Minsk: 17-old defendant suicide

Brussels 26.05.2021 On the evening of May 25 in Minsk, 17-year-old Dmitry Stakhovsky, a defendant in the criminal case for participating in the “mass riots” on August 9-11, 2020 (part 2 of Art. 293 of the Criminal Code), committed suicide by jumping from a 16-storey building. He had left in social net VKontakte post before his death, in which he explains his act by pressure of the criminal prosecution because of his participation in the rallies: “The investigation committee is to blame for that.”

It is known that Dmitry was an orphan, lived in a hostel. It was the employees of this hostel who pointed to the guy as a participant in the protest actions, after which he became a defendant in the criminal case under Art. 293 of the Criminal Code. It is known that on the afternoon of May 25, he was interrogated in this case. In his post on VKontakte, the guy noted: “If they did not continue to pressure me mentally, I think I would not have dared to take such a terrible act as suicide. But my strength was running out.”

Belarus expels Lativa diplomats

Brussels 24.05.2021 Belarus is expelling the Ambassador of Latvia H.E. Einars Semanis, he was asked to leave the country within 24 hours. This was announced by the head of the Belarusian diplomacy Vladimir Makei.

“The Latvian ambassador was invited to the Foreign Ministry in connection with the insult of the state flag of Belarus in Riga,” Makei explained.

Together wit the Ambassador, Belarus expels the entire Embassy staff, ​​with the exception of one administrative officer who is allowed to stay in Minsk.

Explaining the actions of Minsk in relation to the Ambassador of Latvia, Makei called the reaction of politicians of a number of Western countries to the situation with the plane “coordinated actions and a planned provocation.” At the same time, Makei noted that Minsk does not exclude a response from Riga.

The head of the Belarus diplomacy has underlined that no country has yet requested information from Belarus on the incident with Ryanair.

The down spiral of the diplomatic raw in the aftermath of the Belarus journalist Roman Protasevich, 26, (pictured above) arrest continues. Protasevich was returning to Vilnius from an economic conference in Greece with Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, Greek officials explained.

The RyanAir flight, which had been carrying some 170 passengers, should have taken about three hours. As it approached the border between Belarus and Lithuania, a MiG-29 fighter jet was sent to intercept it. After the forced landing Protasevich has been arrested. There is also an information that the other activist with Russian citizenship, travelling with the same board was detained in Minsk.

Alexander Lukashenko, 66, who is often referred to as “Europe’s last dictator,” personally ordered the fighter jet to escort the Ryanair plane to the Minsk airport after a bomb threat, his press service said. According to the statement, Lukashenko, an ally of President Vladimir Putin of Russia, gave an “unequivocal order” to “make the plane do a U-turn and land.”

The EU Council president Charles Michel has defined the incident as an “international scandal”, pointing out that the forceful landing of the civil aircraft was compromising safety and security of all passengers on board and the EU is going to discuss this issue first at the ongoing Summit of the leaders of 27 to ensure the adequate response: “What happened yesterday in #Belarus is an international scandal. It endangered the lives of civilians & threatens international security. We will discuss different options of sanctions today at #EUCO. A strong reaction is needed” Michel said at the doorstep of the meeting in Brussels.

Russia supports Ryanair highjack

Brussels 24.05.2021 Anna van Densky OPINION The defence of Belarus President Lukashenko actions, which have been already defined by some of the EU politicians as “state terrorism”, indicated that Russia has been informed or, even engaged in this operation, which also can lead to a suggestion the the liberation of Protasevich and the other political prisoners in Belarus would be possible through an asymmetric answer. The extensive presence of Russians at French Riviera, purchasing luxury mansions and palaces could become an key to the liberation of all political prisoners in Belarus, just through questioning the sources of their wealth.

“There is no reason why Western countries should be shocked by the Ryanair flight incident, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote on Facebook on Monday, May 24, clearly defending the actions of Alexandar Lukashenko, who sent MiG29 jet to force civil aircraft landing with purpose of kidnapping the Belarus opposition journalist Roman Protasevich.

“What is shocking is that the West has described the incident in Belarusian airspace as shocking. The so-called civilised democracies’ tendency to follow the ‘quod licet Iovi, non licet bovi’ principle has long been irrelevant because the former leaders have lost leadership skills. The blood and suffering of millions of people across the world have yanked the pedestal from under Western demagogues, from where they have been preaching,” Zakharova has underlined.

“Or, they should be shocked by everything, including the moves to force down the Bolivian president’s plane in Austria at the United States’ request and the Belarusian aircraft carrying an anti-Maidan activist. Otherwise, such behavior should not come as a shock to them,” the Russian diplomat emphasized.

During Ryanair flight to Vilnius that took off from Athens was forced to make an emergency landing at Minsk International Airport on Sunday, May 23, after a reported bomb threat, which came up empty. The Belarusian Investigative Committee has launched a criminal case into the false bomb threat. Minsk’s federal authorities specified that Roman Protasevich, wanted in Belarus as a co-founder of the Nexta Telegram channel deemed extremist, had been among the flight’s passengers. He was detained by law enforcement officers, media reports said.

A joint investigation by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, and the French Le Monde revealed the extent to which one of Russia’s most infamous oligarchs — Putin’s childhood friend Boris Rotenberg — is entrenched in the French Riviera. However he was not the only one. Would the EU show the political will for Protasevich liberation start questioning Russians wealth sources at French Riviera?

Amsterdam: stabbing in city

Brussels 22.05.2021 In Amsterdam, five people have been stabbed on the street in the De Pijp district. One of the victims died on the spot. Officers have arrested a 29-year-old man from Amstelveen as the only suspect, Dutch NOS TV Channel reports. There is no further information about his origins, legal status or motives.

There are no direct indications that there is a terrorist motive, reports the investigation team led by the Public Prosecution Service. However, all options are still kept open.

Around 11 p.m. the police received a report that someone had been stabbed on the Ferdinand Bolstraat. There it was established that there had been four other stabbing incidents in the immediate vicinity. According to the police, it soon turned out that there was one perpetrator. The man from Amstelveen was arrested not much later.

De Pijp is a picturesque neighbourhood of Amsterdam, Netherlands. It is located directly south of Amsterdam’s city centre and it is part of the borough Amsterdam-Zuid, being a part the Old South. Most streets in De Pijp are named after famous Dutch painters, like Jan Steen, Frans Hals, Ruysdael and Vincent van Gogh. Diamantbuurt, Nieuwe Pijp and Oude Pijp are the three districts composing the area.

POLICE have reported following on their official site:
“Around 11 p.m. the report came in that someone had been stabbed on the Ferdinand Bolstraat. On the spot it became clear that four other stabbing incidents had taken place in the immediate vicinity, a total of five victims. It soon became apparent that the various incidents were most likely committed by the same person and agents then locate a suspect. This 29-year-old man from Amstelveen was arrested and taken to a police station.

Victims
Despite immediate help on the spot, one of the victims died on the spot. The other four victims were taken to hospital with unknown injuries.

Situation
The police are conducting extensive investigations into the various incidents and the circumstances. The investigation team led by the Public Prosecution Service is keeping all options open, but at the moment has no direct indications that there is a terrorist motive.

Sharing information
Have you seen or heard of the incidents, but have not yet spoken to the police? Or do you have other information for the research team? Then contact the police on 0900-8844 or share your information via the tip form”.

Russia: new migrant status

Brussels 22.05.2021 A special legal status – ‘controlled presence’ – will be introduced for migrants that have no right to stay in Russia, but are forced to remain on its territory due to circumstances, for example, the coronavirus-related lockdown, a source in press service of the Russian Interior Ministry told TASS in response to a respective request. (Image above: USSR people friendship fountain, Moscow, Russia)

“As one of preventative activities aimed at improving the efficiency of the mechanism ensuring safety and law enforcement in the migration field, it is planned to introduce a special legal status – ‘controlled presence’. It will be established regarding migrants having no legal grounds to stay in Russia, but remaining on its territory for whatever reason,” press service said.

The new legal status will be applied to foreigners, regarding which, for example, a deportation judgement has been suspended or exit from Russia has been limited due to necessity to execute the imposed punishment, participate in legal proceedings, the ministry explained. “The issue is under consideration on establishing such a status regarding foreigners with socially-dangerous diseases, who have been provided with instructions by Rospotrebnadzor on observing certain sanitary rules, including lockdown, as well,” it added.

According to the data provided by the ministry, around 1.6M migrants have not left the country after expiration of the period of their stay in the country since last March when the coronavirus infection pandemic started. The measures that have been taken, have enabled around 400,000 people to legalize their status.

ECHR: Navalny Foundation lawsuit

Brussels 21.05.2021 The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has given priority to the case on the lawsuit of the Navalny Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) labeled an extremist organisation by Russian government, the director of the Foundation, Ivan Zhdanov, said live on the Navalny Live YouTube channel.

According to Zhdanov, Russia was given a deadline until May 20 to answer questions from the ECHR on this case. Navalny Foundation must announce its position by May 24. At the same time, all the procedures in the case, which can take years, the fund passed in a month, noted Ivan Zhdanov.

The director of the Foundation hopes that the ECHR will deliver its ruling earlier than the Russian court. Ivan Zhdanov suggested that it is precisely because of the consideration of the complaint in the European Court that the case on the recognition of the fund as an extremist organisation in the Russian court is being delayed.
“We believe that the lawsuit against the Anti-Corruption Foundation is a fundamental case that separates us from truly massive repression,” Zhdanov said. “The European Court of Human Rights has also realised that this lawsuit is one of the key events in modern Russian history. “.
In April, the Moscow prosecutor’s office turned to court with a demand to recognise the Anti-Corruption Foundation and Navalny’s headquarters as extremist organisations. As explained in the supervisory department, these organisations are engaged in the destabilisation of the social and socio-political situation “under the guise of liberal slogans.”
“The actual goals of their activities are to create conditions for changing the foundations of the constitutional order, including using the scenario of the “color revolution” the prosecutor’s office has underlined.

All Navalny’s headquarters stopped their activities under unprecedented pressure from Russian state.

GAZA: RSF calls for investigation

Bruxelles 17.05.2021 “Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on International Criminal Court chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to include Israeli air strikes on more than 20 media outlets in the Gaza Strip in her investigation into the situation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Targeted Israeli airforce attacks have destroyed the premises of 23 Palestinian and international media outlets in the past week. The latest airstrikes destroyed the bureaux of the US news agency, the Associated Press, and the Qatari TV broadcaster Al Jazeera. According to the Israeli military, these attacks were justified because the “military intelligence” wing of Hamas, the Gaza Strip’s ruling Islamist movement, had equipment in these building.

Deliberately targeting media outlets constitutes a war crime,” RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire said. “By intentionally destroying media outlets, the Israel Defence Forces are not only inflicting unacceptable material damage on news operations. They are also, more broadly, obstructing media coverage of a conflict that directly affects the civilian population. We call on the International Criminal Court’s prosecutor to determine whether these airstrikes constitute war crimes.”

The first Israeli attack on media outlets occurred four days ago, after Hamas fired a series of rockets into Israel. In the early hours of 12 May, Israeli airstrikes destroyed the Al-Jawhara Tower, a 10-storey building in Gaza City that housed 14 media outlets including the Palestine Daily News newspaper and the pan-Arab TV channel Al-Araby.

The next day, an Israeli airstrike destroyed Gaza City’s Al-Shorouk Tower, a 14-storey building that housed seven media outlets including the Al-Aqsa radio and TV broadcaster. The IDF said they were “striking Hamas weapons stores hidden inside civilian buildings in Gazaconcludes the RSF press-release.

Israel is ranked 86th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2021 World Press Freedom Index.

US-Russia meeting in Reykjavik

Brussels 13.05.2021 Russian Foreign Minister and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed the timeline of bilateral Russia-US contacts by phone Wednesday, May 12, including the proposed highest-level Russia-US Summit, and agreed to hold a separate meeting during the Arctic Council ministerial session in Reykjavik.

“The sides discussed the timeline of other Russian-US contacts for the upcoming period, including Washington’s proposal on the organization of the Russia-US summit,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in its statement.

The sides also touched upon the interaction between the two countries in the Arctic Council – in particular, in regards to the upcoming Russian presidency in the organisation, which will begin on May 20.

“Lavrov and Blinken agreed to hold a separate meeting on the sidelines of the [May 20] session to review key issues of bilateral relations and the international agenda,” the Foreign Ministry said.

Russia denies Donbass takeover plans

Brussels 13.05.2021 Russian Federation has no plans for taking over the territories of Donbass that are beyond Kiev’s control, Kremlin spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov said in response to EU allegations Russia harbored some intentions to take over the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk breakaway regions.

“Russia has never had any takeover plans, nor will it have any in the future. It has never done anything like that,” the Kremlin spokesman said.

Peskov had reiterated more than once that the question of taking over Donbass was not on the Kremlin’s agenda. At the same time he stressed that Russia was taking a consistent and responsible stance in favour of protecting the interests of the Russian-speaking population in that territory.

Russian Navalny doctor vanishes

Brussels 10.05.2021 Russian doctor Alexander Murakhovsky who first treated Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny after he collapsed on a flight from Tomsk to Moscow last year, has disappeared, Russian police said on Sunday, May 9.
The physician was last seen leaving a hunting base in a forest in the Omsk region — around 2,200 km (1,370 miles) east of Moscow — in an all-terrain vehicle on Friday, police said.

A search effort was already underway including emergency services, drones, a helicopter and volunteers on the ground. The doctor was promoted to the position of regional health minister last November.

The doctor falsely announced that Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was not poisoned but had a bout of pancreatitis and hypoglycemia has disappeared in a swampy forest, according to several Russian media outlets. Kremlin-friendly outlet Life.ru suggested that “there could have been an accident” after two bears were spotted where the doctor was last seen.

Alexander Murakhovsky, who was promoted to become minister of health of the Omsk Region days after he publicly refuted claims that someone had tried to kill Vladimir Putin’s most public foe, went hunting on a four-wheeler May 7 and has not been seen since. His hunting companions reportedly say his four-wheeler got stuck in muddy terrain behind them, and he set off on foot. He spoke to one person on his walkie-talkie but later did not respond.