EU stands with Russian civil society

Brussels 23.07.2021 “Russian authorities recently announced a number of new decisions targeting independent media outlets, journalists and civil society organisations” reads the statement by the European External Action Service spokesperson on the continued crackdown on independent media outlets, journalists and civil society in Russia.

“The Institute of Law and Public Policy (ILPP) and a number of journalists were designated as so-called “foreign agents”, and the media outlet Project Media, Inc. was declared a so-called “undesirable organisation”. In addition, the association of lawyers and journalists Team 29 (Komanda 29), defending human rights and fundamental freedoms in Russia, decided to cease its activities following pressure and unjustified accusations by the Russian authorities”.

“The cumulative impact of these latest developments, in conjunction with a raft of repressive measures targeting highly respected NGOs and individuals in Russia, results in further quashing dissent, opposition, critical voices and independent institutions from the Russian public sphere. This is particularly worrisome ahead of the State Duma elections in September”.

“The European Union has repeatedly condemned Russian laws on “foreign agents” and “undesirable organisations”, as they run counter to Russia’s international obligations and human rights commitments, including with regard to freedom of expression and association. We reiterate our call on the Russian authorities to reverse these decisions and to stop the unabated crackdown on civil society and independent media”.

“The European Union stands in solidarity with Russian civil society, human rights defenders and independent journalists and will continue to support them in their important work”.

Kremlin issues warning to Taliban

Brussels 14.07.2021 Russian senior official accused the Afghan government of hypocrisy and said it needed to start proper negotiations with the Taliban about the country’s future before it was too late. (Image above: illustration, Afghanistan).

Zamir Kabulov, a special Representative on Afghanistan, issued the warning ahead of upcoming talks about the Afghan crisis in Tajikistan where Foreign Ministers from the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation were meeting.

In an interview with state RIA news agency, the high official said that while the Afghan government paid lip service to the idea of talks it was not doing enough to make them happen.

“It’s hypocrisy. It’s an attempt to close their eyes to the reality which exists and these are empty words,” Kabulov told RIA when talking about the Afghan’s government’s stance on negotiations with the Taliban. “We need deeds” Kabulov has underlined.

The only way out of the current crisis which has seen the Taliban make military gains on the back of an exit by U.S. and NATO forces was for all sides to assemble at the negotiating table in Kabul, the official continued. Russia and other regional powers favoured a transitional government in Afghanistan, he added.

Any attempt by the Taliban to damage the security of Russia’s allies in Central Asia will be fraught with large losses for the Taliban movement, continued Zamir Kabulov.
“We are closely monitoring the situation. Taliban should understand that “any attempt to damage the security of our allies in Central Asia will be fraught with great losses for them, if not the loss of everything” Kabulov continued.

Russia new National security strategy

Brussels 04.07.2021 President Vladimir Putin endorsed the National Security Strategy of the Russian Federation. An executive order to this effect was posted on the official legal information website on Saturday, July 3.

“To approve the attached National Security Strategy of the Russian Federation,” the document reads.

According to existing laws the executive order comes into effect from the date of its signing.

“The implementation of this strategy will contribute to protecting Russia’s people, developing human potential, improving the quality of citizens’ life and their prosperity, strengthening the country’s defense capacity, the unity of cohesion of Russian society, achieving national development goals, increasing the competitiveness and international prestige of the Russian Federation,” the document reads.

Russia-UK Black Sea altercation

Brussels 23.06.2021 Russian Black Sea Fleet, jointly with the Border Guard Service, halted the violation of the “Russian state border by a UK naval ship off Crimea coast”, the Defense Ministry of Russia reported on Wednesday, June 23. (Image: illustration).

A guard ship of the Black Sea Fleet fired warning shots while a Su-24M bomber conducted preventing bombing, the ministry informed.

“At 11:52 on June 23 this year, the UK Navy’s guided missile destroyer Defender operating in the northwestern part of the Black Sea crossed the state border of the Russian Federation and moved 3 km into the territorial sea near Cape Fiolent,” the ministry said in a statement.

The Russian Black Sea Fleet jointly with the Border Guard Service of the Federal Security Service (FSB) of Russia “halted the violation of the Russian state border by the UK Navy’s guided missile destroyer Defender,” the statement says.

The UK Navy’s guided missile destroyer Defender was floated out in 2009. The warship can develop a speed of about 30 knots and operates various armaments, including Harpoon anti-ship missile launchers and short-and medium-range air defense systems.

The Type 45 destroyers were built to replace the Type 42 (Sheffield-class) destroyers that had served during the Falklands War (10-weeks war between Argentina and the UK in 1982 over two British dependent territories) with the last Type 42 being decommissioned in 2013. The National Audit Office reported that, during an “intensive attack”, a single Type 45 could simultaneously track, engage and destroy more targets than five Type 42 destroyers operating together.

The class HMS45 is primarily designed for anti-aircraft and anti-missile warfare.

Putin: doesn’t guarantee Navalny right for life

Brussels 14.06.2021 Russian President Vladimir Putin denied ordering an assassination on Kremlin prominent critic political rival Alexei Navalny, but in an exclusive interview with NBC News he did not guarantee that the jailed Kremlin critic, who survived being poisoned with a nerve agent, would get out of prison alive.

“Look, such decisions in this country are not made by the president,” Putin said.

That was one of several striking moments in Putin’s first interview in three years with a U.S. news organisation, days ahead of his meeting with President Joe Biden in Geneva.
Reminded that Navalny wasn’t just any prisoner, Putin has underlined: “He will not be treated any worse than anybody else.”

Putin granted an exclusive interview, and had a talk with NBCNews journalist for nearly an hour and a half while U.S. President Joe Biden met with the leaders of G7 industrialised nations in Cornwall,UK, from which Russia was suspended in 2014 after Maidan revolution in Ukraine, and following refusal of the Republic of Crimea to accept new Kiev ruler who ascended power by coup d’état, shortly afterwards Crimea joined Russian Republic following the referendum.

According to the 2001 census, 77% of Crimean inhabitants named Russian as their native language, 11.4% – Crimean Tatar, and 10.1% – Ukrainian.

Geneva awaiting for Biden-Putin talks

Brussels 13.06.2021 The authorities of Geneva welcome the choice of Villa La Grange as the venue of the June 16 meeting of Russian and US presidents, the spokesperson for the Canton of Geneva, Emmanuel Cuenod, told TASS News agency.

“We are happy, and we are looking forward to having this meeting there, in this beautiful Villa La Grange, which is one of the most gorgeous places in Geneva,” Cuenod said.

The spokesperson said La Grange Park, where the villa is located, is a very popular site that Geneva’s residents and visitors visit for recreation. In particular, he mentioned a beautiful view of Geneva Lake and the fountain Jet d’Eau. Both delegations and journalists will be able to enjoy the beauties of the Geneva region, he said.

Cuenod refrained from comment as to what was being done for the past few days to get the villa ready for the summit. Currently, the building houses the city’s library.

Earlier on Thursday, the Swiss Foreign Ministry said the summit meeting of Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Joe Biden would be held at the Villa La Grange on June 16. The 18th-century villa is in the very center of a 21-hectare park on the shores of Geneva Lake. The villa has belonged to the city since 1917.

On June 8-18, the villa is closed to visitors, and a steel barrier has been placed around the park. The authorities of the Canton of Geneva on June 9 said security would be tightened on June 14-17. All flights by drones over the canton have been prohibited. Geneva’s waterfronts, the lake, La Grange Park, and the adjoining Eaux-Vives Park were included in a special security perimeter where special measures of control are in effect.

Putin: “extraordinary individual” Trump

Brussels 11.06.2021 Russian President Vladimir Putin said in his interview with NBC News that he respects former US leader Donald Trump, defining him as a “extraordinary individual”. (Image: meeting in Helsinki, July 2018)

“Well even now, I believe that former U.S. president Mr. Trump is an extraordinary individual, talented individual, otherwise he would not have become U.S. President,” Putin said.

“He is a colorful individual. You may like him or not. And, but he didn’t come from the U.S. establishment, he had not been part of big time politics before, and some like it some don’t like it but that is a fact,” Putin noted.

The full version of the interview will be aired on Monday, June 14 on Trump’s birthday.

On Thursday, June 10, Trump asked Joe Biden in a written statement to give Putin his “warmest regards” at the upcoming Geneva summit. The former president said his meeting with the Russian leader in Helsinki, Finland in 2018 was “great and very productive.”

In the statement the 45th President of the United States of America Donald J. Trump wrote:

As President, I had a great and very productive meeting in Helsinki, Finland, with President Putin of Russia. Despite the belated Fake News portrayal of the meeting, the United States won much, including the respect of President Putin and Russia. Because of the phony Russia, Russia, Russia Hoax, made-up and paid for by the Democrats and Crooked Hillary Clinton, the United States was put at a disadvantage—a disadvantage that was nevertheless overcome by me. As to who do I trust, they asked, Russia or our “Intelligence” from the Obama era, meaning people like Comey, McCabe, the two lovers, Brennan, Clapper, and numerous other sleezebags, or Russia, the answer, after all that has been found out and written, should be obvious. Our government has rarely had such lowlifes as these working for it. Good luck to Biden in dealing with President Putin—don’t fall asleep during the meeting, and please give him my warmest regards!”

Previously President Putin has already expressed his opinion about the impeachment of President Trump in an interview in 2019: “Absolutely far-fetched reasons. This is just a continuation of the political struggle. Democrats are charging Trump with charges of collusion with Russia, or they have invented some kind of pressure on Ukraine.” Putin added that Senate Republicans are unlikely to want to impeach their president.

Russian President added that Russia is interested in developing relations with the United States, regardless of who sits in the White House.

EU-Russia: combating coronavirus

Brussels 07.06.2021 “I conveyed a message of EU unity in my call with president Putin. The downwards trend in EU-Russia relations can only change if Russia stops disruptive behaviour. Fighting the pandemic and making effective vaccines available to everyone is a goal we discussed” Charles Michel, the EU Council President wrote on his Twitter micro blog.

Telephone conversation with President of the European Council Charles Michel:

Telephone conversation with President of the European Council Charles Michel
“Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with President of the European Council Charles Michel.
Relations between Russia and the European Union, as well as a number of current international issues, were discussed in detail.
“Vladimir Putin stressed that, although Russia and the European Union remained significant trade and investment partners, the current state of Russia-EU relations could not be considered satisfactory. It was noted that a return to pragmatic and respectful cooperation would be in the interests of both. Mutual opinion was expressed that it is important to step up cooperation in specific areas like healthcare, the climate agenda, and settling regional conflicts.

“Combating the spread of the coronavirus infection was also discussed, including the prospects for certifying the Russian vaccine Sputnik V in the European Union and ensuring conditions for mutual travel while complying with anti-pandemic restrictions.

“Developments around Nagorno-Karabakh were discussed in terms of the importance of the further and consistent implementation of the statements made by the leaders of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia on November 9, 2020 and January 11, 2021. Priority tasks include unblocking economic and transport connections in the region and resolving local humanitarian problems. Charles Michel expressed support for these efforts, including the work of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs (Russia, the US and France).

“Regarding the additional sanctions pressure on Belarus from the European Union, Vladimir Putin noted that such an approach, like any attempt to interfere in this sovereign state’s domestic affairs, was counterproductive.

“When discussing the internal Ukrainian crisis, both sides noted that the 2015 Minsk Package of Measures remained the only basis for the settlement process. The President of Russia said that the Kiev authorities must strictly implement all previously reached agreements, primarily on establishing a direct dialogue with Donetsk and Lugansk and legalising the special status of Donbass.

“During the discussion of developments in Libya, Vladimir Putin and Charles Michel spoke in favour of further promoting the political process and supporting the established authorities during the transition period”.

EU supports Crimean Mejlis

Bruxelles 05.06.2021 “On 1 June, a so-called, Russia-run court in the Ukrainian city Simferopol sentenced in absentia Mr Refat Chubarov, Chairman of the Mejlis, the Crimean Tatar People’s self-governing body, to six years of prison and a fine for politically-motivated charges.

The European Union does not recognise Russia’s illegal annexation of the Crimean peninsula and therefore does not, and will not, recognise this “sentence” by an illegal court. The sentencing of Mr Chubarov constitutes a serious violation of his human rights and another example of the persecution of the Crimean Tatar community by the Russian “authorities”.

“It further illustrates the severe deterioration of human rights on the Crimean peninsula since its illegal annexation. The ban on the activities of the Mejlis must be reversed without further delay.

“The EU reiterates that all illegally detained Ukrainian citizens on the Crimean peninsula must be released immediately”.

The Crimean High Court ‘has sentenced’ Refat Chubarov, Head of the Mejlis, or representative assembly of the Crimean Tatar people to six years imprisonment and a RUB200 000 fine (approx. EUR2 000). The verdict and sentence both represent the political message, while Russian authorities banished Chubarov from his homeland within months of its establishing their jurisdiction in Crimea, and the trial was held in absentia.

The verdict was passed in absentia  because the leader of the Mejlis, which is listed in Russia as an “extremist ogranisation”, but nowadays is located in Ukraine. The court found Chubarov guilty of organising riots outside the building of Crimea Parliament on February 26, 2014, which led to incidental death of two people. The head of Crimea, Sergei Aksenov, also supported the court’s decision, stating that Chubarov is a “professional provocateur”.

Russian independent medium dissolves

Brussels 31.05.2021 Newsru site which has functioned primarily as a news aggregator in recent years, said it was not possible for them to continue operations for economic reasons.

“Many thanks to all of you who have been reading us for 21 years. We know for sure that many stayed with us all this time. Lately there have been 3 million of you a month” reads the announcement of Newsru site.

“From August 1, 2000 to May 31, 2021, every day we tried to fulfil our professional duties with utmost honesty, namely, to tell what is important in the country and in the world, to compose an objective information picture of the day.
“At the very beginning of the century we were NTV.ru, for the first time in Russia a television news site was created, the very same NTV, the 20th anniversary of the destruction of which was remembered quite recently.
“For most of our employees today, working on this information site has taken most of their lives. Many of us have worked here since its opening.

“We stop working for economic reasons, but they are caused precisely by the political situation in our country. After 2014, it became clear that not only geography and foreign policy, but also the domestic economy were changing radically.

“Our picture of the day began to differ so much from the picture preferred by state resources that large advertisers stopped cooperating with us after the events of 2014, and the rest began to be especially afraid this year.
“More and more often we had to write about the adoption of restrictive laws that could affect us ourselves any day. We had to label more and more respected people and sources of truthful information as foreign agents and extremists.
“The situation in the economy and in the legal field makes the high-quality work of NEWSru.com more impossible.
“We say goodbye to you, but for now we leave open the entire archive accumulated over 21 years of work. And this is 1 million 172 thousand 931 news (not including this one). This history of the events of the 21st century is extremely important for understanding what is happening today. The archive will help you not to be naive and gullible, it will help you to compare the facts and answer many questions.
“For us, this is the last message for today.
“We sadly say goodbye to our totally unique and loyal audience.
“Your NEWSru.com.