Russia: Belgorod hit by missile

Brussels 03.07.2022 At least three people were perished and dozens of residential buildings damaged in the Russian city of Belgorod near the Ukraine border, the regional governor said, after reports of several blasts in the city.

At least 11 apartment buildings and 39 private houses were damaged, including five that were destroyed, Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov posted on the Telegram messaging app.

Governor Gladkov said earlier that the “incident” was being investigated, adding: “Presumably, the air defence system worked.”

At least four people were injured and two hospitalised, including a 10-year-old boy, he said.

The news agencies could not independently verify the reports. There was no immediate reaction from the Ukraine relevant authorities.

Belgorod, a city of nearly 400,000 some 40km north of the border with Ukraine, is the administrative centre of the Belgorod region.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesperson Igor Konashenkov confirmed that tonight, from 3:00 to 3:30 Moscow time, the “Kyiv regime” carried out a “deliberate strike with Tochka-U ballistic missiles with cluster munitions and Tu-143 Reis drones on residential areas of Belgorod and Kursk, where there are no military installations”.

All three Tochka-U ballistic missiles with cluster warheads launched by Ukrainian military at Belgorod were destroyed in the air by Russian air defense systems. As a result of the defeat of Ukrainian missiles, the wreckage of one of them fell on a residential building in the city.

NATO MADRID PIVOTAL SUMMIT

Brussels 25.06.2022 NATO Leaders are meeting in Madrid at a pivotal time for our security. Russia’s war against Ukraine has shattered peace in Europe, caused far-reaching energy and food crises, and shaken the rules-based international order. NATO’s response has been swift and united.

How has Russia’s brutal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and the new security reality in Europe affected NATO’s approach to deterrence and defence?

What is the Alliance doing to address other challenges, like China’s growing influence and assertiveness or the security consequences of climate change?

What will be included in NATO’s next Strategic Concept, the blueprint for the Alliance’s future adaptation to a more competitive world where authoritarian powers try to push back against the rules-based international order?

These are just some of the important questions that NATO Leaders will discuss during the Madrid Summit.

More than ever, NATO is the indispensable platform for transatlantic consultations and cooperation on security and defence. At the Madrid Summit, Allies will continue to adapt, taking decisions to keep NATO strong and ready in a more dangerous world. Heads of State and Government will agree to strengthen deterrence and defence, and support Ukraine for the longer term. They will agree the 2022 Strategic Concept, which will be a roadmap for the Alliance in the years to come. Allies will also boost cooperation with partners, enhance resilience and sharpen NATO’s technological edge – all underpinned by the necessary investments in our collective defence.

NATO Leaders are gathering in Madrid, Spain to discuss important issues facing the Alliance. The Madrid Summit will set NATO’s strategic direction for the next decade and beyond, ensuring that the Alliance will continue to adapt to a changing world and keep its one billion people safe.

Russia declines to join Nuclear weapons Treaty

Brussels 25.06.2022 Moscow declines to join the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Friday, Juin 25.

The diplomat commented in the aftermath of the first conference of states-participants of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

The assertive advancement of the process deepens the disunity between states and undermines the regime of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

“In connection with the desire to put on a permanent basis the efforts to universalise the TPNW, as recorded in the final documents of the conference, we emphasise: Russia does not intend to join this agreement and believes that the treaty does not establish any universal standards: neither now nor in the future,” she said.

Moscow continues to firmly adhere to the position that the development of the TPNW was premature, erroneous and, in fact, counterproductive. This agreement does nothing to reduce the growing nuclear risks and does not bring humanity one step closer to the goal stated in it, and the approach laid down in the TPNW only leads to an increase in contradictions between nuclear and non-nuclear states, the spokesperson continued.

“It does not take into account the military-political and military-strategic situation and runs counter to the principle that nuclear disarmament should be carried out in such a way that it would lead to “an increase in the level of security for all.” We do not see realistic ways to implement any – or practical measures to directly reduce nuclear weapons,” the diplomat said.

“Russia, like all other states with military nuclear potential, did not take part in the conference of states-participants of the TPNW and does not intend to do so in the future. We also do not plan to build joint work with auxiliary structures created as part of the interaction of the participants of the TPNW to implement it,” she added.

Assertive advancement of the treaty deepens disunity between states and undermines the regime of Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.

Russia: Pope and senator Paul

Brussels 21.06.2022 Senator Rand Paul (Republican-Kentucky) received some high profile company last week in citing NATO expansion as a main reason Russia invaded Ukraine. Pope Francis echoed Paul’s earlier sentiment that the North-Atlantic Alliance played a significant role in provoking Russia and shares a large part of the blame. The Pontiff announced that Russia’s invasion was “perhaps somehow either provoked or not prevented” in an interview with La Civilta Cattolica.

Senator Paul initially made his comments during an exchange with Secretary of State Antony Blinken at a hearing about the conflict in Ukraine. The fact that Pope Francis endorsed this theory as well should come as no surprise. It has been a prominent theory in geopolitics for several decades. Yet Democrats and other left-wingers refused to acknowledge this, despite decades of evidence supporting Paul’s claim. Instead, they vilified and attacked Senator Paul, along with anyone else who repeated this theory.

Paul offered his criticism in April and was accused of being a Putin apologist. Will the Democrats blame Pope Francis for becoming a Putin puppet?

Defense: Russia blames U.S. fake news campaign

Brussels 12.06.2022 The United States is trying to justify its unseemly military biological activities in the post-Soviet space with fake news, official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova TASS reports.

The diplomat drew attention to the “Fact Sheet on WMD Threat Reduction Efforts with Ukraine, Russia and Other Former Soviet Union Countries” published on June 9 on the website of the US Department of Defense, which contains statements about the allegedly peaceful nature of US activities in the biological sphere on post-Soviet space.

“We consider this material to be fake news and part of an information campaign launched by Washington to justify the United States’ military biological activities in the post-Soviet space in order to divert international attention away from their true non-transparent and unseemly nature, which contradicts Washington’s international obligations, including those under the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC),” Zakharova stressed.

Zakharova underscored that the numerous explanations that the United States is collecting biomaterial and monitoring the epidemiological situation “only reinforce and strengthen the fears of the Russian Federation in the context of compliance with the BTWC, including the facts revealed in Ukraine”

“For obvious reasons, the United States prefers to remain silent about ongoing work in the post-Soviet space and does not provide information as part of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC). Assertions that the activity of the Pentagon and related structures is focused exclusively on health issues, are not true. Obviously, health care does not require the participation of the US military,” she said.

Zakharova stressed that the numerous explanations that the United States is collecting biomaterial and monitoring the epidemiological situation “only reinforce and strengthen the fears of the Russian Federation in the context of compliance with the BTWC, including the facts revealed in Ukraine”.

TAG”For obvious reasons, the United States prefers to remain silent about ongoing work in the post-Soviet space and does not provide information as part of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC). Assertions that the activity of the Pentagon and related structures is focused exclusively on health issues, are not true. Obviously, health care does not require the participation of the US military,” she said.

For obvious reasons, the United States prefers to remain silent about ongoing work in the post-Soviet space and does not provide information as part of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC). Assertions that the activity of the Pentagon and related structures is focused exclusively on health issues, are not true. Obviously, health care does not require the participation of the US military,” she said.

Zakharova pointed out that the numerous explanations that the United States is collecting biomaterial and monitoring the epidemiological situation “only reinforce and strengthen the fears of the Russian Federation in the context of compliance with the BTWC, including the facts revealed in Ukraine”.

Putin follows Peter the Great footsteps

Brussels 11.06.2022 President Vladimir Putin compared himself to the country’s Emperor, Peter the Great (pictured), in a speech marking the 350th anniversary of the figure’s birth.

Putin made the comments while visiting a multimedia exhibit about the 18th-century tzar, who led a conquest of the Baltic region while at war with Sweden. Putin remarked that Peter the Great viewed the land as rightfully Russian, drawing a connection to the current war Russia is waging against Ukraine.

“He was returning it and strengthening it,” Putin said, according to Russian media. “Well, apparently, it has also fallen to us to return and to strengthen.” Putin also underlined that when Peter founded the city of St. Petersburg, “none of the countries of Europe recognized it as Russian.”

“It is impossible — do you understand — impossible to build a fence around a country like Russia,” Putin added. Putin has repeatedly attempted to justify Russia’s invasion of Ukraine since the Feb. 24 beginning of the war, which has since resulted in thousands of deaths and millions of displaced people. Shortly after he launched the invasion, Putin said he was “forced” to attack Ukraine due to Western “intransigence” over security issues.

The Russian president’s comments occurred after the war in Ukraine surpassed 100 days last week.

“Peter the Great fought the Northern War for 21 years. It would seem that he fought with Sweden and rejected something there. He didn’t reject anything! He returned,” the head of state explained.

Putin noted that the fate of modern Russia also fell to “return and strengthen” its sovereignty and territories.

Lavrov plane refused air passage

Strasbourg 06.06.2022 The Russian delegation was scheduled to hold talks in Belgrade, while the EU and NATO member-countries have closed their airspace, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has confirmed that the countries bordering Serbia have closed their airspace to Minister Sergey Lavrov’s aircraft.

“The countries bordering Serbia have closed the only air route to the aircraft of Sergey Lavrov who was to depart for Serbia. The Russian delegation was scheduled to hold talks in Belgrade, while the EU and NATO member-countries have closed their airspace,” Zakharova said in an on-air broadcast of Italy’s La7 television channel late on Sunday.

Serbia’s daily Ve·ernje Novosti reported earlier that Bulgaria, North Macedonia and Montenegro had closed their airspace to Lavrov’s plane due to depart for Serbia.

Lavrov: Russian troops avoid civil infrasturcture

Brussels 29.05.2022 The timing of the Russian “special operation” in Ukraine is due to the order to categorically avoid strikes on civilian infrastructure, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview with the French TV channel TF1 on Sunday, May 29.
Earlier President Vladimir Putin said that the timing of the completion of the special military operation in Ukraine depends on the intensity of hostilities, and the Russian side will “act rhythmically, calmly, according to the plan that was originally proposed by the General Staff.”

Russia launched a military operation in Ukraine on the morning of Thursday, February 24, 2022. President Vladimir Putin said that its goal is “to protect citizens who have been subjected to abuse and genocide by the Kyiv regime for eight years.”

The situation in Donbass is still tense, the Ukrainian military continues shelling from positions that are still under their control.

Meanwhile President Zelensky visited Ukrainian forces in the Kharkiv region.

Russian Ambassador Antonov on food crisis

Brussels 28.05.2022 Russian ambassador to Washington Anatoly Antonov on Friday, May 28, said the food crisis, which had been unfolding for the past couple years, worsened due sanctions on Russia by the U.S. and its allies.

“The crisis was further exacerbated due to the introduction by Washington and its satellites of illegitimate sanctions against Russia,” the diplomat said in statement released by the Russian Embassy in Washington. “Despite the references of the U.S. officials to exemptions from the restrictions, which allegedly provide for the opportunity for our country to trade in farm goods, domestic exporters often don’t have a chance to make shipments.”

“They face blocked payments, denials of loans and insurance, problems with booking freight ships, purchase of farm equipment and even seeds,” he went on to say. “In addition, the US continues to increase import taxes on our fertilizers.”

Antonov described such actions as “the utmost hypocrisy” and called the US attempts to blame Russia for the food crisis as absolutely unfounded.

“We urge a halt to shifting the blame,” he continued. “Russia is committed to its export obligations and is ready for negotiations to resolve this most serious problem, including through the UN.”

The diplomat also said that difficulties in the food market have been building up for a long time, at least over the past two years. “They are associated with miscalculations and systemic errors in the macroeconomic policy – primarily financial and foreign trade policies – and energy and food policies of Western countries,” he said. “At the same time, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to significant disruptions of supply chains.”

“Freight costs have almost doubled,” he continued. “Naturally, all this couldn’t not fail but lead to a sharp increase in food prices. Wheat prices increased by a quarter over 2021.”

The Wall Street Journal earlier reported that UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres is negotiating with Russia and Ukraine to unblock the export of Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea in exchange for the lifting of a number of sanctions that hinder the export of Russian fertilizers. Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the UN Vasily Nebenzya and Permanent Representative of the United States Linda Thomas-Greenfield confirmed that there are talks on resuming the exports of Ukrainian grain and Russian fertilizers to the global market. However, the sides insists that these issues are discussed separately from each other and don’t assume any exchanges.

Lavrov: West declared total war on Russia

Brusels 27.05.2022 The West has declared a total war on Russia and the Russian world, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (pictured) said on Friday, May 27.

“The West has declared a total war on us, on the Russian World. Nobody makes any secret of this,” Lavrov said at a meeting of the Council of the heads of Russia’s constituent territories at the Foreign Ministry.

Lavrov warned that the Western policy of “cancelling” Russia would continue for a long time.

“The culture of cancelling Russia and everything related with our country has reached a point of absurdity. Bans have been imposed on such classics as Tchaikovsky, Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy and Pushkin. Persecution is underway against Russian culture and art workers. In general, one can be certain that this situation will last,” Lavrov said.

“We must realize that it has exposed the West’s real attitude to the beautiful slogans that were put forward 30 years ago after the end of the Cold War, the calls for universal humanitarian values, for building a common European home from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Now we can see the real worth of these fine words,” Lavrov said.

The top diplomat has underlined that Russia would certainly not agree to put up with these policies.

“In this situation there is a great demand for a concrete discussion on how we develop our cooperation, cooperation between our ministry and civil society, including at the level of regions,” he added.