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Britain urges Russia not to veto UN ceasefire resolution and end 'merciless' assault on Eastern Ghouta

Added: 24.02.2018 12:35 | 0 views | 0 comments


Britain and its Western allies on Thursday urged Russia to support calls for a ceasefire in Syria and an end to the "brutal and merciless" assault on Eastern Ghouta, which has killed more than 400 civilians over five days of intense bombardment.  As Russian and Syrian regime warplanes continued to pummel the rebel-held suburb of Damascus, world powers gathered at the UN Security Council in New York for an emergency meeting to discuss ways to end the killing. The UK, US, and France called on Russia not to veto a resolution which would establish a 30-day nationwide ceasefire between Syrian rebel and regime forces and allow for the delivery of humanitarian aid to Eastern Ghouta and the evacuation of the wounded.  “I am utterly appalled by the brutal and merciless violence that the Assad regime is inflicting on the people of Eastern Ghouta. They are enduring a hell entirely of the making of Assad and his enablers,” said Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary.  “The UK will press Russia to support a ceasefire to allow for the urgent delivery of humanitarian aid. Protecting Syrians and getting them the lifesaving aid they need must be paramount.” It was not immediately clear when the council would vote on the resolution but diplomats were engaged in intense negotiations to try to craft the measure in such a way that Russia would not veto it.  A wounded Syrian child lies at a makeshift clinic Credit: AMMAR SULEIMAN/AFP/Getty Images Moscow has blocked several previous UN resolutions in the last seven years to shield its Syrian regime allies from international criticism. Russia said it was prepared to consider the resolution as long as it made clear that any ceasefire agreement did not apply to either al-Qaeda or the Islamic State. “The resolution that is on the table, we are ready to look at it, but we have offered very precise phrasing,” said Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister.  Russia told the UN Security Council on Thursday afternoon “there is no agreement” yet on the resolution and that it was demanding several amendments. Russia has often broadly accused the Islamist rebels fighting against the Assad regime of being members of al-Qaeda, an accusation that has derailed previous ceasefire efforts.  More than 400 civilians have been killed in the bombardment of Eastern Ghouta since Sunday Credit: AMER ALMOHIBANY/AFP/Getty Images Several Western diplomats said they believed Russia would ultimately veto the resolution irrespective of any concessions made.  "If everyone in this chamber were to commit unequivocally [to the resolution] today it could have an impact on the ground," Jonathan Allen, the deputy British ambassador, told the UN council.  "It could save the lives of thousands of innocent men, women and children being killed as we speak today in this chamber." The UN security council gathered in New York as the bombing continued in Eastern Ghouta Credit: TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images The resolution is being authored by Kuwait and Sweden. Olof Skoog, the Swedish UN ambassador, pleaded for a quick vote. "There has to be a decision very, very soon. People are dying," he said. As the diplomats gathered in the UN’s Manhattan headquarters, the streets of Eastern Ghouta continued to shake with the blasts of bombs and the roar of aircraft overhead. “Anyone living in Eastern Ghouta is here waiting for death,” said Omran Dumani as he sheltered in a basement with his family.   The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group, said 403 civilians had been killed since the bombardment began on Sunday, including 95 children. Activists said that more than 100 strikes were carried out by jets and helicopters on top of intensive artillery bombardment.  A video widely circulated on social media showed a father picking his son’s body off the back of a truck, where it lay wrapped in a white shroud alongside several other corpses. The man wept as he rocked his dead child back and forth.   Bassem, an anesthetist at one Eastern Ghouta’s beleaguered hospitals, said he and others in the besieged enclave had long ago stopped paying attention to what happened at the UN.  “All the people in Ghouta will tell you the same thing: the international community has abandoned us. There is no humanity in the world because if there were then we would not be in this situation,” he said.  

Charged 'Putin's chef' runs news sites along with troll army

Added: 24.02.2018 9:18 | 0 views | 0 comments


MOSCOW (AP) — He's been indicted in the U.S. for meddling in the 2016 presidential election with an army of trolls and his private military company has trodden battlefields in Ukraine and Syria. Still, the Russian multimillionaire dubbed "Putin's chef" runs yet another asset that is valuable to the Kremlin: a sprawling Russian media empire.

From: www.yahoo.com

Russian mercenary boss spoke with Kremlin before attacking US forces in Syria, intel claims

Added: 24.02.2018 9:02 | 0 views | 0 comments


A businessman known as “Putin's chef” spoke with top officials in Damascus and Moscow before Russian mercenaries he is believed to control launched a disastrous attack on US and Kurdish forces in Syria, according to US intelligence reports.  The news comes just days after the businessman, Yevgeny Prigozhin, was indicted in the United States for allegedly running a pro-Kremlin troll factory that interfered in the 2016 election.  The February 7 attack was the first deadly clash between citizens of Russia and the United States since the Cold War and suggests that tensions in Syria could grow even as the Islamic State is pushed back. Moscow initially denied the casualties. The foreign ministry later admitted at least five Russians had been killed and several dozen wounded, but said they weren't soldiers. Mr Prigozhin told a senior Syrian official in an intercepted communication in late January that he had received permission from a Russian minister for a “fast and strong” initiative and was waiting for a go-ahead from Damascus, according to intelligence reports seen by The Washington Post.  Kirill Ananyev had been working as a military contractor in Syria and was killed in the February 7 US airstrikes, a friend confirmed to The Telegraph Credit: Twitter US intelligence has said it believes Mr Prigozhin controls the Wagner private military company, and the reports suggest he closely coordinated the group's operations in Syria with the Kremlin.  The restaurant and catering magnate has in the past won lucrative contracts from the defence ministry. Close to Vladimir Putin, he has personally served the president on several occasions, including during meetings with George W. Bush.  At the end of January, Mr Prigozhin told Syrian officials that he had a “good surprise” for Bashar Assad “that would come between 6 and 9 February”. Presidential affairs minister Mansour Fadlallah Azzam reportedly promised Mr Prigozhin would be paid for his efforts. During the same period, Mr Prigozhin began communicating more frequently with top Kremlin officials, including Vladimir Putin's chief of staff Anton Vaino and deputy chief of staff Vladimir Ostrovenko, according to the intelligence reports. He spoke with Russian officials again the day after the calamitous attack.  Mr Putin's chief of staff Anton Vaino, left, who US intelligence said spoke with Mr Prigozhin before the attack, attends a Defender of the Fatherland Day ceremony on Friday Credit: Mikhail Metzel/TASS via Getty Images Employees at Mr Prigozhin's Concord Catering company and Concord Management and Consulting declined to comment when reached by The Telegraph. The Kremlin had not replied to requests for comment on Friday. On February 7, between 300 and 500 pro-regime fighters supported by artillery, tank and rocket fire advanced on a Syrian Democratic Forces base at an oilfield near Deir Ezzor, according to the US military. US special forces at the base called in airstrikes that killed 100 enemy fighters, it said.  Many of those killed were Russians, a friend of one of the dead told The Telegraph last week. The Conflict Intelligence Team, which tracks Russian military activity, has named nine Russians who were killed in the strike and said many were Wagner group employees. It told The Telegraph that the Kremlin has come to rely on this illegal private military company to keep official casualty numbers low during its pro-Assad bombing campaign. Mr Putin promised not to deploy ground troops and said in December he would withdraw most forces. A Syrian pro-regime fighter who was also wounded in the US airstrikes on February 7 is seen in a hospital Credit: AFP/Getty Images A Syrian government contract seen by AP and Russian media promised a company linked to the Wagner group 25% of the profits from oil and gas fields its contractors could capture.  But it remains unclear why the Russians were allowed to charge to their deaths after US commanders had repeatedly warned their Russian counterparts the force should not advance.  Analyst Yury Barmin told The Telegraph that the Russian defence ministry may have been hostile toward Mr Prigozhin conducting a major operation without its approval.    “It looks like internal power struggle,” he said of the February 7 incident.  Mr Putin meets with George W. Bush and other world leaders at a 2006 dinner served by Mr Prigozhin, who is seen at right Credit: Sergei Zhukov/Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP, file Mr Prigozhin has long been tied to the Wagner group, and his Concord Management and Consulting is headed by Dmitry Utkin, who was sanctioned by the United States as Wagner's leader, according to business records.  A US indictment last week said Mr Prigozhin's trolls impersonated Americans on social media to exacerbate divisions and promote Donald Trump.  Mr Putin, who thanked veterans of the Syrian operation in a speech last night, awarded a medal on Friday to the widow of a pilot who blew himself with a grenade after parachuting out over rebel territory.

Protest in Istanbul against bloodshed in Syria's E.Ghouta

Added: 24.02.2018 6:34 | 0 views | 0 comments


More than 350 civilians have been killed in the five-day-old blitz by the Syrian regime led by President Bashar al-Assad in the rebel-held enclave near Damascus. Regime supporter Russia has been accused of taking part in air strikes but the Kremlin denied involvement, on Wednesday calling the accusations "groundless". The demonstrators, most of them Syrians, chanted slogans against Damascus as well as Moscow and another regime supporter, Iran, an AFP correspondent said.

From: www.yahoo.com

Charged ‘Putin’s chef’ runs news sites along with troll army

Added: 24.02.2018 6:02 | 0 views | 0 comments

MOSCOW (AP) — He’s been indicted in the U.S. for meddling in the 2016 presidential election with an army of trolls and his private military company has trodden battlefields in Ukraine and Syria. Still, the Russian multimillionaire dubbed “Putin’s chef” runs yet another asset that is valuable to the Kremlin: a sprawling Russian media empire. [...]

From: www.seattletimes.com

Russian mercenary boss spoke with Kremlin before attacking US forces in Syria, intel claims

Added: 24.02.2018 5:34 | 0 views | 0 comments


A businessman known as “Putin's chef” spoke with top officials in Damascus and Moscow before Russian mercenaries he is believed to control launched a disastrous attack on US and Kurdish forces in Syria, according to US intelligence reports.  The news comes just days after the businessman, Yevgeny Prigozhin, was indicted in the United States for allegedly running a pro-Kremlin troll factory that interfered in the 2016 election.  The February 7 attack was the first deadly clash between citizens of Russia and the United States since the Cold War and suggests that tensions in Syria could grow even as the Islamic State is pushed back. Moscow initially denied the casualties. The foreign ministry later admitted at least five Russians had been killed and several dozen wounded, but said they weren't soldiers. Mr Prigozhin told a senior Syrian official in an intercepted communication in late January that he had received permission from a Russian minister for a “fast and strong” initiative and was waiting for a go-ahead from Damascus, according to intelligence reports seen by The Washington Post.  Kirill Ananyev had been working as a military contractor in Syria and was killed in the February 7 US airstrikes, a friend confirmed to The Telegraph Credit: Twitter US intelligence has said it believes Mr Prigozhin controls the Wagner private military company, and the reports suggest he closely coordinated the group's operations in Syria with the Kremlin.  The restaurant and catering magnate has in the past won lucrative contracts from the defence ministry. Close to Vladimir Putin, he has personally served the president on several occasions, including during meetings with George W. Bush.  At the end of January, Mr Prigozhin told Syrian officials that he had a “good surprise” for Bashar Assad “that would come between 6 and 9 February”. Presidential affairs minister Mansour Fadlallah Azzam reportedly promised Mr Prigozhin would be paid for his efforts. During the same period, Mr Prigozhin began communicating more frequently with top Kremlin officials, including Vladimir Putin's chief of staff Anton Vaino and deputy chief of staff Vladimir Ostrovenko, according to the intelligence reports. He spoke with Russian officials again the day after the calamitous attack.  Mr Putin's chief of staff Anton Vaino, left, who US intelligence said spoke with Mr Prigozhin before the attack, attends a Defender of the Fatherland Day ceremony on Friday Credit: Mikhail Metzel/TASS via Getty Images Employees at Mr Prigozhin's Concord Catering company and Concord Management and Consulting declined to comment when reached by The Telegraph. The Kremlin had not replied to requests for comment on Friday. On February 7, between 300 and 500 pro-regime fighters supported by artillery, tank and rocket fire advanced on a Syrian Democratic Forces base at an oilfield near Deir Ezzor, according to the US military. US special forces at the base called in airstrikes that killed 100 enemy fighters, it said.  Many of those killed were Russians, a friend of one of the dead told The Telegraph last week. The Conflict Intelligence Team, which tracks Russian military activity, has named nine Russians who were killed in the strike and said many were Wagner group employees. It told The Telegraph that the Kremlin has come to rely on this illegal private military company to keep official casualty numbers low during its pro-Assad bombing campaign. Mr Putin promised not to deploy ground troops and said in December he would withdraw most forces. A Syrian pro-regime fighter who was also wounded in the US airstrikes on February 7 is seen in a hospital Credit: AFP/Getty Images A Syrian government contract seen by AP and Russian media promised a company linked to the Wagner group 25% of the profits from oil and gas fields its contractors could capture.  But it remains unclear why the Russians were allowed to charge to their deaths after US commanders had repeatedly warned their Russian counterparts the force should not advance.  Analyst Yury Barmin told The Telegraph that the Russian defence ministry may have been hostile toward Mr Prigozhin conducting a major operation without its approval.    “It looks like internal power struggle,” he said of the February 7 incident.  Mr Putin meets with George W. Bush and other world leaders at a 2006 dinner served by Mr Prigozhin, who is seen at right Credit: Sergei Zhukov/Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP, file Mr Prigozhin has long been tied to the Wagner group, and his Concord Management and Consulting is headed by Dmitry Utkin, who was sanctioned by the United States as Wagner's leader, according to business records.  A US indictment last week said Mr Prigozhin's trolls impersonated Americans on social media to exacerbate divisions and promote Donald Trump.  Mr Putin, who thanked veterans of the Syrian operation in a speech last night, awarded a medal on Friday to the widow of a pilot who blew himself with a grenade after parachuting out over rebel territory.

Russia's Su-57 Deployment in Syria Is a Dangerous Farce

Added: 24.02.2018 2:02 | 0 views | 0 comments


Late in the evening on Feb. 21, 2018, a photograph appeared on social media purportedly showing two Russian Sukhoi T-50 prototype stealth fighters — also known as PAK-FAs or Su-57s — in the sky over Hmemmem air base in western Syria. Back in November 2017, Russian president Vladimir Putin ordered most of the Russian military contingent in Syria to withdraw, two years after Moscow intervened in the ongoing regional war.

From: www.yahoo.com

Wednesday's highlights from Milan Fashion Week

Added: 23.02.2018 17:02 | 0 views | 0 comments


Day two at Milan Fashion Week brought spectacular shows from Gucci and Moschino, as well as collection presentations from Annakiki, Alberta Ferretti and N°21. There were notable appearances from Bella and Gigi Hadid, plus Kaia Gerber, who opened several shows. In recent seasons, Alessandro Michele has been sure to cause a buzz in Milan when presenting new Gucci collections.

From: www.yahoo.com

Russia criticizes Western pressure to turn away from Moscow

Added: 23.02.2018 15:02 | 0 views | 0 comments


BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Russia's foreign minister on Wednesday criticized Western policies toward his country, blasting the European Union for failing to maintain good relations with Moscow despite the divisions over Ukraine and many other issues.

From: www.yahoo.com

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