convinced that a person in my position must provide a positive example to people. And those areas where he can do this, he must do this.

Charlie Rose: You enjoy the work, you enjoy representing Russia and you know– you’ve been an intelligence officer. Intelligence officers know how to read other people. That’s part of the job, yes? Yes?

President Putin: It used to be. Used to be. Now I have a different job and that’s been for quite a long time.

Charlie Rose: Somebody in Russia told me there is no such thing as a former KGB man. Once a KGB man, always a KGB man.

President Putin: Well, you know, anything that we do, all this knowledge we acquire, all the experience, we’ll have it forever and we’ll keep that. And we’ll use it somehow. So, in this sense, yes. They’re right.

Charlie Rose: A CIA operative once said to me that one of the training you have is you learn the capacity to be liked as well because you have to charm people. You have to charm people, you have to, yes, seduce them. Let me–

President Putin: Well, if the CIA told you then that’s the way it is because they are an expert on that.

Charlie Rose: You have a popularity rating in Russia that would make every politician in the world envious. Why are you so popular?

President Putin: There is something that I have in common with every citizen of Russia, the love for our motherland.

Charlie Rose: Many of us were moved by an emotional moment at the time of the World War II memory because of the sacrifices Russia had made. And you were seen with a picture of your father with tears in your eyes.

President Putin: My family suffered very major losses during the Second World War, that’s true. In my father’s family, there were five brothers. I think four of them died. On my mother’s side the picture was pretty much the same. Russia has suffered great losses. And of course we can’t forget that. And we must not forget that. Not to put blame on somebody, but to prevent anything like this from happening in the future.

Charlie Rose: You also have said that the worst thing to happen in the last century was the collapse of the Soviet empire. There are those who look at Ukraine, especially Ukraine and Georgia, and they believe that you do not want to recreate the Soviet empire, but you do want to recreate a sphere of influence, which you think Russia deserves because of the relationship that has existed. Why are you smiling? Why?

President Putin: You’re making me happy, because we’re always suspected of some ambitions. And they always try to distort something. I indeed said that I believe that the collapse of the USSR was a huge tragedy of the 20th century. You know why?

Charlie Rose: Why?

President Putin: Because, first of all, in an instant 25 million Russian people found themselves beyond the borders of the Russian state, although they were living within the borders of the Soviet Union. Then, all of a sudden, the USSR collapsed — just overnight, in fact. And it’s turned out that in the former Soviet Republics — 25 million Russian people were living. They were living in a single country. And all of a sudden, they turned out to be outside the borders of the country. You see this is a huge problem. First of all, there were everyday problems, the separation of families, social problems, economic problems. You can’t list them all. Do you think it’s normal that 25 million Russian people were abroad all of a sudden? Russia was the biggest divided nation in the world. It’s not a problem? Well, maybe not for you. But it’s a problem for me.

Charlie Rose: There are many people who are critical of Russia, as you know. They say that it’s more autocratic and less democratic. They say that political opponents and journalists have been killed and imprisoned in Russia. They say your power is unchallenged. And they say that power and absolute power corrupts absolutely. What do you say to those people who worry about the climate, the atmosphere in Russia?

President Putin: Well, there can be no democracy whatsoever without compliance with the law. Everyone must observe the laws. This is the most important thing which we must bear in mind. As for these tragic events, such as the death of people, including journalists, unfortunately they do occur in all countries of the world. But if they happen in our country, we do the utmost to find the criminals and to punish them. But the most important thing is that we will continue to improve our political system so that every citizen can feel that they do influence the life of the city, of the country and of the society and so that the authorities will feel responsible with regard to those people who trust them during election campaigns.

Charlie Rose: If you, as a leader of this country, insist that the rule of law be adhered to, if you insist that justice be done, if you because of your power, then it could go a long way to eliminating that perception.

President Putin: Well, a lot can be done. But not everyone succeeds with everything from the very start. How long did it take the democratic process to develop in the United States? Do you believe that everything is perfect now from the point of view of democracy in the United States? If everything was perfect there wouldn’t be the problem of Ferguson. There would be no abuse by the police. But our task is to see all these problems and to respond properly.

Charlie Rose: So the people who killed Nemtsov will be prosecuted to the fullest?

President Putin: Yes. I said it right away that this is a shame for our history and criminals must be prosecuted and punished.

Charlie Rose: Are you curious about America? More than simply another nation that you have to deal with?

President Putin: Of course we are curious about what’s going on. America exerts enormous influence on the situation in the world, as a whole.

Charlie Rose: What do you admire most about America?

President Putin: I like the creativity.

Charlie Rose: Creativity?

President Putin: Creativity when it comes to your tackling problems. Their openness, openness and open-mindedness. Because it allows them to unleash the inner potential of their people. And thanks to that, America has attained such amazing results in developing their country.


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Russia Has No Plans ‘Right Now’ To Deploy Troops To Syria, Putin Says

MOSCOW (AP) — President Vladimir Putin said Russia had no plans “right now” to put combat troops on the ground in Syria, but would continue backing the Syrian government.

The Russian leader, speaking in an interview broadcast Sunday on the eve of his meeting with President Barack Obama, also sharply criticized U.S. military support for Syrian rebels, describing it as not only illegal but counterproductive.

His statements show how far apart Russia and the U.S. remained on Syria going into Monday’s meeting between the two presidents. Putin and Obama were set to meet on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, after both address the annual gathering of world leaders.

A Russian military buildup in Syria, a longtime ally, has raised concerns in Washington. Putin and other officials have said only that Russia was providing weapons and training to Syrian President Bashar Assad’s army to help it combat the Islamic State group. Asked if Russia could send troops to join the fight, Putin previously said “we are looking at various options.”

He was somewhat more definitive in the latest interview.

“Russia will not participate in any troop operations in the territory of Syria or in any other states. Well, at least we don’t plan on it right now,” Putin said in the interview on CBS’ “60 Minutes.”

“But we are considering intensifying our work with both President Assad and with our partners in other countries,” he added, according to an English-language transcript. 

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Germany needs Russia for negotiations with Syria


The endless flow of refugees to EU countries has shifted the balance of power between Europe and Russia, forcing Germany to reconsider its relations with the latter, said Klaus Remme, a journalist at German radio Deutschlandfunk.

If the Syrian conflict isn’t throttled down soon, the EU won’t be able to handle the stream of millions of refugees, and the consequences could be unpredictable, Remme said.

“In this critical situation we have no other choice but admit that it is necessary to conduct negotiations with [Syrian President Bashar] Assad. [German Vice Chancellor] Sigmar Gabriel pointed out another uncomfortable truth: we need Russia back,” the journalist added.

Earlier on Friday, Sigmar Gabriel called for mending relations with Russia and cooperating with the Kremlin in the Syrian conflict, saying that the West can’t ask for cooperation while anti-Russia sanctions are in place.

“Gabriel said the West cannot maintain sanctions and ask for cooperation. He is right,” Remme stressed.

He said that at some point in the past, it seemed as though the West could cooperate with Russia when it needed to while the sanctions are still there. Presently, though, it is just naive to think that one can go with another, the journalist intoned.

German chancellor Angela Merkel was the first to stop acting naive when she recently announced the necessity of conducting negotiations with all parties in the Syrian conflict, including Assad. Deputy Chairperson of the Left Party in the German Parliament, Sahra Wagenknecht, reacted to the statement with a fair share of sarcasm.

After hundreds of thousands died, millions fled and the country got almost entirely destroyed, you finally start saying that current Syrian government needs to participate in the settlement of the conflict and that anti-Russia sanctions may be lifted. I hope soon we will see concrete actions” Wagenknecht wrote on her Facebook page.

According to the German paper Berliner Morgenpost, a growing number of German politicians, including those from the Opposition, have come to support the idea of negotiations with President Assad.

Among them, Franz Yosef Jung, Vice Chairman of CDU at Bundestag, noted that any political settlement in the conflict is impossible without Russia and “therefore, it is necessary to turn to Assad. German Green Party leader Cem Ozdemir also emphasized that “negotiations with Assad are necessary if they will benefit.”

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New humanitarian aid from Russia arrives in Syria



Ships with a new batch of humanitarian aid from Russia have arrived at Syrian Tartus Harbour.

Food stuffs, medications, clothes, blankets, tents and other living essentials for refugees are being shipped to Syria along with automotive vehicles for civilian designation and military equipment, according to the Russian Ministry of Defense.

Russian sustainment center specialists are rendering all necessary assistance in unloading the ships with humanitarian aid, TVZvezda reported.

The supplies are being promptly delivered on local vehicles to population centers including temporary refugee camps, each housing around 500 people.

The war-ravaged nation lacks the bare necessities for people who have lost all their possessions in their destroyed home cities. Tens of thousands of refugees have fled Syria for Europe, causing the biggest refugee crisis since the Second World War.

Syria has been mired in a civil war since 2011, as government forces loyal to Assad fight several opposition and radical Islamist militant groups, including the Nusra Front and the Islamic State (ISIL).

Russia has been supplying Syria with humanitarian aid and military equipment for much of the conflict.


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US Upgrading Nukes in EU, Agitates Russia

A recent media report about Washington’s plans to upgrade nuclear bombs in Western Germany resulted in Russia expressing concern, but the United States denied allegations of violating the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF).

On Tuesday, German TV station ZDF cited a Pentagon budget document saying that the US Air Force would deploy modernized B-61 nuclear bombs to Germany’s Buchel air force base this fall in order to replace the 20 weapons already at the site.

Following the announcement, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov described the possible US move as a potential “violation of the strategic balance in Europe,” that would demand a Russian response.

Moscow expressed concern about the reported nuclear deployment plans, saying this would infringe on the 1970 Treaty of Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, sanctioned by more than 190 states.

In response to that, the spokesperson of US Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller said the deployment of US nuclear weapons in the territories of its NATO allies is “consistent” with all international agreements.

Hans Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists in Washington, DC, spoke to Sputnik regarding this war of words between the two countries.

“The US is not increasing the amount of weapons but upgrading them. Those will double the accuracy of the weapon. It was the European member states that insisted that weapons stay in Europe, whereas the US may have wanted to pull back and focus more on strategic weapons.”

Kristensen went on to say that Germany has had nuclear weapons on its soil since the 1950’s. They are now down to just one base that has now a few weapons left.

“Back in the 70’s the United States used to have 7,000 nuclear weapons in Europe and now we are down to about 180 of them.”

Regarding the heightening tensions between Moscow and Washington, the director said, “All the countries are upgrading their nuclear weapons systems; Russia is upgrading their weapons too. This is not a new program; it has been underway for a long time. What concerns me is that it will feed to the bickering that is going on between Russia, Washington and Brussels these days. I think it’s important to find ways that these modernization programs don’t make things worse in Europe.”

“Russia and the US have slightly different postures but they are both in the business of emphasizing importance of nuclear weapons in Europe and I think that is unfortunate,” the director said.

“We have certainly reduced the importance of nuclear weapons but sadly we are seeing the revitalization of the role of nuclear weapons that people are beginning to talk about them in a different way than they did ten years ago. I think state leaders must take extra steps to try and continue to reduce not only the numbers, but also the role of nuclear weapons,” Kristensen said.


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China Joins Russia in Fight Against ISIS in Syria

According to the Russian Senator Igor Morozov, Beijing has taken decision to take part in combating IS and sent its vessels to the Syrian coast.

Igor Morozov, member of the Russian Federation Committee on International Affairs claimed about the beginning of the military operation by China against the IS terrorists. “It is known, that China has joined our military operation in Syria, the Chinese cruiser has already entered the Mediterranean, aircraft carrier follows it,” Morozov said.

According to him, Iran may soon join the operation carried out by Russia against the IS terrorists, via Hezbollah. Thus, the Russian coalition in the region gains ground, and most reasonable step of the US would be to join it. Although the stance of Moscow and Washington on the ways of settlement of the Syrian conflict differs, nonetheless, low efficiency of the US coalition acts against terrorists is obvious. Islamists have just strengthened their positions.

As Leonid Krutakov told Pravda.Ru in an interview, the most serious conflict is currently taking place namely between China and the US. Moscow may support any party, the expert believes, and that is what will change the world order for many years.


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