Mali: EU-ECOWAS democratic dogmatism

Brussels, 20.09.2020 Anna van Densky, OPINION: An extraordinary pressure on Mali officers to transfer power to civilians without delay paves the way to one more failed state on the map of the world. During the anti-government protests, which led to the coup d’état, ousting of President Keita, there has been no single political force able to offer a comprehensive programme to reform the Sahel country and direct it firmly to the democratic future. Moreover, there is not such a clear path to democracy for Malians, plagued by extremism, sectarian conflict, ethnic divisions, and endemic corruption.

The European Union (EU)- the avid supporter of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) efforts in Mali- actively promotes a model of the democratic institutions, run by the civilians, without any consideration of the context, and previous failures of the similar kind – the state-building in Afghanistan, in Iraq, and in Libya. Nowadays the ECOWAS, flanked by the European diplomacy, is pushing Malians towards pro-forma return to the “Constitutional” order, denouncing the idea of the country run by the military for the next 18 months. However the energetic push is performed in absence of a coherent strategy in dealing with corrupt and ineffective state structures, and detached local communities doomed to isolation in absence of adequate infrastructures. Last, but not least is the factor of the general instability in the region, aggravated by rise of Islamists in Sahel, affiliated with Al-Qaeda and Islamic State aiming to restore the legendary Caliphate of Sokoto.

Sadly the list of problems does not end here, the Tuareg dream of creation of an independent state in the north of Mali – Azawad – has never faded, but retreated for time being under pressure of the overwhelming French army, while the experts unanimously admitted that there is no military solution to the ethnic conflict, and invited the belligerent parties to resolve the conflict at the negotiation table defining the region future status within Malian state. So far in vain.
Back in 2012, while declaring the independence, Azawad leaders claimed that Mali was an “anarchic state”, and Tuareg liberation movement has opted for a military transition period, to ensure the protection of their land and conducting the transition to the democratic institutions. The massacre (2014) of the Tuareg civilians by Fulani-Islamists has been too recent to be forgotten. Not least are the tensions between Tuareg and Chadians, caused by massacres of the civilians by Chadian army in the North of Mali in the region of Kidal.
In short, not only a clear path to democracy is absent, but also there is no path in view for national unity, allowing to construct a functional political system producing a corruption-free credible government, leading way to economic recovery, and well-being of regular Malians.
Struck by multiple systemic conflicts, causing a permanent state of crises, Malians are not able to rise out of poverty, in spite of the remarkable natural wealth.
The profound misunderstanding of capacities of a new born protest movement of 5 June (M5) to become a constructive political force over night will result in further turmoil in political life, and cause even more resent of the citizens, searching for responses to their justified claims. Being the prime victims of the ECOWAS blockade, the regular Malians will turn to an available alternative, finding warm welcome by the anti-Occident militant groups, and the extremists will rise again, feasting on poverty, and frustrations of communities.
The five thousand strong French military corps, fulfilling the counter-terrorist operation Barkhane in Sahel region has limited capacity to deal with the consequences of the ongoing failed state drama in Mali, and it would be too naive to expect them to defeat jihad, in absence of the state-building process.
The EU is a major donor of assistance in Mali, providing more than €350 million in humanitarian aid in the country since the beginning of the crisis in 2012, adding to €23 million in 2020. However the Europeans contribute without any pragmatic plans for the future of the country, preferring in the current crisis to support the ECOWAS blindly, joining the pro forma claims of civilian government, without any consideration of its notoriously poor quality, leading to the current state of affairs, while under President Keita 40% of state purse vanished in pockets of corrupt civil servants.
The ECOWAS-EU strategy of pressure on the Malian army by imposing border and financial transactions blockade, will destroy the relations with Malian patriotic officers, and cause further impoverishment of Malians, pushing them into the arms of extremists of various calibre.
Mali is far too significant to the West Africa to allow the Europeans to leave it alone, watching it’s descending to chaos, but it is far too big as a challenge to resolve the complex of state-building and security problems, through simplified linear punitive measures.
Recent Ursula von der Leyen sanctions policy concept will create nothing but remorse and discontent among Malians, who today still regard Europe as a friend. The enduring threat of Islamic extremism requires elaborate and flexible European diplomacy, navigating the country to effective forms of governance. Further escalation of tensions in name of democracy and “Constitutional order” will produce exactly the opposite effect – an explosion. An explosion, throwing Malians into hands of kleptocratic clans of war-lords, descending into chaos.
Instead of fearing of a hypothetical dictatorship led by Colonel Hassimi Goita as deviation from the imaginary path to democracy, the EU should embrace the co-operation with the patriotic and secular Malian army as the constructive force in disposal of capabilities to introduce reform, and allowing the political process to thrive towards the meaningful free and fair elections concluding the suggested transition period.
Let us not forget that Kemal Ataturk, and General de Gaulle were military man, however their remarkable contribution to democracy is ways more significant, than of many other statesmen in civilian suits. Rejection of enthusiasm of young generation of Mali officers, aiming at reforming their country and nation-building will end in one more fiasco, making Mali to follow the path of the other failed states. It is clear there are not simple answers to Malian crisis, and the obsession with the civilian rule, achieved by imposing de facto sanctions, will result in a huge bill for the European tax-payer for the humanitarian aid, and ever-growing burden for the French army, combating extremism in Sahel, transforming into another Afghanistan.
The EU diplomacy, led by Josep Borrell needs to regard the context, abandoning dogmatism in promoting of democracy and rule of law in Mali, and become flexible and adaptive, formulating short, medium and long-term goals, working on achievement of them in stages, with a focus on long-term stability of both Mali and Sahel.
Moreover, the EU needs to built genuine partnership with the Malian armed forces, investing in development of their capabilities to defend Malian state, and combat extremism. The essential element of the EU success in promotion of the democracy, is the demonstration of a genuine interest in problems of Malians, and readiness to compromise in search for attaining long-lasting common goals, as stability, prosperity and lasting peace.

However, today, when the Malian state is in a profound crisis, and its future is in peril, nothing is so detrimental to promotion of the European values in Sahel, as dogmatism and forceful imposition of European concepts within fragile Sahel context. Mali is on the crossroads, it is up to the EU to decide if it wishes to contribute to the push of the Malians down the slope, following Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, direction of the failed state, fanatically exporting European concepts to vast spaces of African Savannah.
Will the EU diplomacy in Mali adapt or become obsolete? The ability of the bloc to change, adapt and experiment will become far more significant in Sahel, than the capacity to punish and sanction. Above all, it makes little sense from the EU behalf to appeal to legality and return to the constitutional order – “Necessitas non habet legem” – Necessity has no law.

Sultan Erdogan’s Libya conquest

Anna van Densky OPINION The considerable efforts of the European diplomacy to resolve the ongoing conflict in Libya ended up in an unpleasant revelation of the successful colonisation of the oil-rich country by Sultan Erdogan, who has found in Fayez Al-Sarraj (pictured) – the head of the Tripoli administration, – utmost loyal vassal, who effectively misuses his international mandate to empower Ankara.

The Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) between Tripoli administration and Turkish government appeared as a fuit of devotion of Al-Sarraj to “his people”, re-constructing the Ottoman Empire and enriching them with Libyan natural wealth.

Although being from Tripoli, Sarraj was born to a prosperous Turkish family of merchants, and landowners. His father Mostafa Al-Sarraj served as a minister to Libyan Monarchy. Certified architect, Al-Fayez continued family tradition, leading Housing Ministry under Gaddafi régime. However his appearance at international area is associated with the Skhirat Agreement, upgrading his status to the chairmanship of the reconciliation government. Apparently the position he used extensively to promote dear to him Turkish interest in Libya and the Mediterranean.

The EU blind trust in Government of National Accord (GNA) as the only recognised executive power in Libya, opened unlimited number of possibilities to Al-Sarraj to serve his remote patrons in Ankara, including Muslim Brotherhood, which is often falsely accused of keeping him hostage. No they are not – Al Sarraj is not their hostage but adept!

The MoU is not just a document, but a strategic choice, and political declaration of loyalty, replacing Gaddfi dictatorship era with perspective for Libyans to become a colony of Ottoman Empire, and all that in the context of full passiveness of the EU, which is surrendering to Erdogan, at all fronts, pretending Turkey is still the EU candidate country, willing to pursue the way of reform towards European integration.

The MoU is also a crossed red line, the abuse of office by Al-Sarraj, who has been given international support and mandate to gain confidence of Libyan people to establish lasting peace, but not to seal shady deals with foreign powers,

Considering the abuse, it is time for the EU to assess the status of Tripoli administration objectively – it is unconstitutional, because its mandate has been issued by Skhirat agreement (17 December 2015) for one year, with a possibility for renewal for one year only, on condition of the Parliament approval, which has expired a long time ago. And now the EU has to deal with the illegal administration promoting Turkish colonisation of Libya. How moreabsurd European diplomacy can go?

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Interim Government of Libya AbdulHadi Lahweej statement as read by the Chaiman of the European Parliament delegation to the Meditarranean MEP Costas MAVRIDES on 18 December 2019 in Strasbourg:

First of all, I would like to thank you for inviting me to attend this important i meeting in beautiful city of Strasbourg, I would like to inform you that I was unable to come due to cancelation of flights and the pressure on Benina Benghazi Airport, because of attacks on our airport by Al-Sarrajs Militia who they destroyed the planes and now we only have one plane which was hijacked by Misurat city

“The Turkish incursion into the countries of the region in general and in the Mediterranean basin specially basin has now become clear to the general public after signing with the unconstitutional of Al-Wefaq government two memoranda of understanding:

the first one on demarcation of maritime borders،
and the second memo on security and military cooperation

These two agreements are rejected by the Libyan parliament and the interim government in addition to National Libyan Army , we reject these memoranda of understanding،: for several reasons، the most important are legal reasons:

“Al-Wefaq government is unconstitutional،, which did not gain confidence from the Libyan parliament،, and rulings were issued against it by the Libyan courts that invalidated all decisions issued by them.
According to the Skhirat Agreement, which did not guarantee who else is also for the constitutional declaration, the first article / fourth paragraph states that the mandate of the reconciliation government is for one year only since it was given confidence by the Libyan parliament and renewed automatically for one year only, therefore the mandate of the reconciliation government has expired For a long time ago, this government can no longer conclude any treaties and agreements that bear any international obligations on Libya
The Memorandum of Understanding violates the Law of the Sea signed in Jamaica in 1982 between two countries that do not have common borders and, more seriously, threatens our friendly relations between neighboring countries of Libya (Greece, Cyprus, and Egypt)
Accordingly, the two memoranda of understanding are canceled and have not entered Into effect. In view of one of its parties, Libya has not completed its required legal
procedures.”

Nomandy Four: «winners and losers»

Anna van Densky OPINION Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said it is inappropriate to assess the outcome of the Normandy Four Summit in Paris in terms of the “winners and losers“.

Everyone pursued the same objective, that is, to resume the work of the Normandy format after a long break and revive real efforts to find a solution to the conflict in southeastern Ukraine” he explained.

Certain steps, important steps in that direction have been taken, but much more remains to be done,Peskov underlined.

It is inappropriate to say here who was the winner and who was the loser at that Summit,” Peskov concluded.

However Peskov is wrong, because not everyone pursues the “same objective“, and the Normandy Summit projects on the broader political context, where there are “winners and losers” in the protracted Donbass conflict, and their numbers multiply each single day.

Zelensky presidency and Kiev government to deal directly with people of Donbass, whom they formally consider their citizens, but the same time also “separatists” or “occupants“, creates a toxic atmosphere, affecting all spheres of life, including investment climate. However it is mass migration that damages Ukraine the most, forcing the active and skilled population to flee instability, and search for jobs outside the country. During last five years of Poroshneko mandate the figures of departures mounted up to 100 000 people a year. Will Zelensky be able to renverse the trend?

When electing Zelensky, the voters massively rejected the belligerent politics of his predecessor Petro Poroshenko, who ascended power by the violence coup d’état, and launched offensive against the Russian-speaking est of the country, calling the operation a “counter-terrorist” raid. The Ukrainian electorate expects from Zelensky the Donbass conflict resolution without delay. In many cases falsely presented as a conflict between Ukrainian pro-Europeans and pro-Putinites, it is about the respect of the fundamental rights of minorities in Ukraine.

“After Viktor Youchenko attributed a statuts of hero of Ukraine (2010) to Nazi criminal and Holocaust ideologist and active participant Stepan Bandera, the assimilation firmly replaced the respect of minority rights.

If later Petro Poroshenko initiated the inclusion in the Constitution of Ukraine the clause on EU integration, the claim stayed totally nominal, while the EU has 60 regional languages, Kiev marched the opposite direction. The European Union was established as a project of peace, while Ukraine decides arguments with artillery.

Suffocated by chauvinism and corruption, the Ukrainian society is in perpetual conflict with all the national minorities who are denied of the elementary individual and linguistic rights.

The slow motion for the implementation of Minks agreements, also projects on the degradation of relations between the ethnic communities within the Ukrainian society, while they realise that reluctance of Kiev to grant Donbass a special status means a denial of their identity as well. Meanwhile the notorious language law, voted by Rada and endorsed by President Porkoshenko causes concerns of the Venice Commission, making a conclusion that it strips ethnic minorities of use of their mother tongue, violating their fundamental rights.

“The language law, breaching international laws and commitments of Ukraine, is a bad omen for Donbass people, and all the other minorities in the country, but it would be naïve to think that it does not rub off the credibility of Zelensky. Silently agreeing to serve as a blunt instrument of the West to deter Russia, through repressing Russian minority in Donbass, he is undermining his own leadership in eyes of around hundred other minorities living on the territory of modern Ukraine.

While the West is cheering Zelensky, encouraging him to oppose President Putin in a Cold War syndrome style, refusing fundamental rights to Russian ethnic group in Donbass, the entire complex of minority rights in Ukraine are sacrificed, overlooked as collaterals in the crusade against Kremlin. However, hostage to Ukrainian radial nationalists with their agenda of total “Ukrainisation” of population, Zelensky‘s target of “de-occupation” of Donbass creates a self-destructive narrative, betraying his own electorate demanding peace, and surrendering further grounds to nationalists, hailing Bandera, the true winners of protracted Donbass conflict.

Paris to host Ukraine Summit

The Presidency of France announced Ukraine Summit in December in Paris with participation of both Presidents – Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky on December, 9.

Ukraine Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko said that all conditions for the meeting of the Normandy four were fulfilled, and the date of the summit is now being agreed upon.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel confirmed her participation in the Ukraine Summit of the Normandy Four countries on December 9 in Paris.

Libyan war crimes and punishment

Anna van Densky OPINION Curiously the European diplomacy started to talk about “war crimes” in Libya in the context of the protracted for a decade conflict ravaging after the West destruction of led by Colonel Gaddafi Libyan state. (Image above: Tuareg, Fezzan)

The failed ‘regime change’ opened a decade of chaos, and fragmentation, resulting in losses of among the civilian population along with the military. However the EU diplomats are not willing to remember who caused the current dramatic situation, neither they are prepared to demand the investigation of the assassination of Mouammar Gaddafi, whose lynching ended the period of the peaceful development of Libya.

Gaddafi killing

“The death of Mouammar Gaddafi, on October 20 in Syrtie, is one of the questions, which should be clarified. There are serious suspicions that it factually was the war crime“, said Luis Moreno-Campo, the General prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (The Hague) on December 16, a month after NATO manhunt, ending in Gaddafi death. Today, almost a decade later, Gaddafi lynching remains unpunished, the 150 tons of Libyan gold vanished and the Libyan state, bombed by NATO air forces, is still in ruins, ravaged by competing militias. The Murzuq air strike is no exception.

The air strike has been reported to be an action upon requests of local people of Murzuq, suffering from Chadian gangs:

The Libyan armed forces’ aviation, under the aegis of Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, responded promptly to requests for help from the Murzuq community in southern Libya. The village, on the southern outskirts of the capital in Fezzan, had been overtaken by a group of Chadian rebels who killed at least 20 people on Sunday morning. Residents spoke of members belonging to the Chadian opposition and Tebu, defined as “mercenaries in the pay of the Government of National Agreement“, based in Tripoli. The aviation has achieved a high precision raid that has dismantled the group and its means”, an Italian journalist Vanessa Tomassini reported from Libya.

Degraded to conflict and poverty by NATO bombs, the richest state of Maghreb  now faces the EU tutorials on human rights. The EU threatens with the lawsuits: the acts of “selective justice” vis-à-vis Libyans, while the names of the mega villains, who committed crimes resulting in Libyan tragedy, has been never mentioned.

If the EU top diplomat Mogherini stated on behalf of the EU on 2 August, thosecommitting war crimes and those breaching International Humanitarian Law must be brought to justice and held to account”, the investigation into Gaddafi assassination should be the first. Naturally the international community should protect the International Criminal Court, threatened by the US top officials:

INF funeral revives nuclear war threat

Russia‘s defense minister Sergey Shoygu announced the  intention to build mid-range, nuclear-capable missiles a week after the President Trump has decided to abandon INF Treaty, which is considered to be one of the biggest achievement of humanity, closing the chapter of  the Cold War. The world is pushed back full force into the situation of the imminent risk of the World war III, triggered by will or by an accident. The dangerous perception of possibility to wage and win a nuclear war is back.

It would be very naive to think that technology is perfect: in 1983 Soviet officer on duty has prevented the nuclear war just because of his exceptional capacity for analysis, assuming the information he received from computers was erroneous – an episode of Cold War known as “false nuclear attack“.

The humanity was exceptionally lucky, that Stanislav Petrov was on duty on September 26, 1983 to identify the missile attack warnings as “false alarm“. His personal decision to disobey the rules is seen as having prevented a retaliatory nuclear attack based on erroneous signals on the United States and its NATO allies missiles, which could have resulted in immediate escalation to the full-scaled nuclear war. Now we, as humanity are back to the situation when our survival depends on decision of an officer on duty, watching the monitor.

Last five years both the Americans and Russians blamed each other the violation of the INF, however it was NATO rapidly expanding.

Kremlin accuses the U.S. of violating the INF by the deployment of Aegis missile defence system in Romania and Poland, indicating that the launchers used in that system for defensive interceptors could be adapted to fire offensive cruise missiles.

In return Washington accused Russians of employment mystery missile  9M729  for Iskander launchers being more powerful than declared (480 km).  Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov acknowledged its existence but firmly denied it was capable to hit targets between 500 -5,500 km away, strictly compliant with the INF.

The problems accumulating in the US-Russia relations have created a toxic mass within a new political and military context, caused by NATO galloping enlargement with a subsequent advancing of the military infrastructure to Russian borders: after including the East European countries, belonging to the Warsaw Pact the moment of the INF signature between Reagan and Gorbachev. nowadays the Alliance moved further to the East opening its door for Georgia and Ukraine. The perspective of installing Aegis there will create a vulnerability for Moscow, impossible to neglect.

However existing problems of relations between superpowers do not give a right to cancel the greatest achievement of the past, reversing progress, and pushing humanity to the brink of a fatal nuclear conflict, of which Europe is becoming a hostage. The American ambition for the hegemony has price too high to pay – the extinction of our civilization.

#Imlil: Terrorist act in Morocco

Anna van Densky OPINION Club of Moroccan advocates called for a vigil (22.12.2018) for two decapitated Scandinavian tourists, expressing their profound sorrow and indignation about the abominable crime.

Undoubtedly, many Moroccans are shocked by the hideous act of the “soldiers of Caliphate“, serving Al-Baghdadi, but is the condemnation of the radical Islam sufficient to continue “business as usual” in Morocco, meaning uninterrupted flow of tourists from Europe? Fascinated by the exotic beauty, and the opulent historic heritage of the north African country , the European travelers bring 10% of PIP, with record 11,35 million of visitors in 2017, which means the hospitality industry constitutes a considerable wealth for the country, and some remote communities as the one in #Imlil, next to the highest peak of the Atlas mountains – Toubkal (4.167 m), – are entirely dependent on hikers like late Maren and Louisa. Will the tourists continue to follow the track, where two young women were tortured, raped and decapitated, to enjoy the belle vue?..

One can hardly blame the Moroccan authorities an immobility in fighting terrorism. Since 2015 Moroccan government launched an ongoing special operation ‘Hadar‘ (Vigilance), covering the major cities and touristic sites, in the frame of this operation the street patrols were reinforced with two military next to each policeman. The Central investigation office (General Directorate of Territorial Surveillance) reported 902 arrests, and 57 dismantled terrorists groups. But still in spite of all these efforts the barbaric act of beheading of Scandinavian tourists happened, and it would be too simplistic to blame the local community without placing the situation into the context of the dangerous transformations in Maghreb.

Since assassination of  Colonel Gaddafi (20/10/2011) and destruction of the Libyan statethere is hardly a terrorist group that is not represented in wast ‘no man land‘ of once a wealthy and stable country, protecting it borders, and fighting terrorism.  Subsequently the fragmented territory of  Libya represents a stronghold for export of radical Islam in the entire region. Between 2011 and 2014 a total of 1,105 acts of terrorism were recorded in the countries of Maghreb, and statistics shows that the phenomenon of radical Islam is at rise: in 2014 the number of terrorist incidents was almost 47 times greater than of recorded in 2011, and nine in 10 registered in Libya.

Libya as failed state creates an ideal grounds for exporting radical Islam to adjacent countries, and unless the international community, and namely the European Union, invest considerable efforts to unite the fragmented entities, and bring back stability, the warriors of Caliphate will make the maximum use of chaos.

23.12.2018 AMENDED:

Hundreds of mourners attended a vigil in Moroccan capital Rabat for a vigil next to Embassies of Denmark and Norway; flowers and candles were also laid in Marrakesh, and in the southern village of Imlil, near where the bodies of two young women were found.

Investigation released an opinion of experts from Norway, indicating they are no reasons to suspect the video of beheading is false. The post-mortem examinations will take place in retrospective countries.

Yellow Vests: downfall of ‘Jupiter’

Anna van Densky OPINION The fumes of riots of Yellow Vests don’t distort the clarity of the picture – the working France could not bear any more the policy of successive governments pressing them as lemon to fund their ambitious European and international agenda. The plans of the President Macron to go global came in clash with local: the gasoline tax became the last straw that broke the back of many, especially “working poor“.

Following their ‘Jupiter’, or like French say it, ‘the elected King‘, French people had to continue to actively participate in footing the EU cohesion of Eastern Europe, flows of migrants and refugees,  who have right to live in dignity, the aid to the other continents for their development, climate change, and many other noble causes in the world, sacrificing their own needs. “Americans First!” gave them some eyeopening ideas. Are French really responsible for all the grief in the world?..Don’t they deserve to benefit from the advantages of technological revolution?..

Doubtfully the EU aggressive foreign policy added a huge portion of combustible: the Enlargement shifting borders to the East came to its logical end in a Donbass conflict.  The following war of sanctions with Russia had negative effects on French economy, although not direct, but long lasting,  when the exports being replaced without reverse by the other countries like Turkey, Morocco, or Argentina. In spite of the shrinking agricultural exports, and related difficulties the President declared the increase of the 2019 defense budget by €1.7 billion – up five percent from the present year, the move made under pressure of the Pentagon hawks to meet NATO target military spending.

Detached from working France in his gilded office of the impératrice Josephine palace – Elysée in his rigid role of an ‘elected KingEmmanuel Macron looks archaic, like a relic of another epoch, next to the leaders of the other democracies in Europe, framed in their actions by national parliaments. The modernization of the Fifth Republic, shifting powers from President to Parliament could restore the coherence of French society, while conservation of the archaic forms of governance will  continue to provoke the archaic forms of answers – insurrections.

However the uprising of the Yellow Vests is just the first act. The real tectonic shift in politics will take place in upcoming elections to European parliament: the downfall of ‘Jupiter’.

Minsk Agreement funeral

Today, the 2 of September, the assassinated leader of self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic Aleksandr Zakharchenko (42) will be lying in state, and the Minsk Agreements are buried together with him.

If, before the assassination many commentators would say, there was no alternative to  ‘Minsk‘, and they were the only road map we had to end  the bloodshed in Eastern Europe, after the terrorist act taking away life of a man, who believed in negotiated peace with Kiev, the Agreement died, because the trust in good will of Ukrainian authorities was definitely killed.

After the explosion in cafe, which took lives of Zakharchenko and his two bodyguards there is no one left in Donetsk who cherishes the illusion of Kiev’s intentions to reintegrate the breakaway Russian-speaking region through the negotiations.

A son on a coal-miner, Zakharchenko was widely appreciated for his integrity and believe in the success of Donetsk Republic independence. As  a soldier he fought against Ukrainian nationalism, defending Donbass people identity. “I’m speechless. Blessed be his memory…”, write Twitter micro blog users. “Heroes don’t die“,  echo the others. “He will go on forever!“. Unfortunately, we can not say the same about the Minsk Agreements. The bomb explosion in the center of Donetsk took live of its leader and trust in ‘Minsk‘. The local media reports readiness to counter-attacks, repelling Kiev troops. War hawks win again. Hoc est bellum – this is war…

Putin: Russian military presence in Syria will last as long as necessary

President Vladimir Putin assessed Russian engagement in Syria as a “unique experience” for military, and an “important mission” aimed at protection of interests of Russian citizens, he underlined that those who sacrificed their lives defeating terrorism will be “never forgotten“. The President said that Russian military presence in Syria is fulfilled within the framework of international law, and the assistance in big-scale combat operation of the Syrian army in not needed any more, while the major focus has shifted towards political resolution of the conflict. The comments were made during ‘direct line’ emission.

Thousands of insurgents accumulated in Syria, and it was better to neutralize them there, than let them enter Russian Federation through Central Asian open borders, Putin continued. At present there is no more need in  large-scale combat operations, the President ensured, while the political resolution of the conflict is on the agenda.

However two Russian military locations – Tartus and Khmeimim Air Base  in Syria will stay as long as “beneficial and needed” to defend Russian interests in this “close to Russia region“.

The President explained that there are no permanent constructions on the territory of both Russian basis in Syria , and in case of necessity,  the military can be moved out swiftly.

The experience in Syria is a precious for our troops, but Syria is not a test site for Russian weapons“, Putin continued, “Russian specialists adjusted already functioning systems to in the field, in the combat situations”.

A significant number of Russian officers and generals had an opportunity to participate in missions in Syria, accumulating experience of combat operations, allowing to make one more step to “perfect our military“.