Category: Russia

Russian Foreign Ministry on Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and Iran – Stephen Lendman

Russian Embassy, UK on Twitter: "Russia constantly decreases its ...


Efforts by Russia for mutual cooperation among all nations to combat COVID-19, including the lifting of illegal US sanctions on targeted countries, failed because the Trump regime rejected the humanitarian gesture.

Moscow continues providing vital aid to Venezuela, Iran, and other countries on request. China and Cuba are doing the same thing.

The Trump regime and Congress are hellbent to replace all sovereign independent governments not controlled by the US with pro-Western puppet rule — even as the world community prioritizes the battle to contain and eliminate COVID-19.

MZ noted efforts by Cuba to help other countries combat the virus.

The UK cruise ship MS Braemar was allowed to dock 40 km from Havana “on March 18-19 with five confirmed COVID-19 cases on board and 52 passengers with symptoms of the illness,” MZ explained.

In response to Italy’s request for medical help, Cuban authorities sent dozens of doctors and other medical workers to the country.

They’re also working in Venezuela, Grenada, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Kitts and Nevis, as well as Suriname, Jamaica, and elsewhere.

On April 1, a Russian cargo plane arrived in New York City with a cargo of protective gear for medical workers on the front lines of treating COVID-19 patients — despite unrelenting US hostility toward Moscow.

Given its hostility toward all sovereign independent countries, it’s unlikely that the Trump regime will return the favor — or extend humanitarian outreach to any nations it wants transformed into vassal states.

MZ explained that Russia is actively aiding Iran combat COVID-19 outbreaks and transmission, over 50,000 Iranians affected.

Days earlier, the foreign ministers of both countries discussed the pressing issue.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry reported the following:

Moscow “inten(ds) to continue the comprehensive development of Russian-Iranian trade and economic ties and investment projects, including assistance in increasing the supply of agricultural products, which our good neighbor, which is, above all, under the pressure of illegal unilateral US sanctions, is in dire need,” adding:

“It has been noted that Russia has previously sent humanitarian aid to Iran.”

Lots more is coming from Moscow to the Islamic Republic and other countries in need — polar opposite how belligerent USA operates, a global menace to humanity even in a time of great need.

via Russian Foreign Ministry on Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and Iran – Stephen Lendman

The rise of Russia’s oligarchs — and their bid for legitimacy – RN – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Tsarist Aristocrats

The Russian ultra-rich amassed their wealth during the economic and social turmoil following the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the introduction of the market economy.

Many had ventured into commerce in the 1980s, unaware they were positioning themselves to benefit unimaginably from one of the fastest redistribution of assets in history.

Russia’s early post-Soviet elite were from modest social backgrounds who had genuinely benefited from the Soviet education system.

Mr Abramovich, for example, grew up in poverty.

Over the course of the 1990s, a group of bankers and tycoons appeared at the top of the new rich stratum by seamlessly turning their political clout into wealth.

“The early Russian oligarchs seemed to have appeared from nowhere and got their hands on the driving wheel of government,” Dr Schimpfossl says.

Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.
Audio: Rich Russians: From oligarchs to bourgeoisie (Late Night Live)

During the oil price boom that helped fuel President Vladimir Putin’s resurgence in the 2000s, Moscow regularly topped rankings of cities with the most billionaires.

“A whole new layer joined them getting rich on the back of the high oil price which lasted until 2008,” Dr Schimpfossl says.

“It was almost as important as the first round of privatisation in the ’90s.”

Mr Putin eventually brought economic liberalisation under his personal control and significantly reined in the oligarchs.

“If they didn’t fall out with Vladimir Putin shortly after he came to power, they now prop up his kleptocracy with injections of cash whenever he asks them to,” Dr Schimpfossl says.

via The rise of Russia’s oligarchs — and their bid for legitimacy – RN – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Evil empire 2.0: West conjures up ghost of Soviet past to vilify Russia — RT Op-ed

Evil empire 2.0: West conjures up ghost of Soviet past to vilify Russia

Ironically, the collapse of the Soviet Union – an empire made up of 15 republics encompassing some 12 million square miles – has been far more difficult for­ the West to come to grips with than it has been for the Russian people, who witnessed the decline and fall firsthand. Indeed, many Westerners are ardent believers that the Soviet Union is still alive and kicking.

This apparent paradox was foreseen many years ago by the Soviet political scientist, Georgi Arbatov, when he told a US diplomat shortly after the collapse: “We are going to do the worst thing we can do to you. We are going to take your enemy way from you.”

Thirty years later the West still revisits the grave of its former Soviet nemesis, yearning for its rise from the ashes. Just this week, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham conjured up the spirit of America’s ex arch-enemy when responding to Donald Trump’s suggestion that Russia be readmitted into the G7.

English football fans discover real Russia is different to Oxbridge-dominated media portrayal

 Evil empire 2.0: West conjures up ghost of Soviet past to vilify Russia — RT Op-ed


Corbyn challenges May’s ‘evidence’ of Russian ‘culpability’ in ex-spy poisoning — RT UK News

Corbyn challenges May's 'evidence' of Russian ‘culpability’ in ex-spy poisoning

Corbyn’s spokesman Seumas Milne told reporters: “The government has access to information and intelligence on this matter which others don’t. However, there is also a history in relation to weapons of mass destruction and intelligence which is problematic, to put it mildly.”

via Corbyn challenges May’s ‘evidence’ of Russian ‘culpability’ in ex-spy poisoning — RT UK News

Where is the White House pressure on Russia over London poisoning?

Austin, Texas: Deadly poisonings and attacks on Kremlin-linked figures are likely to meet little resistance from the White House, an American defence expert says.

As Cold War-era understandings on permissible spy behaviour unravel, there has been little US pressure to counter Russia’s suspected activities, Georgetown University national security professor Mark Jacobson told Fairfax Media.

“During the Cold War the Soviets were constrained by the threat of a US reaction,” Jacobson said. “Today there is no threat of action by this White House.”

via Where is the White House pressure on Russia over London poisoning?

Poisoned Russian spy linked to Trump dossier author: reports

Head of counter-terrorism policing Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley speaks about the assassination attempt on Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

Steele compiled a dossier containing astonishing allegations against the then presidential candidate, including a claim the Russians had cultivated Mr Trump and traded favours with him for at least five years, and handed him intelligence from the Kremlin on Hillary Clinton and other political rivals.

The Telegraph reported that if the Kremlin believed Skripal helped compile the Trump dossier, it could provide a motive for the assassination attempt in Salisbury.

A former Russian construction magnate told Channel 4 News Skripal was “working in cyber-security and every month going to the [Russian] embassy to meet military intelligence officers”.

The Telegraph said a “hit squad” was dispatched by the Kremlin to assassinate Skripal, to send a message that traitors were not tolerated.

via Poisoned Russian spy linked to Trump dossier author: reports

Whatever Trump is hiding is hurting all of us now

US authorities have indicted 13 Russian individuals for allegedly meddling in elections by organising pro-Trump and anti-Clinton rallies and social media ads.

In sum, Trump is either hiding something so threatening to himself, or he’s criminally incompetent to be commander in chief. It is impossible yet to say which explanation for his behaviour is true, but it seems highly likely that one of these scenarios explains Trump’s refusal to respond to Russia’s direct attack on our system – a quiescence that is simply unprecedented for any US president in history. Russia is not our friend. It has acted in a hostile manner. And Trump keeps ignoring it all.

via Whatever Trump is hiding is hurting all of us now

Log out of Facebook. Delete your Twitter. Sleep with one eye open – the Russians are everywhere — RT Op-Edge

The Russians have been busy. They’ve hijacked the Black Lives Matter movement, hacked the US power grid, targeted US state voter systems, infiltrated Facebook and stoked the NFL anthem debate — all in an effort to destroy the fabric of American society.

Source: Log out of Facebook. Delete your Twitter. Sleep with one eye open – the Russians are everywhere — RT Op-Edge

Michael Flynn invokes Fifth Amendment, declines US Senate subpoena in Russia probe – Donald Trump’s America – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Michael Flynn declines to hand over documents sought under subpoena by a Senate panel investigating Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election.

Source: Michael Flynn invokes Fifth Amendment, declines US Senate subpoena in Russia probe – Donald Trump’s America – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Anti-corruption protests sweep Russia, Alexei Navalny among dozens arrested

A wave of unsanctioned rallies swept across Russia on Sunday to protest corruption in the government of President Vladimir Putin, prompting arrests as hundreds of riot officers moved in to break up crowds.

Source: Anti-corruption protests sweep Russia, Alexei Navalny among dozens arrested

‘They say we are traitors’: Putin critic Denis Voronenkov murdered in Kiev

A former Russian member of parliament who defected to Ukraine and began sharply criticizing Russian President Vladimir Putin was gunned down Thursday in downtown Kiev in an apparent contract killing.

Source: ‘They say we are traitors’: Putin critic Denis Voronenkov murdered in Kiev

Trump team in close contact with Russian intelligence ahead of US election: US reports – Donald Trump’s America – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Phone records show members of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign had repeated contact with Russian intelligence officials before the US election, US media reports says.

Source: Trump team in close contact with Russian intelligence ahead of US election: US reports – Donald Trump’s America – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Russia aimed to influence US election, top spies tell Trump – and rot won’t go away

It was a heart-stopping moment at the intersection of American politics and intelligence – three spy chiefs confronting a Republican President-elect who for months has been mocking them, to tell him that yes, despite all his bluster, Russia had been rooting for him to defeat his Democratic challenger.

Source: Russia aimed to influence US election, top spies tell Trump – and rot won’t go away

Russia Tells Civilians To Check Bomb Shelters And Prepare For War

Tensions between Russia and the US are reaching their highest levels since the Cold War, as it has been reported that both countries are preparing for war. Reports suggest that the CIA are using resources to plan a cyber attack against the Kremlin, whilst the Russian media are broadcasting what to do if war was […]

Source: Russia Tells Civilians To Check Bomb Shelters And Prepare For War

Syria turning point: Russia withdraws to play the most of ‘diplomatic card’ — RT Op-Edge

The announced partial withdrawal from Syria does not mean Russia is backing away from fighting Islamic State, but rather marks a turning point in the process of stabilizing Syria, which could not come at a better moment, believes former CIA officer Larry Johnson.

Source: Syria turning point: Russia withdraws to play the most of ‘diplomatic card’ — RT Op-Edge

Russia sends 10,000 automatic rifles to Afghanistan as a gift to fight insurgency .

Afghan officials receive 10,000 automatic rifles and millions of rounds of ammunition as a gift from Russia.

Source: Russia sends 10,000 automatic rifles to Afghanistan as a gift to fight insurgency – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Russia to initiate UN Security Council meeting over Turkey’s plans to send troops to northern Syria — RT News

A UN Security Council meeting is to be called at Russia’s request on Friday to discuss Ankara’s plans for a ground operation in Syria, the Russian Foreign Ministry has said.

Source: Russia to initiate UN Security Council meeting over Turkey’s plans to send troops to northern Syria — RT News

Russian fighter jet shot down by Turkish jets near Syrian-Turkish border

In a dangerous escalation in the Syrian conflict, a Russian warplane has been shot down by Turkish fighter jets in Syria near the Turkish border, after it violated the nation’s airspace.

Source: Russian fighter jet shot down by Turkish jets near Syrian-Turkish border

Russian plane crash: Islamic State says ‘soft drink bomb’ used to bring down Sinai plane – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Islamic State’s official propaganda magazine publishes a photo of a bomb it says brought down a Russian airliner over Egypt’s Sinai peninsula last month.

Source: Russian plane crash: Islamic State says ‘soft drink bomb’ used to bring down Sinai plane – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Putin’s approval rating hits new historic high of almost 90% — RT Russian politics

The approval rating of President Vladimir Putin is now higher than ever at 89.9 percent and pollsters say the fresh surge in the Russian leader’s popularity is due to the successful anti-terrorist operation in Syria.

Source: Putin’s approval rating hits new historic high of almost 90% — RT Russian politics

Explainer: Who did Russia target in Syria air strikes? – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Russia’s decision to carry out air strikes in Syria has caused concern. What is Moscow trying to achieve?

Source: Explainer: Who did Russia target in Syria air strikes? – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Today’s Republican Dilemma: Who Do They Hate More, Barack Obama or Vladimir Putin? Bolt seems to be on Putin’s side.

Here’s the latest from our pal in Russia:

President Vladimir V. Putin on Monday approved the delivery of a sophisticated air defense missile system to Iran, potentially complicating negotiations on Tehran’s nuclear program and further straining ties with Washington.

The sale could also undermine the Obama administration’s efforts to sell Congress and foreign allies on the nuclear deal, which Iran and the United States are still struggling to complete. It might also reduce the United States’ leverage in the talks by making it much harder for the United States or Israel to mount airstrikes against Iran’s nuclear infrastructure if the country ignored such an agreement.

Well, there you have it: Putin is eager to undermine any possibility of a US nuclear deal with Iran. This gives Republicans a choice: they can side with Putin or they can side with Barack Obama.

Decisions, decisions. I wonder what they’ll choose?

Boris Nemtsov: Zaur Dadayev among two Chechens charged over Russian opposition leader’s murder – World News – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Zaur Dadayev

Boris Nemtsov: Zaur Dadayev among two Chechens charged over Russian opposition leader’s murder – World News – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation).

Boris Nemtsov murder: Two detained over Russian opposition leader’s death, security chief says

Boris Nemtsov speaks at a rally

Two suspects have been detained over the murder of Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, who was gunned down near the Kremlin in a brazen assassination that shocked the country, the state security agency says.

The arrests come a week after the longtime critic of president Vladimir Putin was shot four times in the back as he strolled with his girlfriend along a bridge in the heart of the capital, near the presidency and iconic Red Square.

In a video posted on the website of Channel One, a state television station, Federal Security Service chief Alexander Bortnikov said two people had been detained.

“I would like to inform you that the work that has been conducted has resulted in two suspects in this crime being detained today,” he said on Saturday.

“They are a Anzor Gubashev and a Zaur Dadayev.”

No further details were provided about the suspects, but RIA Novosti news agency quoted Mr Bortnikov as saying that both were from the Caucasus.

Mr Bortnikov told Channel One that Russian president Vladimir Putin had been informed of the detention and that the investigation was ongoing.

Many European politicians and diplomats attended Mr Nemtsov’s funeral in Moscow on Tuesday.

Kremlin denies involvement

The latest killing of a high-profile government critic under Mr Putin’s rule prompted an outpouring of international condemnation and stunned members of an opposition who blamed the Kremlin for whipping up hatred against anyone who expresses dissent by referring to them as “traitors”.

The 55-year-old, a renowned anti-corruption crusader who served as Boris Yeltsin’s first deputy prime minister in the 1990s, was shot dead just two days before he was to lead a major anti-government rally.

We hope the arrest … is not an error but the result of good work by security forces, but for now it is hard to say.

Illya Yashin, opposition activist

However the protest march — called to denounce Russia’s alleged role in the Ukraine crisis — instead became a massive memorial for Mr Nemtsov, with tens of thousands swarming the streets of Moscow in the largest opposition gathering since a wave of anti-Kremlin protests in 2011.

The Kremlin denied accusations that it played a role in his death.

Mr Putin, whose rule has seen the steady suppression of independent media and opposition parties, promised an all-out effort to catch those responsible for an act which he called a “provocation”.

Killers were paid hitmen: lawmaker

Theories have proliferated since the killing over why Mr Nemtsov was targeted.

Some suggest he was assassinated for criticising Russia’s role in the Ukraine conflict, others for his condemnation of January’s killings at the Charlie Hebdo satirical weekly in Paris by Islamist gunmen.

Friends said Mr Nemtsov had been working on a report containing what he described as proof of Russian military involvement in the bloody uprising by pro-Moscow militias in eastern Ukraine.

Meanwhile investigators suggested the killers wanted to destabilise Russia, which is facing its worst standoff with the West since the Cold War over Ukraine, and Mr Putin’s allies hinted at a Western plot.

Following the announcement of the arrests, the former head of the FSB — the successor to the Soviet-era KGB — and now lawmaker Nikolay Kovalev told the RIA Novosti agency that initial information showed the two men were merely paid hitmen.

“The key is to find out who ordered this assassination,” he said.

A fellow opposition activist Ilya Yashin, welcomed the development in the case, but called for more information on the men’s identities.

“We hope the arrest … is not an error but the result of good work by security forces, but for now it is hard to say,” Mr Yashin told Interfax news agency.

“Quite frankly the execution of the investigation had not inspired any optimism, but the fact that there have been arrests inspires some optimism.”

Mr Nemtsov, a charismatic orator who was one of the last outspoken opponents to Mr Putin, was a key speaker at mass opposition rallies against the Russian president’s return to the Kremlin in 2012.

He wrote several reports critical of corruption and misspending under Mr Putin.

In 2013, he said up to $US30 billion of the estimated $US50 billion earmarked for the Olympic Games that Russia was to host in Sochi had gone missing, which the Kremlin denied.


Pig-faced Western insolence

Pig-faced Western insolence. 54537.jpeg

The attack on President Putin by British Foreign Secretary Phillip Hammond and the laughter and jeering during the intervention by Russian Foreign Affairs Minister Sergei Lavrov underlines the notion that the West, in general terms, is governed by cliques of incompetent, insolent upstarts who in the private sector would be unemployable.

As for Philip Hammond calling President Vladimir Putin a “tyrant” then going on to speak about dictators, then there is one word in response: Resign! Whatever his personal views, which can interest nobody, the British Foreign Secretary is head of his country’s diplomacy and gratuitous, unfounded quips like that underline the notion that he is worse even at his job than his predecessor William Hague.

President Putin’s popularity rating is somewhere near three times that of British Prime Minister David Cameron’s. So much for democracy, but then again Mr. Hammond represents one of the three prongs of the FUKUS Axis (France-UK-US), the clique that sided with terrorists on their own lists of proscribed groups to topple the Jamahiriya Government in Libya, sided with terrorists carrying out chemicals weapons attacks in Syria, to incriminate President Assad.

So much for Hammond. A vapid, lightweight wannabe, a nobody on the world stage, a pith-headed, clottish, ill-mannered, insolent upstart with zero substance, a squeaky, fussy little nonentity whose real vocation in life is to hide behind the skirts of an Anglican priest in the belfry of some moldy church basement somewhere in rural Wales. He finds himself in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Same thing.

As for the guffaws of laughter vomited forth by some Western officials at the International Security Conference in Munich while Russian Foreign Affairs Minister Lavrov was delivering his speech, how rude. But then again what to expect from the West but sheer, barefaced, pig-headed insolence, bad manners, nastiness, spitefulness, lies, skullduggery, meddling, intrusion, utter disregard and disrespect for human rights as civilians are murdered, as babies have their faces blasted off and their families blown away by some NATO coward in the sky imposing democracy from 30,000 feet?


So, let us take a look at Western policies in the last decade and a half and see if they are laughing. So, ha ha ha ha ha, what about Kosovo? You know, where Albanian terrorists trafficking human organs and shooting at the police were destabilizing Kosovo, the Serbian Province which was, is and always will be, the very heart of the Serbian nation? Ha ha ha ha ha, funny, isn’t it? And what about those Ushtria Çlirimtare ë Kosovës terrorists slicing the heads off Serb bank workers and parading them around grinning like apes? Hilarious, I suppose?

And Ha ha ha ha ha, the Iraq fiasco was the cherry on a putrid sh*t-filled cake, wasn’t it? I mean, ha ha ha ha ha, they attacked a sovereign nation outside the auspices of the UN Security Council (war crime, in the absence of any attenuating factors), they strafed civilian structures with military hardware, ha ha ha ha ha, they murdered up to a million civilians, ha ha ha ha ha, they totally destabilized a State, threw most of the population out of work, ha ha ha ha ha, and rendered large swathes of the country poisonous. Ha ha ha ha ha, half a million to a million kids born dead or deformed, ha ha ha ha ha, eh?

And speaking about the ha ha ha ha West’s ha ha ha ha foreign policy, we had the concentration and torture camp at Abu Ghraib, you know, ha ha ha ha ha where American heroine Lynndie England and her co-torturers were “just having fun” sodomizing detainees, peeing in people’s food, throwing snakes at people, raping prisoners, setting dogs on them and forcing Moslems to eat pork. Like, what a blast?

And now that western officials find it so hilarious to listen to Mr. Lavrov’s balanced, wholly credible and honest delivery, what about the ha ha ha ha concentration and torture camp at Guantanamo Bay?

So the fun-packed journey continues through the Libyan fiasco, a country rendered chaotic after NATO’s ham-fisted and illegal intervention, ha ha ha ha ha supporting terrorist groups on the FCO’s own list of proscribed groups, eh Mr. Hammond? Freakin’ hilarious, eh whatty what? Ha ha ha ha ha…

And then we have Syria, ha ha ha ha ha, where planned false flag chemical weapons attacks were outed in this column numerous times before one actually took place in an area crawling with Syrian Arab Army forces. And the fun fair stops in Ukraine, where a democratically elected President was ousted in an armed insurrection and removed without any of the legal precepts for such being in place.

Poroshenko (not his father’s family name) and his murky connections from the past rule the roost in Kiev, not in Donetsk and not in LuGansk, with a properly pronounced G after Fascist massacres were committed forcing the citizens of Eastern Ukraine to take up arms. Five thousand souls later, the legacy of the west’s intrusion, the rebels are on the offensive, while Russia pushes for peace, as Moscow has done from the beginning.

Moscow pushes for peace, the west? Let us take a look at their foreign policy over the last decade and a half…and… Ha ha ha ha ha! There are two sides to every coin and both sides can laugh. But they say the one that laughs last…

Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

US Congress: Clique of Criminals or Cowards?

US Congress: Clique of Criminals or Cowards?. 54100.jpeg

It is by now patently obvious to all, except perhaps to a politically myopic, pith-headed, uncultured twit, that the only Representing the House of Representatives does is for itself and the lobbies which pull its members’ strings. A fifth-world style of governance; a clique of criminals, or cowards incapable of standing up for their electorate?

Ron Paul’s recent article “Reckless Congress Declares War on Russia”, referring to the decision by Congress to pass H. Res. 758, in his words “16 pages of war propaganda”, states that this is “one of the worst pieces of legislation ever”. Needless to say, it is a predictable bunch of Russophobic nonsense cobbled together by a handful of neocons pandering to the whims of the lobbies who pull their strings. It is also a Resolution which backs criminal activity contravening every fiber of international law.

What is even more sickening is that the bill only received ten votes against, meaning that either the entire House is in cavorts with criminal policies or else its members are sniveling cowards who do not have the guts and the spine to stand up for the principles they were elected to represent. Does the House of Representatives represent anything other than the interests of its members? And if this is the case, then why do the American people not stand up and be counted for once? Do they not have any principles either, or does their wonderfully democratic system deny them the tools to make a difference and have their say?

Examining the document, it blames Russia for invading Ukraine (Paragraph 3), blames Russian-backed forces for the downing of passenger aircraft MH 17 (Paragraph 14) and demands that Russian forces withdraw from Ukraine (Paragraph 13) then condemns Russia for selling weaponry to Syria (Paragraph 16) before going on to accuse Russia of invading Georgia in 2008 (Paragraph 22) and rubber-stamping approval for the USA to provide combat materials to Ukraine.

In short, the Resolution is a study in hypocrisy and contravenes international law, which forbids the involvement of a country in the internal affairs of a sovereign nation unless there are proven activities which directly pose a threat to the said country. Such was not the case in Iraq, such was not the case in Libya, such was not the case in Syria, where the activities of the USA and its allies have led to the creation of a serious security threat.

Examining the Ukraine issue, under the Ukrainian Constitution, the precepts for the removal of the President involved an impeachment process based on a formal accusation charging the President with a crime, backed by the incumbent Prime Minister, this Resolution backed in turn by the judges of the Constitutional Court and then the process backed by a three-quarters majority vote in Parliament. When Prime Minister Mykola Azarov resigned on January 28, 2014, he was replaced by Sergiy Arbuzov. When the Putsch placed Arseniy Yatsenyuk as Prime Minister and terminated the powers of the Supreme Court judges, convening a Parliament without many of the Party of Regions Members and using the Multiple Voting system (deputies voting in the name of absentee members, outlawed by President Yanukovich) it was basically denying itself any legal basis to act and guaranteeing that all of its actions would be illegal. The proper course of action would have been peaceful opposition until the elections. Let us remember that President Yanukovich was elected with 49 per cent of the vote, in a free and fair, democratic election

In the event, President Viktor Yanukovich was removed on “circumstances of extreme urgency” which was not a legal precept for removal from office. Being forced out of office by an armed uprising is meaningless and has no foundations whatsoever under any international, regional or national law. The only development which had any legal backing was the Agreement on the Settlement of the Crisis in Ukraine, signed between President Yanukovich and the Opposition on February 21, 2014, under which it was agreed to bring the 2015 election forward to December 2014.

Therefore, any activity surrounding or arising from the Ukraine crisis in 2014 has to begin with the principle that the Putsch was illegal and therefore the legitimate government of Ukraine was removed. This being the case, the body with powers to enforce the law in the Republic of Crimea was the Parliament of this Republic, which had been Russian territory for longer than the USA has been a nation, until February 19, 1954, when the Supreme Soviet of the USSR decided to transfer Crimea from the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. No wonder its people voted to return back home in the free and fair Referendum, especially after the Putsch Government in Kiev had started issuing anti-Russian edicts amid calls for the slaughter of Russians and Jews on the streets, thronging with armed Fascists and thugs.

Not surprisingly, after Fascist massacres in Odessa, Mariupol and Donetsk, in which Russian-speaking civilians were murdered en masse by Fascists supporting the new Putsch government in Kiev, the men and women of the south-east Ukraine took up arms to protect themselves and declared that they wanted nothing to do with the new pro-Western forces claiming to govern the country.

As for the accusations against Russia, where is the evidence that Russia is involved directly? Where are the satellite photographs? If the members of Congress knew the Donbass region and its people, they would see clearly that the south-eastern Ukrainians need Russian military intervention for nothing, and anyway if Russia was involved, Kiev would have been taken within two days.

As for the downing of flight MH 17, how can Congress make any accusations when the official investigation has not even been concluded and when there is plenty of evidence which points toward a Ukrainian military aircraft shooting it down, thinking it was President Putin’s plane? Is Congress irresponsible, or is it packed with barefaced liars?

As for Syria, at least Russia’s weaponry goes to fighting against Islamic State, whereas the USA’s goes towards arming it. Russia did not side with terrorists to destroy Libya, the country with the highest human development index in Africa, the USA did. Russia did not attack Iraq, deploying military hardware against civilian structures breaching every norm and precept under international law. The USA did. As for saying Russia attacked Georgia, nonsense. Russia staged a very measured response to a murderous act of provocation, when Georgia attacked and murdered Russian citizens.

So to conclude, Congress is apparently either a bunch of criminals, giving the nod to more intervention in the internal affairs of a sovereign state, or else appears to be jammed full of sniveling yellow-bellied cowards, kicked around from pillar to post, too frightened to stand up and represent the interests of the people who elected them. The lobbies say jump, the Members ask how high.

And this is the body that represents the United States of America? Can I hear the Founding Fathers turning in their graves?

Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

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Nearly 36 million people living as slaves across the globe, according to human rights index

A Bangladeshi child works at balloon factory in Dhaka

Almost 36 million people are living as slaves across the globe with a report listing Mauritania, Uzbekistan, Haiti, Qatar and India as the nations where modern-day slavery is most prevalent.

The Walk Free Foundation, an Australian-based human rights group, estimated in its inaugural slavery index last year that 29.8 million people were born into servitude, trafficked for sex work, trapped in debt bondage or exploited for forced labour.

Releasing its second annual index, Walk Free increased its estimate of the number of slaves to 35.8 million, citing better data collection and slavery being uncovered in areas where it had not been found previously.

For the second year, the index of 167 countries found India had, by far, the greatest number of slaves – up to 14.3 million people in its population of 1.25 billion were victims of slavery, ranging from prostitution to bonded labour.

Key findings:

  • Modern slavery exists in all 167 countries covered by the index
  • Total number of people enslaved: 35.8 million people
  • Improved methodology uncovers 20% more enslaved people than last year’s report
  • Five countries account for 61% of the world’s population living in modern slavery
  • Africa and Asia continue to face biggest challenges

Mauritania was again the country where slavery was most prevalent by head of population while Qatar, host of the 2022 World Cup, rose up the rank from 96th place to be listed as the fourth worst country by percentage of the population.

“From children denied an education by being forced to work or marry early, to men unable to leave their work because of crushing debts they owe to recruitment agents, to women and girls exploited as unpaid, abused domestic workers, modern slavery has many faces,” the report said.

“It still exists today, in every country – modern slavery affects us all.”

The index defines slavery as the control or possession of people in such a way as to deprive them of their freedom with the intention of exploiting them for profit or sex, usually through violence, coercion or deception.

The definition includes indentured servitude, forced marriage and the abduction of children to serve in wars.

Ten countries account for 71 per cent of world’s slaves

Highest prevalence of slavery

Country Percent of
in modern
Mauritania 4%
Uzbekistan 3.973%
Haiti 2.304%
Qatar 1.356%
India 1.141%

Highest number of people in slavery

Country Estimated
population in
modern slavery
India 14,285,700
China 3,241,400
Pakistan 2,058,200
Uzbekistan 1,201,400
Russia 1,049,700

Source: Walk Free Global Slavery Index

Hereditary slavery is deeply entrenched in the West African country of Mauritania, where four per cent of the population of 3.9 million is estimated to be enslaved, the report said.

After Mauritania, slavery was most prevalent in Uzbekistan, where citizens are forced to pick cotton every year to meet state-imposed cotton quotas, and Haiti, where the practice of sending poor children to stay with richer acquaintances or relatives routinely leads to abuse and forced labour, it said.

Ranked fourth was Qatar.

The tiny Gulf state relies heavily on migrants to build its mega-projects including soccer stadiums for the 2022 World Cup.

It has come under scrutiny by rights groups over its treatment of migrant workers, most from Asia, who come to toil on construction sites, oil projects or work as domestic help.

The next highest prevalence rates were found in India, Pakistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Syria and Central African Republic.

The index showed that 10 countries alone account for 71 per cent of the world’s slaves.

After India, China has the most slaves with 3.2 million, then Pakistan (2.1 million), Uzbekistan (1.2 million), Russia (1.05 million), Nigeria (834,200), Democratic Republic of Congo (762,900), Indonesia (714,100), Bangladesh (680,900) and Thailand (475,300).

Anti-slavery laws not met by action

For the first time, the index rated governments on their response to slavery.

It found the Netherlands, followed by Sweden, the United States, Australia, Switzerland, Ireland, Norway, Britain, Georgia and Austria had the strongest response.

At the opposite end of the scale, North Korea, Iran, Syria, Eritrea, Central African Republic, Libya, Equatorial Guinea, Uzbekistan, Republic of Congo and Iraq had the worst responses.

“Every country in the world apart from North Korea has laws that criminalise some form of slavery, yet most governments could do more to assist victims and root out slavery from supply chains,” Walk Free Foundation’s head of global research, Fiona David, said.

“What the results show is that a lot is being done on paper but it’s not necessarily translating into results,” Ms David said.

“Most countries got 50 per cent or less when we looked at the strength of their victim assistance regime.

“It’s also striking that … out of 167 countries we could only find three (Australia, Brazil and the United States) where governments have put things in place on supply chains.”

The report showed conflict had a direct impact on the prevalence of slavery, Ms David said, citing the example of the Islamic State militant group which has abducted women and girls in Iraq and Syria for use as sex slaves.

“What our numbers show is the correlation really is quite strong so as an international community, we need to make planning for this kind of problem part of the humanitarian response to crisis situations,” she said.