Voices from Russia

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Iran Rejects AP Report of Agreement with USA on Nuclear Materials Shipment to Russia

01 Iran atom bomb

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On Saturday, the Iranian Foreign Ministry rejected an Associated Press (AP) report of an alleged agreement with the USA on the list of nuclear materials intended for shipment to Russia. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Marzieh Afkham said that the report on an agreement between Iran and the USA on a formula to reduce Tehran’s nuclear programme is “baseless”. Mehr quoted Ms Afkham as saying, “There’s been no deal on any issue” regarding Iran’s nuclear programme. She also said that such media reports aim to “complicate” and “demolish” the nuclear talks. On Friday, citing diplomatic sources, the AP reported that Iran and the USA tentatively agreed on a formula that Washington hoped would reduce Tehran’s ability to make nuclear arms by committing it to ship to Russia much of the material needed for such weapons. The report came as Iran and the six world powers were preparing to have the second round of talks on the Iran nuclear issue in Geneva on 15 January. After failing to reach an agreement by 24 November 2014, Iran and the six world powers (Russia, China, the UK, the USA, and France plus Germany) decided to extend their discussions for seven more months. Western nations suspect Iran of using its nuclear research for developing atomic weapons whilst Iran insists that its nuclear programme is only for peaceful purposes.

3 January 2015

ITAR-TASS        

http://itar-tass.com/en/world/770286

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Putin Speaks… On This and On That

00.01b Russian Paralympians. 08.12. Putin. Moscow

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On Wednesday, President Vladimir Putin said in an interview that Russia doesn’t rule out agreeing to a military operation in Syria, provided Damascus‘ responsibility for using chemical weapons is proven… but only with UN approval. In an interview with the AP and Первый Канал (Pervy Kanal: Channel One), Putin emphasised that there’s still no “exact information” about what exactly happened in Syria, or even that chemical weapons were used at all. Putin said, “It’s still not clear whether chemical weapons or simply some kind of harmful chemical substances were used”. He underscored that it was necessary to await the conclusions of the UN inspection team that was sent to Syria at the end of last month to investigate the sites of alleged chemical weapons attacks. Putin described video footage of dead children allegedly killed by the chemical attacks as “horrible”, but said the footage didn’t provide any answers to his questions about who was responsible. He claimed the video could’ve been produced by militants linked to al-Qaeda, “which has always been noted for its brutality”. Putin said that if the UN analysis revealed “clear proof” that the Syrian government was responsible for a chemical weapon attack, Russia “would be ready to act in the most decisive and serious manner”, but emphasised that military action could only be taken against Damascus following a joint decision by the UN Security Council, saying, “Any other methods to justify use of force against an independent and sovereign state are unacceptable, and can only be qualified as aggression”. Putin confirmed that Russia supplied some components for S-300 air defence missile systems to Syria, but suspended completion of those deliveries, noting, “If we see that they [Syria] are taking some steps related to the violation of existing international standards, then, we’ll consider how to act in the future, including supplying sensitive weapons in certain regions of the world”.

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President Putin denied the existence of anti-gay laws in Russia, pledged not to allow discrimination against homosexual athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics and said that he might meet members of Russia’s LGBT community for talks on their status if they requested it. Putin signed a controversial and vaguely-worded law in June banning the promotion of “non-traditional sexual relationships” to minors, an offense punishable with hefty fines. Whilst the law’s proponents argue it’s aimed at protecting children, critics claim the legislation is part of a much wider crackdown on Russia’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. Putin retorted to those accusations by claiming Russian gays aren’t abused in any walk of life, adding that he is comfortable about working with them and granting them state awards, according to a transcript of his interview with the AP and Первый Канал (Pervy Kanal: Channel One), posted on his website Wednesday.

Putin said, “People of non-traditional sexual orientation are in no way abused professionally, or, when it comes to the level of salaries, or, even if they achieve something creatively in their work, they aren’t abused even from the viewpoint of the government’s recognition of their achievements, I mean when they get awards, medals. They’re absolutely fully-valued citizens of the Russian Federation, equal in their rights. I assure you, I work with such people, I sometimes give state medals and awards to them for their achievements in various fields”. Asked whether the law he’d signed will be enforced at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia’s Black Sea resort of Sochi, Putin said, “There’d be no negative consequences, I hope. We have no laws directed against persons of non-traditional sexual orientation. A law banning the propaganda of non-traditional sexual orientation was adopted in Russia, but these are absolutely different things”.

In August, Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko (Ministry of Sport is Minsport in Russian bureaucratese) equated the promotion of homosexuality with that of alcohol and drug abuse, whilst the MVD insisted it would enforce the law at the Sochi Olympics. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said it sought clarification before issuing a formal statement on the law, whilst some international gay rights groups called for a boycott of the Games. Putin said anyone concerned about the implementation of the law at the Olympics could be assured that “Russia will strictly support the Olympic principles that don’t allow discrimination against people for any reason… nationality, gender, or anything else you mentioned, including sexual orientation”. World leaders including US President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron condemned the law and insisted that it’s the wrong way to tackle the issue.

For many years, the authorities banned gay rallies in Moscow and other Russian cities, the police dispersed them, and anti-gay protesters, including vigilante Orthodox Christian groups, violently assaulted and verbally abused LGBT activists. Putin said that he could meet with LGBT activists to discuss their problems, if they ask him to, saying, “As a rule, I meet with everyone who comes up with a request about a meeting and offers to discuss a certain problem that they think is important”, adding, “so far, there have been no offers” from LGBT activists. Putin reportedly said about such a meeting, “Why not?” One of Russia’s leading gay rights campaigners was quick to respond to the offer. Nikolai Alekseyev said on Twitter, “Dear Vladimir Vladimirovich! I ask you for a meeting to discuss the situation about LGBT [issues] in Russia and in the world!” Alekseyev, who has for years been trying to hold a Gay Pride event in Russia, said that he’d submit an official request for a meeting to Putin’s administration. Although Moscow repealed in 1993 a Stalin-era law punishing gays with up to five years in jail, attitudes toward homosexuality remain conservative in Russian society. According to a poll in May by the Levada Centre, almost 80 percent of Russians are in favour of banning promotion of non-traditional relationships. A VTsIOM poll in June suggested that 40 percent of Russians think homosexuality should be a crime.

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On Wednesday, President Putin said in an interview that the USA “is possibly right” to seek the extradition of whistleblower Edward Snowden from Russia, but that Moscow won’t hand him over. Putin said, “The problem isn’t that we’re defending Snowden. We’re not. The problem is that we don’t have a mutual extradition treaty with the USA. The USA refused to sign such a treaty with us. They don’t extradite our criminals… who have tortured people, trafficked people, whose hands are covered in blood. It’s clear that we’re not handing him over, he can feel safe here”. He added that Snowden was a “strange guy… who’s doomed himself to a fairly complicated life”. Putin said that the American security services “could’ve acted more professionally” when tracking down Snowden, who initially fled the USA for Hong Kong. Putin observed that instead of intercepting him in some transit country friendly to the USA, the US government mounted a campaign of pressure that left Snowden stranded in Russia. Putin also confirmed earlier reports that Snowden contacted the Russian embassy in Hong Kong to probe them over a potential asylum bid. However, Putin said that he made it clear that Snowden would have to “give up any activity harmful to Russian-American relations” in order to be admitted into Russia. Putin noted, “He walked away, he just walked away”. Snowden, 30, a former intelligence contractor for the US National Security Agency, passed information to the media in May on American and British state-run surveillance programmes. He found himself stranded in Russia en route to Cuba and was granted a year’s asylum in Russia last month after spending 40 days in Sheremetyevo International Airport’s transit zone.

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President Putin said that US President Barack Obama’s decision to cancel a planned visit to Moscow was “no particular disaster. I’d like the US president to visit Moscow so that we’ve an opportunity to talk, to discuss issues that emerged, but I also see no particular disaster in [the cancellation]”. Obama planned to visit the Russian capital ahead of the G20 summit in St Petersburg due on 5-6 September. However, Obama officially cancelled his visit, citing Moscow’s decision to grant a temporary asylum to fugitive US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, wanted by the USA for revealing an extensive state surveillance network. In the interview, Putin complimented Obama as a good conversationalist, saying, “Our talks are always constructive, to the point and quite sincere. In this respect, the US leader is a very good conversation partner, it’s easy to talk to him because it’s clear what he wants, his stance is clear, he listens to the position of his conversation partner, his opponent, he reacts to it. For me, it is interesting to work with him”. He expressed hope that he would be able to meet with Obama on the sidelines of the upcoming summit to discuss disarmament, global economy and other issues, observing, “I expect that I’d have an opportunity to talk to my US counterpart on the sidelines of the G20 summit in St Petersburg. I’m sure that if the meeting takes place, even … on the sidelines of the summit, it’d be very useful in itself. Anyway, we have many issues on which we’re working and which we’re interested in resolving”. Putin said that the Syrian issue would be raised during the summit and addressed in various formats.

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On Wednesday, President Putin accused US Secretary of State John Kerry of “lying” in Congress by saying there was no al-Qaeda in Syria. Putin said in televised comments, “I watched the debates in Congress. A congressman asked Mr Kerry, ‘Is al-Qaeda there?’ He said, ‘No, we’re telling you responsibly that they aren’t’”. Putin added that the Syrian rebels’ “main combat unit is Jabhat al-Nusra, an al-Qaeda unit. They [the USA] are aware of that. … He [Kerry] lied, and he knows that he lied. This is sad”. During a US congressional debate on Tuesday, Kerry said that there’s a “threat of a chemical weapons cache falling into the hands of al-Nusra”, known as al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria. He didn’t directly say that al-Qaeda is in Syria. Also, Kerry said at a 15 August meeting in Washington with Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari that there were “many al-Qaeda leaders now operating in Syria”, according to the transcript of the meeting posted on the US Department of State’s website.

On Wednesday, Putin said at a discussion of the Syria crisis with his presidential human rights council that it was beyond the authority of the US Congress to sanction a military strike on Syria, saying, “What are they sanctioning? They’re sanctioning aggression, because anything outside the UN Security Council framework is aggression, except for self-defence. However, as we know, Syria isn’t attacking the USA, so this isn’t about defence. This is inadmissible in principle”. Putin pointed up that the USA expected that the Syrian rebels would defeat the pro-government troops and that US military intervention on the ground wouldn’t be needed. Yet, he said, just a short time ago, the Syrian government appeared likely to win the war. He said, “Why do they [the USA] say that not a single American soldier will appear in Syria? Because they think this is unnecessary, that those militants will cope on their own. What they need is support using means and equipment they don’t have… planes, missile equipment. This should be given to them. Well, they’ll get it, right now”.

Putin also questioned the reliability of the American evidence of the Syrian régime’s alleged involvement in conducting a chemical weapons attack late last month that killed civilians. Putin said it was absurd to assume that the Syrian government would’ve decided to use such weapons at a point when it was about to defeat its opponents. The USA said that it’s confident that a 21 August chemical weapons attack in the Damascus suburbs was carried out by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, so, US President Barack Obama is lobbying US lawmakers to support punitive military action against Syrian state targets in response.

4 September 2013

RIA-Novosti

http://en.ria.ru/russia/20130904/183157113/Russia-Does-Not-Rule-Out-Backing-Military-Action-in-Syria–Putin.html

http://en.ria.ru/russia/20130904/183159399/Putin-No-Laws-Against-Gays-in-Russia–Reports.html

http://en.ria.ru/russia/20130904/183164706/Russia-Will-Not-Hand-Snowden-Over-to-US–Putin.html

http://en.ria.ru/politics/20130904/183166382/Putin-Sees-No-Disaster-in-Cancellation-of-Obama-Visit.html

http://en.ria.ru/russia/20130904/183168334/US-Lied-When-It-Said-Theres-No-Al-Qaida-in-Syria–Putin.html

Editor’s Note:

Putin made several things clear today:

  • Homosexuality isn’t illegal in Russia, nor is it going to be made such
  • ANY military operation against Syria MUST have the approval of the UN Security Council
  • Edward Snowden is safe in Russia
  • Obama’s cancellation of a planned meeting was a mere piffle… he and Obama would talk mano-a-mano in other venues
  • Putin believes that John Kerry is a lying scumbag, and “called him out” on his remarks about Syria
  • Putin doesn’t believe a word of the US government’s rationale for war on Syria… he makes it clear that Russia (and, most probably, China) oppose it

This was all in vain… the Western media listens to “its masters’ voice”, not the voice of the truth. However, there’s a good side to all of this… many Americans no longer trust the Corporate Media, and they’ve sought out alternatives. That’s who VVP is addressing. I do think that he’s reached many of them…

BMD  

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Media Reports Say Syrian Rebels Take Responsibility for the Chemical Attack… Admit Weapons Were Provided By Saudis

00 Syria revolt 17.02.12

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In an interview with Dale Gavlak, a Middle East correspondent for the AP and Mint Press News, Syrian rebels tacitly implied that they were responsible for last week’s chemical attack. We couldn’t independently-verify some of the information. Gavlak wrote, “From numerous interviews with doctors, Ghouta residents, rebel fighters, and their families… many believe that certain rebels received chemical weapons via the Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, and were responsible for carrying out the (deadly) gas attack”. The rebels noted it was the result of an accident caused by rebels mishandling chemical weapons provided to them.

Abu Abdel-Moneim, the father of a rebel fighting to unseat Assad, who lives in Ghouta, said, “My son came to me two weeks ago asking what I thought the weapons were that he had been asked to carry”. As Gavlak reported, Abdel-Moneim said that his son and 12 other rebels died in a weapons storage tunnel. The father stated the weapons were provided to rebel forces by a Saudi militant, known as Abu Ayesha, describing them as having a “tube-like structure”, whilst others were like a “huge gas bottle”. A female fighter named “K” complained, “They didn’t tell us what these arms were or how to use them. We didn’t know they were chemical weapons. We never imagined they were chemical weapons. When Saudi Prince Bandar gives such weapons to people, he must give them to those who know how to handle and use them”. She, like other Syrians, doesn’t want to use her full name for fear of retaliation.

Gavlak also referred to an article in the Daily Telegraph about talks stating that Prince Bandar threatened President Putin with terror attacks at next year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi if Russia doesn’t agree to change its stance on Syria. The article stated, “Prince Bandar pledged to safeguard Russia’s naval base in Syria if the Assad régime is toppled, but he also hinted at Chechen terrorist attacks on Russia’s Winter Olympics in Sochi if there is no accord”. Prince Bandar allegedly told Putin, “I can give you a guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics next year. We control the Chechen groups that threaten the security of the games”. Mint Press News stated that it couldn’t independently-verify some of the information and pledged to continue providing updates on this topic.

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A recent VOR post provoked a strong commotion among internet users; some of them claim that VOR’s reports are more credible than the US government’s allegations against the Syrian government. DylanJamesCo on Reddit wrote, “It’s more credible than the USA saying we have real evidence of Assad using them [chemical weapons]. Assad doesn’t get weapons from Saudi Arabia. They don’t have ties. The USA will use any reason it can to go to war. Even if it means creating one”. Meanwhile, not everyone shares such this point of view. KoreyYrvaI wrote, “VOR wants us to believe that the Rebels totally were responsible for the chemical attack, and it was an accident… because Russia has been impartial throughout all of this and I don’t think America (or anyone) needs another war, but this is hardly credible”. However, one thing unites users… they believe that the US government wants and needs another war in the Middle East. NineteenEightyTwo wrote, “America is just getting better at proxy wars. They have firm ties with the Saudis, and they’d have no problem destabilising Syria if it meant the USA could eventually target Iran and its oil reserve”.

30 August 2013

Voice of Russia World Service

http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2013_08_30/Syrian-rebels-take-responsibility-for-the-chemical-attack-admitting-the-weapons-were-provided-by-Saudis-1203/

http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2013_08_30/Voice-of-Russia-might-be-more-credible-than-US-government-Internet-users-0863/

Monday, 1 April 2013

About 75 Vehicles Collided on Highway in Southern Virginia in the USA, Three Dead

00 auto accident. cartoon. 01.04.13

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On Sunday, citing local police sources, the Associated Press reported that about 75 vehicles collided on a highway in the eastern USA, killing at least three people, and injuring more than 20. The accident occurred in south-western Virginia, near the North Carolina border, around 13.15 EDT (10.15 PDT. 18.15 UTC. 21.15 MSK. 04.15 1 April AEST). Police say that the accident snarled up traffic on the highway for over 13 kilometres (8 miles). Several cars caught fire, but firemen rapidly extinguished the flames. Presumably, the accident was due to severe weather conditions… there was thick fog in the area of the accident. RIA-Novosti reported that emergency crews are on the scene.

1 April 2013

Voice of Russia World Service

http://rus.ruvr.ru/2013_04_01/Okolo-75-avtomobilej-stolknulis-na-trasse-na-vostoke-SSHA-troe-pogibshih/

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