• Sanctions on Russia could affect Israel, Finland FM says
    Erkki Tuomioja said that after offering Israel mainly ’carrots’ to bring about peace with the Palestinians, the EU may have to use ’sticks.’
    By Amira Hass | Sep. 15, 2014Haaretz

    The European Union’s sanctions against Russia in response to the situation in Ukraine will affect the organization’s policy on Israel, Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja said in an interview with Haaretz in Helsinki last week.

    Tuomioja said that after offering Israel mainly “carrots” in an effort to bring about peace with the Palestinians, Brussels may have to use “sticks” as well, in order to show that foot-dragging carries a cost.

    On Thursday, a day before the EU announced it was broadening sanctions against Russia, Tuomioja told Haaretz: “If a country invades and occupies and annexes part of another country this is clearly illegal and being followed by sanctions of the EU and other countries. So the question that many people are asking, this is fine and we accept it, but how come the Palestinian territories have been occupied for 47 years and there are no sanctions? Nobody has proposed, but we are aware that there is a link with the Ukraine Crimea crisis. So this will come up in the discussions,” he said.

    He added that “One of the countries that did not vote on the resolution condemning the annexation of Crimea was Israel.”

    Tuomioja said there was consensus in the EU that it and the other members of the Quartet on the Middle East – the United Nations, the United States and Russia – “have to be more actively engaged” in Israeli-Palestinian matters, after a prolonged period of conscious disengagement when U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry took the lead in the negotiations.

    The talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority that ended earlier this year “did not lead anywhere,” Tuomioja said, adding: “We of course recognize that without the Americans nothing can be achieved but it is not enough; we also need EU engagement.”

    “So far the EU has offered carrots,” the Finnish foreign minister said, in the event the two-state solution is implemented “support and aid to the PA state and new possibilities of Israeli-European trade and other relations. But it also seems that it needs the possibility of sticks. If there is no progress, it has to be shown that there are costs involved in the stalling,” Tuomioja said.

    Tuomioja is considered the leftmost member of the Social Democratic Party of Finland, which is in a coalition government with four other parties, all of them to its right. Tuomioja has been foreign minister since 2011, a position he served in from 2000 to 2007.

    Policy gap

    He has made statements critical of Israel in the past. One, in 2001, was interpreted as comparing Israel’s actions with those of Nazi Germany in the 1930s, an interpretation rejected by Finland’s Foreign Ministry.

    When asked about the gap between his personal opinions on the Israeli occupation and Finnish policy, Tuomioja said that Finnish policy on the ground is dependent on the governing coalition in Helsinki and the member of the EU. He is personally against continuing to buy arms from Israel, for example, but in Finland the defense minister (Carl Haglund, of the Swedish People’s Party of Finland) has sole authority over arms imports, whereas the entire cabinet must approve arms sales.

    Tuomioja said Finland was among the states that influenced the formulation of the European Union Foreign Affairs Council’s Conclusions on the Middle East Process, issued on July 22, during the war in the Gaza Strip. Because the statement recognized Israel’s right to defend itself and demanded that all terrorist groups in the Strip must disarm, it was interpreted as especially positive toward Israel.

    But Tuomioja also said that at the request of Finland and other EU members it also included the EU position regarding a peace agreement in the region. He noted that the statement also said the EU condemns the loss of hundreds of civilian lives as a result of the Israeli military operation. In the past, Tuomioja said, the EU used “regrets” rather than “condemns” in regard to Israeli actions, and he implied that the decision over which words to use was not taken lightly.

  • Mise aux enchères prochaine des licences 3G en Ukraine. Que faire des opérateurs russes, les deux principaux détenant 80% de la téléphonie mobile…

    Ukraine’s Threat To Shun Russian Telecoms Hard To Fulfill - Business Insider (Reuters)

    Russian mobile firms face being squeezed out of Ukraine after Kiev signaled it would favor European companies in future airwave auctions to curb Moscow’s influence in the country.

    It’s the latest move in a concerted effort by Kiev, Europe and the United States, to push Russian companies out of international markets until Moscow halts its involvement in territorial fighting in eastern Ukraine. The United States and the EU have imposed sanctions; Kiev and Moscow are engaged in tit for tat action to hurt each other’s businesses.

    Yet Ukraine’s government - which has yet to publish the terms of future airwave auctions - may struggle to sideline Russia’s top mobile operators: One has already said it may seek legal redress if necessary and the other may follow.

    And with Kiev needing billions in cash to cover funding gaps - the crisis has drained its already shaky economy - it seems unlikely that Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk will follow through his threat to sell a data-focused third-generation (3G) telecom license to an EU operator for 1 hryvnia ($0.0771) “with the only purpose of not having the Russian monopoly here.

    Around 80 percent of Ukraine’s mobile market is controlled by Russia’s top mobile firm MTS and Amsterdam-based Vimpelcom, in which Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman’s Alfa-Group is the biggest shareholder.

  • Russia delivers more aid; Ukraine repels rebel siege | The Journal Gazette (Associated Press)
    Pro-Russian armoured vehicles drive down the road leading to the destroyed Luhansk International Airport, eastern Ukraine, on September 11, 2014.
    © AFP

    A convoy of more than 200 white trucks crossed the Russian border to deliver humanitarian aid to a battered Ukrainian city Saturday, a move made without Kiev’s consent yet met with silence by Ukraine’s top leaders.

    Early in the morning, we entered Ukraine to bring aid to Luhansk,” said Yury Stepanov, a Russian who was overseeing the convoy. “We came in around 215 vehicles,” he added, as workers unloaded boxes into a local warehouse.

    The much-needed aid arrived as fighting flared again between pro-Russian rebels and government forces, further imperiling an already fragile cease-fire in the region.

    On Saturday, Ukraine’s military operation in the east said it had repelled a rebel attack on the government-held airport of Donetsk, which came under artillery fire from rebel positions late Friday. Ukrainian authorities also admitted for the first time since the cease-fire started last week that they have inflicted casualties on the rebel side.

  • Guerre anti-Daech : Dix pays arabes suivent les Etats-Unis, Damas met en garde

    Les Etats-Unis ont obtenu jeudi de dix pays arabes leur l’engagement, y compris éventuellement militaire, dans l’offensive annoncée par le président Barack Obama pour « éradiquer » les jihadistes de l’Etat islamique (EI) en Irak et en Syrie.

    Le régime syrien, appuyé par la Russie, a toutefois mis en garde Washington contre d’éventuelles frappes sur son territoire sans son accord.


      Isis air strikes: Obama’s plan condemned by Syria, Russia and Iran
      Russia said it would not support any military action without a UN resolution authorising it. “The US president has spoken directly about the possibility of strikes by the US armed forces against Isil positions in Syria without the consent of the legitimate government,” said a spokesman. “This step, in the absence of a UN security council decision, would be an act of aggression, a gross violation of international law.” China said that the world should fight terror but that national sovereignty must be respected.

      In Damascus, the Assad government warned against US raids. “Any action of any kind without the consent of the Syrian government would be an attack on Syria,” said the national reconciliation minister, Ali Haidar. Analysts believe, however, that Assad would be likely to ignore strikes on Isis targets – and even seek to quietly cooperate with western efforts.

  • Tropical forests illegally destroyed for commercial agriculture | Global development |

    Increasing international demand for palm oil, beef, soy and wood is fuelling the illegal destruction of tropical forests at an alarming rate, according to new analysis that suggests nearly half of all recent tropical deforestation is the result of unlawful clearing for commercial agriculture.

    The report, by the Washington-based NGO Forest Trends, concludes that 71% of tropical deforestation between 2000 and 2012 was due to commercial cultivation. Of that deforestation, 49% was caused by illegal clearing to make way for agricultural products whose largest buyers include the EU, China, India, Russia and the US.

    The global market for beef, leather, soy, palm oil, tropical timbers, pulp and paper – worth an estimated $61bn (£38bn) a year – resulted in the clearance of more than 200,000 square kilometres of tropical forest in the first decade of the 21st century, the report says. Put another way, an average of five football fields of tropical forest were lost every minute over that period.

    #déforestation #forêt_tropicale #soja #élevage #huile_de_palme

  • Ukraine: Mounting evidence of war crimes and Russian involvement | Amnesty Internationa

    Ukrainian militia and separatist forces are responsible for war crimes, Amnesty International said today. The organisation accused Russia of fuelling separatist crimes as it revealed satellite images indicating a build-up of Russian armour and artillery in eastern Ukraine.

    Despite a fragile cease-fire, the situation on the ground remains fraught with danger and Amnesty International calls on all parties, including Russia, to stop violations of the laws of war.


    Amnesty International documents war crimes by pro-Kiev militia - World Socialist Web Site

    Amnesty International documents war crimes by pro-Kiev militia
    By Julie Hyland
    11 September 2014

    Amnesty International released a report September 8 on war crimes committed by pro-Kiev forces against ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine. The document, “Ukraine: Abuses and war crimes by the Aidar VolunteerBattalion in the north Luhansk region,” is the result of a two-week research mission in the region. It confirms that the Kiev regime is using extreme-right militias to suppress pro-Russian opposition to February’s Western-backed coup—with the tacit backing of the US and European Union (EU).

    The Aidar battalion is among some 50 “volunteer” units that constitute a vital part of the “Anti-Terrorist Operation” in eastern Ukraine mounted by the government of President Petro Poroshenko. Amnesty does not state the political affiliations of the Aidar battalion, whose motto is “God is with us”, although it is described elsewhere as extreme-right. Like numerous other fascist organisations, its members were active in the Maidan protests sponsored by Washington and Berlin that ousted former President Viktor Yanukovych in February.


    Ukrainian Nationalist Volunteers Committing ’ISIS-Style’ War Crimes

    Groups of right-wing Ukrainian nationalists are committing war crimes in the rebel-held territories of Eastern Ukraine, according to a report from Amnesty International, as evidence emerged in local media of the volunteer militias beheading their victims.

    Armed volunteers who refer to themselves as the Aidar battalion “have been involved in widespread abuses, including abductions, unlawful detention, ill-treatment, theft, extortion, and possible executions”, Amnesty said.

    #ukraine #russie #amnesty #crimes_de_guerre

  • Russian ambassador to #Lebanon deplores “incomplete” #Jeddah anti-terrorism conference

    The Russian ambassador to #Lebanon, #Alexander_Zasypkin, said the meeting hosted by #Saudi_Arabia today and tomorrow to discuss the creation of an international alliance against terrorism was “incomplete, because it does not include all parties fighting terrorism.” He described the conference – which excluded #Russia, Iran, and Syria – as “a meeting of the friends of the US and NATO.”

    #Articles #Beirut #Nouhad_al-Machnouk #Samir_Moqbel #Sergei_Lavrov #Vladimir_Putin #Walid_Muallem

  • Intéressante analyse des projets occidentaux concernant la Russie

    Redrawing the Map of the Russian Federation: Partitioning Russia
    After World War III? | Global Research

    The end goal of the US and NATO is to divide (balkanize) and pacify (finlandize) the world’s biggest country, the Russian Federation, and to even establish a blanket of perpetual disorder (somalization) over its vast territory or, at a minimum, over a portion of Russia and the post-Soviet space, similarly to what is being done to the Middle East and North Africa.

    The future Russia or the many future Russias, a plurality of weakened and divided states, that Washington and its NATO allies see is/are demographically in decline, de-industrialized, poor, without any defensive capabilities, and hinterlands that will exploited for their resources.

  • Ukraine president says Russia moves most forces back across border | Reuters

    According to the latest information that I have received from our intelligence, 70 percent of Russian troops have been moved back across the border,” Poroshenko told a government meeting.

    This further strengthens our hope that the peace initiatives have good prospects.

  • « The Kremlin is currently holding internal discussions about instituting complex methods for tightening the control over Internet access providers. This means filtering content at all levels of content, forbidding the registration of .ru and .rf domain names outside of the Russian Federation, and forbidding local and regional networks from sending data to Internet networks outside of the country. »

    À noter que, quand les russes ou les iraniens font cela, c’est de la censure. Quand c’est la France (cf. rapport du Conseil d’État hier), c’est retrouver sa souveraineté numérique et donner une juste place aux gouvernements.

    Une des propositions du Kremlin est « it would be illegal to have #DNS servers for domains that end in .ru or .rf (Russia’s two domains [l’article oublie de dire que ce second TLD s’écrit en cyrillique] registered outside of Russia. [...] It would be expensive to establish DNS servers in Russia. Right now, most DNS servers are in the United States, with some others located in Germany and China. »

    Je ne connais pas les chiffres pour la Russie mais, pour la France, ils figurent dans le rapport ODRIF (mesure de la résilience de l’Internet en France) :

    60 % des serveurs DNS des domaines de .fr sont en France.

    #Russie #Internet #censure

  • Sepp Blatter says ‘Boycotts don’t help.’ ‘Would Mandela agree?’

    Earlier this week Sepp Blatter, defending FIFA’s decision to not rescind its decision to award Russia the World Cup in 2022, said “Boycotts don’t help. Watch it here for yourself. As, a site not usually know for its progressive politics (they usually line up behind the worst aspects of US foreign policy) wondered: “Would […]

  • Sombre histoire de publi-rédactionnel non annoncé comme tel pour la rédactrice du projet de loi anti-corruption en Ukraine.

    Anti-corruption bill co-author linked to paid-for media campaign

    Nunn [chief executive for Whites Communication, a London-based public relations firm that has operations in Ukraine] added that paying for published stories that promote a certain politician or a corporation is popular not just in Ukraine, but in the Western media too.

    Et pour la corruption, apparemment elle s’y connait…

    [Olena] Tyshchenko, 38, is a lawyer and a mother of four, was accused in Russia for participating in a money laundering scheme organized by Mukhtar Ablyazov, Kazakhstan’s former energy minister and head of the local BTA bank involving $3.3 billion. She was released in Russia under an economic amnesty law and in April joined the Ukrainian government’s anti-corruption office then led by Chornovol.

  • L’accord tripartite Ukraine-Russie-OSCE
    (traduction non officielle par le Kyiv Post)
    OSCE releases the 12-point protocol agreements reached between Ukraine, Russia and separatists in Minsk

    As a result of consideration and discussion of the proposals from members of consultations in Minsk on Sept. 1. 2014, the Trilateral contact group composed of representatives from Ukraine, Russian Federation and Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, an understanding was reached regarding the need to take the following steps:

    1. Provide for immediate and two-sided ceasefire.
    2. Provide monitoring and verification from the side of OSCE of the ceasefire.
    3. Conduct decentralization of power, including through approval of the Law of Ukraine “On temporary order of local self-government in certain districts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions” (Law on special status)
    4. Provide permanent monitoring at the Ukrainian-Russian state border, and verification by OSCE, with creation of a safety zone in the areas adjacent to the border in Ukraine and Russian Federation.
    5. Immediately free all hostages and illegally held persons.
    6. Approve a law to prevent persecution and punishment of persons in relation to events that took place in certain districts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine.
    7. Continue an inclusive national dialogue.
    8. Take measures to improve the humanitarian situation in Donbas.
    9. Conduct early local elections in accordance with the Law of Ukraine “On temporary order of local self-government in certain districts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions” (Law on special status).
    10. Remove illegal military formations, military equipment and militants and mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine.
    11. Approve a program for economic development of Donbas and renew the vital functions of the region.
    12. Give guarantees of personal security for participants of consultations.

  • Obama commits US to war against Russia in defense of Baltic states - World Socialist Web Site

    In a series of speeches and press conferences in connection with last week’s NATO summit in Wales, President Barack Obama publicly declared that the United States military will maintain a permanent presence in the Baltic states of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia, which border Russia. He vowed that US air and ground forces will remain poised forevermore to respond to claims of Russian aggression by the governments of these countries by attacking Moscow.

    In appearances in the Estonian capital of Tallinn and later in Wales, Obama announced a series of military moves against Russia by the United States and NATO as well as expanded economic sanctions and pledges to bolster the military forces of the former Soviet republics of Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova. He made clear in addition that Washington will push for all three countries to join the US-dominated NATO military alliance.

    #pays_baltes #otan #états-unis #russie

    • Violant ainsi les accords faits en 1991 avec Gorbatchev ! Cela peut être compris comme une trahison supplémentaire, la première ayant été faite avec Khrouchtchev, voire une provocation.
      On appelle cela aussi de l’escalade !

  • BBC News - Nato faces up to crises on its borders

    Nato leaders meet for their summit in Wales amidst the most serious security crisis in Europe since the end of the Cold War.

    Russia is back at the top of Nato’s agenda. And this summit must seek to respond to the long-term challenge from Moscow while managing the evolving drama on the alliance’s borders.

    Nato has no doubts as to what is going on in eastern Ukraine. It insists that Russia’s efforts to destabilise the country have gone way beyond simply arming separatist rebels. Russian units have been massed on the Ukrainian border.

    #pays_baltes #russie

  • The Dying Russians
    Masha Gessen

    Why are Russians dying in numbers, and at ages, and of causes never seen in any other country that is not, by any standard definition, at war?

    In the seventeen years between 1992 and 2009, the Russian population declined by almost seven million people, or nearly 5 percent—a rate of loss unheard of in Europe since World War II. Moreover, much of this appears to be caused by rising mortality. By the mid-1990s, the average St. Petersburg man lived for seven fewer years than he did at the end of the Communist period; in Moscow, the dip was even greater, with death coming nearly eight years sooner.
    “overall life expectancy at age fifteen in the Russian Federation appears in fact to be lower than for some of the countries the UN designates to be least developed (as opposed to less developed), among these, Bangladesh, Cambodia, and Yemen.” Male life expectancy at age fifteen in Russia compares unfavorably to that in Ethiopia, Gambia, and Somalia.
    The most obvious explanation for Russia’s high mortality—drinking—is also the most puzzling on closer examination. Russians drink heavily, but not as heavily as Czechs, Slovaks, and Hungarians—all countries that have seen an appreciable improvement in life expectancy since breaking off from the Soviet Bloc.
    Parsons discusses these studies in some detail, and with good reason: it begins to suggest the true culprit. She theorizes that drinking is, for what its worth, an instrument of adapting to the harsh reality and sense of worthlessness that would otherwise make one want to curl up and die.
    What happened to Russians over the course of the Soviet century that has rendered them incapable of hope? In The Origins of Totalitarianism Hannah Arendt argues that totalitarian rule is truly possible only in countries that are large enough to be able to afford depopulation. The Soviet Union proved itself to be just such a country on at least three occasions in the twentieth century—teaching its citizens in the process that their lives are worthless. Is it possible that this knowledge has been passed from generation to generation enough times that most Russians are now born with it and this is why they are born with a Bangladesh-level life expectancy? Is it also possible that other post-Soviet states, by breaking off from Moscow, have reclaimed some of their ability to hope, and this is why even Russia’s closest cultural and geographic cousins, such as Belarus and Ukraine, aren’t dying off as fast? If so, Russia is dying of a broken heart—also known as cardiovascular disease.

    #Russie #alcoolisme

  • Russian soldier dies in Ukraine because ’there was no other job’

    Anton Tumanov, 20, was brought home to Kozmodemyansk (Mari El Republic, Russia) in a sealed coffin.
    On Aug. 20 the woman only received the coffin and a copy of a death certificate issued by a morgue in Rostov on Don.

    It says the sodlier died on Aug. 13, at “the place of temporary deployment of the military unit 27777.” The cause of death is “Concomitant injury. Multiple shrapnel wounds of the lower extremities with damage to major blood vessels. Acute massive blood loss.
    Where can you work here in Kozmodemiyansk? There are only two factories left. In May he told me ‘Mom, I’m going to the army.’ I tried to persuade him to wait with that idea. ‘God forbid, they’ll send you to Ukraine,’ I told him,” she recalls. “He told me the army wouldn’t be sent to Ukraine. He said ‘I need money. I’m not going to a war, I’m going to a job. There is no other job anyway’.

    On June 21 Tumanov left to join the 18th Motor Rifle Brigade, formation 27777, located in Kalinovskaya village in Chechnya Republic. He picked the place of service himself. He used to say that he grew to love the Caucuses Mountains he saw when serving in South Ossetia.

    I want to wake up and see mountains, then go back to sleep and see mountains,” his mother quotes Tumanov as saying.

    Tumanov was in a hurry to join the army before the end of the month to start earning a wage in July. However, he then was told that he will have three months of probation before he actually signs the contract.

    When her son called home to say that he won’t be paid for several months, Tumanova asked him if he wanted her to send him money. “If you can,” he responded. She sent him 3,000 rubles (around $80).

    That’s all I could find. I get 5,500 rubles a month working as a nurse assistant. Anton said no one had money in their unit. The boys from his unit didn’t even get any travel money when they were sent to me to deliver the papers. They were fed in our local recruitment office for the first time on their trip.

    Tumanova never received her son’s salary for 1.5 months of service. He told his family he was promised some 40,000-50,000 rubles a month. His former colleagues told his mother that he was most likely lied to, and the actual salary would be no more than 30,000 rubles, or $812.

    Tumanov phoned home almost every day. In early July he said he was asked if he wanted to volunteer to go to Ukraine.

    I told him I hoped he didn’t want to go. He said ‘What am I, an idiot? Nobody wants to go here,’” Tumanova recalls.

    The men were promised 400,000 rubles if they stayed there for a certain number of days. “Of course, nobody agreed. Even if you survive, you can be cheated and not get any money afterwards,” Tumanova says.

    Soon after the conversation Tumanov told his mother he was sent to Rostov. On July 11 his unit ended up at the Russia-Ukraine border. His mother stayed calm. She thought her son was still far away from the military action in Ukraine and mostly worried about the fact that he was given instant noodles to eat.

    Tumanova is outraged that the boys were poorly fed, kept under rain and burning sun. It almost seems like she wants to picture her son being hungry. She can’t picture him dead.

    Tumanov’s fiancee Nastya Chernova, 17, tells a very different story about the month that Tumanov spent in Rostov Oblast.

    Wearing the same black mourning headband, Chernova sits in an armchair next to a framed photo of her fiance. She is a skinny girl with long blond hair, dressed in all black. She doesn’t raise her eyes once during the entire conversation.

    Chernova called Tumanov every day and he told her more than he did his mother. It was on July 23 or 25 when he said for the first time: “We are going to war.” Frightened, Chernova only said: “But there are no Russian soldiers in Ukraine, right?

    We are going as insurgents,” he told the girl. After that, he was out of reach for three or four days.

    The next time he went to Ukraine on Aug. 3 for two days. He didn’t reveal where exactly he was going and why. Chernova thinks he didn’t know that himself.

    I guess they were sent to simply oversee the situation,” Chernova says. “They gave them Ukrainian money. Anton used to joke that there were no souvenirs to bring me, so he would just bring the Ukrainian money. He wasn’t talking about war at all. Like it was a normal life.

    On Aug. 10 Tumanov called his mother and said his formation was sent to Donetsk. When talking to his fiancee, Tumanov added that he will stay in Ukraine for two or three months, probably till November, without a phone.

    Right before leaving he told me ‘I don’t want to go. We wanted to leave with the guys, but we are 1,500 kilometers away from our base.’ Maybe he was sensing something. In the last days he kept mentioning that we never married and he didn’t have children. It was in his plans and his dreams,” Chernova says.

    On Aug. 11 Tumanov got two grenades and 150 machine gun cartridges. On 3 p.m. he sent his mother a message in Vkontakte social network saying: “Turned in my phone. Left for Ukraine.” That was all.

    I can’t understand how they could send them there. It was a big formation – 1,200 people. I didn’t even know who to call to. I didn’t have any of his commanders’ contacts. If I did, I would call and say: ‘Don’t you dare send him!’” Tumanova says.

    Tumanov’s fellows from the military unit 27777 told the family what happened next, when they came to Kozmodemiyansk after the funeral to deliver the papers. They brought a notarized document detailing Tumanov’s death.

    According to the servicemen, the order to cross the Ukrainian border came on Aug. 11. Those who refused were insulted and threatened by the commanders. They were ordered to turn in their phones and documents, change uniform and paint over number plates on their vehicles. Every soldier received thin white bands for their arms and legs.

    Later Tumanova found in Vkontakte a photo of her son wearing such a band, with a comment by his fellow serviceman explaining that soldiers were moving the bands to a different arm or leg every day to signal to other squads that they are on the same side.

    On the night of Aug. 12 a column of 1,200 soldiers entered Ukraine and arrived in Snizhne, a town 15 kilometers from the border. Later on that day the column was shelled by rockets from Grad launching systems.

    The boys told me that 120 men out of 1,200 died, and 450 were wounded. My Anton was at the front. No trenches or any protection. They panicked and tried to get out,” Tumanova says.
    The woman craves to know who gave the order for her son’s unit to go to Ukraine. She thinks it could only have been given from Moscow.

    If I saw (Russian President Vladimir) Putin standing next to me, I would ask him: ‘Did you give that order? Answer honestly.’ I thought there were no Russian soldiers there. And the boys say it’s not going to be over any time soon. Why does anyone have to go there? Let them work it out on their own.

    Editor’s note: This article was published in Novaya Gazeta, a Russian newspaper. It is reprinted with permission.

  • Ukraine slashes power to Crimea as electricity crisis deepens | Reuters

    Ukraine reduced electricity supplies to consumers in Crimea on Wednesday and threatened to cut power altogether if quotas were breached, as it battles a power crisis on the mainland that threatens to cause rolling blackouts across the country.

    Kiev has declared a state of emergency on the electricity market after months of fighting between pro-Russian rebels and Ukrainian forces disrupted supplies to thermal power plants (TPP), which provide around 40 percent of Ukraine’s electricity.

    The power crisis together with an expected shortfall in gas supplies from Russia mean Ukraine faces a winter that Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk said would be “extremely difficult”.

    The southern peninsula of Crimea, which depends on Ukraine for around 80 percent of its power, was seized by Russia in March - an annexation Ukraine has refused to recognise.

    But state electricity company Ukrinterenergo said supplies to Ukrainian citizens now took precedence over flows to residents of Crimea, the first time officials have signalled a change in status for the peninsula.

    The priority for Ukrinterenergo is the interests of Ukrainian citizens for whom conserving power is becoming an urgent issue,” it said in a statement.

    If the limits are not adhered to by the consumers of Crimea, the company will be forced to completely turn off supply lines to the peninsula.

    It said flows would be limited to 300 megawatts (MW) in the morning and evening, 500 MW during the day and 600 MW at night. Average consumption in Crimea is usually 1,000 MW, according to Ukrinterenergo.

    Russia’s Energy Ministry said flows to Crimea had not fallen on Wednesday. Moscow has shipped mobile generators to the peninsula that can provide back-up power of up to 700 MW per day for use in case of power outages, Crimean Prime Minister Sergei Aksyonov has said.

  • Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 18:00 (Kyiv time), 1 September 2014 | OSCE

    The SMM attended the opening of a school in Luhansk, at which the self-declared “LPR president”, Igor Plotnitsky, held a speech. Plotnitsky said that the new curriculum would be based on the educational curriculum of the Russian Federation. Furthermore, he said that there were plans to replace the Ukrainian Hryvnia (UAH) currency with the Russian Rouble. According to the self-declared “LPR president”, civil servants had not been paid, but there were plans to resume the payment of their salaries as of 1 October, possibly from Russian sources.

    Different interlocutors, including local inhabitants and the regional co-ordinator of Ukraine’s “Anti-Terrorism Operation (ATO)”, told the SMM on 1 September that Luhansk airport was no longer under control of the Ukrainian forces.

    During the dark hours on 31 August and on 1 September throughout the day, the SMM heard little shelling in Donetsk, suggesting a possible decreased intensity of the fighting in and around the city. On 1 September the SMM monitored the situation around Donetsk airport, from a distance of around one kilometre. The SMM heard three to four mortar shells, repeated every five to ten minutes, outgoing from within the airport area.
    The SMM continued to monitor the situation in Mariupol (113 km south of Donetsk). At a checkpoint to the direction of Vinogradne (to the east of Mariupol), the SMM was told by a Ukrainian officer that Bezimenne town (33 km east of Mariupol), was currently under the control of irregular armed groups. (…) The Donetsk region deputy commander of the Ukrainian border guards confirmed to the SMM that on 31 August two Ukrainian coastal border guard boats were attacked in the Sea of Azov from the area of Bezimenne village.
    The SMM attended a meeting between the mayor of Lviv and 20 parents of soldiers, mainly serving at Luhansk Airport as well as representatives of the army and the local Military Commissariat. The relatives asked for the immediate rotation of soldiers who have been serving there since 8 March. The mayor pledged to discuss the matter of rotation with the government representatives.

    In Kyiv the SMM observed a number of protests throughout the city. Some 30 activists, many of them members of the volunteer “Mirotvorets” battalion under the Ministry of Internal Affairs, were demonstrating in front of the Shevchenko District Police Department. The demonstrators included soldiers who recently escaped from an encirclement of irregular armed groups around the town of Ilovaisk in the Donetsk region. The protesters were complaining about the conduct of the ATO in the east. In front of the parliament building, the SMM observed a gathering of around 20 people, organized by the political party “Volya”. Demonstrators held party flags and signs calling for #lustration of Parliament. Finally the SMM monitored a gathering of about 50 people, mostly women, relatives of ATO soldiers, held in front of the Presidential Administration building. Their demands included the rotation of personnel and proper equipment. Approximately 15 law enforcement officers from the police and National Guard were present at the location.

  • Mongolia′s ′rebalance′ towards Russia and China | Asia | DW.DE | 02.09.2014

    Seeking to transform bilateral ties into a comprehensive strategic partnership, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is scheduled to pay a state visit to Mongolia on September 3. Topping his agenda will be trade and infrastructure. Like neighboring China, Russia is seeking to benefit from Mongolia’s globally significant mineral resources, and it is likely to back this by extending financial support for the development of Mongolia’s infrastructure which, according to analysts, is Ulan Bator’s overriding strategic domestic priority.
    Other issues during the visit will revolve around boosting bilateral investment as well as the oft-mooted proposal to build an oil and gas pipeline from Russia to China through Mongolia, say experts.
    The visit comes less than two weeks after his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping embarked on a two-day trip of the resource-rich nation, becoming the first Chinese head of state to visit the landlocked country in more than a decade. Among other things, China and Mongolia signed a host of trade deals and pledged to almost double their annual bilateral trade to 10 billion USD by 2020. China also agreed to give Mongolia access to ports in its north and northeast, according to state-run news agency Xinhua.

    Bon article (c’est la DW…) avec présentation économique et de la politique dite du « troisième voisin ».

    L’un des principaux freins est l’absence d’infrastructure et notamment un barreau ferroviaire pour raccorder les mines de l’arc sud.

    One crucial obstacle, however, remains Mongolia’s underdeveloped infrastructure connections with its two neighbors. The main rail line runs north-south, connecting Russia and China. There is a second line in eastern Mongolia that connects to the Russian rail network.
    However, the mineral-rich southern belt of the country is largely unserved by rail infrastructure, making Mongolia’s mineral exports less competitive. For instance, in the absence of rail connections, coal is currently trucked to loading stations and then to the Chinese border, an expensive and time consuming process, Ashdown explains.

    • À propos de l’accès à la mer, déclaration du président chinois devant le parlement mongol lors de sa récente visite…

      President Xi Jinping shared the Chinese saying: “A water-front pavilion gets the moonlight first.

      Tout le style diplomatique du Céleste Empire (天下)

      Seeing the moonlight from a waterfront pavilion | The UB Post

      President Xi Jinping noted in his speech to the Mongolian parliament that Sino-Mongolian relations will be brought to a higher level. If every agreement and document that agreed to is fully implemented, such higher level relations will be achieved. President Xi Jinping said, “Chinese people insist that a promise must be kept and actions must be resolute. Chinese people will deliver what is promised.” This implies that the same resolve is expected from Mongolia. In order to keep our promises and become a good partner that works for “mutual benefits and win-win visions”, Mongolia needs to overcome several challenges.

      Dans le même genre, la déclaration « le peuple chinois tiendra ses promesses » quand on signe un accord bilatéral, ce n’est pas mal non plus…

  • Vladimir Putin will make a working visit to Mongolia on September 3, 2014, at the invitation of President of Mongolia Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj. President of Russia

    The President will take part in celebrations marking the 75th anniversary of victory at the Khalkhin-Gol River.

    A Russian-Mongolian summit will also take place during the visit and a number of bilateral agreements are expected to be signed.

    Commémoration du 75è anniversaire de la bataille de #Khalkhin-Gol (incident de Nomonhan, pour les Japonais). Victoire russo-mongole aux conséquences stratégiques décisives.

    Et discussions économiques avec œillades appuyées sur les ressources minières mongoles.

  • Asia Times Online :: Sep 2, ’14
    Obama’s ’stupid stuff’ legacy
    By Pepe Escobar

    (...) After dabbling briefly with “leading from behind” - a non-starter - Obama finally went Mackinderesque with his stellar “Don’t Do Stupid Stuff” foreign policy doctrine.

    Nevertheless, an always alert former secretary of state Hillary Clinton said “Don’t do Stupid Stuff” isn’t a “foreign policy organizing principle”. Yet “Stupid Stuff” is all that the Obama foreign policy team knows how to do.

    Starting with Obama treating Russia under President Vladimir Putin the way Hillary’s husband treated Russia under vodka container Boris Yeltsin. Then came the decision - without any public debate - to start bombing Iraq all over again. And soon Syria. Bombs Away in Syraq!

    So “protect” Yazidis, yes. Protect Gazans, no. “Protect” Kiev’s bunch of neo-Nazis, fascists and shady oligarchs, yes. Protect Russophones in Eastern Ukraine, no.

    It all started with protecting Irbil - already protected by Sumerian goddess Ishtar for millennia. Then protecting Irbil and Baghdad. Then protecting all “strategic” sites in Iraq.

    Retired General Carter Ham of AFRICOM/"We came, we saw, he died" fame, was adamant that it will be “very difficult” to pull off so much protecting with only a few fighter jets. So drones will be needed. And troops on the ground.

    From protecting ExxonMobil and Chevron to double bombing in Syraq. No wonder the Return of the Living (Neo-Con) Dead are so excited. It’s the Greater Middle East all over again. And guess who will be part of the coalition of the willing to fight the Caliph? Britain, Australia, Turkey, Jordan and Gulf Cooperation Council stalwarts Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

    Almost the same bunch (five among seven) that enabled the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in the first place, from “Assad must go” to “good” and “bad” jihadis, and finally to ISIS (now the Islamic State) configured as the sprawling abode - complete with flush private army - of Caliph Ibrahim.

    And no, there’s no strategy. Hee haw! (...)

  • NATO Set to Ratify Pledge on Joint Defense in Case of Major Cyberattack
    NYT By DAVID E. SANGER AUG. 31, 2014

    When President Obama meets with other NATO leaders later this week, they are expected to ratify what seems, at first glance, a far-reaching change in the organization’s mission of collective defense: For the first time, a cyberattack on any of the 28 NATO nations could be declared an attack on all of them, much like a ground invasion or an airborne bombing.

    The most obvious target of the new policy is Russia, which was believed behind computer attacks that disrupted financial and telecommunications systems in Estonia in 2007 and Georgia in 2008, and is believed to have used them in the early days of the Ukraine crisis as well.

    But in interviews, NATO officials concede that so far their cyberskills are limited at best.

    #OTAN sans stratégie en cas de #cyberguerre ; #sécurité_informatique #surveillance

    • In fact, NATO officials say they have never been briefed on the abilities of the National Security Agency and United States Cyber Command, or those of The Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ, its British equivalent. Both countries have routinely placed sensors into computers, switching centers and undersea cables for years, as the documents released by Edward J. #Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor, make clear.

  • US and Europe escalate provocations against Russia - World Socialist Web Site

    The European Union summit held in Brussels over the weekend was a major escalation of the aggression by the Western powers against Russia, raising the specter of full-blown war in Europe and even a nuclear war between NATO and Russia.

    Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, the business oligarch and leader of the right-wing regime installed by the Western powers in Kiev, set the tone for the summit. He urged the EU to take a tougher stance against Russia, which he accused of “military aggression and terror.”

    #ukraine #russie