Newscast Media MOSCOW—President Vladimir Putin has called claims Russia is behind
eastern Ukraine’s unrest “nonsense.” He has accused the government in Kyiv of
raising tensions in the region, while expressing hope for crisis talks.
During the beginning of a televised call with the nation on Thursday, Putin said
Ukraine’s decision to send armed forces to the country’s restive east rather than
establishing a dialogue was a “grave crime.” He also dismissed Western accusations
that Russian special forces were present in the region, saying the people there have
risen up against a government that has ignored their rights and legitimate demands.
“It’s all nonsense, there are no special units, special forces or instructors there,” the
Russian president said. He added the protests in eastern Ukraine, which have driven
separatist sentiment in recent weeks and resulted in gunmen seizing government
offices and police stations in at least 10 cities, involve only locals.
Ukraine’s new government, which took over following the fall of former president
Viktor Yanukovych earlier this year, is dragging the country towards an “abyss,” Putin
said, slamming the decision to launch a military operation against separatists who
have seized buildings.
“This is one more serious crime by the current Kyiv authorities,” Putin said.
Putin urged that diplomacy was the way to reach a solution to the crisis, saying he
“very much hopes” Russia will not have to send its military to eastern Ukraine.
“Only through dialogue, through democratic procedures and not with the use of armed
forces, tanks and planes, can order be imposed in the country,” he said. “It is very
important today to think about how to get out of this situation and offer people a
genuine dialogue and not just one for show.”
Source: Deutsche Welle
Newscast Media MOSCOW—Russian President Vladimir Putin’s approval rating has
reached 80 percent, with a majority of Russians saying the country is heading in the
right direction, an independent pollster said Wednesday.
A poll by the Levada Center said public support for the Russian leader rose by 8
percent since Putin delivered an address to parliament on Crimea before the
predominantly Russian-speaking region rejoined Russia last week.
Levada said Putin’s approval rating peaked at 85 percent in spring 2008, when Dmitry
Medvedev, now prime minister, succeeded him as president.
Another poll by Levada last week said a majority of Russians believe their country is a
great power and an important player in the international arena.
Some 63 percent of respondents said modern Russia has regained the status of a
superpower, the highest level in the history of the poll, conducted by the Levada
Center since the 2000s.
Putin was named International Person of the Year by Britain’s The Times newspaper in
December, for succeeding in his ambition of reestablishing Moscow as a critical player
in solving international problems.
According to the poll released Wednesday, only 18 percent of respondents did not
approve of Putin’s performance as president.
The survey was conducted March 21-24 among 1,600 respondents across 130 cities
in Russia. The statistical margin of error was 3.4 percent.
Source: Ria Novosti
Newscast Media MOSCOW—Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree to
recognize Ukraine’s breakaway region of Crimea as an independent state, the Kremlin
press service said on Monday.
Russia also said that it recognizes Sevastopol, a Crimean port that houses the
Russian Black Sea fleet base, a city with a “special autonomous status” within the
Republic of Crimea.
The decree comes into full force immediately after being signed.
Crimea, the autonomous republic within Ukraine, has refused to recognize as
legitimate the new leadership in the country. A referendum held Sunday in the largely
Russian-ethnic autonomous republic saw over 96 percent of voters support
reunification with Russia.
On Tuesday, Putin will address an assembly of both houses of parliament, as well as
heads of regions and representatives of public organizations about Crimea’s
Source: Ria Novosti
Newscast Media WASHINGTON—As the Republicans have set the stage to sweep the
November mid-term elections, and expert predictions point to reclaiming the White
House in the 2016 presidential election, Barack Obama’s popularity and approval
ratings continue to drop nationwide.
According to the most recent Wall Street Journal/NBC poll, Americans surveyed said
they were less inclined to support a candidate if the person had been endorsed by
Mr. Obama or was a “solid supporter” of his administration. Approval of Mr. Obama is
particularly weak in the South and Midwest, regions where Democrats could have a
tough time defending Senate seats. CONTINUE TO FULL ARTICLE>>
Newscast Media SEVASTOPOL—Pro-Russia lawmakers in the parliament of Crimea,
which is now occupied by Russian forces, have approved a declaration on the
republic’s independence—a precursor to a referendum on the region becoming part of
The lawmakers announced that the March 11 adoption of the declaration is a
technical step ahead of a referendum on March 16 that will ask voters whether
Crimea should join Russia.
“If Crimean residents vote for the accession of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol to
Russia as a constituent entity, Crimea will be declared an independent republic after
the referendum,” the declaration says.
Seventy-eight of the 81 lawmakers present voted in favor of the declaration.
Source: Radio Free Europe
Newscast Media MOSCOW—While the West was obsessed and making noise about
homosexual rights, Russia was creeping into Crimea, and took control of two airports.
Its special forces with unmarked uniforms entered the Crimean parliament as it was
still in session, and overnight, the Russians had infiltrated and occupied Crimea.
Almost 97 percent of Crimeans speak Russian, and have ties to their motherland,
therefore it came as no surprise to see Russian flags flying at the airports and on the
Crimean parliament building. The airports that are under Russian control are
Sevastopol and Simferporol. CONTINUE TO FULL STORY>>
Newscast Media MOSCOW—Russia is taking additional steps to ensure security at its
naval facilities on the Crimean Peninsula amid the growing political unrest in Ukraine,
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Wednesday.
“We are carefully monitoring the situation in Ukraine and around the Black Sea Fleet,”
Shoigu told reporters in Moscow.
“We are taking measures to ensure security of the fleet’s facilities, infrastructure and
arsenals,” he said without specifying such measures.
A Russian military source said earlier on Wednesday that security check points at
several Black Sea Fleet facilities had been strengthened with armored vehicles.
Shoigu’s statement follows reports of scuffles that broke out Wednesday in the
southern Ukrainian city of Simferopol as large crowds of opponents of the newly
installed national authorities faced off against representatives of the Crimean Tatar
community outside the local parliament.
Until Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev in 1954 transferred Crimea to what was then the
Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, the territory was officially a part of Russia.
The Black Sea Fleet maintains its main base in the port of Sevastopol and several
auxiliary naval installations around the peninsula.
During the tenure of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, which began in early 2010
and ended with his ouster on Saturday, the country renewed Russia’s lease on the
naval facilities in Crimea until 2042.
Source: Ria Novosti
Newscast Media MOSCOW—While the UN is busy trying to resolve the Ukraine crisis
through peaceful dialogue, a leaked phone call that was posted on Youtube indicates
that behind the scenes, Washington is a major player in the chess game.
This crisis is as a result of Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych’s decision to reject
a partnership agreement with the European Union, and instead accept aid from Russia
to solidify Ukraine’s relationship with its long-time neighbor. The EU had hoped to lure
Ukraine by offering it a path to membership within the bloc, but Putin advised
Yanukovych not to fall into the trap. CONTINUE TO FULL ARTICLE>>
Newscast Media VATICAN CITY—Pope Francis had a private meeting in the Vatican on
Monday afternoon with the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin. It’s the
fourth time the Russian leader has been here to the Vatican – he met twice with Pope
John Paul II in 2000 and 2003 and had an audience with Pope Benedict in 2007.
In September this year, Pope Francis also wrote directly to President Putin, as the
city of St Petersburg prepared to host the G20 summit of world economic leaders.
CONTINUE TO FULL STORY>>
Source: The Vatican
Newscast Media MOSCOW—Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that being
labeled the world’s most powerful person by Forbes magazine this year has made him
“more cautious,” his first-ever public comment on the issue.
“I appreciate Forbes experts’ opinion, but I personally believe that, first, it always
makes you cautious because it limits you a little bit – it can limit you – let’s say, in
making decisions,” Putin said in an interview with South Korea’s KBS broadcaster
ahead of a visit to Seoul.
“I prefer to pay less attention to such things,” he said, according to an
English-language transcript provided by the Kremlin press office. “If you pay too much
attention to that, it is going to influence the decision-making process. And this would
be most regrettable.”
In October, Putin was promoted to the top spot of the Forbes’ most powerful people
list from third place in 2012. The Russian leader this year was followed by US
President Barack Obama and Chinese leader Xi Jinping.
Source: RIA Novosti
Newscast Media WASHINGTON—Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov confirmed
Thursday that after weeks of negotiations a deal had been struck with the United
States on a resolution regarding Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile.
“We reached an understanding with the United States on a draft resolution,” Lavrov
told reporters at the Security Council.
He gave no details on the contents of the draft agreement.
The US and Russia are expected to submit the resolution to the full 15-member
Security Council. A meeting in New York has been called for 8 p.m. local time.
The resolution has the potential to become the first to be passed by the Security
Council since the Syrian conflict erupted in March 2011.
Source: Radio Deutsche Welle
Newscast Media NEW YORK—Former President Bill Clinton offered some rare words of praise Wednesday from a US politician about Vladimir Putin, describing the Russian president as “very smart, brutally blunt” and true to his word.
“Mr. Putin … he’s very smart,” Clinton said in an interview with CNN talk show host Piers Morgan. “And, remarkably, we had a good, blunt relationship.” Asked to describe just how blunt that relationship was, Clinton replied: “Brutally blunt,” indicating he preferred this level of frankness in private conversations.
Putin took over as acting Russian president on January 1, 2000 following the surprise New Year’s Eve resignation of the late Russian leader Boris Yelstin, and was formally elected for his first term two months later. Clinton, who left office in January 2001, worked with him as head of state for a year.
Asked if Putin ever reneged on a promise, Clinton was categorical: “He did not.”
“He kept his word on all the deals we made,” Clinton said.
Broadcast of the interview came as some US officials publicly question whether the United States should trust Putin – both the man and his administration – enough to invest fully in a new Russia-US push to destroy chemical weapons in Syria and sponsor negotiations to end the two-year conflict there.
The joint effort staved off what appeared to be imminent US military action in Syria earlier this month, but many US politicians have voiced skepticism on whether it will bear fruit.
“We do have to believe it” will help, Clinton said of the latest Russian-US effort. “We just have to see what happens and make the most of what happens,” he said, adding that “it would be a terrible mistake” not to explore viable opportunities for resolving the Syrian crisis peacefully.
Source: Ria Novosti
Newscast Media NEW YORK—Russia’s President Vladmir Putin has gone through extra lengths to prevent World War III from happening, and late Wednesday penned an op-ed in the New York Times, making his case directly to the American people. The article has been well-received by Americans who now view Putin as the peacemaker and statesman, while politicians are fuming because the article is awakening the
American public. Putin insists that any military action should be approved by the United Nations.
“The United Nations’ founders understood that decisions affecting war and peace should happen only by consensus, and with America’s consent the veto by Security Council permanent members was enshrined in the United Nations Charter. The profound wisdom of this has underpinned the stability of international relations for decades,” Putin wrote.
“No one wants the United Nations to suffer the fate of the League of Nations, which collapsed because it lacked real leverage. This is possible if influential countries bypass the United Nations and take military action without Security Council authorization,” he added.
Putin then points out that outside interference by other countries is unnecessary because the conflict within Syria is not a battle for Democracy but, several little factions battling each other and the government for their own personal agendas. “Syria is not witnessing a battle for democracy, but an armed conflict between government and opposition in a multireligious country. There are few champions of democracy in Syria. But there are more than enough Qaeda fighters and extremists of all stripes battling the government,” Putin writes.
The White House shrugged off the article but an unnamed White House official said, “The world will note whether Russia can follow through on that commitment,” according to Politico.
Meanwhile, other officials were more harsh because Putin took his message directly to the American people. “It’s pretty clear the whole purpose of that was to try to weaken our resolve and to try to make sure that we would not fulfill our pledge to conduct military action if we have to,” former US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) chief Leon Panetta told NBC on Thursday morning. “So I think he was trying to, in his own way, weaken the United States in the effort to negotiate these issues.”
Sen. Robert Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey also voiced his opinion about the article. “I worry when someone who came up through the KGB tells us what is in our national interests, and what is not,” Menendez said. “It really raises the question of how serious the Russian proposal is.”
Despite the objections of politicians who are only interested in starting new unjustified wars, Putin is showing leadership by his numerous efforts to contain the crisis. Putin’s article is characteristic of a person who is using critical thinking, while all pro-war politicians give the impression that they are driven and blinded by emotion, rather than logic and reason.
They display the tendencies of an attorney who neglects to do discovery, take depositions or interview anyone on the opposing side, yet falsely believes he or she is ready for prime time, thus jeopardizing the client’s chance of getting a fair trial.
Putin on the other hand, comes across a a master chess player who thinks five moves ahead of the game.
Newscast Media MOSCOW—Russian President Vladimir Putin has said if NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is going to have a shot of gaining asylum in Russia, he’ll need to stop sharing America’s secrets. Putin also ruled out Snowden’s extradition. Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Putin said the former contractor for the American National Security Agency (NSA) would have to stop divulging secrets about the United States if he planned to stay in Russia.
“If he wants to go somewhere and there are those who would take him, he is welcome to do that,” Putin said in Moscow. “If he wants to stay here, there is one condition: he must stop his activities aimed at inflicting damage to our American partners, no matter how strange it may sound on my lips.”
A foreign ministry official quoted by the AFP news agency said Snowden had applied for asylum in Russia on Sunday night. Reports from the Russian news agency Interfax echoed this claim.
Earlier on Monday, a Russian official quoted by the RIA news agency said President Barack Obama and Putin had ordered their respective security services, the FBI and the FSB, to end the standoff over Snowden. He is currently holed up in a transit area of an airport in Moscow.
Putin said on Monday that Russia would not be extraditing Snowden. “Russia will never extradite anyone anywhere and doesn’t plan to start doing so,” he said.
Source: Radio Deutsche Welle
Newscast Media MOSCOW—Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday sent a congratulatory message to the late Hugo Chavez’s protégé, socialist candidate Nicolas Maduro who narrowly won Sunday’s presidential election in Venezuela, saying that he hoped Russian-Venezuelan relations will strengthen even further.
Putin said he was confident that under Maduro Venezuela will continue to consolidate its “strategic partnership with Russia” and reaffirmed Moscow’s readiness for further development of a constructive dialog between the two nations, the Kremlin’s press service said.
The Russian Foreign Ministry urged all political forces in Venezuela to respect the results of the presidential election and exercise a balanced and responsible approach. Maduro won 51 percent of the vote, whereas his rival, Miranda State Governor Henrique Capriles, gained 49 percent, according to preliminary official results announced by the National Electoral Council.
During his election campaign, Maduro, 50, pledged to promote Chavez’s “21st century socialism,” which brought popular health, education and food programs to the poor. Capriles, 40, vowed to bring change to the nation of 29 million people if elected.
Chavez, who had ruled Venezuela for 14 years, died on March 5 at the age of 58 after a two-year-long battle with cancer. He named Maduro as his successor before undergoing the latest surgery last December.
Newscast Media MOSCOW—The US Senate has unanimously approved a resolution condemning a new Russian law banning US citizens from adopting Russian children and calling on President Vladimir Putin and the Russian leadership to reconsider the measure on humanitarian grounds.
In its resolution, approved in a vote late Tuesday, the Senate affirmed that all children deserve to live in a permanent, protective family and said it valued a “long tradition” of the US and Russian governments working together to find homes for children who have been deprived of their parents.
The Senate also said it “disapproves of the Russia law ending inter-country adoptions of Russian children by United States citizens because it primarily harms vulnerable and voiceless children” and “strongly urges the Russia Government to reconsider the law on humanitarian grounds, in consideration of the well-being of parentless Russian children awaiting a loving and permanent family.”
The Senate resolution noted that the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) estimates there are 740,000 children living in Russia without parental care. It also cited data from the Russian Ministry of Science and Education affirming that 110,000 children live in state institutions in Russia.
“Whatever issues our two governments may be facing, there is no political reason to put vulnerable children in the middle of political posturing,” said US Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, who authored the resolution and serves as Co-Chair of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI), a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness about foster care and international adoption issues.
“Children should be raised by parents, not in orphanages, institutions or alone on the street,” she said.
The Russian ban on adoptions by US citizens was signed in response to the Magnitsky Act, an American law signed by President Obama in December which calls for sanctions on individual Russian citizens deemed by the United States to have violated human rights.
Newscast Media MOSCOW—Russia denied on Friday its top diplomat Mikhail Bogdanov made any statement on Syria, stressing it would not change its stance concerning the ongoing crisis in the Middle Eastern country.
“We would like to remark that he (Bogdanov) has made no statements or special interviews with journalists in the last days,” ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in a statement.
The press reported earlier on Thursday that Bogdanov told a meeting of the Public Chamber official oversight body that President Bashar al-Assad’s regime was losing more and more control of Syria.
Lukashevich confirmed that the hearing with the Social Chamber had taken place but said Bogdanov had “once again confirmed the principled Russian position about the lack of alternative to a political solution in Syria.”
He also gave assurance that Moscow has never changed its position from the Syrian crisis.
“We have never changed our position (on Syria) and we never will,” Lukashevich said.
“Our position remains in effect,” he told reporters. “It is unchanged.”
There are new findings, according to Al Manar news, that two Russian warships docked in the port of Tartus today, for several hours but their crews did not go ashore, the Interfax and ITAR-TASS news agencies reported.
“They loaded up on fuel and water and had minor repairs. No shore leave was planned for the crew,” a source in the naval chief of staff told the Interfax news agency.The Tartus base is Russia’s only remaining foreign military base outside the former Soviet Union and is seen as a major strategic asset for Moscow. READ FULL ARTICLE>>
Newscast Media MOSCOW—Russia sees “elements of blackmail” in the West’s linking of new sanctions against Syria with the extension of the international observer mission there, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday, and said it was unrealistic to expect Moscow to force President Assad to step down.
“To our great distress, we see elements of blackmail,” Lavrov said. “They tell us, if you don’t give us an agreement on accepting the [UN Security Council] resolution on Article 7 of the United Nations, then we will refuse to prolong the UN Observer Mission mandate,” he added, ahead of a meeting with the UN’s special envoy on Syria, Kofi Annan. The unarmed observers were sent to Syria following a UN Security Council vote in April, to observe compliance with Annan’s peace plan.
Moscow thinks such an approach “is absolutely counterproductive and dangerous because to use the observers as bargaining chips is inadmissible,” Lavrov said. On Wednesday, Britain, France and Germany presented the UN Security Council with a draft resolution which coordinated an extension of the UN Observer mission in Syria with the fulfillment by the Syrian government of a series of demands within ten days, including an end to use of heavy weapons.
The draft included introduction of a series of diplomatic and economic sanctions against Damascus if it failed to carry out the resolution’s demands, in line with Article Seven of the UN Charter, which allows the Council to “determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression” and to take military and nonmilitary action to “restore international peace and security”.
Russia declared that it would not accept the western draft project and presented its draft document which included an extension of the observer mission for another three months to carry out the Kofi Annan plan to resolve the conflict.
Lavrov also dismissed as “unrealistic” calls by Western powers for it to use its influence to persuade Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to stand down as leader of the violence-stricken Middle East country.
“They tell us that we should persuade Assad to step down of his own free will. This is simply unrealistic,” Lavrov said. “He will not leave – not because we are protecting him, but because he has the support of a very significant part of the country’s population.”
“We will accept any decision by the Syrian people on who will govern Syria, as long as it comes from the Syrians themselves,” Russia’s top diplomat added.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said last week that both Russia and China would “pay a price” for what she said was their support for Assad. Western powers have repeatedly accused both countries of protecting the embattled Syria leader. The Kremlin is continuing to push Annan’s six-point peace plan as the only way to bring an end to the spiral of violence in Syria, despite the failure of a ceasefire stipulated under the deal, which rebel forces have said they will no longer abide by. Annan’s plan does not call for Assad’s departure.
“We need to pressure both the regime and the opposition to make them stop the violence,” Lavrov said, adding that Russia had been able to persuade the Syrian armed opposition to drop what he said were “radical demands.”
“They are continuing to talk about a revolution,” he said. Lavrov held talks with two Syrian opposition groups last week.
Russia – along with China – has refused to support Western-backed UN resolutions on Syria that it says betray a pro-rebel bias and which could leave the door open for foreign military intervention against the Assad regime. Putin vowed earlier this year not to allow a repeat of the “Libya scenario,” which saw the ouster and murder of long-time Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi after a NATO military campaign.
Newscast Media MOSCOW—Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev was confirmed as the country’s new prime minister by a majority of votes in the State Duma on Tuesday.
President Vladimir Putin submitted Medvedev’s candidacy for the post shortly after his inauguration as president on Monday. Medvedev occupied the presidential post in 2008-2012.
Before the vote on Tuesday, Putin introduced Medvedev to the lawmakers as an experienced politician who stood behind crucial reforms in the country.
“In an open dialog with civil society, he began serious reforms, reformed aimed to improve productivity of the government apparatus, the law-enforcement and judicial system that could protect people and defend truth and justice,” Putin said.
Following winter protests over the results of parliamentary elections, Medvedev pushed for liberalizing the law on political parties relaxing their registration requirements, and also campaigned for reintroducing direct gubernatorial elections. The proposals he made on Tuesday generally coincided with the decrees Puin issued
Putin also praised the former president for his modernization efforts and passion for technology as well as for projects to promote young talents. After the complimentary introduction, the candidate prime minister took the floor and outlined an ambitious program for Russia’s further development.
To be approved as prime minister, Medvedev had to collect the majority of votes in the 450-seat Duma, which is at least 226 votes. United Russia, which earlier proposed Medvedev as its leader, holds 238 seats.
Both Putin, former premier, and Medvedev said before the presidential polls in March that they would swap their positions if Putin won the elections.