(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)
A Russian war plane was shot down Saturday in Syria, according to Russian state-run news agencies.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)
A Russian war plane was shot down Saturday in Syria, according to Russian state-run news agencies.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)
Moscow (CNN) Nine people were hospitalized after a blast inside a store in the Russian city of St. Petersburg, state-run news outlets Tass and Sputnik reported Wednesday, citing local officials.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NEWSWEEK)
China’s envoy to Russia has praised the increasingly powerful relationship between the two countries as both the strongest and most important ties between two major states. Beijing’s man in Moscow also took the opportunity to offer a veiled slight at Washington.
Chinese Ambassador to Russia Li Hui spoke Wednesday at a government news conference organized in response to the results of the 19th Chinese Communist Party Congress in October. Russia and China, the two leading diplomatic and military rivals of the U.S., have pursued closer relations in past years while embarking on initiatives to modernize their forces and assume a more assertive role in international politics.
“The Chinese-Russian relations of comprehensive strategic cooperation and partnership are the most important bilateral relations in the world and, moreover, the best relations between big countries,” Li told the state-run Tass Russian news agency, which hosted the gathering.
“One can say that they are a classic example of the healthiest and most mature interstate relations and an important force to protect peace and stability throughout the world,” Li added.
One of the key reasons the diplomat cited as being responsible for Russia and China’s success was that they “abandon the thinking of the Cold War” and a “zero-sum game” policy. Both countries have frequently criticized the U.S. for viewing the world in black-and-white, portraying Russia and China as enemies rather than partners in global affairs.
Moscow’s post-Soviet relationship with Washington has been tumultuous but was thought to have been salvaged with the election of President Donald Trump, who promised a reset after the administration of his predecessor, former President Barack Obama, witnessed heightened tensions and historic military mobilizationsbetween U.S.-led Western military alliance NATO and Russia across Europe. Ongoing investigations into Trump’s alleged conspiracy to win the election with the help of the Kremlin and differing views between the Republican leader and Russian President Vladimir Putin, however, have damaged the chance of a future U.S.-Russia alliance.
Russia has denied any interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential race and has portrayed efforts of U.S. authorities to produce evidence of such a plot as being reminiscent of the anti-Communist wave of the 1940s and 1950s.
Unlike Russia, China was an early and frequent target of Trump’s and his allies’ both before and after the billionaire real estate tycoon took office earlier this year. The Trump campaign accused China of currency manipulation and stealing U.S. jobs. As he prepared to assume the role of secretary of state, Rex Tillerson suggested the U.S. should potentially use military force to deny Beijing its vast territorial claims in the disputed seas of the Western Pacific.
As Chinese President Xi Jinping expanded his nation’s sphere of influence, his country has accused the U.S. of portraying this rise as a malicious one. Trump has tried to boost cooperation between the two, but mostly in regard to the nuclear crisis between the U.S. and North Korea, during which China has appeared most eager to work with Russia to reach a political framework.
China and Russia’s joint simulated anti-missile drills, geared at deflecting potential U.S. or North Korean missiles, on Monday were also the latest evidence of the burgeoning military cooperation between the two powers. The countries have been deeply suspicious of the U.S. presence in the Asia-Pacific, and although both Beijing and Moscow share Washington’s opposition to a nuclear North Korea, they have urged Trump to pursue direct talks and avoid provocative shows of force in the tense region.
China and Russia also have joined forces against the West in other parts of the world, including in Syria, where they both backed the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against jihadist and rebels who received international support. Over the summer, Russia and China also launched their first joint drills in the Baltic Sea, near one of the tensest flash points between NATO and Russian forces in Europe.
As China and Russia empower their partnership as well as their respective militaries, the Rand Corporation noted in a report earlier this week that despite superior technology and defense spending, “U.S. forces could, under plausible assumptions, lose the next war they are called upon to fight.”
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BBC)
News outlet RT has registered as an agent of a foreign government in America, after years of accusations that it was a propaganda arm of the Russian government. So what is RT and why has it become the subject of fierce debate in the US?
It was a late February afternoon when millions of Americans’ phones and laptops started buzzing with breaking news from the White House.
“Gen Flynn was fired amid the scrutiny…”
“The White House national security adviser fired…”
President Trump had asked National Security Adviser Michael Flynn to leave the White House, said the reports. Flynn had misled Vice-President Pence about his contacts with then-Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
It was the first resignation in the new presidential administration. But one media outlet, RT, reported it differently: “General Flynn retires as National Security Adviser”
Misleading headlines are only one part of RT’s approach to news, which makes the American government and analysts believe it is just an arm of the Kremlin.
RT, originally Rossiya Segodnya (Russia Today), began broadcasting internationally in 2005 in English, Arabic, and Spanish as a subsidiary of RIA Novosti, one of three Russian state-owned news broadcasters.
The broadcaster focused on Russia-related news reports and said its goal was to improve the image of the country in the US. At its launch, it promised a “more balanced picture” of what Russia is.
Several years later, it shortened its name to RT and began focusing on US news, positioning itself as an alternative to US mainstream media on both online and US cable television.
In late December 2013, Russian President Vladimir Putin dissolved RIA Novosti and transferred all its subsidiaries to a new organization International News Agency Russia Today.
On the same day, Putin appointed a well-known but controversial media figure, Dmitry Kiselev, as the general director of the new organisation.
Mr. Kiselev was placed on the EU’s individual sanctions list in 2014 for being a “central figure of the government propaganda supporting the deployment of Russian forces in Ukraine”, including false claims of US State Department involvement.
He is also known for his homophobic views, including saying gay people should be banned from being blood or organ donors.
“In case of car accidents, their hearts must be buried or burnt and never used to save someone’s life,” he told Russian TV show in 2012.
A few American media personalities, the most prominent being Larry King, have presented programmes on RT America’s television network.
“The edge between journalism and propaganda is very thin, especially, if we are talking about the media which is founded by the government,” says Lata Nott, the Newseum Institute’s executive director.
“Not all materials of RT are propaganda, but it is very clear that they have only one angle and they have never criticised their own government.”
RT’s major problem, Nott says, “is lack of transparency regarding sources of their budgeting”.
It is all very unclear.
RT uses production companies to produce content for an American audience. The company operates the same way in the UK.
The production company registered with the US government, T & R Productions LLC, is owned by Mikhail Solodovnikov. But a recent report by the Atlantic Council named two different production firms in the US, both owned by Russian-born businessman Alex Yazlovsky.
In the registration, Solodovnikov notes his firm’s funding comes from TV Novosti, and admits the Russian government finances the organization. But Solodovnikov also says he is not “sufficiently aware of who supervises, owns, directs, controls or subsidizes” TV Novosti.
RT doesn’t make its supervisory board public, according to the Atlantic Council report, and while it reports annually to the Russian Ministry of Press on its expenditures, their financial statements are not made public.
American intelligence agencies have a low opinion of the network. Ex-CIA director James Clapper has called RT “a mouthpiece of Russian governmental propaganda,” whose assets and executives are closely tied to Vladimir Putin.
An unclassified version of a January US intelligence report points to RT and Russian-backed website Sputnik as a key part of Russian interference with the US election, arguing the outlet served “as a platform for Kremlin messaging”.
“The Kremlin staffs RT and closely supervises RT’s coverage, recruiting people who can convey Russian strategic messaging because of their ideological beliefs,” the report states.
It also details close links between editorial management and the Russian government and cites RT and Sputnik’s ramping up of pro-Trump and anti-Clinton stories around March 2016, including Russian talking points that Clinton’s election would lead to a war between US and Russia.
Twitter recently banned RT from advertising on the platform, citing the CIA report, said they will invest $1.9m they received from the outlet from advertising to support research into limiting misinformation on the platform.
However, RT Twitter accounts are not banned from Twitter.
RT has accused Twitter of “forgetting to tell the US Senate it pushed RT to spend big bucks on election ad campaign”, sharing an advertising pitch Twitter had made to RT, and accused the platform of being part of a “coordinated attack on Russian media and freedom of speech”.
The US government requires all agencies, individuals and organizations controlled or funded by international governments and undertake a political activity, to be registered with the justice department under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (Fara).
Fara began as a reaction to attempts by Nazi Germany to spread propaganda inside the US. In the 1940s, the Soviet news agency TASS and later newspapers Izvestia and Pravda were registered as agents of the Soviet government.
Since the law was enacted, 221 Russian companies have registered as foreign government agents, including a travel agency, a postal service, and numerous financial institutions.
RT claims that it is a “publicly funded” media outlet, similar to the BBC or Germany’s Deutsche Welle and would qualify for an exemption.
But to prove the exemption, the Atlantic Council writes, RT would need to disclose its finances, board members and show evidence of editorial independence from the Russian government.
Other international media outlets are registered as agents of foreign governments, including China Daily, NHK Cosmomedia, and KBS Korean Broadcasting System.
This week, RT decided to register under Fara.
“Between legal action and registration (as a foreign agent), we have chosen the latter,” tweeted RT editor Margarita Simonyan.
“Congratulates the US [on its] freedom of speech and all those who still believe in it,” Simonyan added.
Registering as a foreign agent doesn’t mean RT will be forced to stop broadcasting, but it will need to label all US material “on behalf of” the Russian government.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NEWSWEEK)
Russia and China have begun naval exercises in the Baltic Sea, the most significant sign of military cooperation between the two major powers in a region seen as a flashpoint for Moscow’s rivalry with Western military alliance NATO.
Russia’s ambassador to China Andrei Denisov acknowledged Friday that the joint drills conducted by Russian and Chinese armed forces were unique, especially in the increasingly militarized Baltic region, but denied that the nations were “scaring off” rival powers. The Baltics have become a major point of contention between Russia and U.S.-led NATO, which have both devoted extensive military resources toward fortifying the region’s borders. The two factions accuse one another of instigating a European arms race, but Denisov dismissed Western concerns Friday.
“There is a point of novelty, but I haven’t heard anyone expressing much concern over this so-called ‘threat.’ The Baltic States repeat their usual incantations, but at the same time, they take for granted the fact that NATO is deploying large forces on their territory,” Denisov told reporters, according to the state-run TASS Russian News Agency.
“Those who are scared off are inclined to being scared,” he added.
The Joint Sea-2017 drills began last week as China deployed a fleet consisting of guided missile destroyer Changsha, mulitpurpose frigate Yuncheng, one comprehensive supply ship, ship-borne helicopters and a number of marines to St. Petersburg and Kaliningrad, a Baltic exclave of Russia located between Lithuania and Poland, Xinhua News Agency and Reuters reported. Days later, a U.S. spy plan and Russian jet reportedly came within five feet of one other over the Baltic Sea during an incident in which both nations said the other was at fault.
Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius told journalists last week that China’s cooperation with Russia, who he referred as a country that is “not setting an example in the field in real life and by way of actions,” could threaten regional stability, The Baltic Times reported. In response, the Russian Defense Ministry issued a statement maintaing that the exercises were routine and intended to “strengthen and bolster Russian-Chinese relations regarding overall strategic cooperation,” according to TASS Russian News Agency. Additional drills are scheduled for mid-July.
Denisov’s remarks Friday came one day after Russia and China signed a roadmap for military cooperation and just ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s scheduled visit Monday at the invitation of his Russian counterpart, President Vladimir Putin. Throughout the two-day visit the pair were expected to “examine the full spectrum of relations within the comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation between Russia and China, as well as current international and regional matters,” according to the Kremlin’s official website, which also anticipated that the leaders would sign bilateral agreements.
Observers often rank Russia and China as the world’s second and third strongest military powers, respectively, behind the U.S. The two have frequently teamed up against initiatives led by the West in the U.N. and Russia has recently entered a political spat involving the U.S. and China over nuclear-armed North Korea in the Asia-Pacific.
Russia’s Putin: Top Goal for Journalists Is ‘Do Not Offend’
June 24, 2017, at 10:26 a.m.
MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin says the most important principle for journalists is to avoid upsetting those featured in their articles and television broadcasts.
Journalists should ensure their work “won’t be offensive to those about whom they do their reports,” Putin said Saturday, according to the TASS news agency.
The Russian leader made the comments while talking to a child interested in working in journalism at a summer camp in Crimea, the southern Ukrainian region that Russia annexed in 2014.
The number of independent media outlets in Russia has fallen drastically under Putin and there have been several murders of high-profile journalists.
The journalists’ group Reporters Without Borders placed Russia 148th in its ranking of world press freedoms published this year.
Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
(Commentary: Mr Putin you are wrong on this matter and you know it so in fact you lied to this child who asked you this question. Sir, the most important principle for a journalist is ‘to always tell the truth’. This is the truth because no matter what a person/journalist says they are going to offend people.)
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF REUTERS AND TASS)
A plane carrying Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu was buzzed by a NATO F-16 fighter jet as it flew over the Baltic Sea, but was chased away by a Russian military jet, the TASS news agency reported on Wednesday.
TASS said the NATO plane had tried to approach the aircraft carrying the defense minister even though it was flying over neutral waters. It said Shoigu was en route to the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad at the time.
(Reporting by Maria Kiselyova; Editing by Andrew Osborn)
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF REUTERS NEWS AGENCY)
MANILA (Reuters) – Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law on the southern island of Mindanao on Tuesday after a fierce bout of fighting between the army and militants linked to Islamic State in the city of Marawi.
Three members of the security forces were killed and 12 wounded, Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana told a news conference, as clashes erupted in the wake of what the military said was a raid on a flat where about 15 rebels were hiding.
Lorenzana was speaking in Moscow, where he was accompanying Duterte on an official visit.
Duterte canceled a meeting set for Wednesday with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and planned to cut short his trip, during which he was also due to meet Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.
Putin will meet Duterte later Tuesday, rather than Thursday, his press secretary Dmitry Peskov was quoted as TASS news agency.
The government urged civilians on Mindanao to stay in their homes or flee if it was safe, and the military said reinforcements of an initial 500 soldiers were on the way, but were being hamstrung by rebels blocking roads.
The militants belong to the Maute group, which has pledged allegiance to Islamic State in the Middle East. Previous military offensives against the Maute, based in Lanao del Sur province, have lasted several days.
“There are Maute snipers all around, so the troops are still holding and elements have already joined,” Lorenzana.
Fires raged in Marawi but the military and the city’s mayor said the situation was now under control.
Witnesses told local television that gunfire was clattering sporadically around the city. Several buildings were on fire, including a church, officials said.
“(Duterte) has already declared martial law for the entire island of Mindanao,” presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella told reporters in Moscow.
“This is on the grounds of resistance and rebellion based on what is happening,” he said, adding that martial law would last for 60 days, as stipulated in the constitution.
Brigadier General Rolando Bautista, commander of the Philippines’ First Infantry Division, said security forces were trying to locate the militants.
“Based on our assessment right now there are more or less 100 divided into groups of 10 in different locations,” he told news channel ANC.
“Since they are advocating ISIS ideology they have to show ISIS that they are a force to be reckoned with,” he said, using an acronym for Islamic State.
(Reporting by Manuel Mogato and; Martin Petty; editing by Mark Heinrich)
Copyright 2017 Thomson Reuters.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NBC NEWS)
MOSCOW — A senior Russian official lashed out at the U.S. minutes before a meeting between Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday, calling recent American rhetoric “primitive and loutish.”
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said the U.S’s position on Syria “remains a mystery” to Moscow, although he added that Russia expected to discuss the issue of no-fly zones in Syria at the talks.
Separately, Tillerson said talks with Lavrov represented “an important moment in the United States’ relationship with Russia.”
The Secretary of State said he hoped “to further clarify areas of sharp difference so we can better understand why these differences exist and what the prospects for narrowing these differences might be.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin did not adopt Tillerson’s conciliatory tone, instead telling local media that the level of trust between the U.S. and Moscow had deteriorated further since Trump took office, according to Reuters.
On his way into the meeting with Tillerson, Lavrov said he believed the visit was timely as Russia saw what it called “troubling actions” last week in Syria, a reference to the U.S. bombing an air field in that country. American officials said the base had launched an alleged chemical weapons attack in north-western Syria which killed more than 80 civilians.
“We believe it fundamentally important not to let these actions happen again in the future,” Lavrov added.
The high-stakes talks between Tillerson and Lavrov come less than a week after the U.S. launched the airstrikes, triggering a deterioration in ties between the two governments. The White House has accused Russia of trying to “cover up” Assad’s role in the attack.
Separately, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Russian newswires a meeting between Tillerson and Russian President Vladimir Putin was not on the agenda as things stand but he did not rule it out.
“There is a certain possibility,” Peskov told state-run TASS agency. “You know the talks between the Russian foreign minister and the U.S. Secretary of State are currently underway, and if they later decide to report on the results of these talks to the head of state, we will let you know.”
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