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Robert Parry: Ukraine's poison pill for Minsk-2

The Ukrainian government is doing everything
 possible to disrupt the Minsk-2 arrangements.

 Ukraine may thus expand the geography of the
 civil war in the Donbass, while the United States
and Russia may approach the line behind which
 nuclear war may start, Robert Parry, a journalist
known for his  investigative reports, believes.

According to him, recent legislative decisions
by the Verkhovna Rada, have now poisoned
 the Minsk-2 agreements.

With its "legislative" work, Kiev's parliament
 has ruined the peace initiatives by European
  politicians trying to stop the bloodshed in
eastern Ukraine.

 There's another round of the bloody conflict
in store for Donbass, he says, and Ukraine's
MPs will do nothing except accuse Russia
and President Putin, for the blood shed.

The civil war was expected to finally end,
if Kiev agreed to grant 'special status' to
the two breakaway regions of Ukraine.

 However, after the "fruitful" work by the
 US-backed parliament, the value of this
 "special status" has been reduced to nil,
Pravda.Ru says.

Kiev says the People's Republics of Donetsk
and Luhansk will have to hold new elections
-- under Kiev's control -- if they want "special
status" for themselves. The elections would
have to be conducted after full capitulation
by the militia forces, as elections would not
take account of any frontline between the
  two sides.

Vadim Karasyov, director of the independent
Institute of Global Strategies --- in Kiev:

 "Ukraine won't go along with any legalization
 of those so-called people's republics. We need
 them to be dismantled," the Christian Science
 Monitor reports.

The leaders of Donetsk and Luhansk republics
have protested the decision by Ukraine's Rada.
 They note that it is contrary to both the letter
 and spirit of the Minsk agreements:
"We agreed to "special status" for the territories
 of our republics and a renewed, united Ukraine,
 although all our people want full independence.

 "We took this step to stop the bloodshed and the
 fratricidal war. Now we can clearly see that the
 Ukrainian authorities need the peace talks only
to further prepare for a new phase of the war."

It remains to add that Kiev's MPs are unlikely
 to have taken such "poisonous" solutions --
without the support of American "hawks,"
such as Victoria Nuland.
Those hawks put pressure on Poroshenko,
 Merkel and Hollande, taking the world to
 the brink of a possible nuclear war,
Robert Parry writes.


Russian Intelligence Saved
                 Yanukovych's Life, says Putin               
 Russian President Vladimir Putin says
he ordered the Russian intelligence

services to save ousted Ukrainian
president Viktor Yanukovych, as his
was an objective of the coup.

Putin says that, from the beginning,
the coup plan and the elimination of
Yanukovych in an attack, was clear.

"There were reasons to believe they would
 simply eliminate him", says the President,
 to explain an order he gave security forces
during the coup of February 22nd, in 2014.

The information received, indicated that
the coup leaders were prepared to not
just capture Yanukovich, but physically
 eliminate him, as this was simply more
 'convenient' for the coup, says Putin.

According to President Putin, subsequent
events detected by the Kremlin's security
services, only confirmed this.

Andrei Kondrashov's documentary, which
contains Putin's words, on Rossiya 1, has
created quite a stir in Russia and abroad.

Referring to the documentary 'Crimea.
to the Motherland', the spokes-
person for the
Commissioner for
Foreign and Security Policy
of the EU,
Maja Kocijancic, criticizes Russia.

'We are aware of the shooting of this
film, but
what matters is that we have
condemned -- and
will condemn -- the
accession of Crimea and
she says.


US Private Military Companies
Used for Arms
Supplies to Ukraine

CyberBerkut, Ukrainian hackers set up to fight neo-
fascism, nationalism and power abuse in Ukraine,
 has gained access to files on the mobile device of
 the Green Group PMC (private military company)
 official who recently visited Kiev as a member of
 a US military delegation. It made the materials
public on February 27th using its website

Green Group is a US private military company
 founded in 2007 with headquarters in Edmond,
 Oklahoma. It has a European branch in Tbilisi.

The company is licensed with the US Department
 of State and the State Department. CyberBerkut
 posted the documents to open access along with
 the Green Group advertisement. Two letters from
 Gregg Holmes, CEO of the PMC, to the Ukrainian
 Armed Forces' Chief of Staff, Muzhenko, became
 public domain. One of them, written in Ukrainian
 and dated February 15, 2015 (the Minsk deal was
 signed on February 12) is worth citing.

"As you know, the United States is in contact with
 NATO partners on lethal arms supplies to Ukraine.
 There has been no mutual understanding reached
 so far. As I am informed by my friends in the State
 Department and the Pentagon, the United States
 is going to increase pressure on European allies."

 "During recent consultations with the Ministry of
 Foreign Affairs of France the US State Department
 team insisted on expediting the procedures for
 delivering anti-tank systems and heavy weapons
 to Ukraine's military. The United States believes
 lethal arms will stop the advance of separatists
 in Ukraine and prevent them from approaching
 the administrative border of the Luhansk and
 Donetsk regions.

"According to US government estimates, the use
 of up-to-date weapons by Ukraine's military will
inevitably inflict heavy losses upon Russian
 volunteers fighting in the terrorists ranks. It
be impossible to hide the heavy casualties."

 "In its turn, this information will cause tension
 in Russia and spur the emergence of anti-war
 movements to organize mass protests against
 the current Russian government."

"No matter the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs
 always supports the White house initiatives, the
 Government of France is hardly happy with our
 proposals. President Francois Hollande is not
ready to drastically change his Ukraine policy
but the US State Department came up with a
bright idea. The weapons will be delivered to

“volunteers” fighting for Ukraine or operatives
 of Western private military companies, with
great experience of using the weapons and
 equipment. Green Group is ready at any time
 to provide Ukraine's military with volunteers
 -- in sufficient numbers."

"The US government believes France could
 at least make a financial contribution, with
money transferred from the French Foreign
Ministry to State Department accounts, to
the real purpose it is allocated for."

"It's known that the Ukraine-U.S. Joint Commission
 is responsible for arms supplies. A document of the
 US European Command (Eucom) contains a proposal
 to deliver lethal arms to Ukraine allocating $75 mn
for the purpose."

"The package includes Javelin
anti-armor missiles,
different kinds of light weapons,
equipment and individual protection
kits. $2
million is to be spent on the Maidan network."

Another Eucom document mentions ammunition,
including grenades. $45 million is to be allocated
 for the training of Ukraine’s military, first of all,
the special forces.

The arms will be transferred within the frame-
work of the Joint Multinational Training Group
– a program in accordance with the Ukraine
/U.S. Joint Commission.

Perhaps the purpose of the Green Group’s mission
 was to get acquainted with the Ukraine’s military
 requirements and observe the situation on spot.

 The documents show that the US assessments
are a bit different from what Ukraine asked for.
 The US offers to make it a much bigger deal. For
 instance, Green Group proposes to increase the
 number of robotic systems, and includes 9,000
 optical devices. Communication systems top
 the list, while Ukrainians give priority to drones.

According to the documents, Kiev started talks
 on weapons supplies, no later than mid-2014.

 The Ukraine-U.S. Joint Commission (its next
 session is slated for May or June 2015)...
serves as a cover.

 The US does not trust Ukrainians with making
 assessments of their needs. This mission will
be undertaken by private contractors. They
will also take part in combat actions and
work as consultants and trainers.

Green Group is not the only private military
company hired by the Pentagon and State
 Department to provide arms to Ukraine.

According to media, at least 3-4000 people
 employed by defense contractors, operate
in Ukraine. The decision is not taken at a
 political level but this doesn't prevent the
 organizers of military supplies from doing
their job.


'USA: Through Rough Ways to the Wars'
by Francis Boyle;
recommended reading:



US president’s decision to prolong anti-Russian
 sanctions far-fetched - analysts

US President Barack Obama’s decision to prolong
the operation of anti-Russian sanctions on Ukraine
 for one year, by no means reflects the situation in
 Ukraine --- and their sole effect will be a further
worsening of bilateral relations, experts say.

Obama on Wednesday extended the operation
 of sanctions against Russia, imposed on March
 6th, 16th and 20th, 2014, to affect a number of
 Russian companies and individuals, former
 members of the ousted president, Viktor
 Yanukovich’s government, and leaders of
 Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics.

 The sanctions of December 19, 2014, taken
against the Crimean economy, will stay, too.

Obama claims that the situation in Ukraine
remains extraordinary and constitutes "an
unusual and extraordinary threat to the
national security and foreign policy of the
 United States."

President of the International Centre for
Geopolitical Analysis, Leonid Ivashov:

 "When he says that he has made a decision
 to prolong the anti-Russian sanctions on the
 excuse there is a threat to US foreign policy
Obama is right, in that the restoration of
peace to the east of Ukraine would run
counter to Washington’s strategic plans
for tearing Ukraine away from Russia.

" When they were steering the events in Kiev
 towards a change of power, US Department
 of State emissaries certainly pursued an aim
very different from the situation achieved,
where Normandy Quartet leaders would push
 Washington aside to achieve implementation
 of the peace accords concluded in Minsk on
February 12th."

"Obama’s decision to prolong anti-Russian
sanctions fully reflects the United States’
wish to keep the war in Ukraine going,
because this war is against Russia.

"Washington has no intention of letting the
 European Union leaders settle the situation
 in the east of Ukraine. Otherwise Obama’s
already unimpressive rating would sink to
 new lows," Ivashov believes.

"In reality the process of ceasefire & pull-
back of heavy armaments in the east of
Ukraine is continuing. Unlike the Ukrainian
armed forces, the Donetsk and Luhansk
militias have followed the Minsk accords
to the letter, for which, Moscow can take
some credit.

"It should be obvious to US and EU leaders
that the self-proclaimed republics are by
no means interested in an escalation of
violence: the economy is in ruins, there
are no jobs, and no funds are available
to pay wages and salaries.

 But the West avoids putting proper pressure
on Kiev, to make it comply with the Minsk
accords, while the US puts the blame for
this, on Russia, and extends
which is utterly dissonant with
the real
state of affairs," Ivashov says.

A deputy director of the Institute of US and
Canada Studies, Viktor Kremenyuk, remarks
that unlike the German and French leaders,
 the US president is in no mood to take a
milder line towards Moscow.

"Regrettably, the Obama-Putin mechanism
 does not work.

"It is deplorable that the US president  turned
 a deaf ear to a message about the possibility
 of easing the food embargo. President Vladimir
 Putin’s spokesperson said that Russia might
 resume importing farm produce from Europe
 and the United States, on the condition that
Western companies began investing in the
 construction of processing facilities.

 Regrettably, that constructive message
resulted in a prolongation of sanctions
 against Russia," Kremenyuk says.

"I believe the US president may reconsider
 his stance re the anti-Russian sanctions,
 if German Chancellor Angela Merkel and
Francois Hollande, as well as the heads of
the OSCE mission in Ukraine, provide certain
guarantees that hostilities in the east of the
country will not resume. None of them has
been able to assume such a responsibility
...so far," Kremenyuk ends.


Nuclear War and Clashing Ukraine Narratives
By Robert Parry

America and Russia have two nearly opposite
 narratives on Ukraine, which is more an indictment
of the US news media, which feigns objectivity, but
 disseminates what amounts to propaganda. These
 divergent narratives are driving the world towards
 a possible nuclear crisis, writes Robert Parry.

The US government and mainstream media are
 swaggering to a possible nuclear confrontation
 with Russia over Ukraine, without any of the
seriousness that has informed this sort of
decision-making throughout the nuclear age.
 Instead, Official Washington seems possessed
 by a self-righteous goofiness that could be
the prelude to the end of life on this planet.

Nearly across the US political spectrum, there is
 a pugnacious “group think” which has changed
 what should have been a manageable political
dispute in Ukraine into some morality play where
US politicians and pundits blather on about how
 the nearly year-old coup regime in Kiev “shares
 our values” and how America must be prepared
 to defend this regime militarily.

Though I’m told that President Barack Obama
 personally recognizes how foolhardy this attitude
 is, he has made no significant move to head off
 the craziness and, indeed, has tolerated
provocative actions by his underlings, such as
 neocon Assistant Secretary of State Victoria
 Nuland’s scheming with coup plotters to over-
throw Ukraine’s elected President, Viktor
Yanukovych, last February.

Obama also has withheld from the American people
 intelligence information that undercuts some of the
 more extreme claims that his administration has
 made. For instance, I’m told that he has detailed
 intelligence reports on both the mysterious sniper
 attack that preceded the putsch nearly a year ago
 and the shoot-down of the Malaysia Airlines Flights
17 that deepened the crisis last summer. But he
 won’t release the findings.

More broadly over the last year, Obama’s behavior –
 ranging from his initial neglect of the Ukraine issue,
 as Nuland’s coup plotting unfolded, to his own
 participation in the tough talk, such as boasting
 during his State of the Union address that he had
 helped put the Russian economy “in tatters” –
 ranks as one of the most irresponsible
 performances by a US president.

Given the potential stakes of nuclear war, none
of the post-World War II presidents behaved as
 recklessly as Obama has, which now includes
 allowing administration officials to talk loosely
 about sending military support to an unstable
regime in Kiev that includes neo-Nazis who
have undertaken death-squad operations
against ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine.

US Gen. Philip Breedlove,
NATO'S Commander,
declared last November that – on supplying
military support to Kiev's government –
“nothing at this time is off the table.”

 Breedlove is now pushing actively to send
lethal US military equipment to fend off an
offensive by ethnic Russians in the east.

I’m told the Russians fear that US officials
are contemplating placing Cruise missiles in
Ukraine, or otherwise introducing advanced
weaponry that Moscow regards as a direct
threat to its national security. Whether or not
 the Russians are being alarmist, these fears
 are affecting their own decision-making.

None of the nuclear-age presidents – not Harry
 Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy,
 Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford,
 Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush,
 Bill Clinton or even George W. Bush - would have
 engaged in such provocative actions on Russia’s
 borders, though some surely behaved aggressively
 in overthrowing governments and starting wars
 farther away.

Even Ronald Reagan, an aggressive Cold Warrior,
 kept his challenges to the Soviet Union in areas
 that were far less sensitive to its national security
 than Ukraine. He may have supported slaughtering
 leftists in Central America and Africa, or armed
 Islamic fundamentalists fighting a Soviet-backed
 government in Afghanistan, but he recognized the
 insanity of a military showdown with Moscow in
Eastern Europe.

After the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991, US
 presidents became more assertive, pushing
 NATO into the former Warsaw Pact nations
 and, under President Clinton, bombing a
Russian ally in Serbia, but that came at a
 time when Russia was essentially flat on
 its back, geopolitically.

Perhaps the triumphalism of that period is
still alive, especially among neocons who
 reject President Vladimir Putin’s reassertion
 of Russia’s national pride. These Washington
 hardliners still feel they can treat Moscow
 with disdain, ignoring the fact that Russia
 maintains a formidable nuclear arsenal and
 isn't willing to return to the supine position
 of the 1990s.

In 2008, President George W. Bush – arguably
one of the most reckless presidents of the era
– backed away from a confrontation with Russia
when Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili,
 a neocon favorite, drew the Russians into a
border conflict over South Ossetia. Despite
 some war talk from the likes of Vice President
 Dick Cheney and Sen. John McCain,
President Bush showed relative restraint.

Imbalanced Narrative

But Obama has failed to rein in his administration’s
 war hawks and has done nothing to correct the
 biased narrative his State Department has fed
 to an equally irresponsible mainstream US news
 media. Since the Ukraine crisis began in fall of
 2013, the New York Times and other major US
 news outlets have provided only one side of the
 story, openly supporting the interests of pro-
European western Ukrainians, over the ethnic
Russian eastern Ukrainians.

The bias is so strong that the mainstream media
 has largely ignored the remarkable story of the
Kiev regime willfully dispatching Nazi storm
 troopers to kill ethnic Russians in the east,
 something that hasn’t happened in Europe
 since World War II.

For Western news organizations that are quick
 to note the slightest uptick in neo-Nazism in
Europe, there has been a willful blindness to
 Kiev’s premeditated use of what amount
to Nazi death squads undertaking house-to
-house killings in eastern Ukraine.
[See Consortiumnews.com’s
“Seeing No Neo-Nazi
Militias in Ukraine.”]

Russia's government has repeatedly protested
these death-squad operations and other crimes
 committed by the Kiev regime, but the US
 mainstream media is so in the tank for western
 Ukrainians that it has suppressed this aspect
of the crisis, typically burying references to
the neo-Nazi militias at the end of stories... or
dismissing accounts as “Russian propaganda.”

With this ugly reality hidden from the US public,
 Obama’s State Department has been able to
present a white-hat-vs.-black-hat narrative
to the crisis. So, while the Russians saw a
constitutionally elected government on their
 border overthrown by a US-backed coup last
February – and then human rights atrocities
 inflicted on ethnic Russians in east Ukraine
 – the American people heard only about
wonderful pro-American “reformers” in Kiev
and the evil pro-Russian “minions” trying to
 destroy “democracy” at Putin’s bidding.

This distorted American narrative represents
 one of the most unprofessional & dangerous
 performances in the history of modern US
 journalism, rivaling the false conventional
 wisdom about Iraq’s WMD --- except in this
case the media propaganda is aimed at a
country in Russia that really does have
 weapons of mass destruction.

The Russians also have noted the arrival of
 financially self-interested Americans, including
 Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden
 and Ukraine’s new Finance Minister Natalie
 Jaresko, reminding the Russians of American
 financial experts who descended on Moscow
with their “shock therapy” in the 1990s, with
 “reforms” that enriched a few well-connected
 oligarchs, but impoverished millions of
average Russians.

Ukraine’s Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko.

Jaresko, a former US diplomat who took Ukraine
 citizenship in December 2014 to become Finance
 Minister, had been in charge of a US-taxpayer-
financed $150 million Ukrainian investment fund
 involving substantial insider dealings, including
 paying a management firm that Jaresko created
 more than $1 million a year in fees, even as the
$150 million apparently dwindled to less than
$100 million.

Jaresko also has been involved in a two-year-long
 legal battle with her ex-husband to gag him from
 releasing information about apparent irregularities
 in the handling of the US money. Jaresko went
 into Chancery Court in Delaware to enforce a
 non-disclosure clause against her ex-husband,
 Ihor Figlus, and got a court order to silence him.

This week, when I contacted George Pazuniak,
Figlus’s lawyer about Jaresko’s aggressive
enforcement of the non-disclosure agreement,
 he told me that “at this point, it’s very difficult
 for me to say very much without having a
detrimental effect on my client.”

With Jaresko now hailed as a Ukrainian
 “reformer” who – in the words of New York
Times’ columnist Thomas L. Friedman –
 “shares our values,” one has to wonder why
 she has fought so hard to shut up her ex-
husband regarding possible revelations about
the improper handling of US taxpayer money.
 [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Ukraine’s
Made-in-USA Finance Minister.”]

More Interested Parties

The Russians also looked askance at the
 appointment of Estonian Jaanika Merilo as
the latest foreigner to be brought inside the
 Ukrainian government as a “reformer.”
 Merilo, a Jaresko associate, is being put in
charge of attracting foreign investments but
 her photo spreads look more like someone
 interested in some rather kinky partying.
(Photos show her dressed in skimpy tights
with a knife held provocatively)

The Russians are aware, too, of prominent
Americans encircling the potential plunder
 of Ukraine. For instance, Hunter Biden was
named to the board of directors of Burisma
 Holdings, Ukraine’s largest private gas firm.
Burisma is also a shadowy Cyprus-based
company linked to Privat Bank.

Privat Bank is controlled by thuggish billionaire
 oligarch Ihor Kolomoysky, who was appointed
 by Kiev's regime to be Dnipropetrovsk governor
  Oblast, in a south-central province of Ukraine.

Kolomoysky has helped finance the paramilitary
 forces killing ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine.

And Burisma has been lining up well-connected
 lobbyists, some with ties to Secretary of State
John Kerry, including Kerry’s former Senate
chief of staff David Leiter, according to lobby
disclosures. As Time magazine reported,
“Leiter’s involvement in the firm, rounds out
a power-packed team of politically-connected
Americans that includes a second new board
member, Devon Archer, a Democratic bundler
and a former adviser to John Kerry’s 2004
presidential campaign. Both Archer and
Hunter Biden have worked as business
 partners with Kerry’s son-in-law, Christopher
 Heinz, founding partner of Rosemont Capital,
 a private-equity company.”
[See Consortiumnews.com’s
“The Whys Behind the Ukraine Crisis.”]

So, Russians have a decidedly different view
 of Ukraine's “reforms” than much of the US
 media does. But I’m told that Russians would
 be willing to tolerate these well-connected
 Americans enriching themselves in Ukraine,
 and even Ukraine expanding its economic
 relations with the European Union.

But Russians have drawn a red line at the
 prospect of an expansion of NATO forces
 into Ukraine, and the continued killing of
ethnic Russians at the hands of neo-Nazi
 death squads. Putin is demanding that
those paramilitary forces be disarmed.

Besides unleashing these right-wing militias
on the ethnic Russians, the Kiev government
 has moved to punish the people living in the
 eastern sectors by cutting off access to banks
 & other financial services. It also has become
 harder & more dangerous for ethnic Russians
 to cross into territory controlled by the Kiev
 authorities. Many are turned back and those
who do get through, face the risk of being
taken and killed by the neo-Nazi militias.

These conditions have left the people in the
Donetsk and Luhansk areas - the so-called
Donbass region bordering Russia - dependent
 on relief supplies from Russia. Meanwhile, the
Kiev regime - pumped up by the prospects of
 weapons from Washington, as well as more
 money - has toughened its tone, with vows
 to crush the eastern rebellion once & for all.

Russia’s Hardening Line

The worsening situation in the east and the fear
 of US military weapons arriving in the west have
 prompted a shift in Moscow’s view of Ukraine's
 crisis, including a readiness to resupply ethnic
 Russian forces in eastern Ukraine and even
provide military advisers.

These developments alarm European leaders who
 find themselves caught in the middle of a possible
 conflict between the United States and Russia.
 German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French
 President Francois Hollande rushed to Kiev and
then Moscow this week, to discuss possible
to defuse the crisis.

The hardening Russian position now seeks, in effect,
 a division of Ukraine into 2 autonomous zones, the
 east and the west with a central government that
 maintains the currency and handles other national
 concerns. But I’m told that Moscow might still
 accept the earlier idea of a federated Ukraine with
 greater self-governance by the different regions.

Putin also does not object to Ukraine building
closer economic ties to Europe and he offered
 a new referendum in Crimea, on whether the
 voters still want to secede from Ukraine and
 join Russia, said a source familiar with the
Kremlin’s thinking. But Putin’s red lines also
include no NATO expansion into Ukraine and
protection for ethnic Russians by disarming
the neo-Nazi militias, the source said.

If such an arrangement or something similar isn’t
 acceptable, and if the killing of ethnic Russians
 continues, the Kremlin would support a large-
scale military offensive from the east that would
 involve “taking Kiev,” according to the source.

A Russian escalation of that magnitude, would
 likely invite a vigorous US response, with leading
 American politicians and pundits sure to ratchet
 up demands for a military counterstrike against
Russia. If Obama were to acquiesce to such
 bellicosity – to avoid being called “weak” – the
 world could be pushed to the brink of nuclear war.

Who’s to Blame?

Though the State Department and the mainstream
 US media continue to put all the blame on Russia,
the fact that the Ukraine crisis has reached such
 a dangerous crossroads reveals how reckless the
 behavior of Official Washington has been over the
 past year.

Nuland and other US officials took an internal
Ukrainian disagreement over how quickly it
should expand ties to Europe – while seeking
 to retain its historic relations with Russia –
and turned that fairly pedestrian political
 dispute into a possible flashpoint for a
 nuclear war.

At no time, as this crisis has evolved over the
 past year, did anyone of significance in Official
 Washington, whether in government or media,
stop and contemplate whether this issue was
worth risking the end of life on the planet.
Instead, all the American people have been
 given is a steady diet of anti-Yanukovych
 and anti-Putin propaganda.

Though constitutionally elected, Yanukovych
 was depicted as a corrupt tyrant who had a
pricy sauna in his official mansion. Though
 Putin had just staged the Winter Olympics
 in Sochi, signaling his desire for Russia to
 integrate more with the West, he was
portrayed as either a new-age imperial
czar or the second coming of Hitler - if
not worse - because he occasionally
would ride on a horse while not wearing
a shirt.

Further, US news media refused to conduct
 a serious investigation into evidence that
Nuland and other US officials had helped
destabilize Yanukovych’s government,
 with the goal of achieving another neo-
con “regime change.”

Nuland, who personally urged on anti-Yanukovych
 protests in Kiev, discussed with US Ambassador
 to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, in early February 2014
 who should lead the new government – “Yats is
 the guy,” she said, referring to Arseniy Yatsenyuk
 – and how to “glue this thing.”

After weeks of mounting tensions & worsening
 violence, the coup occurred on Feb. 22, 2014,
when well-organized neo-Nazi and other right-
wing militias from western Ukraine, overran
 presidential buildings forcing officials to flee
for their lives. With Yanukovych ousted,
Yatsenyuk soon became Prime Minister.
 [See Consortiumnews.com’s
“When Is a Putsch a Putsch.”]

Many ethnic Russians in southern and eastern
 Ukraine, who'd strongly supported Yanukovych,
 refused to accept the US-backed order in Kiev.

 Crimean officials and voters moved to secede
 from Ukraine and rejoin Russia, a move that
Putin accepted because of Crimea’s historic
ties to Russia and his fear that Russia's naval
 base at Sevastopol might be handed to NATO.

The resistance spread to eastern Ukraine,
 where other ethnic Russians took up arms
against the coup regime in Kiev, which then
responded with what it calls an “anti-terrorist
 operation” against the east. To bolster the
weak Ukrainian army, Internal Affairs Minister
 Arsen Avakov dispatched neo-Nazi and other
 “volunteer” militias to spearhead the attacks.

After the deaths of more than 5,000 people, a
 shaky cease-fire was announced in September,
 but - amid complaints about neo-Nazi death
squads operating in government-controlled
areas and with life deteriorating in the rebel-
controlled towns and cities - ethnic Russians
 launched an offensive in January, using
 Russian-supplied weapons to expand their
control of territory.

In reaction, US pundits, including columnists
 and editors of the New York Times and the
 Washington Post, called for dispatching US
aid to the Kiev forces, including proposals for
 lethal weaponry to deter Putin’s “aggression.”
 Members of Congress and members of the
Obama administration have joined the chorus.

On Feb. 2, the New York Times reported “With
 Russian-backed separatists pressing their
attacks in Ukraine, NATO’s military commander,
Gen. Philip M. Breedlove, now supports providing
 defensive weapons and equipment to Kiev’s
 beleaguered forces, & an array of administration
 and military officials appear to be edging toward
that position, American officials said… President
 Obama has made no decisions on providing such
 lethal assistance.”

That same day, the lead Times editorial was entitled
 “Mr. Putin Resumes His War” and continued with the
 theme about “Russian aggression” and the need “to
 increase the cost” if Russia demands “a permanent
 rebel-held enclave.”

On Feb. 3, the Washington Post ran an editorial
 entitled “Help for Ukraine. Defensive weapons
could deter Russia in a way sanctions won’t.”
 The editorial concluded that Putin “will stop
only if the cost to his regime is sharply raised
 – and quickly.”

A new war fever gripped Washington and no one
 wanted to be viewed as “soft” or be denounced
 as a “Putin apologist.” Amid this combination of
 propaganda, confusion and tough-guy-ism – and
 lacking the tempering wisdom about war and
nuclear weapons that restrained earlier US
 presidents – a momentum lurched toward a
nuclear showdown over Ukraine that could
 put all life on earth in jeopardy.

By Robert Parry, consortiumnews.com



Barack Obama wants to continue the program
 that George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and G.W. Bush,
 worked on before him, to surround Russia with
NATO missiles. The takeover of Ukraine, and the
 enlistment of the Arabic oil sheikhs in assisting
 further to turn the screws against Russia, are
key components in doing that: crushing Russia’s
 resistance to American domination.

Whereas, for FDR, the alliance with Sunni Islam
 was purely anti-communist, against the Soviet
Union, the US Presidents after 1980, were and
are, anti-Russian, and it's nothing whatsoever
 to do with ideology. The US aristocracy intend
 to dominate the aristocracy in every other
 nation, and Russia is the only militarily
powerful nation that is opposed to being
controlled by this global Empire.

Consequently, President Obama, who's an agent
 for America’s aristocracy, wants to cripple if not
 destroy, Russia. And this is why, in his National
 Security Strategy 2015, 17 of the 18 times he
used the term ‘aggression’... he applied it

 Russia’s President Putin would have to be an
 idiot not to recognize that today’s United States
 (its aristocracy, not the American public, who
 are quite different) is extremely hostile.

Russia could be the bulwark that, along with the
 rest of Europe and America, could restrain Islamic
 extremism; but, since America’s aristocracy is
 primarily concerned with crushing Russia, Islamic
 terrorism will probably only continue to grow.

Furthermore, events such as 9/11 are necessary
 for the Arabic aristocrats, in order for them to
 keep their clerics with them and thereby
 control their own nation’s public.

So: the US ends up being allied with Islamic
 terrorists, while accusing Russia of backing
 ‘terrorists’ in the former Ukraine, whose only
 crime is, they don’t want to be slaughtered.

On 12 February 2015, was issued a “Statement
 by IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde on
 Ukraine,” which opened: “Ms. Christine Lagarde,
Managing Director of the International Monetary
Fund (IMF), statement today in Brussels, Belgium:

‘I am pleased to announce that the IMF team
working in Kiev has reached a staff-level
agreement with the Ukrainian government
 on a new economic reform program that
would be supported by an Extended Fund
 Facility of SDR 12.35 billion (about $17.5
 billion, €15.5 billion) from the IMF, as well
 as by additional resources from the
 international community.”

Violating even the IMF’s own prohibitions --
against pouring loans into a nation that’s at
war -- the IMF was here making clear that
were 100% behind Obama’s Ukrainian
war against Russia.

 This is where the money will come from to
 finance Ukraine’s acquisition of more weapons
 to exterminate or else drive out the residents in
 the area of Ukraine that had voted 90% for the
 democratically elected Ukrainian President that
 Obama overthrew.

It’s ongoing mass-murder on the installment
 plan, with the IMF providing most of the funds.

Because the loaned money is going to pay for
 the ethnic-cleansing campaign, it’s not going
 to the needs of the Ukrainian people. This is
extreme austerity, and it started immediately,
a day after the day, 26 February 2014, when
Arseniy Yatsenyuk became appointed to run
the country, as he had been selected to do
by Victoria Nuland of Obama’s State Dept.,
 22 days prior.

As Kommersant reported, on 6 March 2014:
“the strategy of the government was
approved in Parliament on 27 February and
 on 3 March the Ministry of Finance sent an
action plan for approval to the Ministry of
Economic Development. The document is
striking in its scale. … ‘Under the Knife’ go
social costs. Already in March, the payment
 of pensions will be reduced to only 50% of
 the designated pension amounts.” But an
 uproar held that up. However, now, it’s
being done.

On December 11th: “Cabinet wants to reduce
 schooling to 9 years [from 12 years], to reduce
 the cost of the budget the Finance Ministry
proposes to amend the legislation governing
 the humanitarian sphere, the sphere of public
administration, pensions, social security, the
work of the prosecution and the army.”

On December 19th: “Education Minister Sergey
 Kvit noted that the department, which he heads,
will never agree to such a proposal.”

On December 24th we read:
“Education Minister Sergei quits.”

Pensions are now set to be halved, even in
the greatly depreciated Ukrainian currency;
 & public schooling is to be reduced to only
 nine years. All of that IMF (and US and EU)
 money goes instead to pay to mass-murder
 the residents in Ukraine’s former Donbass
 region, an area in which the residents voted
 90% for Viktor Yanukovych, whom Obama
 overthrew, and where all of the residents
 are officially ’terrorists.’ The phrase for this
used to be a “free-fire zone.” Obama wants
 the residents exterminated, and the IMF
 and EU are going along with that.

The circuitous way in which Ukraine will be
buying its weapons, is designed to avoid
 triggering a declaration of war by Vladimir
 Putin, or else to make it non-obvious to the
 public why he would be justified in doing so.

(Selected in part from What’s Behind Ukraine’s
Weapons Deal with the United Arab
Emirates (UAE)?,
by Eric Zuesse.) 

Full article here:



Investigative historian Eric Zuesse,
is the
author, most recently, of:
'They’re Not Even Close:
The Democratic
vs. Republican Economic Records,



Kiev coup gets checkmated in Debaltseve


The guns aren't yet silent on the Debaltseve salient,
 but the angels may be heading that way. The cruel
 waste of conscripted Ukrainian soldiers and South-
eastern Ukrainians may finally come to an end…
for a while. We will see if their families will seek
 revenge for their being used as cannon fodder
by Kiev’s nationalist thugs and the West in their
 pillaging of Ukraine.

 The good news is that the key parties to the Minsk
 agreement are calling it successful, indicating that
 Kiev and the West now view the fighting as a tar
 baby they want to get off their hands. Up until now
 they have shamelessly faked their interest in a
 political settlement while pouring arms and other
 support into Kiev to continue the fight for a
victory. As we say here in the South,
“They lied like
a rug.”

The tactical situation is still cloudy. The militias
 claim the Debaltseve cauldron is closed, and they
 will only allow a “green corridor” for Kiev’s troops
 to pull out, meaning they leave their weapons
and equipment behind.

Donetsk Prime Minister Zakharchenko tells us
 the militias have orders to contest any Ukrainian
 units moving with their weapons, because the
 Minsk agreements do allow the militias to disarm
 or neutralize all illegal armed groups inside their

Zakharchenko is recovering from wounds
during a ceasefire violation when
he was hit by
shrapnel. The Republics stated
today that Kiev
could not give any order to
retreat because the
militias have jammed
all communications.

Jamming is a standard modern tactic to
defeat coordinated action by enemy forces.

I spent the last few days watching as much
 Debaltseve video as I could find with English
 translations. I saw strong evidence of a
complete breakdown of command & control
by the Ukrainian Army, in the last week.

Surrendering PoWs describe orders to hold
 their positions, but most were down to two
days of rations and had not seen ammo
 resupplies in over a week.

The Ukrainian Army is also continuing the
 dishonor of abandoning their dead on the
 battlefield. Our Ukrainian sources tell us
 this is one of the ways they keep their
 public KIA numbers down and also avoid
 paying out benefits to the families.

 This is disgraceful conduct by their general
 staff, and one for which they should all be shot.

Western manipulations and deceptions

Western media have sadly played the role of
cheerleader during this whole conflict. And I
could say even worse… that they have been
 aiders and abettors to war crimes. When Kiev
 refused to turn over its air traffic control data
on the MH-17 shoot down, I remember the old
days when the press would have fried Kiev’s
livers in print, but the press says nothing and
 are dancing cowards one and all.

When NATO made claim after claim of a pending
 Russian invasion, none of which happened, I
 remember a time when print media cartoonists
 would have made NAT0 a laughing stock.

General Breedlove would have been given a
 Pinocchio nose, and Kiev’s military PR spokes-
man would have played “Baghdad Bob” of
Persian Gulf War I, who gave Saddam’s daily
 press briefings on how Coalition Forces were
being destroyed by Iraq’s Republican Guard.

If you think about it for a moment, you probably
won’t remember seeing any Western news
analysis on what the point was for Kiev to
 push into the Debaltseve pocket, even while
 the EU and US were supposedly urging
Poroshenko to start negotiations which
we now see were a cruel hoax.

Any in-depth discussion of the strategy would have
 revealed the obvious attempt for a military victory…
 with two main purposes. First, Debaltseve is the
 main industrial transportation hub for both the
 Donetsk and Lugansk industrial regions, and the
 rail head for moving coal out to the rest of Ukraine.
 To its west is Gorlikva (also Horlikva), which is
 the junction for the region’s water mains.

With Kiev in control of those two hubs, it would have
 had a stranglehold on both Republics’ economies,
 literally making them unviable. The Debaltseve
 pocket was also a launching pad for using those
 transportation lines needed to sustain a push all
 the way south to prevent the two Republics from
 supporting each other, and to cut Donetsk off
from the Russian border.

NATO advances as EU economy wanes

While this military victory was being pursued by Kiev,
 EU and NATO countries were shipping arms and non-
lethal supplies into the military effort. But they were
 also steadily advancing NATO bases closer to the
 Russian border -- a serious security concern for
 Moscow. And as additional cover for this obvious
 aggression, the world public was treated like we
 were all idiots, who would believe the constant
mantra of “It’s all the Russians’ fault.”

The Financial Times has validated my long stream of
 articles on the financial black hole Ukraine has been
pushed into by the vultures in the West. Industrial
production is down over 20% from last year, which
 already had been struggling. And their economy
 shrank 15% in the last quarter, with an outlook
 of getting worse.

Sure, there has to be a rebuilding boom in the SE,
 the area that has taken all of the war carnage --
the rest of the country not even having a broken
 window -- a strange civil war there. But unlike
the US that can just print money, or have the
Federal Reserve create billion-dollar bank
 deposits out of thin air, Ukraine’s currency
 is down the tubes. Their gold has been
 shipped off to some undisclosed place,
and their cost of living increases under
 the IMF austerity plan will impoverish
them for the next generation.

They will never be able to repay the loans,
so their national assets will be sold off.
Ukrainian assets will be bought for fire
sale prices, and it will become the “go
 to” place for White slave labor with
good skills and education.

Austerity – the new indentured servitude

Welcome to the New World Order. German Intel
 tells us the civil war’s body pile is already 50,000
 people high, all in one year’s work. By contrast,
 America took the whole Vietnam War to kill that
 many of our own troops. And we hear calls for
 another Coalition war on Libya “to fix things” in
that country. The Western war on terror is the
 Frankenstein I always said it would be… and
 it’s not finished yet.

The Ukraine internet abounds with talk of a second
 Maidan revolution in the works. The Right Sector
 thugs have gained a lot of combat experience, plus
 some added extras, like nailing kids to fences and
 dragging mothers down the road behind APCs.

The West will wear eternal shame for what it has
done to Ukraine. Sure, it was a corrupt country

when this started, but it is worse now. So that
shows the West has really attacked and pillaged
 the country with a time-delay economic bomb
which will go off when all of these loans
 eventually boomerang back onto Europeans
 in the form of more austerity some day.

Nikita Khrushchev, who is a hard guy to quote,
 does have one that perfectly fits the Ukraine
 situation. “Support by the United States rulers
 is rather in the nature of the support that the
 rope gives to a hanged man.”

Poet and Efran Kaye's tribute
to everyone killed in wars.

Bless the large numbers of Ethiopians,
the many good people in Indonesia, and
the folks of Russia, Greece and Egypt,
who are now playing it.


Most US people polled believe that 9/11 was
an "inside job",
but what would they feel if they
found out that it was
designed by Zionists, who
deliberately killed thousands
of innocent US
citizens to drive the US into wars on Muslims?

They'd be angry, right?

Fernando Imposimato, President of the Italian Supreme
Court, calls for a criminal investigation of 9/11, comparing
the attack to false flag incidents carried out by the CIA
in Italy: Operation Gladio.


"The 9/11 attacks were a global state terror operation
that was permitted by the US
administration, which
had foreknowledge of the operation, yet
intentionally unresponsive in order to make war
Afghanistan and Iraq," Imposimato declares
in a letter published by
the Journal of 9/11 Studies.

 Ferdinando Imposimato is the Honorary President
of the Supreme Court of Italy and a former Senator
who served on the Anti-Mafia Commission in three
administrations. He is the author or co-author of 7
books on international terrorism, state corruption,
and related matters, and a Grand Officer of the
Order of Merit of the Republic of Italy.

As a former state prosecutor, Imposimato has
extensive experience in investigating high-
profile crimes, including the kidnapping and
assassination of Italian Prime Minster Aldo
Moro & the attempted assassination of Pope
John Paul II. He also worked on the Anti-
Mafia commission as a Senator, giving him a
wealth of knowledge on the inner workings
of organized crime syndicates.


Imposimato points to several facts contradicting
the official 9/11 story, including the free-fall
collapse of WTC Building 7, the report that the
CIA met with Osama Bin Laden in a Dubai hospital
in July 2001, and the overwhelming evidence of
insider trading before 9/11 that didn't lead to any
criminal charges, reports digitaljournal.com

The following is an excerpt from Imposimato’s letter
published by the Journal of 9/11 Studies on Sunday:


The reports of the National Institute of Standards
and Technology (NIST), November 20, 2005, set
forth the following conclusions:

The airplanes that struck each of the Twin Towers
caused a breach as well as an explosion evidenced
by a giant fireball. The remaining jet fuel flowed onto
the lower floors, sustaining the fires. The heat from
the fires deformed the building structures and both
towers collapsed completely from top to bottom.

Very little that was of any size remained after these
events except steel as well as aluminum fragments
and the pulverized dust from the concrete floors.


The World Trade Center 7 also collapsed–in a way that
was inconsistent with the common experience of
engineers. All three buildings collapsed completely,
but Building 7 was not hit by a plane. WTC7’s collapse
violated common experience and was unprecedented.


The NIST report does not analyze the actual nature of the
collapses.  According to experts at the Toronto Hearings
(Sept. 8-11, 2011), the collapses had features that indicate
controlled explosions. I agree with architect Richard Gage
  & engineer Jon Cole both highly experienced professionals
[from Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth – now
numbering 1,700 strong], who have arrived at their
conclusions through reliable tests, scientific proof,
and the visual testimony of people above suspicion,
including firefighters and victims.

The authoritative theologian David Ray Griffin has
described very precisely why the hypothesis of
controlled demolition should be considered.
Various witnesses heard bursts of explosions.


According to NIST the collapse of Building 7 was
due to fires provoked by the collapse of the twin
towers. Chemist and independent researcher Kevin
Ryan, however, has demonstrated that NIST gave
contradictory versions of the collapse of Building 7.

In a preliminary report NIST declared that WTC7
was destroyed because of fires provoked by diesel
fuel stored in the building, while in a second report
this fuel was no longer considered the cause of the
building’s collapse. Additional comments on the NIST
version of events have been made by David Chandler,
another expert witness at the Journal of 9/11 Studies
Letters, September 2012 Toronto Hearings.

Despite NIST’s claim of 3 distinct phases of collapse,
 Chandler pointed out that many available videos show
that for about two and a half seconds the acceleration
of the building cannot be distinguished from freefall.
NIST has been obliged to agree with this empirical fact
as pointed out by Chandler; now understood by everyone.


The only possibility for achieving justice is to submit the
best evidence concerning the involvement of specific
individuals in 9/11 to the Prosecutor of the International
Criminal Court and ask him to investigate according to
the articles 12, 13, 15 and 17, letters a and b, of the
Statute of the ICC, recalling the preamble of the Statute:


“Recognizing that such grave crimes threaten the
peace, security and the well being of the world,”


“Affirming that the most serious crimes of concern to
the international community as a whole must not go
unpunished and that their effective prosecution must
be ensured by taking measures at the national level
and by enhancing international cooperation, ”


“Determined to put an end to impunity for the perpetrators
of these
crimes and thus to contribute to the prosecution
of such crimes,
recalling that it is the duty of every state
to exercise its jurisdiction over
those responsible for
international crimes.
"  reports infowars.com.

More and more people from all walks of life and all
professions seem
to be questioning the “official”
narrative of what happened on 9/11.
Those who
are questioning the events of 9/11 may be moving
the radar of the corporate media from being
labeled “conspiracy
theorists” to legitimate
investigators with legitimate questions and
concerns, reports examiner.com


Theorists believe that the World Trade Center
buildings were
demolished by bombs, phone
calls from the planes were made up,
and the
former President George W. Bush secretly
profited from
the attacks, reports


The World Trade Center collapse appeared similar to a
demolition. Many speculate that the towers
were in fact blown down
with explosives placed in
selected locations. Some witnesses heard
inside the building as they attempted to escape. Many

architects & scientists maintain that plane fuel couldn't
enough heat to melt the steel frame of the
buildings that collapsed,

little girl frightens USA


Article by Finian Cunningham.

100 years ago, the assassination of Archduke
Franz Ferdinand and his wife in the
city of Sarajevo, was the fatal spark that

 ignited a geopolitical powder keg in Europe.

Within a month, all the major powers of Europe
 would be embroiled in the First World War, which
 also dragged in Russia and the US. The war would
 last for nearly five years and resulted in at least
 20 million deaths.

That catastrophe has perplexing resonances
today. One incident set off a conflagration
 back then, because it came amid simmering
rivalries among imperial powers. Another
resonance is how historians recount that, in
 the run-up to the First World War few believed
 that a war in "modern, civilized" Europe was
likely, because of the belief that diplomacy
 would prevail.

Today, we see a similar reckless goading by
 imperial powers across Europe. The US and
 its European NATO allies are embarked on a
25-year expansion towards Russia's heartland.

 The dynamic of encroachment has only sped up,
not lessened. This expansion is provocative,
 aggressive and duplicitous, because it not only
 presents a military threat to Russia, it also flies
 in the face of past commitments by the US-led
 NATO alliance not to do so, such as in the 1997
 Founding Act, signed with Moscow.

Russia has every right to feel threatened by ever-
encroaching ballistic missile systems on its borders
 that could be used in a pre-emptive nuclear strike
 by the US and its allies. That concern is heightened
 ever since Washington invoked a "first strike
 doctrine" under President George W Bush,
which Obama still retains.

Yet, provocatively, Washington dismisses Russian
 President Vladimir Putin's concerns about NATO
 expansion, as if they are the deliriums of a Soviet

The complacency of the present time towards
 the dangers of war, has disturbing echoes of
the past - on the eve of World War I. A major
factor in the present complacency is that the
 Western mainstream media are failing, woefully,
 to properly report on the gravity of the situation
 in Ukraine, and just how provocative that
 parlous situation is to Russia's vital interests.

This week saw the signing of a trade pact between
 the European Union and Petro Poroshenko, the
 declared president of Ukraine. The Western media
 have hailed it in glowing terms as "a landmark event"
 and a positive outcome of democracy in the former
 Soviet Republic. That blithe assessment invites
 dangerous ignorance and complacency.

The truth is that the signing of the EU trade pact is
 the outcome of an illegal regime-change operation in
 Ukraine fomented by Washington and its NATO allies.

 That regime change involved CIA-backed mass
 murder of civilians (the February 20 sniper shootings
 in Kiev's Maidan Square) and the overthrow of an
 elected government.

Since the illegal coup against President Viktor
Yanukovych, the Western-backed Kiev regime has
 been waging war on ethnic Russian populations
 in the east and south of the country, who refuse
 to recognize the regime as legitimate.

 Poroshenko, the billionaire oligarch who is now
 signing over the sovereign affairs of Ukraine to
 the US, NATO and the EU, was elected president
 in a farcical vote last month, where only 45% of
the electorate turned out and large sections of
the east and south did not even cast a ballot
amid a murderous "anti-terror" crackdown by
 Kiev troops and paramilitaries.

The campaign of terror by the Kiev forces against
 pro-Russian civilians was launched at the end of
 April, days after CIA chief John Brennan made a
 secret visit to the Kiev regime. Brennan briefed
the Kiev leadership, including the so-called Prime
 Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who only last week
used Nazi language to vow that his military forces
 would "cleanse sub-humans" from the country -
 referring to the ethnic Russian populations and
the self-defence militias they have set up in the
 Donetz and Lugansk regions.

The impostor-President Poroshenko may have
 declared a ceasefire over the past week, but
 the hostilities against civilian centres continue
 unabated. Crimes against humanity include the
 bombing of homes, churches, schools & hospitals,
 the use of White Phosphorus incendiary bombs
 and exploding bullets, as well as the shelling of
 electricity and water supplies.

Western media have largely ignored these violations
 by the "new democratic Ukrainian government", or at
 best have reported them as "unverified" or merely as
 "breaches of the ceasefire by both sides".

Western governments and media have gone into
 denial mode, refusing to acknowledge what even
the United Nations this week confirms as a massive
 displacement of over 150,000 people from eastern
 Ukraine.  Why are such numbers fleeing, if the
 violence is not also massive?

Another example of the Western cover-up over state
 terrorism in Ukraine, is the recent killing of three
journalists. Earlier this month, Russian journalist Igor
 Kornelyuk and his colleague Anton Voloshin were
 killed near Lugansk when they were hit with a mortar
 shell. Survivors of the attack said it was deliberate
 targeting by Kiev troops. Previously, Italian journalist
 Andrea Rochelli was slain near Slavyansk in another
 incident that bore the hallmarks of shoot-to-kill.

In the past week, by contrast, there was an
 outpouring of condemnation from Washington and
 other Western governments, as well as widespread
 media coverage, of the jailing of three Al Jazeera
 journalists in Egypt. Those sentences were no
 doubt a gross miscarriage of justice. But what
 about the taking of journalists' lives in Ukraine?
 Where is the Western condemnations and 
media coverage?

Western-backed regime change and genocidal
 repression in Ukraine, is a collision course of
 extreme provocation towards Russia and its
 vital interests. Yet it is presented to the
 Western public as if it is a "good news" story
 about democratic European enlargement,
 which, perversely, is being spoiled by Russian

This is a powder-keg situation in Europe, led
 by US geopolitics and its European henchmen,
 and which is wrapped up in an explosive shell
 of ignorance, by a lying Western media.

The repetition of history is not inevitable.
But the chances are increased when people
are kept in the dark about the underlying
causes of war and conflict.

China Russia reach deal

Petko Ganchev, wrote this article for Pravda.Ru.

Today it is absolutely clear that there is
a multipurpose strategic operation being
 conducted on the territory of the former
 Soviet Union. Ukraine plays a key role in
 the operation. Why Ukraine?

It's an open secret - the West has always
wanted to master the vast territories of
Russia and Eurasia, the axial space of the
Earth, with its enormous natural resources.

 To achieve this goal, there was the outer belt
 (Turkey, Pakistan, South Korea, Japan) built
 around Russia-Eurasia after World War Two.
 The inner belt (Georgia, Moldova, Lithuania,
 Latvia, Estonia) was built after the
 collapse of the USSR.

Successively, after the Cold War, almost all
East European countries - Soviet satellites -
were admitted to NATO under the condition
of their membership in the European Union.

 But the West didn't get closer to Russia's
western borders. There were 2 Russia-
friendly countries left - historically,
culturally and economically - Belarus
 and Ukraine.

Belarus is closely tied to Russia ethnically,
culturally and economically. Ukraine, with
its failed state organization was a weak link.

The reason for that is that the regions from
which Ukraine was created after World War
 II (1945), were formed by areas with very
different religious and value systems.

In his famous book "The Clash of Civilizations
and the Remaking of World Order" by Samuel P.
 Huntington, the author described Ukraine as
one of civilizational "splits," where one can
expect clashes, i.e. wars.

That's why Ukraine was chosen by the US
 as the key to implement a multi-purpose
 strategic operation.

 In the Middle East, the US has always used
 monarchies from the Middle Ages as allies -
 Saudi Arabia and Qatar. In Ukraine, the most
loyal ally of the United States was Poland.
The country was used to train "Right Sector"
 fighters and other figures from anti-Russian
 ultranationalist structures.

What are the main objectives and directions of
 this geo-strategic operation, the implementation
 of which began immediately after the US was
 forced to freeze its activities on Syria and Iran?

First and foremost, the goal is to strike a blow on
 Russia as the most active US geopolitical rival in
 the new millennium. When Ukraine leaves Russia's
 orbit, the US will implement several geostrategic

- to move air defense systems and other NATO
 systems closer to Russian borders: neutralizing
 its defense, including its nuclear capability;

- to undermine the Russian economy by cutting
 relations with the economy of Ukraine (Poroshenko
 has already ordered, following instructions from the
 US, to cease cooperation with the Russian defense

- to burden the budget of the Russian Federation with
 bigger spending to maintain refugees from Ukraine
 and substitute imports from Ukraine;

- to close Russia's gas and oil pipelines to the EU
 to thus block the inflow of foreign currency into
the Russian economy;

- to prevent creation of the Customs Union
 and the Eurasian Economic Union;

- to destabilize the political system in Russia,
 accusing its leadership of what is happening
 in Ukraine;

- to stop or minimize economic cooperation
 between Russia and the EU;

- to sow distrust between Russia and other BRICS
 countries - Brazil, India, China, South Africa.

Secondly, the U.S. plans to strike a blow on the
European Union, which, along with China, acts
 as a major competitor in the economic sphere.
The EU needs to be reminded of its secondary role.

The United States seeks to confirm the assessment
 of Russophobe Brzezinski in his book "The Grand
 Chessboard" (1997), according to which the EU
was a "U.S. protectorate."

 For the U.S. it is vitally important to strengthen the
 economic dependence of the EU in light of their
 signing the "Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement"
 to turn the EU towards the consumption of US
shale gas. In this regard, the EU is the most
developed market.

To achieve this, Ukrainian company Naftogaz (the
 largest company in Ukraine) became  the property
 of a new consortium, whose leadership includes
the son of U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and
former Polish President Kwasniewski.

At the same time, Chevron is preparing shale gas
 production in south-eastern Ukraine - in the areas
 of the towns of Slavyansk and Kramatorsk.

Chervon, directly or indirectly, through the European
 Commission, put pressure on Bulgaria, forcing the
 country to abandon the South Stream project.

 At the same time, the U.S. continues to put pressure
 on France, to make the country freeze the sale of
two Mistral helicopter carriers to Russia. France's
 largest bank PNB faces a fine of $10 billion for
 violating the financial embargo that the U.S. put
on Cuba, Sudan and Nicaragua.

 At the same time, the United States, with its
national debt of 17 trillion dollars and GDP of
14 trillion, prepares to grant NATO's Eastern
 European members $1 billion for new weapons.

Fortunately, on the "grand chessboard" of world
 civilization, the U.S. does not play against virtual
 opponents. The geo-strategy of the United States
 does not unfold like the Desert Storm Operation in
2 003. Today, the US is playing against experienced

 Russia is rising after the disgrace of the Yeltsin era,
 and the EU becomes increasingly aware of the fact
 that the only chance to survive is hidden in the
 slogan "More Europe for Europeans!"

The last elections to the European Parliament have
 confirmed the trend. Hitherto, with so many large-
scale geopolitical operations after World War II
 (Korea, Cuba, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.),
 the US has not been able to boast considerable

Through all those wars, as George Friedman says
 in his book "The Next 100 Years," America has
 stimulated the growth of the national economy.

America was gradually and steadily evolving from
 a manufacturing economy to the economy of a
 military-industrial complex. In history, such a
 condition has always heralded the end of any

working toward very cold war


The US government is a “criminal enterprise”
 with a foreign policy that places the well-
being of Israel ahead of America’s, a political
commentator in San Antonio, Texas says.

“This is a criminal enterprise that has the support
 of both of the major political parties in the United
 States,” Mark Dankof, a broadcaster and former
US Senate candidate, says.

This criminal enterprise “principally involves
 conducting a foreign policy firstly for Israel,
 secondly for the international central banks
and thirdly for the oil and natural gas
 consortiums,” Dankof says.

There is no difference between the policies
 of the Obama and Bush administrations, he
 notes. Both “are supporting the criminal
 policies of Benjamin Netanyahu,” he adds.

Dankof dismisses as a deception the recent
 remarks by US Secretary of State John Kerry
 that the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq was a
 serious mistake:

“This is an attempt to absolve John Kerry and
 Barack Obama of the responsibility for all the
 criminal policies that they have carried out.”

In an interview with Chinese news agency Geo
 News, Kerry acknowledged that many problems
 in the Middle East, have their roots in that war.

George W. Bush, ordered the invasion of Iraq
under a pretext --- that former Iraqi dictator,
 Saddam Hussein, possessed weapons of
 mass destruction.

 In October 2004, a CIA report revealed
 that Saddam Hussein did not possess any
weapons of mass destruction at the time
 of the invasion.

In a survey out on Wednesday 2nd June,
Quinnipiac University Polling Institute,

33% of registered voters name Obama
as the worst president since 1945.

 28% choose his predecessor, George
Bush, as the worst.

By Jim Jones

For many, myself included I suppose, the tragic
 events unfolding in Ukraine have been riveting
over the last couple of months. No need here to
 go into the sordid history of Coloured Revolutions
 and the CIA/NATO role in them; most reading this
 medium as opposed to CNN/SKY/VOA, are informed
 people and are aware of the manoeuvrings of the
 West and the associated puppet states in trying
embroil Russia in a war it doesn't want and in
extending NATO frontiers to the heart of Russia.

Missile strikes from Ukraine, for example, would be
 in Moscow in 10 minutes, leaving no reaction time
 and fits neatly within the new US policy of a "first
 Strike" nuclear capability. [As opposed to the
retaliatory strike doctrine of the last 40 years].

We all know what happened in 1961, when
 Khrushchev put Soviet Missiles into Cuba after
the US put missiles into Turkey. The US wasn't
very impressed at all. What is not well known
that Kennedy asked Khrushchev to "cut him
slack" and withdraw the missiles without
to the US' withdrawal of its missiles
from Turkey!

 The US had upped the rhetoric so much, that it
 couldn't be seen to lose face in the public arena
 - condescendingly, Khrushchev accommodated.

Hold that thought of "face saving" as we explore
 the current Ukraine Crisis.

The US/NATO pushed the EU to pressure the Ukraine
 to join the EU and swing to the West. They almost
succeeded 4 years ago with their Orange Revolution.

 But Russia had learnt a thing or two about the
 Coloured Revolutions and mounted a successful
 and embarrassing reversal of the revolution and
 installed their own man in Ukraine who was leading
 Ukraine back along the Russian brotherhood line.

Four years later, after over $5 billion in NGO funding
a huge amount of State Department scheming
CIA covert action, the US finally got a chance
 to redress the "egg on face incident" that the
Russians had made for them.

The US played a "background role" in this - preferring
 to have the EU seen as the driving force behind the
 Maidan. However, leaked phone calls, like that made
 to Cabinet Minister Ashton, which clearly identified
the role of paid mercenaries in killing both Police &
 protesters, and later, Viktoria Nuland [US State Dept]
hand-picking who will be in the Ukraine
and saying the EU can go get fucked -
did nothing to
endear the US to the EU -- it came
hard on the heels
of revelations of extensive phone
tapping of EU
leaders' phones etc. by the US.

Then we have the unsavoury influence of the Right
 Sektor in Ukraine being pushed, funded and trained
 by NATO and the US's Kerry, Nuland, John McCain,
 Mark Twain and all, were seen in public endorsing
 the very Right Sektor extremists that the German
 government was in the process of declaring as

Europe could see itself being plunged back 70 years
 with the rise of neo Nazi's, not just in Germany - but
 across Europe. [Remember Anders Behring Breivik
 and his mass killings in Norway: an ultra nationalist].

Europe also asked the question, what is the US going
 to lose over this? If Russia turns off the gas, Europe
 freezes: the economy of Europe goes down the toilet!

Already Germany is losing billions of Euros in trade
 with Russia, France has several military deals with
 Russia, the supply of Mistral Class ships for one,
 and Putin has promised follow-ons from that. Italy
 is supplying armour vehicles, many EU nations
trade with Russia - so, US, what sanctions are
to hurt you, the EU asks?

Germany has a growing discord there over the
year occupation of Germany by US forces -
see demonstrations - Yankees go home!
is realising that the US cares, not for
them, but
only for US and US businesses.

Against this background, we are witnessing the
 separation of the US/EU and a drawing closer of
 EU/Russia on common grounds & shared interests.

I was appalled: driven to tears by the criminal
of the Kyiv Junta's ex facto war crimes/
against humanity. The shelling and
bombing of
civilians [non-combatants the
Junta declares
are Terrorists]. The targeting
and destructionof
schools, kindergartens and
hospitals - with the
murder of 25 wounded in
the hospital - shot by
Junta troops!

Destruction of the means of
support of life
  - with water supplies destroyed,
installations and sanitary plants
by shelling. The shooting of women
children leaving the region for shelter in

 Crimea, by bus. The execution style killing
civilians in a town by Junta forces, who
the people up and shot them in the
back of
their heads. The use of chemical
against civilians - chlorine gas
[where is
Obama's Red Line on this?]. The
targeting of
TV reporters in the area trying
to objectively
record events. I'm sure that
I have missed some

 I cried out from the depths of despair for justice
surely Russia would intervene; surely Russia
would protect it's people like it has said it would?

And all along, that is exactly what the US has been
 saying too - telling the Ukrainian Junta to commit
 further acts and atrocities against the people who
 simply want true democracy in the East.

To help them in this, they even get them to
demonise and degrade the people there.
 Junta leaders have called the Russians in
 the East, "sub-human" - those of you as old
 as I am, will have heard that phrase before.

They are called parasites and vermin by the
 new Choco King Junta leader Poroshenko.
 Such a debasing of the population makes it
 more acceptable to murder them and commit
 atrocities against a subhuman species - not
 much higher than animals really, are they?

The provocation of Russia in this regard has been
 carefully stage managed by the US, intent as always
 to let it appear as the EU 's doing, while all the time
 ensuring that their people are the ones pulling the
 strings in Kiev - the CIA/FBI and State Department
are up
to their proverbial balls in Kiev's business.

 Don't see the EU featuring though. The US has
 pushed the warmonger Russian story all through
 Europe - putting the fear of the bogyman into all
ex Soviet states, and determined to show them
all how much they need NATO's protection.
 [In truth, the world needs to be protected from
 the US].

However, Russia has consistently demonstrated
 restraint and maturity in handling the world crisis.

 Since the failed US--led revolution in Georgia,
Russia has been seen to be taking the moral
 high ground from the US and their consistent
 lies [WMD et.al].

The lies over Georgia were exposed and eventually
 the EU came out & confirmed that Georgia started
 the war. Reluctantly, the Western media has had
admit to "errors" in reporting - all of which have
 favoured the Russian position. Remember the
 incredible piece of statesmanship from Russia
 in pulling the war rug out from under the US's
over Syrian Chemical weapons?!

Russia has quietly been cementing relationships
 in Europe - building "partnerships' with European
 countries, and is doing so in accordance with
 international law and through responsible,
mature actions.

All of this has been driving a wedge between the
 US and the EU. This hasn't gone unnoticed - the
 US cannot accept that they are not in the driving
 seat of a single seater any more. Goading and
 provoking Russia into attacking the Ukraine is
how they will demonstrate that the Russia of
 today is what they told everyone that the
USSR of old, was.

Putin has been smarter than they realised.

 Reuters reported on July 1st:

Ukrainian forces struck at pro-Russian separatist
 bases in the eastern regions with air and artillery
strikes on Tuesday, after President Poroshenko
 announced he would not renew a ceasefire, but
 go on the offensive to rid Ukraine of "parasites".

His decision quickly drew fire from Russian President
 Vladimir Putin who said Poroshenko had disregarded
 the advice of himself & German and French leaders.
 Putin said Poroshenko would now have to bear full
 responsibility for veering off the road to peace.

Poroshenko, who accuses Russia of fanning the
 conflict and allowing fighters and equipment to
 cross the border to support the rebels, then
his back on another renewal of a 10-
unilateral ceasefire after the phone talks
 involving Putin, German Chancellor Angela
 Merkel, and President Francois Hollande.

The important thing here is that Putin obtained
 consensus from France and Germany in a four-
way dialogue. This consensus was broken by
 Poroshenko, under pressure from US handlers.

 The facts are obvious. What it also shows, is
once again the US has marginalised the
EU and
shown scant regard for the EU position.

This now opens the door for Russia to reiterate its
 threat; "Putin said Moscow will continue to defend
 the interests of ethnic Russians abroad - up to 3
 million of whom live in the east of Ukraine, which
 has been in separatist ferment since April."

By obtaining consensus to a path of peace, and
 seeing it broken, Moscow now has the mandate
 to use force... IF it wants to.

The question is, does Russia want or need to?
That famous General of Guerrilla warfare, Vo

 Nguyen Giap [Incidentally, his book Peoples War,
 People's Army is worth reading] said, "we do not
 want to defeat the enemy, we simply want him to
leave our country!". In this regard, the Ukrainian
Junta cannot win the war in Novorussiya.

Firstly, they have completely lost the battle for
the hearts and minds of the people --- through
brutal atrocities they have committed.

 Their transparent attempt at a Kosovo type ethnic
 cleansing, has been seen for what it is and has
 made people more determined to "hold their
ground". Their brutality has now created a
 generational animosity, which will not be
 resolved in our life-time.

Secondly, militarily they can't succeed - every day,
Novorussiya is gaining in strength and skills. The
 skill level of Novorussiya's troops is much higher
 than those of the basic conscripted Junta forces
 and they're much more motivated than the Junta
 forces - they are fighting for their existence and
 homeland. Conventional military doctrine states
that we require a 10 to 1 advantage to press a
 successful attack against a defending enemy.

 1,000 to 1 is not enough to succeed in a Guerrilla
 war scenario. Look at the hiding the Yanks got in
 Vietnam and they poured hundreds of thousands
of troops into there, used the might of total air
superiority and naval bombardment etc, and still
 got their arses kicked. Ask them how many they
 and NATO had in Afghanistan fighting "towel
 heads"? [and still lost].

The Ukrainian Army has about 30,000 troops
 committed against 10,000 in the Novorussiya
 Army, and many Junta forces are actually
 surrendering without a fight, handing over
gear, getting on a bus and going home
with mum
who came to collect their sons.

Also, the Junta
is bankrupt. They can't even
feed their army;
people are deserting and
walking home,
because of no food or pay.

To save face: that wonderful US terminology
again; I see it is proposed that Novorussiya
become a Russian protectorate! The US is
 looking to stem the Junta's haemorrhaging.

All Russia needs to do, is open a humanitarian
 corridor into Novorussiya and maintain/police it
 and supply Novorussiya with what war materiel
 they ask for. And it can do all that with the tacit
 approval of Europe - the US having gone a bridge
 too far in Ukraine. Russia can allow the Junta to
 bleed to death here and like Georgia before; the
 US will be powerless to stop it.

The US has had it's last Tango in Europe.

Jim Jones

Urgent appeal: Message from Slavyansk

Igor Strelkov makes an urgent appeal to the
 international community as western-backed
 Ukrainian forces slaughter Russian-speaking
 citizens, strafing women and children with
 military hardware.

 Washington, Paris and London look on and
continue to support the Ukrainian government.
 A massacre is taking place, the west is
with the Devil.

Urgent Appeal by Igor Strelkov, July 4, 2014

Good day.

I would like to make a short statement with respect
 to what is happening around Slavyansk. With respect
 to what is happening here. And, well, to make an
 appeal, if you will.

Yesterday, the enemy completely surrounded
 Nikolayevka. The enemy shelled the city in the
 fiercest possible way, using all types of weapons.
 Using heavy MLRS systems, howitzers, mortars,
 tanks, APCs. The destruction is enormous.
 It is simply impossible to determine the numbers of
 casualties, because nothing works in the city now.

Our units that are in Nikolayevka at this moment
 continue the battle in complete encirclement.
We have no communications with them.

Nikolayevka has been completely cut off from
 Slavyansk. At this very moment, a large enemy
 column of armoured vehicles is moving toward
 Semyonovka from the south, along the Kharkov-
Rostov highway. At the same time, the enemy
 is continuing uninterrupted artillery shelling of
 the city and of Semyonovka.

 Yesterday, the Nikolayevka Thermal Power
Plant was destroyed to the ground and set
 on fire.

To put it bluntly, we are dealing here with
 unconcealed genocide. In other words, to break
 the resistance of the Militia, the enemy is using
all the available types of weaponry against the
 civilian population.

Naturally, seeing the destruction and the death
 of the civilian population, militiamen are starting
 to lose the will to continue fighting.

I would like to say to you that, in Slavyansk, there
 is not one Chechen, not one mercenary. There is
 not a single person here who did not come of their
 own good will. If, before, 90% of the fighters were
 local, now the ratio is 95%.

 Out of the entire garrison, there are maybe several
dozen people who came from Russia. The majority,
 the overwhelming majority are citizens of Ukraine.
Among them, the overwhelming majority are
 Donbass residents.

 These are people who consciously took up arms to
 defend their homes, their families, their Motherland.
 To defend their language and their culture. To defend
 Russia. Because these people never separated from
 her. They consider themselves Russian. They want
to live in Russia.

This right was taken from them a long time ago.
And now, when they tried to restore this right,
 Russia does not want to help them reunite with
their people, with their big Russian family.

It is difficult to understand and accept, that,
over three months (it will soon be three months
 since we arrived in Slavyansk to help the local
 population defend their rights), that, over these
 three months, no real help has arrived.

I do not claim that Russia does not help. A
 huge stream of humanitarian cargo, equipment,
uniforms, comes to us through private channels.
 But, that, which we desperately need, does not,
 at this time, arrive.

Please understand, that even if we get two tanks,
 four, even ten tanks, five-six artillery pieces, even
 if a plane flies here once, this will have no impact
 whatsoever. Over the course of the ceasefire,
 the Ukrainian army performed a full mobilization
and concentration of forces.

Over sixty heavy artillery pieces are pointed a
t Semyonovka and at Slavyansk at this time.
 At Kramatorsk. Two dozen MLRS systems,
 including Grad, Uragan and Smerch Heavy
 mortars. All of them are pointed here.

The enemy has so much ammunition - I did not
see so much in Chechnya. In our time, we did
 not have so many shells. And the entire set of
 this artillery is shelling us without a stop. The
supply columns are coming in continuously.
 They are transferring in more equipment.

Kharkov diligently repairs a dozen and a half
 armoured vehicles a day. We hit one or two
 armoured vehicles a day. No more than that.
 The enemy is able to grow its forces faster
 than it expends them. Not just faster -
 much faster.

If Russia is not able to secure an immediate
 termination of fire and the execution of a truce,
or if it does not step in with its armed forces to
 protect us, to protect the Russian people that
 reside here, who are a part of the Russian nation,
 we will be exterminated.

We will be exterminated in the course of a week,
 two weeks at most. And Slavyansk will be the
 first to be exterminated, together with its still-
numerous population. Over thirty thousand
 civilians are still left here.

I am being asked to take on the responsibility
 for their death. And for the death of the Militia
 brigade under my command. We are ready to
 fight. We are ready to die. But we do not want
to die senselessly, burying beneath the ruins
of the city of those people who believed in us.

Some believe that I am panicking, that I
am nervous. Yes, I am nervous. Every day,
my soldiers are dying. The hospitals are
 overflowing with wounded. It is very
difficult to see children without legs,
 torn apart by exploding shells.

We will continue to fight. But we
 desperately need help.

civilians being murdered by Kiev coup forces

Washington's War Crimes Spread from
 Africa and the Middle East to Ukraine

By Paul Craig Roberts

A person might think that revulsion in "the world
 community" against Washington's wanton slaughter
 of civilians in eight countries would have led to War
Crimes Tribunal warrants issued for the arrest of
presidents Clinton, Bush, Obama & many officials
 in their regimes.  But the vocal part of "the world
 community"-- the West -- has become inured to
 Washington's crimes against humanity and
doesn't bother to protest.  Indeed, many of
these governments are complicit in the US's
 crimes, and there could just as well be arrest
 warrants for members of European governments.

The one exception is Russia. The Ministry of Foreign
 Affairs of the Russian Federation has published a
 White Book on violations of human rights and the
 rule of law in Ukraine.  Propagandized Americans
 think that all the violations in Ukraine are made
by Russians.  The White Book carefully and
 accurately documents reported violations that
 occurred in Ukraine for four months from
 December 2013 through March 2014.

The White Book is available here:


  You will not hear much or anything about it from
presstitute US media, & it's unlikely to receive
 much coverage in Europe. The facts are so greatly
 at odds with the West's position, that the White
 Book is a huge embarrassment to the West.

The slaughter of Ukrainians on Washington's orders
 by Washington's stooge government in Kiev, has
 worsened considerably in the past three months,
 producing more than 100,000 Ukrainian refugees
 fleeing into Russia for protection from strikes
 against civilian housing, from the air, artillery,
 and tanks. 

Every effort by Russia's government to involve
 Washington, the European Union, and Kiev in
 negotiations to find a peaceful settlement,
has failed.

Washington is not interested in a settlement.
 Disturbed by its NATO vassals' dependence
 on Russian energy and the growing economic
 relationships between Russia and Europe,
 Washington is at work through its Kiev proxy
 murdering citizens in eastern and southern
parts of present-day Ukraine that once were
 part of Russia.

 Washington has declared these civilians to be
 "terrorists" and is trying to force Russia to
 intervene militarily in order to protect them.

  Russia's protective intervention would then
 be denounced by Washington as "invasion
 and annexation."  Washington would use
this propaganda, which would blare from the
 Western media, to pressure Europe to support
Washington's sanctions against Russia. The
 sanctions would then effectively destroy the
existing economic relationships between
 Russia and Europe.

Washington hasn't had success in imposing
 sanctions, because, although Washington's
 European vassals, such as Merkel, are willing,
 business interests in Germany, France, and
 Italy stand opposed.

 Washington is hoping that by forcing Russia
 to act, Washington can sufficiently demonize
Russia and silence the European business
 interests  with propaganda.

To counter Washington's ploy, Putin had Russia's
 Duma rescind his authority to send Russian forces
 into Ukraine.  Unlike US' presidents Clinton, Bush,
 and Obama, Putin does not claim the authority to
use military forces without permission from the

Washington's response to Putin's stand down is
 to increase the slaughter of civilians, all the while
 denying that any such slaughter is occurring.

  Washington is determined not to acknowledge
 the existence of the slaughter for which it is
 responsible, although everyone knows that
 Kiev would not dare to take on Russia
 without Washington's backing.

Putin's bet is that European business interests
 will prevail over Washington's European lap dogs.

 This is a hopeful and optimistic bet, but Washington
 is already at work to threaten and undermine the
 resistance of European business interests. Using
 concocted charges, Washington has stolen $9
from France's biggest bank --- for doing
business with
countries disapproved of by

 This was Washington's warning to European
 business to comply with Washington's sanctions.
Washington even told France that the fine
would be rescinded or reduced if France broke
 its contract with Russia to supply 2 helicopter
 carriers.  Other such moves against European
 businesses are in the works. The purpose is
to intimidate European businesses from
 opposing sanctions against Russia.

Washington's arrogance that Washington
can decide with whom a French bank can
do business is astonishing.  It is even more
astonishing that France and the bank would
 accept such arrogance and infringements
France's sovereignty.

 France's acceptance of Washington's hegemony
 shows that one risk in Putin's bet is that the bet
 assumes that European business interests can
 prevail over Washington's strategic interests. 

Another risk in Putin's bet is that by standing down
 and tolerating Washington's slaughter of civilians,
 Putin is becoming complicit in Washington's crimes
 against humanity. The longer the slaughter goes on,
 the more complicit Russia's government becomes.

 Moreover, the passage of time allows Kiev to
 increase its forces and NATO to supply these
 forces with more deadly weapons. A Russian
 intervention, which previously would have met
 with easy success, becomes more costly and
more drawn out as Kiev's forces increase.

Washington's puppet in Kiev makes it clear
--- that he is not going to accommodate any
Russian interests or any opposition of the
provinces, to the radical anti-
Russian policies
of Washington's stooge

 As Washington acknowledges no responsibility
 whatsoever for the situation, how long can Putin
 wait for Merkel or Hollande to break ranks with

Putin's alternative is to come to the defense of the
 Ukrainians who are being attacked. Putin could
 accept the requests of the rebellious provinces
 to rejoin Russia, as he did with Crimea,  declare
  Washington's stooge, Petro Poroshenko, to be a
war criminal and issue a warrant for his arrest,
and send in the Russian military to face down
 the forces sent by Kiev.

Outside the West, this would establish Putin as
 a defender of human rights. Inside the West, it
would make it completely clear to Washington's
 European vassals that the consequence of their
 alignment with Washington is that they will be
drawn into a war with Russia and, likely, also
with China.  Europeans have nothing to gain
 from these wars.

Sooner than later Putin needs to realize that
 his reasonableness is not reciprocated by
 Washington. Washington is taking advantage
 of Putin's reasonableness, and Washington
is pushing Russia harder. 

Putin has done what he can to avoid conflict.
 Now he needs to do the right thing, as he did
 in Georgia and Crimea.

Paul Craig Roberts

Donetsk residents call on Russia

Guilt by insinuation: How
American propaganda works

By Paul Craig Roberts

Why hasn't Washington joined Russian President
 Putin in calling for an objective, non-politicized
 international investigation by experts of the
 case of the Malaysian jetliner? 

The Russian government continues to release facts,
 including satellite photos showing the presence of
 Ukrainian Buk anti-aircraft missiles in locations from
 which the airliner could have been brought down by
 the missile system, and documentation that a
 Ukrainian SU-25 fighter jet rapidly approached the
 Malaysian airliner prior to its downing.

The head of the Operations Directorate of Russian
 military headquarters said at a Moscow press
 conference on July 21st, that the presence of the
 Ukrainian military jet is confirmed by the Rostov
 monitoring centre.

The Russian Defense Ministry pointed out that, at
the moment of destruction of MH-17 an American
 satellite was flying over the area. The Russian
 government urges Washington to make available
 the photos and data captured by the satellite.

President Putin has repeatedly stressed that
the investigation of MH-17, requires "a fully
 representative group of experts to be
working at the site under the guidance of
 the International Civil Aviation Organization

  Putin's call for an independent expert examination
 by ICAO does not sound like a person with anything
 to hide.

Turning to Washington Putin stated: "In the
 meantime, no one (not even the "exceptional
 nation") has the right to use this tragedy to
 achieve their narrowly selfish political goals." 

Putin reminded Washington: "We repeatedly
 called upon all conflicting sides to stop the
 bloodshed immediately and to sit down at
 the negotiating table. I can say with
 confidence that if military operations
 were not resumed [by Kiev] on June 28
 in eastern Ukraine, this tragedy would
not have happened."

What is the American response?

Lies and insinuations.

On July 20, the US Secretary of State, John
Kerry confirmed that pro-Russian separatists
were involved in the downing of the Malaysian
airliner and said that itwas "pretty clear" that
 Russia was involved. Here are Kerry's words:

 "It's pretty clear that this is a system that
was transferred from Russia into the hands
 of separatists. We know with confidence,
with confidence, that the Ukrainians did not
 have such a system anywhere near the
vicinity at that point and time, so it obviously
 points a very clear finger at the separatists."

Kerry's statement is just another of the endless
 lies told by US secretaries of state in the 21st
 century.  Who can forget Colin Powell's package
of lies delivered to the UN about Saddam
Hussein's "weapons of mass destruction"
or Kerry's lie repeated endlessly that Assad
"used chemical weapons against his own
people" or the endless lies about "Iranian

Remember that Kerry on a number of occasions
 stated that the US had proof that Assad crossed
 the "red line" by using chemical weapons.

 However, Kerry was never able to back up
 his statements with evidence.  The US had
 no evidence to give the British prime minister
whose effort to have Parliament approve
Britain's participation with Washington in a
 military attack on Syria was voted down.
 Parliament told the prime minister, "no
evidence, no war."

Again here is Kerry declaring "confidence"
 in statements that are directly contradicted
 by the Russian satellite photos and endless
 eye witnesses on the ground. 

Why doesn't Washington release its photos
 from its satellite?

The answer is for the same reason that Washington
 will not release all the videos it confiscated and
 that it claims prove that a hijacked 9/11 airliner
hit the Pentagon.  The videos do not support
 Washington's claim, and the US satellite
photos do not support Kerry's claim.

The UN weapons inspectors on the ground in
Iraq reported that Iraq had no weapons of
mass destruction.  However, the fact did not
 support Washington's propaganda and was
 ignored. Washington started a highly
destructive war, based on nothing but
Washington's intentional lie.

The International Atomic Energy Commission's
 inspectors on the ground in Iran and all 16 US
 intelligence agencies reported that Iran had
no nuclear weapons program. However, the
was inconsistent with Washington's
and was ignored by both the US
and the presstitute media.

We are witnessing the same thing right
now with the assertions, in the absence
 of evidence, that Russia is responsible
 for the downing of the Malaysian airliner.

Not every member of the US government
is as reckless as Kerry and John McCain.
In place of direct lies, many US officials
 use insinuations.

US Senator Diane Feinstein is the perfect
 example.  Interviewed on the presstitute
 TV station CNN, Feinstein said: "The issue
 is where is Putin?  I would say, 'Putin, you
 have to man up. You should talk to the
 world. You should say, if this is a mistake,
 which I hope it was, say it.'"

Putin has been talking to the world nonstop,
 calling for an expert non-politicized
and Feinstein is asking Putin
why he is hiding
behind silence.  We know
you did it, Feinstein
insinuates, so just tell
us whether you meant
to, or whether it
was an accident.

The way the entire Western news cycle was
 orchestrated with blame instantly being placed
 on Russia long in advance of real information
 suggests that the downing of the airliner was
 a Washington operation.  It is, of course,
 possible that the well-trained presstitute media
 needed no orchestration from Washington in
 order to lay the blame on Russia.  On the other
 hand, some of the news performances seem too
 scripted not to have been prepared in advance. 

We also have the advanced preparation of the
 youtube video that purports to show a Russian
 general and Ukrainian separatists discussing
 having mistakenly downed a civilian airliner.

 As I pointed out earlier, this video is twice damned.
  It was ready in advance and, by implicating the
 Russian military, it overlooked that the Russian
 military can tell the difference between a civilian
 airliner and a military airplane. The existence of
 the video itself implies that there was a plot to
 down the airliner and blame Russia.

I have seen reports that the Russian anti-aircraft
 missile system, as a safety device, is capable
 of contacting aircraft transponders in order to
 verify the type of aircraft.  If the reports are
correct and if the transponders from MH-17
 are found, they might record the contact.

I have seen reports that Ukrainian air control
 changed the route of MH-17 and directed it to
 fly over the conflict area.  The transponders
 should also indicate whetherthis is correct.

  If so, there clearly is at least circumstantial
 evidence that this was anintentional act on
 the part of Kiev, an act which would have
 required Washington's blessing.

There are other reports that there is a divergence
 between the Ukrainian military and the unofficial
 militias formed by the right-wing Ukrainian
 extremists who apparently were the first to attack
 the separatists.  It is possible that Washington
 used the extremists to plot the airliner's destruction
 in order to blame Russia and use the accusations
 to pressure the EU to go along with Washington's
 unilateral sanctions against Russia. We do know
that Washington is desperate to break up the
 growing economic and political ties between
 Russia and Europe. 

If it was a plot to down an airliner, any safety device
 on the missile system could have been turned off,
so as to give no warning, or leave any telltale sign.
  That could be the reason a Ukrainian fighter was
 sent to inspect the airliner.  Possibly the real
 target was Putin's airliner and incompetence in
 implementing the plot resulted in the destruction
of a civilian airliner.

As there are a number of possible explanations,
let's keep open minds and resist Washington's
 propaganda until facts and evidence are in.

 At the very least, Washington is guilty of using
 the incident to blame Russia in advance of the
 evidence. All Washington has shown us so far
 is accusations and insinuations.  If that is all
 Washington continues to show us, we will
know where the blame resides.

In the meantime, remember the story of the boy
 who cried "wolf!"  He lied so many times that
 when the wolf did come, no one believed him.
 Will this be Washington's ultimate fate?

Instead of declaring war on Iraq, Afghanistan,
 Libya, Somalia, and Syria, why did Washington
 hide behind lies?  If Washington wants war with
 Iran, Russia, and China, why not simply declare

The reason that the US Constitution requires war
 to begin with a declaration of war by Congress is
 to prevent the executive branch from orchestrating
 wars, in order to further hidden agendas.

 By abdicating its constitutional responsibility, the
 US Congress is complicit in the executive branch's
 war crimes.  By approving Israel's premeditated
 murder of Palestinians, the US government is
 complicit in Israel's war crimes.

Ask yourself this question: Would the world be
 a safer place, with less death, destruction and
 displaced peoples, and more truth and justice,
 if the United States and Israel did not exist? 

Paul Craig Roberts


Does Russia have a future?
By Paul Craig Roberts

The Russian government has finally realized that
 it has no Western “partners,” and is complaining
 bitterly about the propagandistic lies and
 disinformation issued without any evidence
 whatsoever against the Russian government
 by Washington, its European vassals, and
press-titute media.

Perhaps the Russian government thought
that only Iraq, Libya, Syria, China, and Edward
 Snowden would be subjected to Washington’s
lies and demonization.

It was obvious enough that Russia would be next.

The Russian government and Europe need to look
 beyond Washington’s propaganda, because the
 reality is much worse.

NATO commander General Breedlove and Senate
 bill 2277 clearly indicate that Washington is
 organizing itself and Europe for war on Russia.

Europe is reluctant to agree with Washington to
 put Ukraine in NATO. Europeans understand that
 if Washington or its stooges in Kiev cause a war
with Russia, Europe will be the first casualty.

Washington finds its vassals’ noncompliance
 tiresome. Remember Assistant Secretary of
State Victoria Nuland’s “fuck the EU.” And
 that is just what Washington is about to do.

The US Senate’s Russian Aggression Prevention
 Act, about which I reported in my previous column,
does even more mischief than I reported. If the bill
 passes, which it likely will, Washington becomes
empowered to bypass NATO and to grant the status
 of “allied nation” to Ukraine independently of NATO
 membership. By so doing, Washington can send
 troops to Ukraine and thereby commit NATO to a
war with Russia.

Notice how quickly Washington escalated the
 orchestrated Ukrainian “crisis”  -  without any
 evidence - into “Russian aggression.” Overnight
 we have the NATO commander and US senators
 taking actions against “Russian aggression”, of
which no one has seen any evidence.

With Iraq, Libya, and Syria, Washington learned
 that Washington could act on the basis of bald-
faced lies. No one, not Great Britain, not France,
not Germany, not Italy, not the Netherlands, not
 Canada, not Australia, not Mexico, not New
Zealand, not Israel, nor Japan, nor S. Korea,
nor Taiwan, nor (substitute your selection)
stepped forward to hold the US accountable
 for its blatant lies and war crimes.

The UN even accepted the package of blatant
and obviously transparent lies that Colin Powell
 delivered to the UN. Everything Powell said had
 already been refuted by the UN’s own weapons
 inspectors. Yet the UN pussies gave the go-ahead
 for a devastating war.

The only conclusion is that all the whores were
paid off. Whores can always count on Washington
 paying them off. For money, the whores are selling
 out civilization to Washington’s war, which likely
will be nuclear and terminate life on earth. The
 whores’ money will incinerate with them.

It is hardly surprising that Washington now targets
 Russia. The world has given Washington carte
 blanche to do as it pleases. We have now had three
 administrations of US war criminals welcomed and
 honored wherever the war criminals go. The other
governments in the world continue to desire
 invitations to the White House as indications of
their worth. To be received by war criminals has
 become the highest honor.

Even the president of China comes to Washington
 to receive acceptance by the Evil Empire.

The world did not notice Washington’s war crimes
 against Serbia and didn’t puke when Washington
 then put the Serbian president, who had tried to
 prevent his country from being torn apart by
 Washington, on trial as a war criminal.

The world has made no effort to hold Washington
 responsible for its destruction of Iraq, Afghanistan,
 Libya, and now Syria and Gaza. The world has not
 demanded that Washington stop murdering people
 in Pakistan and Yemen, countries with which
 Washington is not at war. The world looks the other
 way as Washington creates the US Africa Command.
The world looks the other way as Washington sends
 deadly weapons to Israel, with which to murder
 women and children in the Gaza Ghetto. Washington
 passes Senate and House Resolutions cheering on
 the Israeli murder of Palestinians.

Washington is accustomed to its free pass,
granted by the world, to murder and to lie,
and now is using it against Russia.

Russian President Putin’s bet that by responding
 to Washington’s aggression in Ukraine in an
 unprovocative and reasonable manner, would
 demonstrate to Europe that Russia was not the
 source of the problem --- has not paid off.

European countries are captive nations. They
are incapable of thinking and acting for themselves.
 They bend to Washington’s will. Essentially, Europe
 is a nonentity that follows Washington’s orders.

If the Russian government hopes to prevent war
with Washington, which is likely to be the final
war for life on earth, the Russian government
needs to act now and end the problem in Ukraine
 by accepting the separatist provinces’ request to
 be reunited with Russia. Once S.2277 passes,
 Russia cannot retrieve the situation without
 confronting militarily the US, because Ukraine
will have been declared an American ally.

Putin’s bet was reasonable and responsible,
 but Europe has failed him. If Putin does not
use Russian power to bring an end to the p
roblem with which Washington has presented
him in Ukraine while he still can, Washington’s
 next step will be to unleash its hundreds of
NGOs inside Russia to denounce Putin as a
traitor for abandoning the Russian populations
 in the former Russian provinces that Soviet
 leaders thoughtlessly attached to Ukraine.

The problem with being a leader is that you
inherit festering problems left by previous
 leaders. Putin has the problems bequeathed
by Yeltsin. Yeltsin was a disaster for Russia.
 Yeltsin was Washington’s puppet. It is not
certain that Russia will survive Yeltsin’s

If Washington has its way, Russia will survive
 only as an American puppet state.

In a previous column I described the article in
 Foreign Affairs, the journal of the Washington foreign
 policy community, that makes a case that the US
 has such strategic advantage over Russia at this
 time that a “window of opportunity” exists for the
US to remove Russia as a restraint on US hegemony
--- with a preemptive nuclear attack.

It is almost certain that Obama is being told that
 President John F. Kennedy had this window of
 opportunity and did not use it, and that Obama
must not let the opportunity pass a second time.

As Steven Starr explained in a guest column,
there are no winners of nuclear war. Even if the
 US escapes retaliatory strikes, everyone will
die, regardless.

The view in Washington of the neoconservatives,
who control the Obama regime, is that nuclear
war is winnable. No expert opinion supports
 their assumption, but the neocons, not the
experts, are in power.

The American people are out to lunch. They have
 no comprehension of their likely fate. Americans
 are an uninformed people distracted by their
 mounting personal and financial problems.
 If Europeans are aware, they have decided to
live for the moment, on Washington’s money.

What life is faced with is a drive for hegemony
on the part of Washington and ignorant
unconcern on the part of the rest of the world.

Americans, worked into a lather about Washington’s
 unfunded liabilities and the viability of their future
 Social Security pension, won’t be alive to collect it.


World doomed by Western insouciance
By Paul Craig Roberts

European governments and the Western media
 have put the world at risk by enabling the US’s
 propaganda and aggression against Russia.

Washington has succeeded in using transparent
 lies to demonize Russia as a dangerous aggressive
 country led by a new Hitler or a new Stalin, just as
 Washington sought to vilify Assad in Syria, Chavez
in Venezuela, and, of course, Iran.

The real demons – Clinton, Bush, Obama – are “the
 exceptional and indispensable people” above the
 reach of demonization. Their horrific real crimes
go unnoticed, while fictitious crimes are attributed
 to other people and countries.

The reason that Washington demonizes a leader and
 a country is to permit the creation of circumstances
 that Washington can use to act with force against
 a leader and a country.

Washington’s incessant lies alleging “Russian
 aggression” have created Russian aggression out
 of thin air. John Kerry and the State Department’s
 Marie Harf issue new lies daily, but never any
 supporting evidence. With the stage set, the US
 Senate, the NATO commander and the Chairman
 of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff are busy at work
 energizing the wheels of war.

Senate bill 2277 provides for beefing up forces on
 Russia’s borders and for elevating Ukraine’s status
 to “ally of the US” so that US troops can assist the
 war against “terrorists” in Ukraine.  

NATO commander Breedlove is preparing his plans
 for stockpiling war material on Russia’s borders so
 that US/NATO troops can more quickly strike Russia.

Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General
Martin Dempsey, is at work preparing American
 opinion for the upcoming war.

On July 24, Dempsey told Aspen Security Forum,
 a high level group where US opinion is formed,
Putin’s aggression in Ukraine is comparable
Stalin’s invasion of Poland in 1939 and that
Russian threat was not limited to Ukraine
Eastern Europe, but was global.

The intellects in the Aspen Forum did not break
 out laughing, when Dempsey told them that
Russia’s (alleged but unproven) involvement in
 Ukraine was the first time since 1939 that a
country made a conscious decision to use its
military force inside another sovereign nation
 to achieve its objectives.

 No one asked Dempsey what Washington has
been doing during the last three presidential
 regimes: Clinton in Serbia, Bush and Obama in
 Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Pakistan and
Obama in Libya and Syria.

Here are Dempsey’s words: “You’ve got a Russian
 government that has made a conscious decision to
 use its military force inside another sovereign nation
 to achieve its objectives. It’s the first time since
 1939 or so that that’s been the case. They clearly
 are on a path to assert themselves differently not
 just in Eastern Europe, but Europe in the main,
and towards the United States.”

Washington’s view that the world is its oyster is
ingrained that neither Dempsey nor his upper
 echelon audience at the Aspen Forum noticed the
 absurdity of his statement. Washington and the
 brainwashed US population take if for granted that
 the “exceptional, indispensable nation” isn't limited
 in its actions by the sovereignty of other countries.

Washington takes for granted that US law prevails
 in other countries over the countries’ own laws –
just ask France or Switzerland, that Washington
 can tell foreign financial institutions and
 corporations with whom they can do business
and with whom they cannot – just ask every
country and company prevented from doing
business with Iran, that Washington can invade
 any country whose leader Washington can
demonize & overthrow – just ask Iraq, Honduras,
 Libya, Serbia, and so forth, and that Washington
 can conduct military operations against peoples
 in foreign countries, such as Pakistan and Yemen,
 with which Washington is not at war.

All of this is possible, because Washington has
 claimed the title from Israel of being “God’s Chosen
 People.” Of course, Israel’s loss of the title has not
 stopped Israel from acting in the same way.

Washington has put in motion the wheels of war.
Once the wheels of war begin to turn, momentum
 carries them forward. The foolish, indeed utterly
 stupid, governments and media in Europe seem
 unaware of Washington’s orchestration of their
 future or lack thereof, or they are indifferent to it.

 They are dooming themselves and all of humanity
 by their insouciance.

Readers who cannot tolerate problems without
 solutions always request solutions. OK, here is
 the solution:

The only possibility of avoiding war is that Putin
take his case to the UN. If Washington can send
 Colin Powell to the UN unarmed with any truth to
 make Washington’s case for war against Iraq,
Putin should be able to take his case to the UN
 against Washington’s war against Russia.

The case that the emperor has no clothes is
 an easy one to make.

Unlike Washington, Putin is willing to share the
 evidence that Russia has about who is doing
what in Ukraine. It is a simple matter to establish
 that Washington organized a coup that overthrew
 an elected government, supports violence against
 those who object to the coup, and has turned a
deaf ear to Russia’s repeated pleas for Kiev and
 the separatists to negotiate their differences.

Putin should make it clear to the world that
 Washington continues with provocative military
 steps against Russia, with force buildups on
Russia’s borders and calls for more buildups,
with S.2277 which reads like a US preparation
 for war, with provocative actions & accusations
by top US generals and government officials
 against Russia, and with efforts to isolate Russia
 and to inflict economic and political injury
 on Russia.

Putin should make it clear to the world that there
 is a limit to provocations that Russia can accept
and that Russia believes that Russia is
in danger
of a preemptive nuclear attack by

 Putin can describe Washington’s withdrawal from
 the ABM treaty, the construction of ABM bases on
 Russia’s borders, and the announced change in
 Washington’s war doctrine that elevates US nuclear
 forces from a retaliatory role to a preemptive first
 strike role. These actions are clearly directed at
 Russia (and China–wake up China! You are next!).

Putin must state clearly that the likely consequence
 of the world continuing to enable Washington’s lies
 & aggression will be not merely another disastrous
 war, but the termination of life.

The governments of the world, especially
 Washington’s vassals in Europe, Canada,
Australia, and Japan, need to be told that it
their responsibility to stop their enabling
Washington’s aggression or to accept
responsibility for World War III.

At least we could all have the enjoyment of
watching the arrogant Samantha Powers and
 the craven British lapdog rise and walk out of
 the UN proceedings. There is no doubt what-
soever that Washington is unable to answer
 the charges.

Here again is the Wolfowitz Doctrine that controls
US foreign policy and that condemns Planet Earth
 to death:

“Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence
of a new rival, either on the territory of the former
 Soviet Union or elsewhere, that posses a threat on
 the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union.

 “This is a dominant consideration underlying the
new regional defense strategy and requires that
 we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from
 dominating a region whose resources would,
 under consolidated control, be sufficient to
 generate global power.”

A hostile power is defined as any country that
 is not a Washington vassal.

The Wolfowitz Doctrine commits the United States,
 its peoples, Washington’s gullible EU allies and
 those peoples, to war with Russia and China.

The destruction of the world is what the idiot EU
 governments and the presstitute Western media
 are fostering by their enablement of Washington’s
 lies and aggression.



Two thirds of Russians say in the latest
poll that they are against sending troops
to Ukraine, despite the latest US' moves.


 The European Union is expanding anti-Russian
 sanctions against its own interests under tough
 pressure from the US in favour of the American
 military-industrial complex, say experts.

“This week, the EU is to expand and toughen
anti-Russian measures. This is obviously an
 operation staged by Washington that is using
 the Malaysian airliner downed in Ukraine with
 most of its passengers being Europeans, as
an excuse to defeat Russia,” says the director
 of the strategic analysis & developments dept,
 at the sanctioned Vnesheconombank, Vladimir

“The unprecedented propaganda campaign
 on Russia has turned the Old World's public
against Russia, to such an extent that its
politicians are afraid of looking indecisive
and losing voters' support, to blindly take
 their cue from the US”

“The EU has no chance to withstand US pressure
 over anti-Russian measures,” the expert explains:
 “Washington overtly interferes with Russian-EU gas
 supply talks & blackmails France over its contract
 on helicopter carrier Mistral supplies to Russia.

“The US is flagrantly pursuing its own policy in
and is appointing its own people to
key posts in the EU.”

“EU countries have a deficit of strong leaders
 now, and European governments are weak.
the EU's bureaucratic machine is
proving to be incompetent
on issues of global
politics and economics and
totally dependent
on the US will,” Andrianov says.

 “The fact that even German Chancellor Angela
 Merkel suddenly switched tactics after several
 months of a moderate approach shows the EU
 leaders’ dependence on the US.

 “Washington keeps files on all prominent politicians.
 It certainly has blackmail evidence against Merkel.
 It’s no coincidence that her cellphone was bugged
by US special services. For this reason, the German
 chancellor yielded to pressure from Washington.”

“All US foreign policy starting from Vietnam, has
been tailored to its military's needs. Amid global
 competition, the US - as the world’s gendarme -
 cannot bear the thought that Russia remains the
only major geopolitical opponent which it can't
control,” the expert says.

Washington aims to arm the Ukrainian army with
 modern weapons and equipment, and pull Russia
 into a confrontation with Ukraine,  Mr Andrianov

“For this purpose, the US Congress plans to
 recognise Ukraine as a major non-NATO ally
 and provide it with direct military aid.

 “The S.2277 - Russian Aggression Prevention Act
 of 2014 - has passed two readings in the US.
These moves are clearly designed to serve the
 interests of the US military-industrial complex
 in order to kindle the fire in Europe and line US
 pockets on weapon supplies to the crisis zone,”
Andrianov says.

“The scenario of pulling Russia into armed conflict
 with Ukraine is so dangerous that it's unacceptable,”
the dean of the Higher School of Economics Faculty
 for World Economy and International Affairs, Sergey
 Karaganov says.

 “But the EU sanctions already announced, and
those on the table, mean that the large-scale
US's anti-Russian campaign, caused by the
Boeing's downing in Ukraine, is bearing fruit.”

“US pressure for the EU to adopt anti-Russian
 sanctions aims at splitting Europe, weakening
 Germany and inflicting as much grave damage
 as possible on Russia, to deprive the country
of its power in the world,” the expert says.

“Europe is blindly obeying the US by imposing
 anti-Russian sanctions, because EU welfare
directly relies on the US in financial terms,
Deputy Director of Russia's Academy of
Institute for the USA and Canadian
Studies, Major
General Pavel Zolotarev says.

“In terms of its security policy, the EU is peace-
ful under the US umbrella. Washington bears the
 lion’s share of NATO spending, enabling the EU
 countries to reduce defense spending to 2% of
their gross domestic product.”

“EU countries lay out 6-7 times more for education
 and healthcare than defense,” the analyst adds.

 “Russia cannot afford such a budget distribution,
 while EU countries can, thanks to the US. Hence
 their obedience to Washington.”

The graphic video above shows
fascism in the centre of Europe.

Our media says the US-backed
coup in Ukraine, is a people's
revolution: we say it's fascism.



Saudi airstrikes target more areas in Yemen

Saudi Arabia has carried out fresh airstrikes
 on Yemeni people and government facilities,
 as the Ansarullah fighters keep advancing in
areas around the southern port city of Aden.

Saudi Arabia’s invasion of Yemen continues
 for the 5th straight day on Monday with war-
planes hitting areas around the presidential
palace, in the capital, Sana’a.

The airstrikes began late on Sunday and
 continued unabated for almost 9 hours --
with Saudi bombers targeting positions
of Houthi fighters and soldiers from the
 Republican Guard near the presidential
 palace. A base operated by Republican
 Guards in Sana’a's south, was also
targeted by the strikes.

Yemeni air defense units say they have
 downed a Saudi jet over Marib city -- 140
klmtrs (90 miles) east of Sana’a -- and

where Saudi jets say they've already
targeted radar facilities and surface-
to-air missile batteries.

Yemen's army, earlier, downed two
 Saudi bombers, & one jet operated
by the United Arab Emirates.

Sources in Hodeida say Saudi jets also
 targeted anti-aircraft defense systems
in the western port city.

Houthis make new gains

As Saudi Arabia continues its aggression,
the Houthi movement, which took control
of the capital, Sana'a in September, keeps
making new gains in other parts of Yemen.

Houthi fighters backed by army units have
pushed into
Aden's Northeastern outskirts,
 where remnants of the regime of fugitive
 president, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, are
still in control of some installations.

Houthis have also made a fresh advance
 from the east of Aden, along the Arabian
 Sea coast.


Saudi Warplanes Kill Dozens of Civilians
 As Yemeni Army, Committees, Advance   

The Saudi-led aggression on Yemen continues
 on Monday, as the airstrikes target al-Mozraq
refugee camp, killing and injuring 45 civilians.

45 martyrs, including women and children,
were claimed by the air raid on the camp,
 in Hija province.

Meanwhile, Yemen's army & Public
 Committees, are advancing in both
Lahj and Abyan provinces.

Also on Monday, Al-Qaeda terrorists
collapse in Aden, as Yemen's army
and Public Committees regain full
control of the city's airport.


Assad: ISIL Hugely Expanded
 since Start of US Air Campaign

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says
 that the so-called 'Islamic State of Iraq
 and the Levant' (ISIL) takfiri group, has
been gaining recruits since the start
of US-led air strikes against the group.

In an interview with CBS's "60 Minutes",
aired Sunday, Assad quotes estimates
 that ISIL is now attracting 1,000 new
recruits each month, in Syria.

On the "benefit" of coalition airstrikes on
ISIL positions, the Syrian President says:
"Sometimes you could have local benefits,
 but, in general, if you want to talk in terms
 of ISIS, actually ISIS has expanded since
 the beginning of the strikes."

Asked under what circumstances he would
 leave power, Assad says: "When I don't have
 the public's support. When I don't represent
 Syrian interests and values."

In reply to a question on how he determines
 the support he has among Syrians, he says:
"I don't determine. I sense. I feel.  I'm in
contact with them."

Syria has been hit by violent unrest since
March 2011, when western media reports
 accused countries, mainly the US, Qatar,
Turkey, and Saudi Arabia, of orchestrating
 civil conflict in the country and providing
the terrorist groups with money, weapons
 and trained mercenaries.


Ukraine’s Right Sector Leader Wants
 Donbas Residents Deported

Dmitri Yarosh, Rada MP and leader of Ukraine’s
 Right Sector, declares that the unruly residents
 of eastern Ukraine, must be deprived of their
 civil rights and deported, before a program of
‘affectionate Ukrainianization’ can begin.

In an interview for the Ukrainian newspaper
Obosrevatel, published Sunday, Right Sector
leader and Rada deputy, Yarosh, notes that
much of Donbas is populated by ‘Sovoks’,
 an insulting slang term, meaning ‘Soviet’.

He continues: “And they should be deported.
We have to deal with those who dont want to
live by the rules and the laws of the state in a
 very harsh manner. This includes deportation,
the deprivation of civil rights, and so on. With-
out force, it will not be possible to do anything
 with the region - to turn the tide, so to speak.”

The Right Sector leader adds that the area’s
 “unruly” residents, must also be dealt with:
 “If we get rid of the unruly ones, everything
will be fine, quiet and peaceful. And then, of
course, a program of affectionate Ukrainian-
ization can begin.” The MP says a “spiritual
rebirth” can begin only if the authorities act
 in a consistent, forceful manner.

Yarosh cites the Kiev authorities’ response
 in Konstantinovka, Donetsk, controlled by
 the Ukrainian military, where a drunken
 armored vehicle driver recently crashed
into a crowd of people and crushed and
killed an eight-year-old girl in a hit & run
 incident... leading to riots in the streets.

“The events in Konstantinovka are an
example of what I mean. If we'd shown
even a little bit of weakness. Right from
 the beginning a whole bunch of ‘heroes’
 began crawling out of the woodwork,
using tragedy for their own separatist
 interests. And when our guys came out
and began shooting into the air and
arresting the instigators of the riots,
everything ceased at once. This is
 the rule,” Yarosh explains.

The MP says today's anti-Kiev attitudes
are simply the result of many years of
Russian propaganda, and the removal
 of genuinely Ukrainian spiritual values.

 Yarosh then says the “guys from Donetsk
 and Lugansk regions” fighting for Kiev...
 “should become an elite, on whose base,
 a qualitatively new society can be built…
And those Vatnik [slang for Russians
blindly loving their country], criminal
oligarchic attitudes sitting in the minds
of ordinary people, for one reason or
another, must be removed.”

The extreme nationalist leader notes that
 he has accepted the president’s invitation
to work in Ukraine's Ministry of Defense,
adding that he has chosen to do so, on a
voluntary basis.

Speaking about the Ukrainian army’s recent
 losses on the battlefield, Yarosh recalls that:
“We faced a rout near Ilovaisk. On the one
hand, we have learned to fight, with morale
at a high level. But things are very bad when
 a pride of lions is led by sheep. They cannot
 lead us to victory, and only roll us back.”

On the situation at the front now, he says:

“Our forces are still threatened by several
 encirclements. And I don’t know, again,
whether the sheep will react to this, or
whether they are playing some sort of
geopolitical game.”

Right Sector is a far-right nationalist party.
 In Jan and February of 2014, its members
 participated heavily in fighting Ukrainian
 police on the streets of Kiev, and in the
capture of government buildings during
 the Euro-Maidan coup.

 Since April, they have taken the lead in
 crushing protest movements in eastern
Ukraine and enforcing the new order.
 They are also playing a role in Kiev’s
military operation in Donbas.

Right Sector’s Volunteer Corps includes
the two battalions operating in eastern
Ukraine, plus eight reserve battalions
 throughout the rest of the country.

In March, 2014, the Russian authorities
 issued an arrest warrant against Dmitri
Yarosh for the incitement of terrorism,
and for his organization’s activities in
 the First Chechen War, fighting against
Russia's military.

In November 2014, the Russian Supreme
 Court declared the Right Sector to be an
extremist organization, and banned its
 activity on Russian Federation territory.


Crushing response awaits Riyadh

Houthis vow to give a crushing response
 to the Saudi's invasion. Nasruddin Amer,
 a member of the Ansarullah movement’s
 information committee, warns Monday,
that developments in the next few days
 will take Saudi Arabia and the world
 by surprise.

“The Yemeni nation will change the map
of the region,” he tells al-Alam News.

The Al Saud regime unleashed deadly
 raids - without a UN mandate - against
 Yemen, on March 26th, in an attempt
to restore power to Hadi, who is a
close ally of Riyadh.

Hadi, who is now reportedly in Riyadh,
stepped down in January and refused
 to reconsider the decision... despite
calls to do so, by Ansarullah.

Gradually, as the Yemeni government
 failed to provide security and properly
 run the affairs of Yemen, Ansarullah's
 fighters started to take control over
 state matters, to contain corruption
 and terror.

Houthis say Hadi lost his legitimacy
when he fled the Yemeni capital,
 Saana, in February.


Yemeni Army Kills, Arrests Terrorists,
 As Saudi-Led Aggression Continues

The Yemeni army, backed by the Popular
 committees, expelled al Qaeda militants
 from a post on the main road in Shabwa,
 in the south, killing 10 terrorists and
 arresting a number of others.

At the same time, the Saudi-led aggression
on Yemen continues, as Saudi airstrikes hit
 various cities, destroying Yemen's main
 facilities, including Sanaa airport.

The Yemeni's air defense system took
on the hostile air raids, according to
an Al-Manar reporter there.

Algeria's Foreign Minister, Ramatan
 al-Amamera, has submitted to his
Saudi and Egyptian counterparts, a
 political initiative to end the crisis.

All concerned parties were informed
about the initiative, but Saudi Arabia
 is complicating the political process,
 by setting the deployment of "Arab"
troops in Sanaa, as a precondition.  


Settlers steal stones in villages west of
Salfit to pave the streets of settlements

Witnesses and citizens of towns and villages
west of Salfit, report that bulldozers tracked
 the area and left with several massive stones.

Settlers use these kinds of stones to pave
 new streets in their newly built settlements.

Palestinian researchers report that ground
 and crushed stones and rocks, are used in
 various ways in the construction of houses
 in settlements, at the expense of the towns
 and villages of Kafr al-Dik, Rafat, Bruqin,
Deir Balut and Sarta.

After Netanyahu's re-election, fear of a
speed up in settlement construction is
palpable in many West bank areas, and
 over the other systemic human rights
 abuses being committed by Israel.



Palestinians stress Sunday, on Land Day,
that the settlers and
settlements are a
violation of international
law and the
Fourth Geneva Convention.

 The international community considers the
 establishment of Israeli settlements in the
Israeli-occupied territories, as illegal under
international law.

But Israel says that they ARE consistent
 with international law, because it doesn't
agree that the fourth geneva convention
applies to the territories occupied in the
 1967 six-day war.

The United Nations Security Council, the
 United Nations General Assembly, the
 International Red Cross Committee, the
 International Court of Justice and the
 High Contract Parties to the Convention
all say the Fourth Geneva Convention
 DOES apply.

Numerous UN resolutions state that the
building & existence of Israeli settlements
 in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the
 Golan Heights DO violate international law,
 including UN Security Council resolutions
 in 1979 and 1980.

UN Security Council Resolution 446 refers to
 the 4th Geneva Convention as the applicable
 international legal instrument, and calls on
 Israel to stop transferring its own population
 into the territories... or changing their
demographic makeup.

 The reconvened Conference of the High
 Contracting Parties to the Geneva
 Conventions declared that the Israeli
settlements ARE illegal.

Successive Israeli governments say all
'authorized' settlements are entirely legal
-- and consistent with international law --
despite all Israel's armistice agreements
having been with High Contracting Parties.

In practice, Israel does not accept that the
 Fourth Geneva Convention applies de jure,
 but has stated that on humanitarian issues
 it will govern itself de facto by its provisions
 --- without specifying which these are.

A majority of legal scholars hold that the
 settlements do violate international law,
while others dissent, supporting Israel's

Occupation does not vest the occupying
 power with sovereignty over the
occupied territory.



PLO Executive Committee Member, Dr. Hanan
 Ashrawi says, on the 39th Commemoration of
Land Day:

“On March 30, 1976, as thousands of Palestinians
 inside Israel protested Israeli plans to steal 60,000
 dunams of land in the Galilee, six Palestinians were
 killed and hundreds were injured and arrested.

39 years later, in the face of the brutal military
 occupation imposed by Israel, the Palestinian
 people still remain steadfast in their struggle to
 defend their inalienable rights to independence,
 freedom and justice.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is
 succeeding in completing the Zionist project
and pressing ahead with Israel’s systematic
policies of settler colonialism, apartheid and
 ethnic cleansing, showing a total disregard
for Palestinian human rights and dignity.

Furthermore, Palestinian citizens of Israel are
 constantly deprived of their social, political
and economic rights and treated as second-
class citizens.  Israel’s policies of racism,
 hatred, extremism, and violence constitute
 a deliberate effort to legalize discrimination
 and xenophobia and impose “Greater Israel”
 on historical Palestine --- at the expense of
all Palestinians.

Yet, even in light of such grave injustices
 and flagrant violations of international law,
Palestinians everywhere remain undeterred
in engaging in non-violent popular action,
 including political, legal & diplomatic efforts
--- to preserve their identity, continuity and
presence, on Palestinian lands.

  Regardless of wherever Palestinians live,
 they will always remain an indivisible
part of Palestine.

Israel has been exempt from accountability for
 its violations and deliberate acts of aggression
 and violence against the Palestinian people for
 far too long. All members of the international
community, including the United Nations, the
 European Union, and the United States, have
 the legal and moral responsibility to ensure
the protection of the Palestinian people and
to serve the cause of peace and justice by
 adopting bold initiatives and concrete steps
 to counter Israel’s impunity and war crimes.”


Saudi Arabia Sends over 5,000
 Takfiri Terrorists to Yemen

Military sources disclose that Saudi Arabia
has dispatched thousands of Takfiri terrorists
to Yemen, to fight against revolutionary forces.

"Saudi Arabia has sent around 5,000 Takfiri
 mercenaries to fight against the Yemeni army
 and revolutionary committees,' Yemeni Army
Commander Colonel Abdel Sattar al-Boushali
 tells FNA on Saturday night.

The Yemeni commander also discloses
 that the Saudi defense minister has asked
Turkish officials to pave the grounds for a
transfer of more terrorists from Turkish
airports, to Riyadh.

He notes that heavy clashes have broken out
 between the terrorist groups and forces loyal
 to Yemen's revolutionary committees.

Colonel al-Boushali repeats: that Saudi Arabia
is plotting to hire mercenaries to assassinate
supporters of the Ansarullah movement.

Saudi Arabia started airstrikes against Yemen
 early on Thursday -- 1 day after the US-backed
 Yemeni president fled the country.

Five Persian Gulf States -- Saudi Arabia, the
United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Qatar
and Kuwait --- backed by the US --- have all
declared war on Yemen in a joint statement.

US President Barack Obama has authorized
 the provision of logistical and intelligence
support to the military operations, National
 Security Council Spokesperson Bernadette
 Meehan, said late on Wednesday night.

She added that, while US forces are not
taking direct military action in Yemen,
Washington is establishing a Joint
Planning Cell with Saudi Arabia, to
 coordinate with US military and
intelligence support.

The Saudi's aggression is receiving growing
 international condemnation, as it is pushing
 the region and world, into an unprecedented
 fast-growing war, as its ISIL mercenaries are
on the brink of complete annihilation in Iraq
and Syria.

At Sharm al Sheik, the Arab kingdoms support
a joint army to preserve themselves -- but Iraq
and Algeria express doubts about pursuing a
military solution to what is a political problem.

Turkey has already said that it will not engage
in any act which sets Shias and Sunnis at war.


Transportation Ministry of the DPR:
Passenger train started Saturday 28th

Railway passenger trains connecting the
de facto capitals of the DPR & LPR,
have been running since
March the 28th.

‘Departure of the power train 6603 will be
 carried out from the station Yasinovataya
 at 8am Mondays, Thursdays & Saturdays.
Lugansk-Yasinovataya train will leave
every Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday.

 The price is 14,75 UAN.


Ansarullah Has Evidence of US Role
 in Terrorist Operations in Yemen

A senior member of the popular Ansarullah
 movement discloses that the revolutionary
 group has information and evidence to hand
 that the US has played the main role, in the
unrest and terrorist attacks in Yemen.

"The movement has collected documents
 which show that the US has been playing
a role in Yemen's current terror operations,"
member of Ansarullah Executive Committee
 Ali Qassem Al-Shahdi tells Fars news agency.

He explains that Ansarullah gained access
to these documents after taking control of
 Yemen's National Security Office which had
 tight cooperation with the CIA -- and other
 spy agencies.

Earlier today, Ansarullah spokesperson,
 Zeifollah al-Shami, said Yemeni tribes,
army and popular forces, are united to
give a crushing response to the recent
 Saudi aggression, adding that Tel Aviv
 and Washington have ordered Riyadh
 to attack Yemen.

"We know that the Saudi aggression and
 airstrikes have taken place at the order
of Israel and the US," al-Shami tells FNA.
 He notes that the Yemeni people have
put aside their differences, to fight the

"God willingly, the crushing response to
 the aggressions of the Saudi enemy will
 occur in the coming days," al-Shami adds.

Saudi Arabia launched airstrikes against
a Yemeni shopping market early Saturday,
targeting civilian areas.


Saudi-led invasion of Yemen (4th day)

As night fell on Saturday, aerial attacks
 resumed for a fourth night, residents
of Yemen’s capital, Sana’a, say.

Dozens of people, including women and
 children, have been killed since early
Thursday, when Saudi Arabia began
the invasion of Yemen.

On Saturday, the UN said that most
of its 100 international staff have
been evacuated from Sana’a.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said
 on Saturday, that negotiations “remain
 the only chance to prevent long, drawn-
out conflict” in Yemen, yet there was no
 sign of any condemnation of the Saudi
 invasion, in the UN chief’s remarks.

Riyadh says it launched the airstrikes
to defend the “legitimate government”
of Hadi, at his request.

Ali Abdullah Saleh, Yemen’s former dictator
who stepped down in 2012 after a year-long
 popular uprising, has likewise said, that the
Saudi-led attacks aim at saving the fugitive

In a televised speech on Saturday, Saleh
urged the Arab League to help end this
 crisis “peacefully,” saying the “problem
 will not be solved with strikes.”

A senior Yemeni health official says at least
 61 people have been killed in three days of
 fighting between Ansarullah fighters and
 loyalist militia, in Yemen’s main southern
 city of Aden.

“There are at least 61 people dead and
203 wounded,” says Aden health dept.
director, Al-Kheder Lassouar.


Islamist extremists now control
Syrian city of Idlib

Takfiri fighters, including al Qaeda’s Nusra Front
 have seized Idlib, capital of a north west Syrian
province, for the first time since the crisis began,
Reuters reports.

 Islamist insurgents now control an additional
province in Syria, to Raqqa, a stronghold of
Islamic State. Syrian officials don't comment
 immediately, on the report.


Iran dispatches planeload of
humanitarian aid to Yemen

Iran's Red Crescent Society has
 sent a 'plane full of humanitarian aid
 to Yemen, where Shia mosques were
recently targeted by terrorist attacks.

The IRCS sent its 13-ton consignment
 of aid and medical supplies on Monday.

52 people injured in the recent deadly
 bomb attacks in Yemen were flown to
 Iran on Monday and taken to hospital
 for treatment.

An Iranian medical official says that
their patients have injuries such as
fractures, burns and amputations.

Soleiman Heidari adds that six
victims are in a critical condition.

He says Iran sent a 6 member medical
team to Yemen, after terrorist attacks,
 to treat the victims.

Three bomb attacks were carried out at
two mosques in Sana’a on Friday. At least
142 people were killed and 351 suffered
injuries in the blasts, targeting Badr and
al-Hashoosh mosques.

A branch of ISIL terrorist group in Yemen
 claims responsibility for the bombings in
an online statement, warning that these
attacks are “just the tip of the iceberg.”

The blasts took place as intense gun battles
went on between supporters and opponents
 of the fugitive President Hadi in Aden. Over a
 dozen people died in the fighting, which also
 forced Aden's International Airport to close.

Hadi, along with members of Prime Minister
Khaled Bahah’s cabinet, stepped down in
late January, but Yemen's parliament did
approve the president's resignation.

The president fled his home in Sana’a on
 February 21, after weeks under effective
house arrest and went to Aden, Yemen’s
 second largest city, where he officially
withdrew his resignation and stressed
 his intention to resume his duties. This
came after Houthi fighters took Sana’a,
in September 2014.

UN staff are all evacuating Sa'ana,
capital of Yemen, as the Saudis say
their attacks "could last 6 months".


S. Nasrallah to Saudi Invaders: Yemeni
 People will Triumph, You’ll be Defeated

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan
Nasrallah lashes out at Saudi Arabia over its
war on Yemen, stressing that the failure of
Riyadh’s foreign policy, is the real reason
behind the Kingdom attacking its neighbour.

In a televised speech aired on al-Manar TV,
Sayyed Nasrallah calls on Saudi Arabia to
halt its military attack on Yemen, saying
there’s still a chance for the Kingdom
to change its mind over the assault.

In this context, the Lebanese resistance
leader stresses that the only solution for
Yemen's crisis is political, “or the
invaders will be defeated.”

Meanwhile, his eminence says the problem in
 Yemen, is not because Saudi Arabia wants to
defend a government or president; it's rather,
 because Saudi Arabia has lost its influence
 in Yemen.

“If the aim of the war on Yemen is to save 
Yemen's people, then why did Saudi Arabia
abandon Palestine's people for decades?”

Sayyed Nasrallah stresses that these
 latest developments in Yemen prove:
“that the Arab states have never
considered Israel as an enemy.”

“Saudi Arabia opposed the revolution which
 had overthrown Hosni Mubarak. Why didn’t
 they form a coalition then, to strike Egypt?”

Hezbollah leader then elaborates on the
pretexts used by Saudi Arabia to justify
 its war on Yemen, saying that they are
 "baseless" pretexts.

 “The pretext that Yemen represents a threat
to Gulf states is baseless,” Sayyed Nasrallah
 states, adding “one of the biggest lies Saudi
 Arabia has been propagating, is that Iran is
 occupying Yemen.”

The major mentality of Saudi Arabia is that it
does not recognize the rights of the peoples
 of the region, his eminence says.

“Where are the achievements of Saudi Arabia’s
 foreign policy since thirty years ago?” Sayyed
Nasrallah wonders, stressing that the failure
 of Riyadh’s policy “is prompting the people
 of the region to resort to Iran.”

Sayyed Nasrallah furthermore accuses Saudi
 Arabia of inciting the Iraqi Dictator, Saddam
Hussein, to wage his war against Iran in the
 last century. He adds that Riyadh has been
behind the terrorist crimes committed by 
Takfiri suicide bombers in Iraq and Syria.

“What did you do for Iraq? You funded the
war waged by Saddam Hussein, on Iran.
 You supported Saddam Hussein, as he
was committing genocide against Iraq's
You also supported George Bush in his war
on Iraq. And when the Iraqi people resisted
 the US occupation you supported al-Qaeda-
linked groups and Takfiri militants, and ISIL
is your latest crime.”

“Saudi intelligence was sending the booby-
trapped cars & funding the suicide attacks
 on Iraq's cities. You have sent the Takfiri
 monsters to Syria, not to save the Syrian
 people, but to subdue Syria. However,
 Syria will remain free and independent,”
Sayyed Nasrallah says, to Saudi Arabia.

Sayyed Nasrallah stresses that it’s the
 Yemeni people's right, to defend their
country against the Saudi airstrikes.

The invaders have been defeated through-
out history, Sayyed Nasrallah says, noting
 that airstrikes alone don’t determine the
loser and winner of a battle -- and there is
 still the ground battle, which has the
 final word.

On Lebanon, Hezbollah's Sec.Gen. stresses
 that the dialogue between the resistance
party and the Future movement is ongoing,
noting that the move is a 'national interest'.

“We will go on with the dialogue with the
Future movement, since it is considered
 a national interest,” he notes.

Responding to claims that Iran is hindering
 presidential elections in Lebanon, Sayyed
 Nasrallah says: “Iran has not interfered in
 the presidential elections, and will not do
 so. Tehran is not responsible for the
current deadlock.”

His eminence however, stresses that
 Saudi Arabia is hindering the vote...

“Saudi FM, Saud al-Faisal -- it is he who is
 vetoing the election of the candidate who
has a majority with Lebanon's Christians.”


Yemen's Hadi in Egypt for Arab summit
as Saudi-led coalition keeps pounding
 Houthi targets (3rd day)

 The fleeing Yemeni President, Abd-Rabbo Mansour
 Hadi, arrived in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt's Red Sea
 resort city, late on Friday, as the Saudi coalition's
 aerial campaign against the Shiite Houthi group
 entered its third day.

Hadi flew to the Egyptian resort city to attend a
 two-day Arab League summit, on the weekend.

On Friday evening, warplanes conducted fresh
 airstrikes targeting the largest military base on
 Nokum mountain in eastern Sanaa, along with
 several other targets in the area, witnesses say.

Airstrikes were met with intensive anti-aircraft
 gunfire by the Shiite Houthi group that controls
 Sanaa. Huge explosions could be heard across
 the city while the Houthi artillery lit up the sky.
 So far, no immediate reports of casualties are

A source declined to expose Sanaa's casualties
 after 3 military camps were hit the night before.

In Lahj province, the strategic Anad military
airbase was bombed Friday, with 2 rounds
of pre-dawn airstrikes. An airforce official
states: "a number of military fighter jets
were destroyed and all the buildings
inside the base, were set on fire."

The Saudi defense ministry said Friday, that
 operation "Decisive Storm" had succeeded
in cutting supply routes to the Houthis from
 Sanaa and Saada, Al Arabiya news reports.

As the air campaign continues to pound the
Houthi group, Iran's Foreign Minister states
 that Iran calls for cooperation among the
region's nations, to promote dialogue and
resurrect peace, in Yemen.

Mohammad-Javad Zarif says Iran is ready
to fully cooperate with other countries in
 the Middle East, to promote talks among
the regional stakeholders and conflicting
Yemeni factions, thus restoring peace.
He then adds:

"Those who have caused damage to the region
 with their ambitions and mistakes should adopt
responsible policies and use their capacities for
 establishing peace & convergence in the region."

Also on Friday, Yemen's former President, Ali
 Abdullah Saleh, who stepped down in 2011
 after a popular uprising, calls for a cease-fire
 after his forces are targeted by the airstrikes.

The ex-president, now close to the Houthis,
 also urges, in a statement, resuming the UN-
brokered talks between the warring parties.


Despite Yemeni President Hadi's departure
from Aden, which he designated as Yemen's
 provisional capital recently, Houthi fighters
 are still battling pro-Hadi tribal militias there.

On Friday, forces loyal to Hadi imposed a
curfew on Aden, where dozens of people
 were killed in battles in the past few days.

According to a statement issued by pro-
Hadi forces "the curfew will be from 19:00
 (1600 GMT) to 7:00 (0400 GMT), starting
 on Friday night."

"We urge citizens to remain calm and stay
 home as the street fighting continues,"
their statement says.

Aden city has been simmering with tension
 and armed confrontations for over 3 weeks.

Thousands of families in Aden, have fled
the battles for rural areas outside the city.


Who Suffers Most in Yemen air-raids?

Figures show some 60 people have been killed
 so far and dozens more injured across Yemen
 since Saudi-led airstrikes began on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the United Nations Children's Fund
 (UNICEF) says a “major humanitarian crisis” in
 Yemen is possible - in the near future - as the
impoverished land is hit by Saudi airstrikes.

UNICEF’s Yemen representative, Julien Harneis,
 says on Friday that the crisis could come within
 months -- if the international community fails to
 immediately raise its efforts to help Sana’a to
provide food and vaccines for Yemen's children.

Riyadh says it's launching the strikes to defend
the “legitimate government” of fugitive Yemeni
president, Abd Hadi, at his request.


Pakistan says will not
participate in Saudi-led coalition

Pakistan’s Defense Minister Khawaja Asif:

“Instead of aggravating the situation (in Yemen)
 by participating in it (coalition), Pakistan should
 do what it can to prevent it, for the alliance and
 unity of the Muslim world,” Pakistani Defense
 Minister, Khawaja Asif, tells Pakistan's
parliament on Friday.

“We don't want to be part of any proliferation
-- we will try to contain it," Asif says, adding: 
"There is concern that the move could fuel
 tensions in Pakistan and the Muslim world.”

“Pakistan is ready to adopt whatever role is
 needed in order to facilitate the termination
 of conflicts in the Islamic world,” he states.

Saudi Arabia called on Pakistan to join the
coalition, just the day before.

Asif adds that Pakistan has only pledged
 to defend “the territorial integrity of the
 Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

Reports say nearly 40 people have been
 killed in a day, since the airstrikes began.

The open violation of Yemen’s sovereignty
 by Saudi Arabia has so far been ignored by
 international organizations, notably the UN,
 which is silent over this latest aggression
 against one of its member states, despite
Ban Ki Moon's 'pro-dialogue' statement.


Negotiations only option to
resolve Yemen crisis: UN chief

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
 says dialogue among all political factions is the
 only solution to the conflict in Yemen: but stops
 well short, of condemning the ongoing Saudi
aggression, illegally launched on the Yemenis.

Ban in a
late Thursday statement stresses
 that, “despite the escalation, negotiations
remain the only option for ultimately
 resolving the crisis.”

The UN chief also recalls that the Security
Council has called on all its member states
 to refrain from any actions that undermine
 the unity, sovereignty, independence and
 territorial integrity of Yemen.

The ongoing Saudi airstrikes on Yemen
 have so far claimed the lives of dozens
of civilians, with more deaths feared. 


Saudi Arabia puppet of US, Israel: Houthi leader

The leader of Yemen’s Houthi fighters heaps scorn
 on Saudi Arabia, for conducing 'unjust and heinous
 attacks on Yemeni people', and says the kingdom
is serving as 'a puppet for the United States and
 the Israeli regime'.

Saudi Arabia is a puppet at the disposal of
 superpowers, the Houthi leader says, and
asserts that Riyadh is putting into action
the US-Israeli conspiracy in Yemen.

He says the US-Israeli plot in Yemen aims
to break up Yemen and deprive its people
of security and freedom.

Al-Houthi says the Saudi invasion of Yemen
has occurred because their agents, including
 al-Qaeda terrorists and ISIL Takfiri terrorists,
failed to execute their plots in Yemen.

He says these “criminal” attacks uncover
 the “tyrannical” nature of the Saudi regime.

Al-Houthi warns that Saudi Arabia will face
 consequences, if it pushes ahead with its
open aggression against Yemen, saying,
“We will confront the criminal forces and
their tools in the country.”

“You think you can kill Yemeni people, but
this is because of your stupidity,” he says.
 “This unjustified aggression shows the
hostility and arrogance of this regime.
These attacks are a reflection of the
inhumanity of the aggressor.”

Al-Houthi says the “aggressors” should
in mind that Yemen's people are
to defending their country
and revolution”,
by relying on God.

Thursday, Saudi warplanes hit a north-
city, Sa’ada and Ta’izz, in the south.

Airstrikes also targeted arms depots in
Malaheez region in Sa’ada, near the
border with Saudi Arabia.

Saudi 'planes started bombing Ansarullah
 fighters, Sana’a International Airport and
the Dulaimi airbase, earlier on Thursday.


China ‘deeply worried’ over
 Saudi attacks on Yemen

China’s foreign ministry expresses its
 profound concerns about the ongoing
 chaotic conditions in Yemen, after the
 Saudi airstrikes on the capital Sana’a.

“The Chinese side has noticed, and is
deeply worried about the situation in
Yemen that is getting worse,” China's
 Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Hua
Chunying, says at a media briefing.

Expressing hope that the crisis can be
 settled “through political dialogue”, Hua
says, “We hope that all parties will act
accordance with relevant resolutions
 of the UN Security Council... and restore
national stability and order at an early

Hua also advises Chinese citizens to cancel
planned visits to Yemen, until further notice.


Fugitive Yemeni president in Riyadh

Yemen's fugitive president Abd Rabbuh Mansur
 Hadi, was in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, as Saudi
 airstrikes hit his homeland on Thursday.

Hadi arrived at Riyadh Airbase on Thursday,
welcomed by Saudi Defense Minister Prince
 Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud
 and General Intelligence Chief Khalid bin Ali
 al-Humaidan, Saudi Press Agency reports.

No further details were made available
 about the nature of the visit. 


All Central American nations ready to
cooperation with Russia — minister

All the Central American countries are prepared
to strengthen cooperation with Russia in a broad
 spectrum of spheres, Guatemalan Foreign Minister
 Carlos Raul Morales, says on Thursday, after long
 negotiations with the Russian Foreign Minister,
 Sergey Lavrov.

"We’re going to strengthen our cooperation and
I’m speaking, not only on behalf of Guatemala,
 but on behalf of all Central American nations,"
 Morales says.

He confirms reports that Russia is to file an
 application for non-regional observer status
 in the Central American Integration System
 (SICA) at the association’s conference now
 underway in Guatemala.

"That’s a crucial meeting for us, that will help
build our cooperative relations in all spheres,"
 Morales says.

SICA embraces Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala,
 the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Nicaragua,
 Panama, and El Salvador.


Houthis Pledge Response to Airstrikes:

The revolutionaries say the 'evil' Saudi Regime
is targeting all of Yemen and that the resumed
Saudi-US airstrikes, on Thursday, took many
more civilian lives.

Thousands rally in Sanaa, against
the Saudi-led aggression on Thurs.

Iran warns that Saudi Arabia will get
its fingers burnt in Yemen, after its
interference in Bahrain and support
for extremism, across the world.

The US lost Yemen, and had to
abandon a drone attack base,
as well as its uncounted arms,
when Iran backed Ansarullah
took over the country...


              Air Strikes against Yemeni Capital              

A spokesperson of Yemeni President Abd Rabu
 Mansur Hadi, says the president is in Aden and
in good spirits for the beginning of 'Decisive
Storm Operation', commanded by the Saudis.

The operation restores people's determination
 to fight against the Houthis, says Mohamed
Marem, director of Mansur Hadi's office.

For their part, the Houthis have mobilized and
 armed thousands of men, to face any ground
 offensive, diplomatic sources in this capital
 tell Prensa Latina.

 According to them, troops controlling Bab El
 Manded, have reiterated their obedience to
 Abdullah Saleh and the Houthis' orders.

Official versions reveal that Saudi Arabia has
mobilized 150,000 soldiers & 100 fighter jets
 for the operation, but the number of Egyptian,
Sudanese, Jordanian, and Pakistani troops,
 (if any) --- as well as other GCC members ---
part in the operation, is "unconfirmed".



The Lebanese resistance movement, Hezbollah,
 slams as “unwise” and “illegitimate” the Saudi
 invasion of Yemen.

“Hezbollah strongly condemns the US-Saudi
 aggression, targeting the brotherly people
of Yemen, the national army, and its vital
installations,” a statement by Hezbollah’s
media office says, on Thursday.

Hezbollah warns of repercussions to the
 Saudi invasion, “which lacks wisdom &
rationale and legal legitimacy, [and] is
moving the region towards more
tensions and risks.”

The Saudi invasion of Yemen is condemned
 by many countries - such as Iran, Russia,
 Iraq and Syria.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad
Zarif called on Saudi Arabia to immediately
stop its military aggression against Yemen.

Speaking about the situation in Yemen on
 Thursday, he said "We believe the situation
 in Yemen is a very dangerous situation and
we advise against any escalation - because
 we believe that any interference in Yemen,
 will simply lead to a further loss of human
life -- as it has, since this morning."

Stressing the need to promote dialogue in
 the Arab country, he says “We believe that
there is an urgent need for dialogue, for
understanding among the Yemenis with-
out external interference -- and that is
 what we hope we get."

Russia's Foreign Ministry, says Thursday:

“Such a scenario can't lead to the conflict’s
 settlement -- by definition,” says Alexander
 Lukashevich, Russia’s Foreign Ministry
spokesperson, as cited by Interfax.

The Russian official warns the US and other
 countries backing the Saudi operation of its
 serious consequences for regional security.

“This is a very serious threat to regional security
 -- while the conflict in Syria hasn’t been settled --
and conflict areas exist actually, throughout the
 entire region of the Middle East and North Africa,”
 Lukashevich says, at a news briefing in Moscow.

“These armed methods of resolving internal Yemeni
 problems are categorically unacceptable,” he adds.

The European Union's foreign policy chief, Federica
Mogherini, also raises concerns about the situation
 in Yemen, saying that the airstrikes risk causing
“serious regional consequences.”

“The latest events in Yemen have dramatically
 worsened the already fragile situation in the
country --- and risk having serious regional
consequences,” Mogherini's statement says.

Along the same lines, Syria and Iraq condemn
 the Saudi raid, with Syria's Foreign Ministry
 calling for respect for Yemen’s sovereignty.

Despite Riyadh’s claims that it is attacking
Ansarullah positions, Saudi warplanes have
 flattened a number of homes near Sana’a
 International Airport.

 The world body took most of Thursday to
show any
reaction at all to this violation
of the
sovereignty of one of its members
by Riyadh.

Is Ban Ki Moon just being diplomatic?


UN 'does not yet plan' to take action
 over the military operation in Yemen

 The UN Security Council does not yet plan
to take any action in connection with the
 military operation in Yemen launched by
Saudi Arabia and other countries of the
Persian Gulf, a diplomat from a UN
Security Council member country
tells TASS on Thursday.

Earlier, Deputy Spokesperson for the UN's
 Secretary General, Farhan Haq, told TASS
 the UN 'is aware of' the military operation
 in Yemen.

 "We are aware of what is happening. We are
 trying to learn more details," Haq said. He did
 not clarify whether UN Secretary General Ban
Ki-moon was told about the plan in advance.

Saudi Arabia's Ambassador to the US, Adel al-
Jubeir announced the military operation. Al-
Jubeir said Saudi Arabia acted to "defend the
 legitimate government" of President Abd Hadi,
who was ousted from Sanaa by Houthi rebels.

Hadi asked the UN Security Council to adopt
resolution authorizing "willing countries
wishing to help Yemen to provide immediate
support for the legitimate authority by all
 means and measures  to protect Yemen
 and deter the Houthi aggression."


'Pro-Government' Forces Recapture Air-
port in Yemen's Aden From Houthi Rebels

 'Pro-government forces' have regained
control over the airport in Aden, news
Agency France-Presse says, Thursday.

Earlier, Yemeni President Hadi’s spokes-
person, said 'the leader is in Aden and
he supports the international military
 operation against the Houthi militia'.

On Wednesday, Saudi Arabia, without UN
authority, announced the launch of military
operations against the Houthis in Yemen.


US "not participating" on Yemen - envoy

According to Ambassador Adel bin Ahmed
Al-Jubeir, the military action started at 7pm
 EST (11pm GMT) on Wednesday. "The US
isn't participating
in the operation at all",
the envoy stresses.

Al Arabiya says 'planes of the Royal Saudi
 Air Force bombed the positions of Yemen’s
Houthi militia, targeting their air defenses.

Residents say warplanes targetted
 the capital’s airport, reports Reuters.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates,
 Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait, issued a
joint statement on Wednesday - saying
that they had
“decided to repel Houthi
militias, Al-
Qaeda & ISIS, in the country.”

Egypt is giving political & military support
 to the operation, Egypt’s state media says.
Cairo is prepared to take part in air, naval
 and ground operations, if necessary, the
 Egyptian Foreign Ministry has announced.

While the Saudi envoy insists Washington
 only “consulted” Riyadh, a US official tells
 Reuters - on condition of anonymity - that
the US has been supporting the military
operation...  in an 'unspecified way'.


Assad: European States Make Grave Mistake
 Allying with Terrorism Supporters

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad dismisses as
 'distorted', the image which some politicians
and media outlets show, about the situation
 on the ground in Syria.

This image totally differs with reality, the
 President stresses, at a meeting with the
visiting Belgian parliamentary and party
delegation, chaired by Filip Dewinter, a
member of the Flemish Parliament.

These politicians and media outlets, are
“twisting” public opinion in their countries
 to favor “short-sighted visions and narrow
 interests, that do not serve their people.”

He calls upon delegations who visit Syria
 to meet with its people and contribute to
correcting the views of public opinion in
 their countries, about the war against
terrorism in which Syria and its people
 are engaged.

It's a “grave mistake” that some European
 states are allying with those countries that
 support terrorism, President al-Assad says,
stressing that Islam has nothing to do with
 terrorism and is, rather, being defamed by it.

He affirms that the terrorist organizations
 & their advocates do not represent Islam,
which rejects all forms of violence and
 upholds tolerance and fraternity.

The visiting Belgian figures say they view
 Syria as the 'front line' against extremism
 and terrorism, as it's the only one battling
 with the terrorists on the ground.

If this line collapses, terrorism will extend
widely...  to European states, they warn.

This is why we must support Syria in its
 war, a conviction many Western parties
 and officials have already reached, the
 Belgian figures say.

They point out that they have witnessed
at first-hand, life in Syria and recognise
 the Syrian people's will to persevere...
 despite suffering terrorist groups’ acts
 daily, and years of economic sanctions
 -- still being imposed on them by the
 USA  ...and its 'allies'.

This will of Syria's people to live, endure
and persevere until victory, the Belgian
delegation members state, is the most
essential factor in routing terrorism and
re-establishing stability in Syria.


Cuba Calls on the UN to Support
              the Reconstruction of Haiti               
Cuba believes that the reconstruction and
 development of Haiti is a debt to the people
 who, after centuries of colonialism, starred
in the very first social revolution in the
Americas, it says, in a note.

It is vital to address the needs & priorities
 of the Haitian people and government, says
 the delegate, Claudia Pérez, referring to the
 note released by the Permanent Mission of
Havana, in Geneva.

"We reiterate our call to developed countries
 to honour their commitments and provide the
support and assistance which that Caribbean
nation urgently needs. We invite creditors,
 to write off the debt", she says.

According to Perez, "we all have a moral
obligation to provide additional financial
resources & greater cooperation to Haiti
...especially for its development".

Cuba reaffirms its commitment to the
people of that country - and therefore
maintains its collaboration to improve
 the enjoyment of important economic,
 social and cultural rights, she says.

Among other issues, says the official,
 there is cooperation with Haiti in the
 fields of education & health, and Cuba
 participates in development programs,
 in conjunction with other nations, with
 full respect for the sovereignty & self-
determination of that sister country.

This way you can really empower people
 and increasingly improve their enjoyment
 of human rights, she adds.

The 18th session culminated on March 27th
 at the Palais des Nations, UN headquarters,
 in Geneva.


Israel suspends plan to build
new settler homes in E. Jerusalem

Israel’s outgoing government has suspended
 a controversial plan to build hundreds of new
 settler homes in east Jerusalem, AFP reports.

 The plan involved constructing 1,500 homes
 in the settlement neighborhood of Har Homa.
 Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave a
 controversial speech there on the eve of the
March 17 elections, pledging to build 1,000s
 of new homes if reelected.

The website Ynet says on Wednesday that the
 plans have been frozen by Netanyahu’s office
 due to their “political sensitivity.”


Ukraine opposition prepares package
of bills to implement Minsk deals

The package includes laws on restoring the banking
 system, an amnesty for participants in the conflict,
social benefit payments in Donbas and other
provisions of the Minsk deals

As Kiev is calling for continuing the war in the
 country’s east, the Opposition Bloc in the Rada
says on Wednesday it has registered a package
 of bills needed for the full implementation of the
 Minsk agreements.

"The bills that have been registered give our country
 a chance for a diplomatic solution to the conflict in
 eastern Ukraine," chair of the Opposition Bloc, Yury
 Boyko, says at a meeting with representatives of
 public organizations in Kharkov region, in the
 country’s north-east.

"We believe that the authorities should prepare the
 needed bills, but, as they have adopted a pro-war
stance, we have taken this initiative ourselves.

 "The laws we registered in elaboration of the Minsk
 agreements should be adopted by the parliament,"
 he stresses.

The 'peace package' consists of laws on "restoring
 the banking system, amnesty for the participants
of the conflict, social benefit payments in Donbas
 and other provisions stipulated in the Minsk
 agreements," he says.

"First of all, the adoption of such laws is essential
for the country. We need to stop people's deaths,
 reach sustainable peace and start restoring the
smashed Donbas infrastructure. This can be done
through the Minsk agreement's implementation,"
 the politician says.

Boyko blames the current parliamentary coalition
 for the fact that "implementation of the agreement
 reached in Minsk has been blocked." then adds...

"And if the "coalition of war" is not even able to
 comply with a UN resolution then the parliament
 needs to be dissolved," he says.

"Most likely, the coalition will break up and this
 autumn, parliamentary elections will also take
 place. This is contributed to, by the constant
 power struggle -- and the rivalry between the
 prime minister and president," Boyko says.


Persian Gulf Nations More and More
             Involved in Yemen Crisis              

According to regional media, the six-Arab
nations bloc is exerting strong pressure,
so that the Houthi's Ansarallah movement
complies with the so-called Gulf Initiative
 and its mechanism of implementation, in
 order to reinstate the authority of Yemeni
President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi, after
Houthi troops'advances in the South.

Saudi Arabia is now building a military base
 near the Yemeni border. Media reports say
 the base is being constructed 'in the south'.

Saudi Defense Minister, Prince Mohammed
 bin Salman Al Saud, has been ordered to
 erect the facility immediately, along with
 a number of training buildings nearby.


Some Yemeni military officers don’t
like the idea of foreign intervention:

“We express our total and utter rejection of
any external interference in Yemeni affairs,
under any pretext and in any form and from
any side,” says the statement, by a group
of officers calling themselves the 'Higher
Committee to Preserve the Armed Forces
 and Security', Reuters reports.

“All members of the armed forces and security
and all the sons of the proud people of Yemen
- with all its components - will confront with all
 their strength and heroism any attempt to harm
 the pure soil of the homeland, its independence
 or its sovereignty, or to threaten its unity and
 territorial integrity,” the military group states,
 on a website.

In late February, Yemen's Shiite rebel leader
Abdel-Malik al-Houthi accused Saudi Arabia of
trying to divide Yemen along sectarian lines.

“Our elder sister, the Saudi kingdom, doesn't
respect the Yemenis and wants to impose
here in Yemen, the sequence of events and
divisions that happened in Libya,” al-Houthi
said, as cited by AP.

A brief war between Houthis and Riyadh
resulted in the deaths of about 200 Saudis
 four years ago.

Sunni Saudi Arabia believes that the Shiite
 Houthi rebels are backed by Iran, and sees
that its richest oil deposits are in the East,
 bordering Yemen, also inhabited by Shiites.

As Iraq is also in the hands of Shiites
 Sunni Riyadh could find itself caught
in a proxy war with Tehran, near its
main oil fields, right on its borders,
which threatens its current regime.


DPR militia leader:  US REALLY IS
already supplying lethal weapons
 to Ukraine

The militia leader states that US ammunition
 was spotted in Debaltsevo, and NATO planes
 land at Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhia & Kharkiv
 airports, every day.

"The US is already supplying weapons there.
 For instance, in Debaltsevo, we saw US
ammunition. That’s a lethal weapon," he
 tells a news briefing, and adds...
"NATO planes land at Dnipropetrovsk,
 Zaporizhia and Kharkiv airports,
 every day."

Zakharchenko says Ukraine is also returning
 heavy weapons to the line of disengagement.

"Ukraine has not pulled back weapons. It is
bringing them back. The pullout was a fake,"
he says.

The militias are expecting more provocations
 from Ukraine’s volunteer battalions, "which
have already said that they are not obeying
 orders from Kiev," he says.

If cicumstances get worse, Zakharchenko says,
the Ukrainian forces may attack from the south,
the north-west and in the area of Debaltsevo,
to try to cut the Donetsk Republic away from
the Luhansk Republic.

"The way I see the situation, I believe there will
be 3 attacks," Zakharchenko says. "The main
 group of Ukrainian forces is concentrated in
 the Volnovakha, Krasnogolovka, Artyomovsk,
 Kurakhovo and other communities' areas..."


‘Normandy 4’ meeting on Ukraine
due in Paris on Wednesday – Kiev

Authorities in Kiev confirm that a meeting of
 political directors in the Normandy format,
was to be held in Paris on Wednesday.

Representatives of Russia, Ukraine, Germany
 and France were to discuss implementation
the Minsk peace agreements. Ukraine was
to be
represented by Deputy Foreign Minister,
Vadim Pristaiko, RIA Novosti reported.


Canada expands anti-ISIS mission into Syria

Canada's Zionist PM, Stephen Harper, is
risking military strikes on IS militants in
Syria next, Bloomberg says.

Harper is reportedly seeking approval
from law-makers for a 1 year extension
of the Iraq mission -- plus authorization
to expand his attacks into Syria. The
mission has focused so far, on strikes
in Iraq.

 Harper’s Conservatives have a majority.


Media: armed volunteer battalions
heading for Kiev
Armed volunteer battalions are pulling
Kiev, Vesti newspaper reports Wed.

"Yesterday, soldiers of a number of battalions were
 pulled out from the front and are now heading for
Kiev with arms. There is no information about the
purpose of this move," Vesti says, adding that it
 might be linked "with the situation around [the
 Dnipropetrovsk Region governor] Kolomoisky."

Ukraine’s President Poroshenko said earlier
that no Ukraine governor will be allowed to
 have private armies, any longer.

Ukrainian Security Service Chief Valentin
 Nalivaichenko said earlier that some high-
placed officials in Dnipropetrovsk regional
 administration maintain armed formations
 that are really groups of bandits.

The topic of armed groups in Ukraine arose
 after armed men from a security company
 -- presumably related to Kolomoisky --
put Ukrnafta, the state-owned oil and gas
extracting company's building, "under
 their guard."

On March 19, Ukrtransnafta’s (a company also
 owned by Igor Kolomoisky) supervisory board
 dismissed Alexander Lazorko as head of the
board and appointed Yuri Miroshnik as acting
board chair.

 Later reports say the company building was
 seized by "gunmen led by Kolomoisky." But,
Interior Minister, Arsen Avakov, stated that
 Kiev’s law enforcement agencies had taken
 Uktransnafta’s premises under control.

According to the media, in April-May 2014,
 Ukrtransnafta took 675,000 tons of process
 oil from Ukraine’s trunk pipelines -- without
 permission -- from the Ministry of Energy
and Coal Mining.

 Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk demanded
then that the law enforcement agencies start
 proceedings to prosecute those responsible
 for illegally siphoning the oil.


Dozens of Israeli Settlers
 Storm Al-Aqsa Compound

132 Jewish settlers under the protection of
 Zionist police, forced their way into Al-Aqsa
complex through Al-Magharbeh and Hotta
 gates on Monday, Sheikh Azzam al-Khatib,
 General Director of Muslim Endowments
 and Al-Aqsa Affairs, says today.

"A group of 10 settlers mounted the roof of
 the Dome of the Rock Mosque and tried to
 perform Talmudic rituals --- but Palestinian
 guards managed to prevent them," he adds.

Others toured the holy compound, bypassing
 Al-Qibali and Al-Marwani mosques, then left
 the complex through Al-Silsileh gate, he adds.

Outside the compound, he says, a group of
 Jewish settlers attacked 3 Muslim women
- and tried to pour hot tea on them.

The occupation authorities also detained 3
 Palestinians – 2 men and a woman – when
the latter tried to enter the compound.

In recent months, Jewish settler groups
 – often accompanied by Zionist security
forces – have repeatedly forced their
way into Al-Aqsa Mosque complex.



Deputy director of the RAS Institute of US &
 Canada Studies, Pavel Zolotaryov, sees not
the slightest chance of Washington suddenly
developing a liking for the Minsk Accords.

 "Firstly, this is so, because the United States
 is not party to the Minsk process. Secondly,
 Washington dislikes the Minsk Accords, as
 they're hardly realistic for the people the US
has propelled to power in Kiev. Poroshenko
and his team are reluctant to comply with
the Minsk Accords, and in this, they rely
on support from the White House."

"Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has
a very diplomatic way of formulating the issue.
Kiev’s and Washington’s interpretation of the
 Minsk Accords show a striking similarity and
 it remains to be seen who is in the lead. Now
 it has become very clear that it's Washington
 who sets the tune," Zolotaryov says.

President of the National Strategy Institute,
Mikhail Remizov, has no doubt that the US
 will not confine itself to sending military
instructors to Ukraine:

"Washington will be stepping up its military
presence in Ukraine --- and building up its
military and technical assistance to Kiev
--- precisely in the way it has been doing
in its relationship with Georgia.

"Washington’s aim is to preserve Ukraine as
an apple of discord between Russia and the
 West, and as Russia’s greatest vulnerability.
Therefore, as soon as the military-technical
balance changes in Kiev’s favour, a restart
 of hostilities between the Ukrainian army
and the Donetsk and Lugansk militias may
follow. This is most likely in April or May,"
Remizov tells TASS.

President of Russia's Centre for Geopolitical
 Problems, Col-Gen Leonid Ivashov, recalls
that the 'US National Security Strategy'
Congress approved in February contains
 over a dozen references to Russia, as an
aggressor, who poses a threat to the US.

"Also, throughout the post-Soviet period
NATO never carried out such outspokenly
 anti-Russian exercises as intensively as
today,"  Ivashov says.

 "All these are sure signs that Washington
is determined to use the crisis in Ukraine,
to try to drag Russia into a war."


     Palestinians Protest
        Planned Jerusalem Evictions

Dozens of Palestinians and foreign supporters
 protested in east Jerusalem's walled Old City
 on Sunday against the threatened eviction of
 a Palestinian family in favor of Jewish settlers.

"No to the eviction of the Sub Laban family,"
 the banners carried by demonstrators read,
referring to the 8 occupants of the house
near the flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque.

Rafat Sub Laban, who lives there with his
 parents, his sister and his brother's wife
 and children, says the family have rented
their home since 1953, when the Old City
 was ruled by Jordan.

Occupation authorities issued an eviction
 order in September which is currently on
 appeal, but Zionist settlers --- backed by
police --- tried to gain possession last
 week, he says.

"20 police officers with settlers wanted
 to evict us," he says, in a statement.

Israel, known as The Zionist entity, by
those who oppose it, seized Arab east
Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War &
 later annexed it - in a move which has
never been recognized as legal, by
the international community.


Probe to unveil Israeli bombardment
 of UN buildings in Gaza

A senior United Nations official announces
that the result of the investigation into the
 Israeli bombing of the UN headquarters in
the Gaza Strip, will be declared 'very soon'.

Commissioner General of UNRAW, Pierre
Krahenbuhl makes the announcement at
an inauguration ceremony of the rebuild-
ing  of an UNRWA school in Khuza
-- east of the southern Gaza Strip city of
Khan Younis.

"The results of the UN enquiry, formed by
 Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, to probe
 the bombardment of the UN buildings in
 the Gaza Strip during the last Israeli war
on Gaza will be declared very soon,"
says Krahenbuhl.

The senior UN official won't give a specific
 date, but does say that "attacking schools
 and other civilian places which were not
 involved in any military action is not
accepted at all."

"It is immoral and can never be accepted by
 the international law," he says, adding that
 "83 educational structures and 10 medical
 clinics belonging to UNRWA were either
directly or indirectly damaged."

Ban Ki-moon announced the UN inquiry
 committee formation in early November.

During a 50-day offensive, the Israeli army
directly bombed 3 UNRWA schools which
 were sheltering displaced families who'd
left their homes to escape the Israeli
army's 'ground operation'.

The senior UN official calls on donors now to
 fulfill their pledges towards reconstruction
of the Gaza Strip, stressing
"if this isn't done,
it will bring rising rage and despair in Gaza."

Tens of thousands of Palestinians in the Gaza
 Strip "are still homeless," says Ban Ki-moon,
adding: "it is impossible to halt humanitarian
 aid or delay it -- especially when we see this
tragic reality in Gaza."


Architect of Singapore’s economic miracle
 Lee Kuan Yew dies aged 91

Singapore’s first Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew
 has died at the age of 91, the Singapore prime
 minister’s office said Sunday.

Lee Kuan Yew was Singapore’s Prime Minister
 from 1959 to 1990. He led the nation when it
 gained independence in 1965.

his premiership, Singapore strode
from a
third world country, into a global
centre - among the world’s top
in terms of its living standards.


Houthis Take Airport in Yemeni Central Province 
 The Houthi revolutionary movement Ansar Allah
has retaken Taiz central province's airport from
supporters of President Hadim, who is now a
refugee in the southern city of Aden.

The control of Taiz provides the Houthi tribe
 access to a road linking the capital city with
 Aden, therefore it is likely that in the coming
 hours, there will be attempts to recover it.

The US military airbase, in southern Yemen,
from which the US miliary has fled, operated
drones there, to spy on and assassinate the
 Arabian Peninsula's people.

Yemen is divided into two governments, one
 the Revolutionary Committee established by
 the Houthis... and the other led by President
 Mansur Hadi, headquartered in Aden, which
 is trying to become an "alternative" capital.

Mansur, who resigned in January then re-
canted in February, is supported by Saudi
 Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the
 United States.

The Houthis are supported by Iran, which
 opened a direct flight weeks ago between
 the capital cities, Tehran and Sanaa.


Argentina: Frente para la Victoria
               Leads Electoral Opinion Poll               
 The ruling party Frente para la Victoria (FPV)
of President Cristina Fernandez, leads today
in electoral opinion polls across the country,
14 points ahead of its closest rival, the right-
wing party Propuesta Republicana (PRO).

A poll carried out by pollster Poliarquia,
 and published by the newspaper Tiempo
 Argentino, indicates that FPV was given
 36% support by those surveyed, while
Buenos Aires governor Mauricio Macri's
 PRO was given 22% and the Frente
Renovador (FR) 19%.

Argentinians will elect a new president
on October 25th, and, according to the
opinion poll, the ruling party would win
 -- with Daniel Scioli as its presidential
 candidate -- with 31%, Macri with 25%
 and parliamentarian Sergio Massa,
FR leader, with 21%.

In a possible ballot, Scioli, governor of
Buenos Aires province, would be given
51% of the vote and Macri 40%, said the
opinion poll carried out during the first
two weeks of March, in 24 sites with
 over 10,000 inhabitants.


Ecuador president blasts
Washington's interference

Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa slams
 the US for destabilising the Latin American
 state, saying spy agencies, including the
 CIA, have been orchestrating the protests
 in his country.

"There's a CIA presence in Ecuador's opposition
 which has the goal of weakening the govern-
ment," he tells TeleSUR television network.

The CIA aims to drag Ecuador into chaos by
 influencing the opposition ahead of the up-
coming elections, Correa adds.

The US spying agency and Ecuador's right-
wing opposition were likely involved inthe
recent nation-wide protests in the country,
Correa notes.

Ecuadorians staged protest rallies Thursday
 in a dozen cities, including the capital, Quito.

The protesters called for political change as
well as reforms in labour and land policies.

 Correa and his administration enjoy public
support for raising living standards for the
 lower classes.

 The country’s GDP per capita rose from $3,572
in 2007 to $6,002 in 2013. He has also reduced
    poverty and unemployment in Ecuador since
 he assumed power in 2007.

Released WikiLeaks' cables, however, reveal
 Washington’s efforts to interfere in Ecuador’s
 internal affairs & its spying agencies' covert
 operations to bring Correa down.

In 1963, the US orchestrated a coup d’état by
the military junta in Ecuador to topple the left
government of Carlos Julio Arosemena Monroy
 after he voiced opposition to US control.


Moscow slams Kiev for reported
 weaponry deployment in E. Ukraine

"The claims of Ukraine's authorities that all
 its heavy weapons have been withdrawn are
once again proven to be bluff," the Russian
 Foreign Ministry says in an online statement
-- after a Reuters video is released, showing
heavy weapons being used by the Ukrainian
 army at the contact line in Ukraine's S. East.

"The ministry has to emphasize that we are
speaking of another serious violation of the
Minsk agreements, which stipulates a with-
drawal of heavy weapons from the contact
 line," the statement adds.

Judging by the footage, the ministry says,
 the Azov battalion is using 122 mill' calibre
 howitzers D-30 --- with a range of 22 klmtrs.

The ministry also claims that the footage was
shot near Shyrokyne Village, Donetsk region..
 "a place that must be monitored most closely,
 by the OSCE special mission."

Russia urges the Ukrainian side "not to mislead
 international public opinion and faithfully fulfill
its obligations under the Minsk accords."

Earlier in the day, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
urged France & Germany to persuade Ukraine's
 current rulers to observe the Minsk agreements.

Late amendments made by Kiev's government
 on "special status" laws and the peacekeeping
 mission, have sparked yet another round of the
"war of words", and produced a conflict "surge"
 in eastern Ukraine.


Ansarullah Announces Public Mobilization,
 Calls on Army to Face Takfiri Crimes

As the US evacuates its main army base
in Yemen, the revolutionary movement,
 Ansarullah, calls a public mobilization -
 calling on the Army and security forces
 to confront takfiri terrorism.

Ansarullah stresses, in a statement, the vital
importance of political support for these new
 security measures, to face terrorist crimes.

All Yemenis have to close ranks & cooperate
 with the military & security forces, to protect
themselves from this takfiri threat, says the


UN Security Council to meet on Yemen

The UN Security Council says the 15-nation
 UN body will meet in an emergency session
 on Sunday afternoon to discuss the current
 situation in Yemen, which suffered several
 terrorist attacks over the past few days.


Erdogan calls for strict compliance
with Minsk agreements

Strict compliance with the measures agreed
 in Minsk will allow for resolution of
crisis, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says,
at a joint news conference
with Ukraine's
President, Petro Poroshenko.

"The settlement of the Ukrainian crisis can
 be achieved through diplomatic means
only," he says.

"We’re calling for strict compliance with a
package of measures adopted in Minsk.

 "We want the Minsk agreements to be
 implemented, as well as the package
of measures envisaged by them."

 He describes these agreements as "a
window of opportunity that should be
 opened as wide as possible."

The Turkish leader stresses that he
 supports Ukraine’s territorial integrity,
 and appeals to Kiev to "further protect
the rights of all religious and ethnic
groups, primarily the Crimean Tatars."


Iraq war architects admit US' invasion illegal

US Attorney General, Supreme Court judge,
and chief US prosecutor for the Nuremberg
warcrime trials, Robert H. Jackson, insists
the US committed an "act of aggression"
when it invaded Iraq in 2003.

According to Jackson, "it is the supreme
 international crime, differing only from all
other war crimes, in that it contains within
itself, the accumulated evil of the whole."

That the US-led invasion was unjust,
 is not news to the American public.

 Washington officials have formally said
 that the search for weapons of mass
destruction in Iraq, was a 'mistake'.

Republican hawk and defense expert,
 Richard Perle, admitted in 2003, that
 the invasion of Iraq was illegal.

"International law, would have required
 us to leave Saddam Hussein alone and
 this would have been morally unaccept-
able," he said then.

So top US officials knew that Iraq had
no weapons of mass destruction & top
Bush adviser, Philip Zelikow, says that
the war was launched to protect Israel.

 Several other officials don't deny that
 the war in Iraq was a war for oil. If so,
moral motives had nothing to do with
what happened to Iraq.

As US bloggers believe, the White House
 is left to admit that the US has committed
an international war crime in Libya, also,
Pravda.Ru reports.


‘UK, US defense interests put above
 Mauritius' rights in Chagos Islands – UN

The UK acted illegally when it imposed
 territorial controls on the Chagos Islands
without the consent of Mauritius, a UN
judgment claims.

The ruling may hinder US operations
in Diego Garcia, where it holds an air-
base on lease from the UK government.

The UN ruling also accuses the UK
of ignoring the rights of Mauritius –
which claims the islands as its own.

Declaring the remote Indian Ocean
archipelago a marine protected area
 (MPA) damaged the fishing industry in
surrounding waters, Mauritius claims.

The UK's Labour government then, is
 accused of forcing through the MPA
 measure, to strengthen its hand in
 the impending election.

“The UK has not been able to give
 any convincing explanation for the
urgency with which it proclaimed
the MPA on the 1st of April, 2010,”
 the ruling states.

The decision's speed was “dictated
 by the electoral timetable in the UK
 or an anticipated change in
government,” it was found.

“Not only did the UK proceed on the
 flawed basis that Mauritius had no
fishing rights in the territorial sea of 
Chagos archipelago, it presumed to
conclude – without ever confirming
with Mauritius – that the MPA was
in Mauritius’ interest.”

The issue was addressed by a panel
of 5 judges serving on a permanent
 court of arbitration, at The Hague.

While three judges ruled the tribunal
lacked the authority to adjudicate...
 two ruled that, before the UK general
 election in 2010, and at the point of
the territory's creation in 1965...
 “US & UK defense interests were
 put above Mauritius’s rights.”

Mauritius' government maintains its
 sovereignty claim, arguing the islands
 were effectively stolen by the UK -- in
contravention of a UN resolution that
 parts of decolonizing nations couldn't
simply be detached by a departing
 colonial power.

The Mauritian claim is strengthened
 by the UN's ruling, which finds that:
“The UK’s undertaking to return the
Chagos archipelago to Mauritius,
gives Mauritius an interest in all
significant decisions that bear
 upon the possible future uses of
the archipelago.

“Mauritius’ interest is not simply in the
 eventual return of Chagos archipelago,
 but also in the condition in which the
 archipelago will be returned.”

The move will be welcomed by displaced
 former residents of the Chagos Islands,
who were forced from their homes by
the UK in the 1960s, to make way for
the current US base.

Diego Garcia has repeatedly made head-
lines as US extraordinary rendition flights
 were/are allegedly routed via the airbase.


Alexandr Zaharchenko: Minsk
agreements have been cancelled

Alexandr Zaharchenko, the DPR's head
announces that the Minsk agreements
 are now supposedly cancelled.

 Still, he says, there's a small hope that
Kiev's officials will return to the Minsk
agreement, as full responsibility now
rests on Europe.

Presumably, by Europe, he refers to
the Minsk agreement guarantors,
 France and Germany.


Lavrov: Washington pushing Kiev to
 military solution of Donbass conflict

The US is inciting Kiev to end the crisis
 in eastern Ukraine by force, says Russia's
 foreign minister, citing US support for the
recently passed Ukrainian law on special
self-governing status for Donbass, which
 Moscow says undermines the Minsk-2 deal.

“If Washington welcomes the action, which
 undermines the Minsk agreements, then we
 can only conclude that Washington is inciting
 Kiev to resolve the issue by military means,”
 says Lavrov at a media conference Thursday.

His comments refer to a 'phone conversation
 between US Vice-President, Joe Biden, and
Ukrainian President, Petro Poroshenko, on
Wednesday, during which Biden welcomed
 the decision by the Ukrainian parliament to
 give special status to Donbass.

Self-rule for Donbass is a key condition of
 the Minsk agreements, but the law passed
by the Rada postpones the introduction of
any new status until the regions hold new
elections... under Ukrainian laws.

 Until then, the Ukrainian MPs said that
the two republics will be recognized as
‘temporary occupied territories’ & voted
 that this status should remain, until the
 Ukrainian military fully restores control.

The leaders of Donetsk and Lugansk
Republics say these decisions were
not agreed with them.


“The Ukrainian leadership, basically,
 have terminated their commitments to
engage in direct dialogue and negotiate
with south-eastern Ukraine, including on
the issue of elections and implementing
the law on special status.”

Lavrov urges the mediators of the Minsk-2
 deal, France and Germany – who invested
 their authority in the document -- to react
to Kiev’s actions.

Russia's foreign minister also calls for
another round of negotiations in the
Normandy Four format (Kiev, Moscow,
 Berlin, Paris) on the settlement of the
 ongoing conflict in Ukraine. He says
it is necessary to prevent a "further
deterioration of the situation.”

"I believe it’s high time for the Normandy
 Four talks," Lavrov says. "I've turned to
my colleagues - the foreign ministers of
Germany and France - with a proposal
to take urgent steps to prevent the
situation from taking a nosedive."

The Minsk document requires Ukraine
to adopt
legislation that would provide
privileges to Lugansk and
Donetsk Regions.

 These include the right to use Russian
as an official language, trans-border
ties with Russia, and the authority of
 local governments to appoint local
prosecutors and judges.

 Among other points, the deal includes
 direct talks between Kiev and the rebel
republics' representatives, reports RT.


Russia Calls UN Security Council
Meeting Over Minsk Violations

Russia has initiated an extraordinary
meeting of the UN Security Council, to
discuss shortcomings in implementing
the Minsk agreements on reconciliation
in Ukraine, Russia's Permanent Mission
to the UN says yesterday (Thursday).

"The UN Security Council is holding
a closed doors meeting, initiated
by Russia, to discuss violations
of commitments to implement
the Package of Measures agreed
 in Minsk, on February 12th," the
mission's spokesperson, Alexei
Zaitsev, says.

The agreements brokered by the leaders of
 Russia, Germany, France & Ukraine in Minsk,
 Belarus, in February, stipulate a ceasefire,
 effective since February 15th, in Ukraine's
eastern regions, a heavy weaponry pullout
 from the line of contact, an all-for-all swap
of prisoners & the withdrawal of all foreign
 troops and mercenaries from Ukraine.

However, the US, UK and Poland have
already announced that they are to
send instructors to Ukraine, to train 
military personnel, as well as giving
"other forms of support" for Kiev's
Armed Forces.

UK troops have begun a training mission in
 Ukraine, helping government forces fighting
 pro-Russian separatists, the UK's Ministry of
Defense in London, says late onThursday.
The BBC reports 35 personnel are in the
 southern city of Mykolaiv as part of a 2-
month mission, although the ministry
spokesperson declined to give details.
"The first elements of the training package
 began in March... We have got troops out
 there training," she tells AFP, adding that:
"the numbers will vary, depending on the
Ministers announced last month that up
 to 75 troops at a time would be deployed
 to Ukraine, providing training on tactical
 intelligence, logistics and medical care.
However, the UK government has ruled
out supplying any lethal equipment to
 Ukraine's forces.

"The UK is committed to supporting
Ukraine's sovereignty, independence
and territorial integrity, in the face of
Russia's aggression," the spokes-
person says.
"The gifting of non-lethal equipment is
 designed to prevent further Ukrainian
fatalities and casualties, and to help
improve situational awareness on the

"Our overall aim is to strengthen the
 defensive capability of the Ukrainian
armed forces... & build the resilience
 that they need."

The Kremlin has reacted by saying
sending instructors is "unhelpful"
 in easing the tensions in Ukraine.


Over half of Ukrainians do not approve
 of Kiev policies — poll

Neither political parties nor Ukrainian
 media trusted, suggests opinion poll

Most Ukrainians do not approve of the policies
of President Petro Poroshenko and PM Arseniy
 Yatsenyuk and do not believe Ukraine's media,
Research & Branding Group says on Thursday.

According to the poll, held on March 6-16th,
58% of all Ukrainians do not approve of the
president’s actions. One third of respondents
 (33%) positively assess Poroshenko’s activity.

68% of Ukrainians don't support Prime Minister
Yatsenyuk, while 24% approve of his actions.

Neither political parties nor the Ukrainian media
are trusted in the country. Only 8% say they trust
 political parties, while 81% are skeptical of them.
58% say they do not trust the Ukrainian media.

The poll took place in all regions of Ukraine,
 except Donetsk and Luhansk. 1,500 people
all over 18, participated in the poll.


"Russian serviceman" arrested
on Russia-Ukraine border: media

The serviceman joined Russia's army
 --- after Crimea reunited with Russia.

Kiev's border guards arrest a Russian
 serviceman who allegedly wanted to
cross the Russia-Ukraine border from
Crimean territory, the Ukraine media
reports on Thursday.

According to the reports, the sergeant
was going to visit his family in Ukraine's
Nikolayev region, but was arrested on
the border, on charges of "breaking
his oath of allegiance to Ukraine".

The serviceman joined Russia's army
after Crimea had reunited with Russia.
Now the sergeant could face 2 to 5
years in prison, for "desertion".

The Ukrainian media claim the man was
 caught "in Dzhankoi while crossing the
border." But Dzhankoi is 35 kilometers
away from the Russia-Ukraine border.

There's been no official confirmation of the
 Russian serviceman’s arrest. The Ukrainian
media, however, is churning out reports on
"the traitor who has received retribution.".


Ukraine Govt. Enacts Controversial
                  Act on Status of Donbass               

An act on special status for Donbass has come
 into force after been enacted by President Petro
 Poroshenko, with support from the Supreme Rada
 (Parliament), but it's rejected by the rebel regions.

Poroshenko signed the amendments to article
10 on special self-management in 'some' areas
of Donetsk & Lugansk, local media report.

The amendments to the act establish that
they come into force when relevant bodies
take office - after local elections are held -
on a date that has not yet been set.

After 6 hours of debate, the draft bill
submitted by President Poroshenko
was approved Tuesday at the Rada,
 with 296 of the required 226 votes.

The elected leaders of Donetsk & Lugansk,
 Alexander Zajarchenko & Igor Plotnistsky,
  issued a joint communiqué on Tuesday, to
 demand derogation of the controversial act
 on special status of those territories -- and
also demanded a reaction to Kiev's many
breaches of the Minsk agreement, from
Germany & France, as foreign guarantors.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
describes these recent provisions on

 Donbass, as a clear violation of the
parts of the Minsk agreement
signed on
February 12th.

PM Arseni Yatseniuk says Ukraine will
 control the rebel regions "by all means".


ALBA Caracas Declaration:
              Peace Against US Aggression               
 The Final Declaration of the Bolivarian Alliance
 for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) signed
in Caracas at the end of the summit held here,
 confirms their commitment to peace in the
face of new United States aggressions.

The text rejects the executive decree by
president Barack Obama on March 9th,
declaring an emergency, and Venezuela
 as a 'threat to US national security'.

 They call for peaceful solutions to conflicts,
following the principle of "non-intervention".

The document calls on the world's states to
act within the United Nations Charter, and
 abstain from using coercive unilateral acts.

For Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro,
ALBA thus consolidates world support for
 his proposal of dialog made to Washington,
 and respect for dignity and sovereignty.

The Executive recalls that UNASUR,
 Petrocaribe, CELAC and the Movement
of Non Aligned nations are united: and
the non-aligned nations' presidency,
pro-tempore, is held by Venezuela.

ALBA and all above, also ask Obama
 to revoke the hostile decree and start
 dialog with Caracas as an alternative
 to conflict and confrontation.

ALBA offers the possibility of creating a
facilitating group in the hemisphere and
 its institutions, to enable this peaceful
diplomacy, alleviate the tensions, and
 guarantee a friendly solution between
 the United States and Venezuela.

ALBA reaffirms that Latin America and the
Caribbean is a Peace Zone, where nations
boost integration processes and friendship
 with the aim of guaranteeing the greatest
 possible happiness for their peoples.

It also emphasizes that, far from being a
threat to anyone, Venezuela is a nation
showing solidarity, and their will to co-
operate with the entire región, to ensure
social peace and stability in the Americas.

After calling for hostile policies to cease,
 it warns that they provide incentives to
 Venezuela's opposition to destabilize,
 and to use violence.

It denounces the international media war
 against Venezuela, that's trying to create
conditions for an intervention on a bigger
 scale and is alien to the peaceful solution
 of differences.

Calling on ambassadors of the ALBA nations
 and social movements, to spread the truth
about Venezuela, the bloc also hails Maduro
 for addressing his letter to the people of the
United States.

The letter commits the South American nation
 to liberty, independence and multilateralism.

It classifies as false, unjust, unilateral &
 disproportionate, the executive decree
dictated by Obama, adding it contradicts
 a long-standing friendship of Venezuela
with the people of the United States.

The letter also reaffirms support for peace,
national sovereignty and international law,
 in an open and democratic society, which
lives according to its Constitution and the
 aspirations of its people.


Likud wins Israel elections

The Likud party of Israeli PM Benjamin
Netanyahu wins Israel’s elections, the
Central Elections Committee says.

Likud has enough influence on the extreme
right MPs elected, to form a new coalition.


Russian Black Sea Fleet marines
 put on full combat alert for drills

The servicemen are practising
 counteracting subversive groups
 and aviation of a simulated enemy,
but are not "sabre-rattling", unlike
NATO's provocative recent actions,
says the Kremlin.

Marine corps units deployed near
Temryuk, a town in south Russia’s
 Krasnodar Territory, are on full
combat alert as part of strategic

 'command and post' exercises,
Defense Ministry reports.

Since the beginning of 2015, Russia's
forces have held over thirty
exercises & drills
across the country.

 The military training involves all services:
the strategic, fighter, attack, bomber and
aviation, warships and all fleets
and flotillas of the Navy, both conventional
rocket-launching artillery, plus tank
motorised infantry troops.

Exercises are ongoing.


International Criminal Court Warns
                 About Violence in Nigeria               

International Criminal Court (ICC) Attorney,
 Fatou Bensouda, warns today about what
 she calls the 'aberrant violence' in Nigeria,
 and repeats that the court will pursue
 those guilty of causing it.

She insists that Nigerians hold elections
 without any violence, to prevent further
instability, and sends a message saying
 elections do not need to lead to crimes.

The west African State is suffering a
rise in violence in its northern region,
where Boko Haram controls areas.


Netanyahu says no Palestinian state
 if he wins another term

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
told an Israeli news website Monday, that,
 if he is elected on Tuesday, "there will be
 no Palestinian state."

"I think that anyone who moves to establish
 a Palestinian state and evacuate territory,
gives territory away to radical Islamist
attacks against Israel," Netanyahu told
 the NRG website.

Asked directly whether no Palestinian
state would be created under his
leadership, the prime minister
answered "Indeed."

The statement contradicts his 2009
 Bar-Ilan speech, in which he gave
 support for a two-state solution to
 end conflict with the Palestinians.

In the famous speech, Netanyahu said
if Israel receives guaranteed security
 and if the Palestinians recognize Israel
 as the Jewish people's state, there is
 room for a future peace deal to end
 the conflict via a two-state solution.

Netanyahu adds that if the heads of the
 Zionist Union list Isaac Herzog (Labor)
& Tzipi Livni (Hatnua) win the elections,
 they will freeze all construction in the
West Bank and east Jerusalem and take
orders from the international community.

Netanyahu tells reporters on Monday
that - if he is reelected - he will build
thousands of housing units in East
Jerusalem, adding that he and Likud
will ensure Jerusalem "stays united."

Palestinians aim to establish a state
 in lands Israel occupied in the West
 Bank and Gaza and annexed in east
Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast War.

Israel and the Palestinians negotiated
 between July 2013 and April 2014, in
 recent rounds of US-mediated talks,
 but the talks reached a dead end.


                US Funds Finance al-Qaeda Terrorism               
Central Intelligence Agency money
 financed the terrorist organization
al-Qaeda, The New York Times says.

The newspaper specifies that nearly
one million dollars of funds which the
 Afghan government received from the
 CIA in 2010 were used in the operation.

Former Afghan president Hamid Karzai
paid five million dollars ransom during
 the exchange for the release of Abdul
 Khaliq Farahi, former general consul
in Peshawar, who was kidnapped two
years before, in 2008.

The Times says part of the money was
 used for arms and operational needs...
quoting a letter sent by a senior official
of al-Qaeda, Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, to
 Bin Laden.

The paper adds that, due to a lack of
control and poor financial supervision
Washington funded the organization
 it was fighting against.

While refusing to pay any ransom for US
citizens kidnapped by al-Qaeda, Taliban
 or more recently, the Islamic State, the
US has spent hundreds of billions over
 the last ten years, on wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan, some of which, was then
 "diverted" to enemy fighters, adds the

The Times article also mentions the
 monthly funding of 1 million dollars,
 from CIA funds, which the Karzai
 government received.


German FM Blasts US Republican Senators

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier
 criticizes a recent letter by 47 US senators, who
 threatened to abort or change any nuclear deal
 between the US government & Iran, FNA reports.

“This is not just an issue of American domestic
 politics, but it affects the negotiations we are
 holding in Geneva,” Frank-Walter Steinmeier
says, in reaction to the US senators’ letter.

The German foreign minister expresses the
 hope that the US senators’ letter does not
 harm the ongoing trend of the negotiations
 between Iran and the world powers.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad
 Zarif, also the country's top negotiator in
 talks with the powers, strongly rejects the
US senators' letter, saying the message is
 no more than propaganda & lacks legality.

Iran's Foreign Minister then adds:

 “It's very interesting that, while negotiations
 are still in progress and while no agreement
has been reached, some political pressure
groups are so afraid, even of the prospect
of agreement, that they resort to methods
that are unconventional & unprecedented
 in diplomatic history.

“This indicates that, like Netanyahu, who
considers peace as an existential threat,
some are opposed to any agreement,
regardless of its content”.

Zarif expresses astonishment that some
 members of the USA's Congress, find it
appropriate to write to leaders of another
 country against their own President and
 administration, saying that - from reading
 the open letter - it seems that the authors
 not only do not understand international
law, but are also not fully cognizant of the
 nuances of their own Constitution, when
 it comes to presidential powers in the
 conduct of foreign policy.

“I should bring one important point to the
attention of the authors and that is, the
 world is not the US, and the conduct of
inter-state relations is governed by
 international law, and not by US
domestic law.

“The authors may not fully understand
 that, in international law, governments
represent the entirety of their respective
states, are responsible for the conduct
 of foreign affairs, are required to fulfill
 the obligations they undertake with
 other states, and may not invoke their
internal law as justification for failure to
 perform their international obligations,”
Foreign Minister Zarif adds.

The Iranian Foreign Minister reminds people
 that a “change of administration does not in
 any way relieve the next administration from
 international obligations undertaken by its
 predecessor in a possible agreement about
Iran’s peaceful nuclear program”.

“I wish to enlighten the authors, that if the
next administration revokes an agreement
with ‘the stroke of a pen,’ as they boast, it
will have simply committed a blatant
violation of international law.”

He stresses that if current negotiations
 with P5+1 end in a Joint Comprehensive
 Plan of Action, it will not be a bilateral
 agreement between Iran and the US,
but rather, one that will be concluded
with the participation of five other
countries, including all the permanent
 members of the Security Council, and
will also be endorsed by a Security
 Council resolution.

Zarif expresses the hope that his comments:

“may enrich the knowledge of the authors to
 recognize that according to international law,
 Congress may not ‘modify the terms of the
 agreement at any time’ as they claim, and if
 Congress adopts any measure to impede its
 implementation, it will have committed a
 material breach of the USA's obligations”.

The Minister also informs the authors that
a majority of the international agreements
 signed by the US in recent decades, are,
in fact, “mere executive agreements”...
and not treaties ratified by the Senate.


Poroshenko submits draft resolution on
special status of districts in Donbas region
(Says Minsk 'has failed')

The Ukrainian parliament’s next meeting is
 scheduled for March 17th, the website says.

President Petro Poroshenko has submitted a
draft resolution on granting special status to
 separate districts, cities, settlements and
villages in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions
 where a special order of self-government
will be introduced, Ukraine's parliament
 reports on its website.

Under point 4 of the package of measures to
 implement the Minsk agreements, Ukraine’s
 Verkhovnaya Rada (parliament) is supposed
 to indicate the separate districts in Donbas
 that will have special political and economic
 status, by March the 14th.

On Sunday, President Poroshenko stated
that "the Minsk agreement has failed..."
claiming over 1100 violations.

The DPR and LPR say Kiev is fooling OSCE
inspectors, by re-positioning heavy arms
back near the disengagement line.

 After the resolution wasn't passed on time,
 the heads of the Donetsk People’s Republic
 and Lugansk People’s Republic, Alexander
 Zakharchenko and Igor Plotnitsky, asked
German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, and the
French President Francois Hollande, who're
 the guarantors of the Minsk agreements, to
 exert pressure on the Ukrainian leadership
make it implement the Minsk agreements.

At the moment, Ukraine’s National Security
 and Defense Council is the only state body
 in Ukraine that has supported a decision to
delineate the borders of separate districts
 where a special form of self-government is
 to be introduced, along the line of contact
defined by the Minsk agreements.


Carpathian Ruthenians demand recognition
 of their separate nationality and autonomy

Ruthenians of the Trans Carpathian region
 in Ukraine demand recognition as a separate
 nationality & that they're granted autonomy
through dialogue with Kiev, the
leader, Pyotr Getsko, says.

"There has been an event --- a Congress
 decision," Getsko says. "The congress
 has set a task - to demand recognition
 of Ruthenians as a separate nationality
 and demand through dialogue, that the
results of the referendum on autonomy,
 held in 1991, be implemented.

 It has not been, but now the direction is
 towards dialogue and not confrontation."

A congress of Ruthenian organisations
in Transcarpathia on Saturday approved
 a decision to demand from the Ukrainian
 authorities, recognition of the Ruthenian
 nationality, along with Subcarpathian
Rus’ autonomy, via dialogue with Kiev.

"The most significant goal of the Coordination
 Council is to open and intensify the dialogue
 with Kiev governmental agencies in order to
 take a decision on possible recognition of the
 results of
Transcarpathia's referendum held
1991 when 80% of the population actually
voted in favour of granting the region the
of autonomy," says the statement
adopted at
the congress.

The Ruthenians are East Slavic people, with
 a population of 1.5 to four million, with most
 living in Ukraine’s Trans Carpathian region.

The name is a Latinized form of the word
'Russian' and the term 'Little Russians'
may also be applied to them.

Carpathian Ruthenia (Subcarpathian Rus)
is registered as an object of international
law in the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye

After World War II, in 1945, it was abolished
 and absorbed by Ukraine, then part of the
 Soviet Union.

In the 20 years since the collapse of the
 Soviet Union, the Ruthenians have sought
 for Ukraine's government to grant them
autonomy and recognise them as a
separate nationality.


Iran Vows to Upgrade Yemen’s Infrastructure

A Yemeni official visit to the Islamic Republic of
Iran resulted in agreements on oil and energy,
plus the upgrading of some vital facilities like
 ports and airports, says Saleh al-Sammad,
 counsellor of the Yemeni President and head
of the political bureau of Ansarullah.

According to the senior Yemeni leader, the
 agreement, signed by Iran's Trade Minister,
 Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh, includes
 cooperation in the energy, electricity,
 transportation, water and sewage sectors.

He says Iranian officials expressed their
readiness to provide Yemen with oil for
one year & build a 165-megawatt power
plant in the energy-starved country.

The agreement also envisages cooperation
 to expand and develop the Red Sea port of
 Al-Hudaydah, he adds, referring to the port
 the group seized months ago.

Ansarullah group, also called Houthis, freed
 the capital Sanaa from al-Qaeda operatives
 last September, and has worked to restore
 security and stability in attack-hit areas.

The powerful group issued a Constitutional
 Declaration, to avoid the power vacuum in
 the state after the resignation of President
 Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, and his P.M.


Ukraine Contact Group reaches agreement on
passing to political stage of Ukraine settlement

OSCE mission in Ukraine reports fighting
around Donetsk airport, east of Mariupol

The Contact Group for resolving the Ukraine
 crisis has managed to reach an agreement
at an online conference on passing on to a
 political stage of the peace settlement, the
Plenipotentiary Representative of Donetsk
People’s Republic, Denis Pushilin, says.

"Judging by the results of the online conference,
 we can say there are certain shifts," he says.

 "There is an understanding on how to move
ahead, how to verify the ceasefire process
and heavy weapons pullback. But reaching
 an agreement on the transition to a political
stage of the peace settlement, is the most
 crucial issue here," he says.

He notes the effectiveness of Friday's talks.
"At previous meetings, even an attempt to
 put forward political questions, was
abortive," he says.

At the online conference agreement was
 reached that: "in coming days, the OSCE
 will submit its proposals on the personal
 and numerical composition of the Contact
 Group’s thematic subgroups for resolving
 the political settlement."

On Feb. 12th, marathon talks between
 the Normandy Four leaders - Presidents
 Putin, Hollande and Poroshenko, plus the
German Chancellor Angela Merkel yielded
 a package of agreements in Minsk, which,
 in particular, set a ceasefire starting from
 midnight on February 15th.

Simultaneously, Minsk hosted a meeting
 of the Contact Group, whose members
 signed a 4-page package of measures
 on implementing the Minsk agreement.

The provisions stipulate the release and
exchange of all prisoners and illegally
held persons on an "all for all" principle,
plus the withdrawal of all foreign armed
groups and mercenaries from Ukraine,
under the OSCE's supervision.

Ukraine’s constitutional reform is called
for with the country’s new constitution to
be in place by late 2015. The key element
 of Ukraine's new constitution being power 
decentralisation & the adoption of 'special
status' for certain districts of the Donetsk
 and Luhansk regions.

Thus Kiev agreed that within a 30-day period
 the Verkhovna Rada parliament would adopt
 a draft law on special political and economic
 status for certain parts of Donbas. The dead-
line expired on March 14th.



NATO members Bulgaria and the US are to
hold a series of joint military drills over the
next three and a half months, following the
recent naval drills in the Black Sea and the
shipment of over 100 US armored vehicles
 to Latvia.

Russian Deputy Defense Minister, Anatoly
 Antonov, says the allied forces are ignoring
diplomacy, and NATO is using the situation
 in Ukraine to push closer to Russia's border.

"Instead of uniting forces to fight evil,
 the worst being terrorism, the Western
nations are drawing new divisive lines,
 trying to realize containment schemes
 against 'unwelcome' states. Today,
Russia has been chosen as the
target," Anatoly Antonov says.

 He dismisses the idea that the drills being
 carried out in the Baltic States, Poland and
 the Black Sea, are a real threat to Russia.


Zakharchenko informs media on
 success of enlistment to DPR's Army

In a voluntary mobilization, up to 200 a
day are enlisting in the People’s Militia of
the Donetsk People’s Republic, Aleksandr
Zakharchenko, Head of the DPR, says, in
 an interview with Donetsk News Agency.

“100 - 200 volunteers arrive daily. Training
 units are being formed & detachments are
 working out operational coordination, in
 units and battalions”, Zakharchenko says.

“The DPR is ready for any action on Kiev’s part.
 We greatly distrust Kiev & its military machine
 - that is why our main task is to train”, he says.

According to Zakharchenko, over 4,000 people
 are ready to be troopers in the DPR's territorial
 defense  detachments. If there is a resumption
 of hostilities, these forces will constitute the
'second line of defense' of the DPR.

More regular firing battalions are also being
 formed in the Republic.  “As the practice of
the last campaign showed, the war is being
 won by infantry, not by armoured vehicles”,
Zakharchenko explains.

Voluntary mobilization started in the DPR on
February 9th. The authorities of the Donetsk
 People’s Republic are going to form six new
DPR Army brigades.


Funeral for Ukraine's economy

Ukraine's Cabinet is sharply worsening
 its economic forecast, allowing for 42.8%
inflation & a GDP falling by 11.9% in 2015.

Since the “euromaydan” coup, Donbass'
factories and mines have been shelled,
and the high technology flagships - like
the Yuzhmash, (or Antonov), aviation
technological complex - bankrupted.

The war brings massive costs, as tens of
 thousands no longer work in productive
 jobs, but still use high levels of resources.

Assuming the most conservative estimates,
 the 'punitive operation' against the Donbass
 costs Kiev $1 million daily. One month of the
 war uses as much money as Ukraine used
to spend each year on education, or for
six months on its health care system.

Today Ukraine's strategic enterprises and
fertile lands are sold. The bankrupt state
has no more assets left. This means that
the pessimistically low indicators put out
by the Cabinet, can still be considered as
very optimistic forecasts.


Zakharchenko is preparing
“the Mariupol cauldron”

 for Ukrainian forces

Head of the DPR, Aleksandr Zakharchenko,
says, if Ukrainian forces resume hostilities
in Donbass, they will encounter the next,
3rd cauldron, in the area of Mariupol.

“There have been two cauldrons already.
We need to create a third, in order for them
 to realize they need to stop doing evil things.

They will have to sit down and think things
over, before doing anything”, Zakharchenko
 says, at a briefing in Novoazovsk, where he
 emphasizes that the self-defense forces will
 “act preventively”.

“At the moment we're fully following the Minsk
 Agreement. We've withdrawn heavy weapons.
 We are getting ready for the sowing season.
living a peaceful life, we're engaged
in constructive
work - and we will be doing
everything necessary for a
peaceful life.

"And Ukraine, which is used to solving
issues with the help of war, will lose the
— sooner or later”, adds the
head of the DPR.


Iceland announces dropping bid to join EU

Iceland has dropped its bid to join the EU,
the Foreign Ministry in Reykjavik says.

The announcement follows the pledges
by its euro-skeptic government.

Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson, Iceland's foreign
 minister, says he has informed Latvia, the
current EU president, and the European
 Commission that his centrist government
 has decided to withdraw its application,
which was submitted six years ago.

“The EU and Iceland have discussed the
country’s position on the status of its bid
 to join the European Union,” the statement
 reads. “The government does not intend
 to resume preparing for EU membership.”

Prime Minister Sigmundur Davið Gunnlaugsson
 spoke of formally withdrawing the bid in January.

“Participating in EU talks isn’t really valid anymore,”
 PM Gunnlaugsson told Reykjavík Grapevine at the
 time. “Both due to changes in the European Union
and because it’s not in line with the policies of the
 ruling government to accept everything that the
last government was willing to accept. Because
of that, we’re back at square one.”

Iceland applied for EU membership in July 2009,
 at a time when the global economic crisis was
 unraveling. By February 2010, the European
 Commission produced a favorable answer and
 accession negotiations began in July that year.

Negotiations came to a stalemate in April 2013,
when the election in Iceland was won by the
centrist Progress Party, and the conservative
 Independence Party. Then, when the Progress
Party's Gunnlaugsson became prime minister,
he froze negotiations with the EU in May 2013.

One of the major issues stalling an agreement
 was fish catch quotas insisted on by Brussels,
something Iceland's Fishing industry would
never have agreed to.

The small island nation, with a population of
325,000, is and will still be, a member of the
 European Economic Area, the European Free
Trade Association, and the Schengen area,
 and is an EU partner promoting cooperation
in northern Europe – meaning it gets many
of the advantages of being a full member,
without many of the negative aspects of
centralized EU laws and planning.

If - in the future - Iceland decides to join,
 it will be decided only by a referendum,
 the government says.

 Iceland will continue to comply with the
terms of the EEA and to cooperate with
the EU, as it has done previously.



Members of the European Parliament (MEPs)
on Thursday, endorsed a resolution in which
they called on Russia’s
authorities to ensure
an "independent
international investigation"
into the murder
of opposition figure Nemtsov.

"I think the European Parliament’s vote...
 demanding an independent international
 investigation into the murder of Boris
is a regular attempt to pressure
Russia," the
first deputy head of the ruling
United Russia
party’s faction in the State
Duma, Frants
Klintsevich, tells journalists.

Klintsevich says "a solution of the crime
is the
last thing the European deputies
are interested in."

The First deputy chair of the State Duma
international affairs committee, Leonid
Kalashnikov, says there should not be
any reaction to the EU's resolution.

"We should not react to that, or say
anything to
find an excuse," he says.

He says the European Parliament should
finally understand that Russia isn't under
its jurisdiction - and that such resolutions
are an interference in the course of the

"We need to state once - clearly - that we
enough people to investigate;- that
we are a fully sovereign state.
We live by
our laws."

"We shouldn’t try to find excuses for
parliamentarians. They’d
do better to go and
investigate the
murder of Kennedy," he says.


Vietnam Military Blasts US for Interfering
 with Russian Refueling Flights

Vietnam Will Not Stop Russia From Using
Cam Rahn Bay Base - Think Tank Head

Colonel Le The Mau, a senior military official
 from the country's Military Strategy Institute,
 tells Sputnik VietNam that the United States'
 demand that Vietnam stop allowing Russian
 refueling planes to land at Cam Ranh airbase,
amounts to interference in VietNam's affairs:

"Washington's demand can be seen as nothing
 else but interference in the internal affairs of
 Vietnam, a sovereign state which determines
its own policies for cooperating with friends
 and partners."

Colonel Le adds that the Russian planes
 are not military planes, and their landing
at Cam Ranh airbase is part of the base's
 international functions. Colonel Le adds
 that it is Vietnam's decision to allow the
 refueling planes to land:

"Russia is Vietnam's strategic partner: we
 are developing our cooperation in military
 and technical spheres, one element of
which is providing Cam Ranh airbase, for
the landing of Russian refueling planes."

This Wednesday, it was revealed that the
US is pushing Vietnam to stop Russia using
 Cam Ranh Bay military base. The Russian
air force recently used the facility to refuel
nuclear-capable bombers. US officials say
Russian bomber planes have increased the
 number of flights in the region, and even
conducted what the Pentagon has called
“provocative flights” around Guam, a US
territory in the Pacific that is home to a
large military base.

Cam Ranh was the main US Air Force base
during the "Vietnam" War. From 1979 until
2002, the Soviet Union and later, Russia,
 leased the base, turning it into its largest
 naval base abroad. In 2004, part of the
 base was reconstructed and opened as
 a civilian airport.


14 Million Children Affected by Conflicts
                 in Syria and Iraq alone           
 About 14 million children suffer the
of the conflicts in Syria
and Iraq, with a serious impact on their
health, education and development,
says UNICEF.

In a UN Children's Fund statement, the agency
 regrets that so many children are suffering from
the escalating conflict sweeping Syria and much
 of Iraq, worsened by the activities of the Islamic
 State in the region over the last months.

"With the conflict in Syria now entering its fifth year,
 the situation of more than 5.6 million children inside
 the country remains the most desperate," UNICEF
says. That includes up to two million children who
are living in areas of the country largely cut off
 from humanitarian assistance, due to fighting, or
 other factors.

The Syria crisis has also forced almost 2 million
 Syrian children to live as refugees in Lebanon,
Turkey, Jordan and other countries, Unicef adds.

The situation in Iraq is as dramatic as in 2003,
  when the US' invasion & occupation occurred.

According to Unicef, almost three million children
 have been forced to leave their homes and many
 remain trapped in areas held by armed groups,
 like the Islamic State.

"For the youngest children, this crisis is all they
 have ever known," UNICEF Executive Director
 Anthony Lake says. "For adolescents entering
 their formative years, violence and suffering
haven't only scarred their past; they are
shaping their futures."

Lake calls on the international community
to forsake millions of children. "Despite
the harm they've suffered, children affected
 by this crisis still have the courage and the
 determination to build better lives.... How
can we be any less determined to help
Lake asks.

UNICEF also urges longer-term investment in
education, health care and psychological aid.


’Israel’ Drills to Face Hezbollah Shock Scenario:
Heavy Rockets, Ground Invasion

Israel, or the Zionist entity, has started "Shock
 Scenario" drills which simulate unprecedented
 attacks, that target the occupied Palestinian
 territories in any upcoming war with Hezbollah.

The commander of rescue forces in the Internal
 Front, Haim Rokeh, says the upcoming war with
 Hezbollah hasn't been witnessed by 'Israel' yet,
 noting that his troops won't be able to save all
the injured.

Zionist media outlets point out that the
Internal Front drill is to be able to face
 heavy rocket attacks from Hezbollah.

Zionist security estimates that 'Israel' will
 be under Hezbollah's heavy rocket fire &
drone attacks & that the party will launch
 ground invasions: to reach the Palestinian
city of Acre and to control a
settlement on
northern border.


UN Security Council Visits Central African Republic

A mission of the United Nations Security Council is
 visiting Africa this week, to assess the situation in
the Central African Republic, where fierce fighting
 between Muslims and christians has left thousands
 dead... and over one million displaced.


                 Venezuela: US Actions Highly Threatening                
 Venezuelan diplomats in Spain & Brazil today
denounce as 'very serious', a US declaration
 that their country is a threat to its national
 security, adding that the statement is with-
out precedent, and a continuation of the
US's interventionist policy.

Venezuela's ambassador to Spain, Mario Isea,
states that the executive decree emitted by
 President Barack Obama, shows that the US
 government still serves the interests of the
military-industrial complex.

Isea says that US authorities, regardless of
 the party in power, have intervened in many
 ways to try to overthrow the government of
firstly, Hugo Chavez & afterwards, president
Nicolas Maduro, since his election in 2013.

That shows, Isea says, that there is little
change in US policy towards Latin America,
as this also happened with the government
 of Salvador Allende in Chile, where they at
first tried to block his electoral victory...
 and then promoted the final coup d'etat
which led to his martyrdom and went on
to kill thousands more.

In response to a question by Prensa Latina,
 Isea recalls that the Obama decision has
led to a wave of solidarity with Venezuela
 from members of the Bolivarian Alliance
for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA)
 and other international organizations.

It would seem the US is worried that,
 after the consolidation of the Cuban
Revolution, their model, via elections,
has occurred in Venezuela, Nicaragua,
 Ecuador and Bolivia and is taking root.

Venezuela's ambassador to Brasilia, Maria
 Lourdes Urbaneja, denounces the increase
 of destabilizing actions against her nation,
supported by the United States.

In a meeting held with representatives of
 social groups, popular movements, some
alternative press & political organizations,
 Urbaneja highlights that the plans of the
rightwing forces in her country have all
received finance from the US government.

US imperialism does not rest in inciting
 destabilizing actions and even uses the
 methods of psychological warfare, as
 it seeks to overthrow the Bolivarian
revolution, by force, she stresses.

Last year, for example, the US government
 published 105 press releases, half of which
supported violent Venezuelan sectors, who
 don't even have the support of opposition
 forces in the country.

And this year, she adds, in the first 55 days
 of 2015, there were 55 statements against
 Venezuelan institutions and in favor of the
extremist sectors, saying their actions are
 peaceful, when in fact they are violent and

In this regard, Urbaneja recalls the violence
 unleashed by the opposition, which took the
lives of 43 persons, of whom 10 were police
 or public order agents, and a prosecutor,
with several of them killed by snipers.


Iraqi forces liberate Tikrit centre from ISIL

 The operation to retake Tikrit began from
4 directions, with the army besieging the
 militants and cutting off their supply lines.

Reports say militants destroyed a bridge,
east of the city, holding up the advance
 on that front.

Iraqis have all left the city, which is under
a complete siege by the Iraqi army and
volunteer forces.

Iraq’s Defense Ministry on Wednesday says
 major government buildings close to Tikrit
centre are liberated from the ISIL terrorists.

Security officials say most ISIL militants in
the city have begun retreating.

The Tikrit advances come after nearly
a week of heavy fighting. 160 klmtrs
 north of Baghdad, Tikrit was one of
 the two major strongholds of ISIL
 in Iraq, the other being Mosul.

Iraqi forces took Tikrit's military hospital
in al-Qadisiya, early on Wednesday. A
 mop-up operation has been launched to
 hunt down ISIL militants across the city.

The operation includes 30,000 fighters from
the Iraqi armed forces and volunteers, known
 as Popular Mobilization forces. It's the largest
 operation launched by the government to date
 and seen as a prelude to recapturing Mosul.

The operation is being assisted by Iranian
 military advisers who have made a huge
contribution to similar offensives against
the Takfiri militants.

From near Tikrit, Press TV’s correspondent
 says clashes are continuing, especially in
 the west of the city, where militants have
 a stronger presence.

The army’s advance in southern Tikrit has
 been faster, as other units tightened the
noose on militants in the north.

The Press TV reporter says the battle to
liberate the entire city will not be easy,
 as the ISIL militants are fighting hard.

AFP news agency confirms that the army
 has entered Tikrit, citing a major general:

"We're in control of Tikrit military hospital,
which is close to the centre of the city,"
  he says, on condition of anonymity.

"But we're engaged in a very delicate battle.
  We aren't facing fighters on the ground, we're
 facing booby-trapped terrain and sniper fire."

The liberation of the hospital is a major gain
 for the Iraqi forces as the site was used by
militants as a place to hold captive citizens.

“Tikrit is effectively now, a prison for ISIL
 militants,” Press TV's correspondent says.


Israel tortures 95% of Palestinian prisoners

Almost 95 per cent of Palestinian prisoners in
Israeli jails, face torture in its different forms,
 from the moment they are arrested, through
the interrogation process, and well after
being sent behind bars.

The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society says
 an average of ten Palestinian detainees
are tortured every day by Israeli forces.

Dozens of Palestinians, including families &
 relatives of prisoners, have staged a protest
 outside the international committee of the
Red Cross building in Ramallah, in solidarity
with Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

Institutions working on the prisoners’ issue
demand now, that the Palestinian authority
 work on raising the prisoners’ issue at all
 international levels, to prosecute the Israeli
 soldiers responsible for mistreating inmates.

Jailed Palestinians had planned non-violent
civil disobedience and a mass hunger strike,
over rights violations, but the move has been
 held off for a while, after promises by Israel's
 prison authorities to "guarantee" prisoners
some of their demands...

As the number of Palestinians being arrested
by Israeli troops increases each year, so does
the illegal torture of those inmates.

 Palestinians insist that Israeli soldiers should
be, at the very least, prosecuted, for torturing
 the prisoners and denying them basic rights.


DPR says Kiev troops violate ceasefire
 400+ times since signing Minsk accords

Kiev's troops have violated the ceasefire over
400 times, since signing peace agreements

 in Minsk, Eduard Basurin, a spokesperson for
 the defence ministry of the Donetsk People’s
 Republic (DPR) says.

"Since February 12, when the peace accords
 were signed in Minsk, the number of episodes
 of targeted shelling of our positions by
Ukrainian troops has exceeded 400," he says,
 adding that they have shelled DPR positions
 20 times in the past 24 hours.

Basurin says the most difficult situation is still
 the Donetsk airport area and south of Mariupol,
 where Kiev is placing units of armored vehicles
 and servicemen.

"Here, random shelling of our positions from
 firearms and mortars continued all through
 yesterday. As many as 18 episodes of
shelling were reported from the vicinity of
 the airport," he says, adding that a DPR
 serviceman was wounded.

"Despite its loud accusations against us,
 the Ukrainian side is sparing no effort to
hamper or block moves by the monitoring
 mission of the Organization for Security
 and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in
 territories under its control, where it
openly violates the Minsk agreements
of February 12," Basurin underscores.


UN refugee agency: 'appalling'
conditions in eastern Ukraine

Humanitarian conditions in those regions
 controlled by Kiev government forces are
 of special concern, UN High Commission
 for Refugees William Spindler tells media.

Conditions in the northern part of Donetsk
 and Luhansk are "particularly appalling"
due to electricity and water shortages
caused by shelling, Spindler says.

"Of special concern is the situation in
regions controlled by the Ukrainian
government," Spindler says. It is being
 made worse by denied allowances and
 services previously provided by central
 government and notably by restrictions
 on the movement of people and goods,
he adds.

The internally displaced persons
in Ukraine has reached 1.1 million, the
agency says, adding that 674,000 have
now found shelter outside their country:
542,000 in Russia and 80,700 in Belarus.


Washington Times: 'Israelis and Zionists'
played key role in 9/11 attacks.
The Rev. Louis Farrakhan, Nation of Islam leader,
states that Israeli and Zionist Jews played a key
 role in the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the US.

"We now know that the crime they say is at the
 root of terrorism, was not committed by Arabs
or Muslims at all. It is now becoming apparent
that there were many Israelis and Zionist Jews
 in key roles in the 9/11 attacks," Mr. Farrakhan
says. "Now look, if they can prove me wrong,
 like I said, I'll pay with my life," he is quoted
as saying, in The Washington Times.

"We know the World Trade Centre was insured
 by its owner Larry Silverstein right before the
 attack. We know an Israeli film crew dressed
 as Arabs were filming the Twin Towers before
 the first plane went in. In other words, these
 Israelis had full knowledge of the attacks." 

According to him, many Jews received text
messages not to go to work on 11 September.
Who sent the messages, Farrakhan wonders.

According to him, minutes after the attack,
Ehud Barak (Chief of Staff in 19913-1995,
 Israeli Prime Minister), a master of covert
operations, was already in a BBC studio
 in London accusing Osama bin Laden of
the tragedy, and calling for the war on

Louis Farrakhan is also attacked as
"leader of black Muslim racists."
has been accused of racism, 
intolerance of homosexuals, and
Semitic views.

 Time magazine listed Louis Farrakhan as
one of the 25 most influential Americans.



 The dispatch of military advisers is often how
 disastrous escalations start. They are also in
direct violation of February's Minsk agreement,
negotiated with France and Germany, that has
at least achieved a temporary ceasefire and
some pull-back of heavy weapons.

Article 10 requires withdrawing ALL foreign
 forces from Ukraine. But Nato's hawks have
--- the bit between their teeth.


Russia 'completely ending' activities under
Conventional Armed Forces in Europe treaty

"The Russian Federation has taken the decision
to halt participation in meetings from March 11,
 2015. Therefore, Russia is ending its actions,
completely," a statement from the Foreign
 Ministry says.

Moscow has asked Belarus to represent
Russia's interests in the group, starting
 from Wednesday, the statement says.

According to the Ministry, further dialogue
 on control of conventional armed forces in
 Europe will only restart - "if and when our
 partners are ready for it," the Ministry says,
 adding that future work on the project must
 serve the interests of Russia as well as the
 other European states.

The original CFE Treaty, signed in 1990 by 16
NATO and six Warsaw Pact, set equal ceilings
for each bloc on categories of conventional
 armaments, including troops tanks & planes.

1999 saw an “adapted” version of the treaty,
 but NATO members refused to ratify it until
Russia withdrew troops from Georgia and
the Moldovan region of Transdnestria.
Russia slammed it as “artificial linkage.”

In December 2007 Moscow said the treaty
 was “irrelevant” as NATO planned to raise
 its military presence in Eastern Europe.

Four years later, NATO stated that the
exchange of information on conventional
weapons and troops would be stopped.
 In November 2014, Moscow suspended
 implementation of the CFE Treaty.

Then the US House of Representatives
 issued a resolution condemning Russia
and, with other points, urged president
Obama to review US and NATO armed
forces readiness under the CFE.

"For many years the Russian Federation
 has been doing everything possible to
maintain the treaty, initiated talks on its
 adaptation and ratified the adaptation
 agreement," Moscow says on Tuesday,
adding that all such efforts have been
dismissed by NATO, in favor of the
alliance's expansion.


Norway buzzes Russian border with
 biggest military drill since Cold War

Unprecedented war games, involving 5,000
 Norwegian troops and 400 vehicles, have
 begun in Norway’s northernmost province,
 bordering Russia. The biggest exercises
since Cold War days will last for a week,
 amid growing tensions between Russia
 and NATO.


Palestinian Authority arrests dozens of
militant Islamists ahead of Israeli election

The Palestinian Authority has arrested around
 50 militant Islamists in the West Bank. With the
 Israeli elections a week away, Mahmoud Abbas's
administration may fear any terror attack could
 propel Netanyahu’s Likud party back to power.


British MPs say US-EU free trade deal must
 not leave govts at multinationals’ mercy

British MPs protest over the US/EU TTIP
"free trade" deal enabling multinational
corporations to sue EU governments if
new laws harm their businesses --- as
this will weaken essential European
health and food regulations.


Israeli PM Deals Lethal Blow
               to Peace with Palestinians               
 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
 dealt a lethal blow to a negotiated solution
 of the Palestinian conflict, in a statement
published on Monday, according to which,
 he denies any intention of ending the
occupation of Palestine.

The communiqué says there will be
neither withdrawals nor concessions,
and claims that any territory handed
 over to Palestine, would be occupied
 by Islamic fundamentalists.

Israel is the only Middle East country
where no activities by fundamentalist
 Islamic groups, especially the Islamic
States (IS), which occupies zones in
 Iraq and Syria and has franchises in
Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Yemen
and the Sahel states bordering the
south Sahara, are reported.

The denial follows the publication by
 Israeli media of reports, according to
 which, six years ago, the PM secretly
negotiated a peaceful solution to the
 conflict, based on the universally-
accepted principle of peace for land.

Netanyahu is campaigning for the early
 elections scheduled for next week, and
there are suspicions that these reports,
 published by local media, were leaked
 by extremists in the Likud coalition.

Elections were called by the Head of State
after he fired Justice Minister Tzipora Livni
& Finance Minister Yair Lapid for opposing
 his policy to declare Israel a Jewish State,
a decision challenged by Israeli President
 Reuven Rivlin, who is also a member of the
 Likud coalition.

Netanyahu's statement proves the futility
 of resuming the 'peace talks' cancelled
 last summer, due to Israel's lack of will,
reports Press TV.


Thousands of Nigerians Flee to Cameroon
            After Offensive Against Boko               
 Thousands of Nigerians fled to Cameroon in
 the last few hours, to seek shelter before an
 offensive against the extremist Boko Haram,
 a military source notes today.

Recent fighting by Nigeria's army and troops
 of the coalition against fundamentalists, has
prompted the leaving of hundreds of families
 to Makari, northern Cameroon, which worsens
 the situation in that region, where over 30,000
 refugees are already being given shelter.

Troops from the multinational force of about
8,000 fighting troops from Cameroon, Chad,
Niger and Nigeria, started a major offensive
 on Sunday in this latest country opposing
the radical sect. An official source notes:
 "The military are attacking on two fronts,
 in the area of Bosso, and near Diram'.

The operation began a day after the head
of Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, swore
allegiance to terrorist movement Islamic
state through an audio recording released
 by the group through the social networks,
 in which he swore to 'tease the enemies
of Allah'.

Since mid-February Nigeria has recovered
 a significant portion of the nearly 30,000
square kilometers of territory controlled
by this sect, & released dozens of cities
 and towns in the states of Adamawa,
Borno and Yobe, Northeast Nigeria.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan
recently stated that the multinational
offensive against the extremist group
moves forward aggressively, and the
end of that sect will soon come, which
 seeks to found an Islamic caliphate
through the use of force, with over
13,000 deaths, in the last five years.


Colombia, FARC rebels reach agreement
over land mines removal

The Colombian government and the FARC rebels
 have reached a deal to remove the country's land
 mines and discarded explosives, which have killed
 thousands in rural areas, over the past 25 years.

The government and rebels from the Revolutionary
 Armed Forces of Colombia “have agreed to ask
(Norwegian People's Aid) to lead and coordinate a
 cleanup and decontamination operation for mines
 in rural areas," both sides say in a statement after
 ending the latest round of peace talks in Cuba's
 capital Havana.

Cuba and Norway are guarantors of Colombia’s
 peace negotiations.

"Our goal is to put an end to the conflict... so the
 demining proposal is a first step, but a giant one
 toward peace," government mediator Humberto
 de la Calle says.

Land mines killed or wounded 11,043 people,
including 4,226 civilians, between 1990 and
2015, the Colombian government says.

FARC representatives say progress is also
being made on a bilateral ceasefire.

"The technical sub-commission which handles
 overwhelmingly important topics, such as a
definitive bilateral ceasefire and the mutual
 agreement to disarm, has begun to progress
 at a good pace," says Ivan Marquez, FARC's
lead negotiator.

The peace talks between the Colombian
 government and the rebels began in
November 2012 in Havana.

The negotiations have produced partial
agreements on several issues, but no
final deal.

FARC is Latin America’s oldest rebel group
 and has fought the government since 1964.

Bogota estimates that 220,000 people have
 been killed and over 4.5 million others have
 been displaced by Latin America's longest


Russian FM calls for equal attention to Yugoslavia,
 Kosovo, Libya issues, not only Crimea

These facts of violations of international law must
be studied by historians and not forgotten, says
 Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

Western partners should pay equal attention, not
only to the Crimea issue, but also to the bombing
 of Yugoslavia, Kosovo’s situation, and Libya's
collapse, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov
says on Tuesday.

"As for international law and the attention it is
 attracting lately, primarily in connection with
 Crimea, we wish our Western partners were no
 less zealous in other cases, which happened
recently in the modern history," Lavrov says.

"These include the bombing by members of the
  Organization for Security & Cooperation in Europe
 of another OSCE member, I mean Yugoslavia, and
 the situation with Kosovo’s unilateral declaration
 of independence --- without any referendum ---
 alongside aggression against Iraq under blatantly
 false pretences, and abuse of the United Nations
 Security Council mandate in Libya," he says, noting
 that the whole state has been destroyed, and the
 only question now is how to prevent the collapse
 of other countries in the region.

"All these facts should probably be studied by
 historians, while we should pursue real practical
 policy," Lavrov adds. "But we will fail to achieve
any results in this practical policy, if we forget
 why certain events occurred in the international
 arena, crudely violating international law. This,
 should be remembered."


China and Russia will jointly support
world security - Chinese foreign minister

Russia and China will jointly support
international peace and security, and
 will also defend the results of World
 War II, China’s Foreign Minister Wang
Yi says.

"Russia & China are permanent members
 of the UN Security Council. We'll continue
our strategic coordination & cooperation,
 in support of international peace and
 security," he says.

"This year, both countries will have big
events devoted to the 70th anniversary
 of Victory in the war against fascism.

 We shall be supporting each other,
jointly supporting international peace,
and defending the results of World War
 II," the foreign minister says.


Bulgarians stage demonstration against NATO

On Sunday demonstrators took to the streets
of the capital city of Sofia, to call on NATO to
 leave Bulgaria --- which joined the Western
 military alliance, in March 2004.

They held banners reading, “Barbaric US
 bases – out of Bulgaria! STOP the killing”
 and "Stop the occupation and colonial
 administration - NATO out of Bulgaria -
the future is in sovereign countries.”

In an address to the rally, Yane Ivanov,
the protest leader, said, "Unfortunately,
 Bulgaria at the moment is being ruled
 by this criminal institution – NATO."

The march came after 5 NATO ships
 entered the Bulgarian port Varna as
 part of a joint training exercise with
 Bulgaria, Turkey and Romania.

Bulgarians also marched in Sofia last
month to condemn a government plan
 to install a NATO military command
base inside the country.

In February, NATO defense ministers
 agreed to raise, from 13,000 soldiers
 to 30,000, NATO's rapid reaction force.

They also announced plans to set up
six new command posts in Estonia,
Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania
 and Bulgaria.

The Western military bloc has, over
the past year increased its presence
and conducted several drills in East
 Europe amid the crisis in Ukraine.

 Moscow repeatedly condemns NATO's
 exercises and military buildup, so near
to Russia’s borders.


Luhansk republic can start making social
 payments, salaries in Russian rubles

The authorities of Luhansk People’s Republic
 (LPR) are considering making social payments,
 including salaries and pensions, in rubles, as
 prices stabilize, LPR head, Igor Plotnitsky, says.

"We'll have both the ruble and the hryvnia in use.
 The people themselves will decide what's better.
The majority of LPR residents want to use only
 rubles," Plotnitsky says.

"The hryvnia plunged in one night. There is an
 unannounced default in Ukraine. Residents of
the LPR, are ready to use the ruble," he adds.

However, some inflation is expected in the
LPR in the near future, due to an unstable
economic situation, Plotnitsky says.

"The market will show what prices are
appropriate. So, we expect a growth in
 prices, but later everything will go back
 to normal. Then, salaries and pensions
 will be paid in rubles. Only rubles will
 be used in stores," he adds.

At the end of February, the LPR adopted
 a multi-currency financial system due to
the hryvnia’s plunge and the continuing
 economic blockade of Donbas by Kiev.


European Commission chief
urges ‘joint EU army,’

Germany backs decision

The European Commission chief calls for the
 creation of an “EU joint army” that can “react
 credibly” to any external threat & defend the
 bloc’s “values.” While the UK and France are
wary it could undermine NATO, Germany has
 backed the idea.

“An army like this would help us to better
coordinate our foreign and defense
policies, and collectively take on Europe's
responsibilities in the world," the European
 Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker
 says, in an interview with Germany's Welt
am Sonntag newspaper.

He says the EU’s image "has suffered
 dramatically -- and in terms of foreign
 policy, we don't seem to be taken
 entirely seriously."

"A joint EU army would show the world
that there would never again be a war
between EU countries," Juncker says.

With a joint EU army, the bloc could
“react more credibly to the threat to
peace in a member state or in a
 neighboring state.”

"You would not create a European army to
 use it immediately," Juncker says, "But a
common army among the Europeans would
 convey to Russia that we're serious about
 defending the values of the European

Juncker’s proposal has been supported in
Germany, where last month the Defense
 Minister, Ursula von der Leyen, also spoke
 of an EU army, calling it the EU's main goal.

In her comment on Junker’s proposal, she
 said, on Deutschlandfunk radio station,
 that a “European army is the future.”

The Chair of the Bundestag's Committee
 on Foreign Affairs, Norbert Rottgen, has
also told the Welt that "a joint army is a
European vision whose time has come.”

"European countries spend enormous
sums on the military, many times more in
 total, when compared to Russia. Yet our
military capabilities remain unsatisfactory
 from a security standpoint,” he says. “And
they will, for as long as we're talking about
 national mini-armies, which are often doing
 - and purchasing - the same things, in their
 minor formats."

Hans-Peter Bartels, chair of the Bundestag's
Defense Committee, is quoted saying: “The
 past ten years have added little to Europe's
 defense. It needs a boost.”

“It's important that we now swiftly implement
 concrete measures. We shouldn't wait for an
overall concept of 28 EU members, but start
 with agreements between the nation states,"
 he adds.

However, Junker’s idea of an EU Army is a
concern for some of the bloc’s members,
particularly France and the UK. They are
wary of granting a bigger military role to
 the EU, as it could undermine NATO.

Former NATO Secretary General Javier Solana
 is soon to present a report called “More Union
 in European Defense.” It urges the creation of
 a new security solution for the EU, which has
 “a political & military ability to autonomously
 conduct intervention operations beyond the
 EU’s borders.” He also proposes to establish
 an EU military HQ in Brussels.

Senior Russian lawmaker Leonid Slutsky
 says the EU is paranoid about Russia...

"The European version of paranoia: declaring
 the establishment of a unified army to counter
-balance Russia --- which doesn't intend to go
 to war with anyone," he writes on Twitter.

The “military” ambitions of the EC chief come
 justt after EU Foreign Policy Chief, Federica
 Mogherini, stressed that Europe's view of
Russian events is realistic, but it “will never
 be trapped or forced or pushed or pulled into
 a confrontational attitude” towards Moscow.

On Saturday German newspaper Der Spiegel
 revealed that Berlin had slammed comments
 by Philip Breedlove, European Commander
General of NATO, on Ukraine, as ‘dangerous
 propaganda,’ which put the West at risk of
 losing credibility.

Russian legislator: EU army, if created,
provocative --- if used as NATO addendum

"In the nuclear age extra armies do not
 provide any additional security", says
 the first deputy chair of United Russia
 in the State Duma, Frants Klintsevich.

European Union common armed forces
--- if they're ever created --- may play a
 provocative role, he tells media.

"In the nuclear age, extra armies do not
provide any additional security. But they
 surely can play a provocative role," he
 says, adding it is regrettable that such
 ideas have already had some support.

He recalls that the idea of creating
a European army never occurred to
 anyone, even in the years of acute
 confrontation between NATO and
the Warsaw Treaty Organization...

"These days, when the Warsaw Treaty
is long gone, for some reason there has
 developed a need for that," he wonders.

"One presumes that a European army is
 seen as an addendum to NATO. And in
this circumstance, Western politicians
 are not shy to accuse Russia of some
 aggressiveness," Klintsevich says.


Iraqi Army Expels IS from
             Al-Baghdadi and Salaheddin Areas               
 Iraqi Government troops have fully recovered
Al-Baghdadi, a city near an air base used by
 US Marines in Al-Anbar, & expelled Jihadists
 from another sites of Salaheddin, say army
 sources, today.

Ministries of the Interior and Defense of Iraq
 agree that armed and security forces aided
 by Shiite volunteers & Sunni tribe members
retook the police station and three bridges
over the Euphrates river that give access
 to this territory in the province of Al -Anbar.

Seven other cities northwest of Al-Baghdadi,
on the road to Haditha, were recovered from
the control of the Islamic State (IS), says the
 report, coinciding with the arrival in Baghdad
 of Defense Minister of Spain Pedro Morenes,
 seeking to discuss a plan to train Iraqi forces.

A source in the Popular Mobilization, made up
 of Shiite volunteers, reports that, coordinating
 with Iraqi security forces, they have headed
 toward Albu Ajil, east of Tikrit, capital city of
 Salaheddin district,
IS held, since June 2014.

The Council of Tribes in that province urges
 Sunni tribes from Shurqat & Hawija districts
 to join the offensive staged by the federal
 police forces and Shiite volunteers, to free
 them from occupation by the "Takfiris" --
(Sunni Islamic terrorists).


UN Women Executive Director's Message
 for International Women's Day

In 1995, at the 4th World Conference on Women
 in Beijing, world leaders committed to a future
 where women are equal.

One hundred and eighty nine countries and 4,000
 civil society organizations, attended the conference.

Women left Beijing with high hopes, with a well-
defined path towards equality, and firm commitments
 at the highest level. Their hope was that we would
 see this by 2005.

Today, not one single country has achieved equality.
 It is more urgent than ever that we define - and stick
 to - a time frame.

There has been some progress in the last 20 years -
 although it has been slow and uneven.

Countries have narrowed the gender gap in education
 and some have even reached gender parity in school

They have reduced the toll of maternal mortality and
 morbidity. Many more women survive pregnancy and
 childbirth than in 1995.

Many countries have created institutions that
 address gender inequality. Many have passed laws
 against gender-based discrimination. Many have
 made domestic violence a crime.

This is all good news.

And yet we are still a long way from achieving
 equality between men and women, boys and girls.

Implementation of good policies has been patchy.
 Allocation of the resources needed for effective
 implementation has been insufficient to fund
 women's ministries, gender commissions, gender
 focal points, and gender-responsive budgeting.

For too many women, especially in the least-
developed countries, not enough has changed.

In Africa, 70 per cent of crop production depends
 on women yet women still own only 2 per cent of
the land.

Violence against women continues to blight lives
 in all countries of the world.

And no country has achieved gender equality.  

Women need change and humanity needs change.
 This we can do together; women and girls, men
 and boys, young and old, rich and poor.

The evidence is overwhelming of the benefits
 that equality can bring. Economies grow, poverty
 is alleviated, health status climbs, and communities
 are more stable and resilient to environmental or
 humanitarian crises.

Women want their leaders to renew the promises
 made to them. They want leaders to recommit to
 the Beijing Declaration, to the Platform for Action,
 and to an accelerated and bolder implementation.

They want more of their leaders to be women. And
 they want those women, together with men, to dare
 to change the economic and political paradigms.
 Gender parity must be reached before 2030, so
 that we avert the sluggish trajectory of progress
that condemns a child born today to wait 80 years
 before they see an equal world.

Today, on International Women's Day, we call on
our countries to "step it up" for gender equality,
 with substantive progress by 2020. Our aim is to
 reach 'Planet 50:50' before 2030.

The world needs full equality in order for humanity
 to prosper.

Empower women, empower humanity. I am sure
 you can picture an equal world!

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka


Southeast Ukraine: “We Have Built
an Independent State”. Interview with
 Deputy PM, Donetsk People’s Republic,
 Mikhail Mnukhin

For further correspondence, you can visit the
 official MOFA DPR website at mid-dnr.ru/en/.

HANEUL: One year after the US-backed Euromaidan
 coup, Ukraine is still engaged in a long and bloody
 civil war. What progress have you made in the fight
 against the fascist Ukranian military, Svoboda, and
 Right Sector?

MIKHAIL: First and most importantly, we have built
an independent state. Even though some parts of
our territory are still controlled by the Ukrainian
 Armed Forces, the state system of the DPR is fully
 functional and controls all vital operations. We
can pay salaries and social dowries, form state
 budgets, and arrange foreign trade.

At present, the DPR has legitimately elected
 authorities: the Head of the Republic, [PM]
Alexander Zakharchenko, and the supreme
 legislative body, the People`s Council. The
  local Councils elections will take place soon.

It should be stressed that we've achieved all
 these goals during unceasing hostilities and
 blockades made by the Ukrainian authorities,
 in addition to a critical humanitarian situation
 in the region. In our opinion, all these problems
 are the main arguments in the fight against
our enemy. We managed not only to survive,
 but also to develop a full-fledged state.

Militarily, the DPR Army has demonstrated to
 the whole world its ability to act effectively,
 and the number of magnificent victories over
 Ukrainian troops vindicates this. One should
 note that the number of UAF soldiers exceeds
 ours, as does their military equipment.

Nevertheless, we will always insist on and
continue to desire, a peaceful resolution to
 the conflict. We've never sought to annihilate
 Ukraine & the Ukrainians; however, our key
 issue is to provide the security of our people
 and to create the conditions for a normal,
 peaceful life. We are always ready for
dialogue, even with Kiev.

HANEUL: After the May 11th referendum,
the DPR declared itself independent from
Ukraine, yet the international community's
denounced your right to do so. Can you tell
 me what this signifies about democracy

MIKHAIL: The issue of the DPR's recognition
remains urgent, indeed. It is the main priority
 for our Ministry`s work today, and we progress
 gradually in this direction. The Republic of S.
 Ossetia has officially recognized the DPR, and
 we are establishing diplomatic contacts now.
The Republic of Abkhazia also announced its
 readiness to recognize the DPR.

Further, we work in other areas of cooperation
 and with all countries on any continent. Some
 of them are officially recognized, some aren't.
 Additionally, we are now actively promoting
 cooperation with other social and political
 movements, to support self-determination
for their territories. This process is rather
 long and complex.

As for the position of a number of Western
countries towards us, we understand very
well, the reasons for it. One should decide
whether or not to recognize our Republic;
 it does not depend on us. From our side,
we can ensure this process by proving
our consistency as full-fledged members
 of the international community.

 It's a paradox that, even though the
citizens of our state are similar to
those in the USA, Britain, or Japan,
we still have to prove our right to

In this regard, we've huge expectations
 of the public's opinion, especially in the
west's countries, as it starts to change.

People from all over the world are getting
 to learn more truths about us, and we hope
 that your authorities will take an objective
 stance towards the DPR.

HANEUL: Can you give us a history of the
Donetsk Oblast and its history in relation
to Russia? Why did the DPR decide to
remain autonomous instead of integrating
 into the Russian Federation like Crimea?

MIKHAIL: Donbass was always a place of
enormous accumulated human resources’
-- a place where people of all nationalities
 united in order to labor together and use
 Russian as their common language.

 As a result, a unique political platform has
 arisen in Donbass; the consequences of
which, we can observe today. All this
explains why Donbas has always striven
 for autonomy and independence.

Crimea has made its own long journey and
 has finally returned to Russia. However, we
 are two distinct regions and have formed
differently. We do not have the goal to join
 Russia as a priority now, but instead follow
 our path to forming an independent state.

 We have resolved the social and economic
problems brought about by Ukraine’s military
 aggression and complete transport and
economic blockade of our land.

HANEUL: Historically, Ukrainians experienced
 the 1941 pogroms in Lyiv in which the Ukrainian
 Insurgent Army worked with the Nazis to murder
 thousands of Polish and Ukrainian citizens. Do
 you believe that you are reliving this nightmare?
 Who should be held accountable for this?

MIKHAIL: We stress that the Ukrainian Insurgent
 Army (UIA or UPA) did not act alone during World
 War II. With the support of foreign states, the UIA
 successfully existed in some regions from 1946
 until 1948 as a local instrument of the Cold War.
However, the ideologies of Ukrainian nationalists
 have not changed; just their owners.

Repetition is a peculiar feature of history. The
 tragedy in Odessa - the repression of dissidents
 and multiple war crimes - proves this fact. The
above-mentioned organizations and people,
unfortunately, follow the examples of their
historical leaders and idols. However, they
should remember the fate of the UIA and its
leaders, which will partially help them to
predict their own.

You can see throughout history, the actions
of the UIA and other nationalist groups, which
 were directed not only against Poles but also
 Russians, Jews and representatives of other
ethnicities. Those who support neo-Nazism in
Ukraine, should think about where the Nazis
will turn their weapons tomorrow.

HANEUL: Which international organizations
are working with your government to provide
 humanitarian aid to your citizens, and how
long do you estimate this crisis to last? How
 can people around the world become involved
 in reporting, helping, or donating to your cause?

MIKHAIL: We are open to dialogue and always
 ready to accept help from all organizations
and private persons. There are a number of
organizations operating in the DPR, such as
 the International Red Cross, Medicines Sans
 Frontiers, and dozens of other charity funds
and communities.

Our experiences have shown that we are not
 alone—that many people from numerous
countries are ready to help us sincerely and
 freely. For example, we have received a few
 lorries with medicine from all over Germany,
collected with some Bundestag MPs' help.

Remember that Donetsk currently has a full
economic blockade. The direct delivery of
 financial assets, food products, and other
goods to the DPR are impossible now, but
 we're trying to solve this problem every day.
 We are very pleased and appreciate the
desire of people from the entire world to
help us.

HANEUL: Do you believe that PM Alexander
 Zakharchenko should have taken part in the
 second Minsk agreement in Belarus? Why
 didn’t the Normandy Four (Russia, Ukraine,
Germany, and France) include Donetsk,
 Luhansk, and Crimea into the peace talks?
 How have the peace talks helped ease
tensions in Donbass, and do you believe
 that there should be separate talks
between the DPR and other groups?

MIKHAIL: The situation surrounding the DPR,
the LPR and Crimea cannot be combined in
 the negotiation process, as Crimea is already
 a part of Russia.

The Donetsk People`s Republic is one of
several parties in the conflict, so without
Alexander Zakharchenko`s participation, a
negotiated resolution is impossible.

 However, we can explain Kiev’s harsh stance
 and attempts to ignore the DPR and LPR in the
 Normandy Four negotiations. Ukraine considers
 the truce as a period to accumulate its military
forces and prepare for further hostilities, and
 Kiev has never shown its full readiness for a
 lasting peace.

The real conflict is between the people of the
 southeast and Ukrainian government, who
should actually negotiate.

 Apart from that, the DPR’s entrance into
the negotiation process means that it will
achieve its new status, which Ukraine is
 trying to prevent. Alongside this, Ukraine
is trying to expand the number of parties
 involved in the conflict, such as Germany
and France, in order to supply them
with weapons.

 We hope this will not happen.

We are satisfied with Germany and France’s
 viewpoint; they have started to change their
 positions on events happening in Donbass.
We expect that, instead of more sanctions,
they will initiate humanitarian missions here
 to stop the catastrophe, not aggravate it.

We are sure that peace will finally come, but
 we cannot achieve it with regular concessions
from one side and continuous breaches from
 the other. Peace is always a compromise and
we are ready for it, but only after ensuring the
 safety of our citizens.

HANEUL: The UAE has already committed weapons
to the Ukrainian military, and the United States has
 considered arming the junta directly. If this occurs,
 how will this affect the current situation? Will this
 escalate to a large conflict between superpowers?

MIKHAIL: According to present information, the
 weapons contracts made between Ukraine and
the UAE are not a significant concern, and we
 personally believe those contracts were made
just for PR.

 We doubt Kiev managed to convince its partners
 to supply weapons on credit, and it doesn't have
 enough money to buy them. Another issue is the
 US’s arms. According to confirmed information,
they have never stopped supplying weapons
 to Ukraine. Along the whole frontline, after
each Ukrainian force’s retreat, one can easily
 find weapons made in the USA, including
 heavy artillery. Besides, the large amount of
US personnel training Ukrainian soldiers,
invokes serious concern. In what way should
we estimate this ? Exposing Washington`s
participation in the Donbass conflict, is
difficult, but direct interventions take place
 and grow with every passing month, so it is
 very difficult to predict such consequences.


CyberBerkut Warns Kiev Carrying Out
'Sweep' Operation in Mariupol
Sputnik - A well-known Ukraine hacking group
 opposed to the Kiev government, reveals that
 the coup authorities are carrying out a police
 sweep across Mariupol on regime opponents,
 and that the authorities plan a "pilot project
 of military-civilian administration" in the city.

Ukrainian hacking collective CyberBerkut
reports that they have obtained a series
of documents on Ministry of Information
 Policy in Mariupol, with correspondence
 on the "need" for a pro-Ukrainian social-
psychological propaganda campaign. 

It says a "sweep" of the city is
now on.

According to the group, over 100 people
 have been arrested in the past few days.

CyberBerkut claims to have correspondence
 belonging to Ukrainian Ministry of Information
 Policy Minister Tatyana Popova, one of which
 recommends a "pilot project of military-civilian
 administration" in the embattled city.

"It opens with an analysis of the information
environment in Mariupol, given to Tatyana
 Popova," the hackers report. The analysis,
 which "reads more like a denunciation,"
is by social psychologist Oleg Pokalchuk,
who says the city lacks pro-Ukrainian
 propaganda, that the Greek community
there is pro-Russian, and that priests
of the Moscow Patriarchate of the
Orthodox Church carry out "anti-
Ukrainian" subversive activities.

Popova advises her colleagues to pay
"close attention" to Pokalchuk's report.

CyberBerkut promises to publish more 
internal correspondence between the
 Ministry and its workers, at a later date.

It earlier reported that Kiev's authorities
 plan to "root out informants" accused of
 passing information to anti-Kiev militias.

 Media have spoken of residents being
taken away for questioning, some by
armed men with no official id. papers.

CyberBerkut is a
hackers group opposed
to the current government in Kiev. Since
the start of the conflict in Ukraine, it has
conducted a series of high-profile hacks.

 It has recently reported on details of the
US plan to arm Kiev, information showing
 the high casualty figures in Kiev's army,
information on snipers at Maidan Square,
 and Victoria Nuland's infamous "F**k the
 EU!" exchange with the US Ambassador,
 Geoffrey Pyatt.


Egypt carries out hanging sentence
 on 1st Morsi backer

Egypt has reportedly carried out the first of over
 180 death sentences handed down by its courts
over mass protest rallies and clashes, following
 the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi.

Egyptian Interior Ministry spokesperson, Hani
Abdel Latif, announces on Saturday that a man
 identified as Mahmoud Ramadan, was hanged
at 7am local time (0500 GMT), referring to him
 as the “first to be executed of those involved
in violent clashes” that erupted after Morsi’s
overthrow in 2013.

The development comes after an Egypt court
 upheld, last month, the death sentences of
183 Muslim Brotherhood supporters, over an
 alleged 2013 attack on a police station,
near the capital Cairo.

The violence occurred after security forces
 killed hundreds of protesters as they cleared
protest camps of Morsi's supporters
in Cairo.

Hundreds of Morsi backers have received
death sentences following speedy trials
 described by the UN as “unprecedented
 in recent history.”

UK-based Amnesty International says the
death sentences follow unfair trials and
highlight Cairo’s disregard for national
and international law.

Morsi was elected president after the fall of
 long-time dictator, Hosni Mubarak, but was
 then ousted in a coup led by former military
 chief and current President, Abdel Fattah
 el-Sisi, in July 2013.

Egypt's government has been cracking
 down on any opposition, since Morsi
was ousted -- arresting thousands --
including Brotherhood leaders and

Cairo named the Brotherhood as a
terrorist organization in Dec. 2013.


DPR calls on Kiev to fulfill its
 liabilities under Minsk agreements

The time for Ukraine’s withdrawal of heavy weapons
 from the actual line of contact, to the distance fixed
in the Minsk agreements, expired on March 7th,
Eduard Basurin says.

"We call on Ukraine's leaders to ensure the
 unconditional implementation of the Minsk
 agreements & secure real centralized control
 over all their armed groups - which can under-
mine the peace process, which is moving with
great difficulty, because of their unsanctioned
 actions," Basurin says, adding that the time
 for Ukraine’s withdrawal of heavy weapons
from the line of contact to the distance set in
 the Minsk agreements, expired on March 7th.

He underscores that further fulfilment of the
Minsk agreements, will depend on "Kiev’s
 ability to ensure complete implementation
 of its liabilities on weapons pullout in the
terms it fixed and on the public reaction of
 the Western countries, to Kiev’s possible
frustration of this provision of the Minsk

The agreements outline the parameters for
the ceasefire in Ukraine. Their nine-points,
 in particular, envision a ban on the use of
all armaments, and the withdrawal of

 "heavy" weapons (with calibres of over
100 mllmtrs) to a distance of 15 klmtrs
 from the contact line from each side.

 The OSCE is tasked with controlling
 implementation of the provisions.

The package of measures envisages the
 creation of a security zone at least 50
wide for artillery systems with a
caliber of
100 mm or more, a security
zone 70 klmtrs
wide for multiple rocket
launchers, and a
zone 140 klmtrs wide,
for multiple rocket
launchers Tornado-S,
Uragan and Smerch,
and the tactical
rocket systems, Tochka-U.

The final document says Ukraine's troops
are to be pulled back from the
line of engagement, and the militias
the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, to
 the engagement line set by the Minsk
Memorandum of September 19th, 2014.


African Union approves creation
 of anti-Boko Haram force

The African Union (AU) has approved the creation
 of a regional force to fight Nigeria-based Boko Haram
 militants, who have recently launched brutal cross-
border assaults in neighboring countries, diplomatic
 sources say.

The force, comprised of up to 10,000 men from Chad,
 Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger and Benin, will “operate
 freely” in the region around Lake Chad, unnamed
 African diplomats say.

Nigeria “has a problem with agreeing to have foreign
 troops on its soil”; thus, the troops will not operate in
 Nigeria, according to a diplomat.

This will restrict the force to
just countering the
cross-border attacks by the terrorists.

While the troops will be provided with “logistical
 support”, financial backing will pose a great
problem for the collective measure, diplomats say.

The idea for the creation of the force was adopted at
 an AU summit in late January, when the participants
 also urged the United Nations Security Council to
 approve the plan.

On January 31, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
 threw his weight behind the establishment of the
anti-terrorist force.

“I welcome the decision of the AU and regional
 countries to establish an MJTF (Multinational Joint
 Task Force) against Boko Haram,” he told reporters
 on the sidelines of the 24th Summit of the African
 Union in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

The force, which is set to be based in Chad’s capital
 city of N’Djamena, will be mandated “to prevent the
 spread of Boko Haram activities and other terrorist
 groups” and “eradicate their presence,” AU’s Peace
 and Security Council agreed at a meeting this week.

Boko Haram, whose name means “Western education
 is forbidden,” controls large parts of northeastern
 Nigeria and says its goal is to overthrow the Nigerian

It has claimed responsibility for a number of deadly
 shooting attacks and bombings in various parts of
Nigeria since the beginning of its militancy in 2009,
 which have left over 13,000 people dead and 1.5
 million displaced.

Boko Haram, which is considered the biggest security
 threat in Nigeria, Africa's top oil producer and largest
 economy, has also conducted attacks in the
neighboring countries of Cameroon, Chad and Niger.


Israeli Media: Hezbollah Directly Threatens
Zionist Marine Oil Facilities

Zionist media outlets in Israel consider that the
 Israeli marine oil facilities are directly threatened 
by Hezbollah and Palestinian Resistance groups.

The outlets add that the Israeli army has to cope
 with that challenge on both northern & southern
 fronts, noting that Hezbollah and the Palestinian
 Resistance factions  are preparing to target the
Zionist gas platforms during any upcoming war.


Assad: Western Countries
Lack the Will to Fight Terrorism

The Syrian President Bashar al-Assad stresses
that the international community, represented
by the United Nations and the Security Council,
has failed to fulfill its duties, even though it is
 supposed to solve disputes, protect states'
 sovereignty and prevent wars breaking out.

In an interview with official Portuguese TV,
 Assad says the moderate opposition in Syria
 is just an illusion, and that the so-called
 'Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant' (ISIL)
and Al-Nusra Front takfiri groups, are the
 main orchestrators of terrorism in the
country, with other, smaller, factions.

Syria's President highlights that western
officials don't have the will to fight terror,
 noting that the USA has announced the
training of five thousand more fighters,
who will represent another prop for the
terrorists already operating in Syria.

Assad stresses that it is impossible to
 say that Syria is overcome when people
are united behind their government and
army to fight terrorism, the government's
 institutions are still working, "and we're
still offering the state's support & paying
 wages, even in areas under the control
of the terrorists themselves."

He emphasizes that the international
community has failed to fulfill its task...
proven by its inability to protect several
 other countries, like Libya and Yemen.

President Assad underlines that the
solution in Syria, is only political, and
makes clear that the other party, i.e.
the opposition factions convening in
Geneva for Syria talks, have all been
chosen by the west.


Syrian Army Launches New
 Campaigns in Idlib, Homs, Aleppo

In Idlib, army units killed many members of terrorist
 organizations on Idlib-Ein Sheib and in the areas of
 Martamsarin, Abu al-Duhour, Tal Salmo & Um Jerin,
 in the countryside.

More terrorists’ vehicles, some with heavy
 machine guns, were destroyed by army units in
 Armanaz, al-Hbeit and Talaas in the countryside
around Idlib, while the terrorists in the vehicles,
 were killed.

In Homs, army units, in cooperation with popular
 defense groups, killed tens of terrorists, some of
 them non-Syrian, in the area around Jazal gas field
 & in the countryside around central Homs province.

The army also targeted gatherings of terrorists in the
 hills of al-Msheirfeh al-Janoubiyeh and al-Wudeihi
& killed a number of ISIS terrorists around al-Shaer
 gas field, in the countryside to its East.

In Quneitra, more terrorists were killed and others
 wounded, in army operations in Mas’hara and
 Quneitra provinces, in the southern countryside.

In Daraa, southern Daraa province, units of the
army and armed forces destroyed caches of
 weapons and ammunition, killing many terrorists
 in Kafr Nasij, Aqraba, al-Teiheh, al-Sheikh Miskeen,
 al-Fqei’, Ibta, Samlin and Zamrin in the countryside.

Other army units targeted more hideouts for terrorists
 in the area of Tafas, Atman, al-Nueimeh, Kafr Shams
 and Jassem in the countryside of Daraa and in Daraa
al-Balad neighborhood in the city.

More terrorists were killed, and their vehicles
  destroyed, in al-Lajat area in the countryside.

In Aleppo, several terrorist gatherings and hideouts
 were destroyed by army units in northern Aleppo
 province in the areas of al-Rashideen neighborhood,
 Old City, al-Ameriyeh, al-Naana’I, Khan al-Assal,
 Andan, al- Shaar, Bab al-Hadid, al-Malah farms, al-
Ramouseh and Salah-Eddin.

The operations also resulted in the destruction
 of several of the terrorists’ vehicles.

In the northern countryside of Lattakia, army units
 killed many terrorists after targeting their gatherings
 and hideouts in Salma, Kafr Delba, Marj Khoukheh,
al-Kert, Dweirkieyh, al-Mreij.

The army also destroyed a cache of weapons
 and ammunition in Tertiah area.

Syria has been hit by violent unrest since March 2011.
 Now, even western media reports accuse countries
 -- mainly the USA, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar --
of orchestrating the civil conflict in the country and
 providing terrorist groups with money, weapons and
 trained mercenaries.

On May 2011, the Syrian army launched a wide-scale
 operation against armed groups and gunmen in the
 country, who then started to escape the army's
 blows by infiltrating illegally, into Lebanon.


Russia Provides Egypt with
 Antey-2500 Missile Systems

Russia has begun delivering Antey-2500 air defense
 missile systems to Egypt under a contract signed
earlier, a high-ranking source in Russia's Defense
 Ministry tells Interfax-AVN.

"Deliveries of auxiliary technological equipment have
 been launched. Within a year, Egypt will receive the
 launchers and other equipment," he said.

"The contract is being implemented according to
 schedule," the source said, declining to say how
 many Antey-2500 systems were bought by Egypt.

Antey-2500 is the export version of Russia's S-300V4
 surface-to-air missile system, which is used by the
 Russian Land Forces. The new system is capable of
 engaging ballistic and aerodynamic targets within a
 range of up to 400 kilometers.

Venezuela became the first foreign country to buy
 Antey-2500 systems, which were also offered to Iran.

Russia is one of the main non-Arab supporters of the
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s government
 and was among the first countries to endorse Sisi’s
 presidential bid in 2014, after he toppled the former
 administration, led by the ousted President,
Mohammad Mursi.


Ukrainian MPs vote for bigger army
--- despite truce deal

Ukrainian lawmakers have approved a new bill
 aimed at increasing the number of army troops
 fighting anti-coup forces in the eastern regions
 despite a truce between the two warring sides.

The legislative proposal, which was passed
 on Thursday, calls for a 250,000  force with
 204,000 active servicemen, compared with
 184,000 now.

According to local press reports, 270 of
the 314 parliamentary members present,
voted in favor of the new law.

The development came after Ukraine’s
 Deputy Defense Minister Petro Mekhed
stressed the need to boost the size of
 the armed forces operating in the east.

Mekhed said the number of troops will
 be reduced after the crisis "is settled".

The bill has to be signed into law by
 President Petro Poroshenko, who
 proposed the measure.


Russia launches air defense drills
 as tensions rise

According to Russia’s military officials on
Thursday, the Russian army kicked off its
 drills in Southern Military District, which
 encompasses regions near the Crimean
 Peninsula and neighboring Ukraine.

“Crews drilled the most complicated elements
 of flight proficiency training, like takeoffs and
 landings in adverse weather conditions, and
the application of air-launched incapacitation
 devices at ground targets on a range,” says
 Colonel Igor Klimov, an official spokesperson
 for Russia’s air force.

The Russian Defense Ministry says over
2,000 troops and 500 weapons systems,
including strategic bombers (Tupolev-
95MS, Tupolev-160), have taken part in
 the military maneuvers, which are to
continue for over a month.

The maneuvers are being held as
Russia and the West raise their
 rhetoric over the chaos in Ukraine.

On Thursday, NATO's unelected deputy
 secretary-general, claimed that Russia
 has a military presence in east Ukraine.

“Russian soldiers are fighting and dying
in large numbers in eastern Ukraine,”
 said Alexander Vershbow, in the
Latvian capital, Riga.

His comments came a day after US
Assistant Secretary of State Victoria
Nuland repeated Washington’s claims
 about Moscow’s military assistance
 to anti-coup forces in eastern Ukraine.

“President Putin’s aim seems to be to
turn Ukraine into a failed state and to
 suppress and discredit alternative
voices in Russia,” said Nuland in an
 apparent reference to the recent
assassination of Boris Nemtsov, a
Russian opposition figure, in Moscow.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson
 Alexander Lukashevich, strongly rejects
 the allegations about dispatching troops
 to Ukraine, adding, “These figures, which
 are plucked out of the air, of course,
demoralize and disorientate the
 international community.”


Russian General Mocks US
Commander's Size Claim,
Suggests Hidden Motives
Russian Gen. Maj. Igor Konashenkov calls
 US Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges' claim that Russia
 has 12,000 troops in East Ukraine "a failed
attempt to impress the women of the US
 State Department."

"The 12,000 troop strength he suggested
 is a serious army group with thousands
of units of military equipment. You can't
 just cover that up with some snow on a
tiny patch of the 'isolated districts of
Donetsk and Luhansk regions.'"

Hodges' claim was a failed attempt to
impress the women of the US State
 Department, Konashenkov believes.

"For the State Department spokeswomen,
distant from military realities, it's easy to
 later cite such 'authoritative' estimates:
 size matters a lot to them."

On Tuesday, in a speech in Berlin, Lt. Gen
 Ben Hodges announced that he fears Putin
will destroy NATO by splitting it from the
inside, saying Russia has inserted 12,000
 troops into the Donbas region, the biggest
claim made by a US official yet.


Moscow dismisses NATO allegations that
 Russia conducts large-scale nuclear drills

Moscow dismisses NATO’s allegations that
Russia holds large-scale military exercises
 drilling in the use of nuclear weapons,
Foreign Ministry officials state.

"We have paid attention to NATO Deputy
 Secretary General Alexander Vershbow’s
 speech...  ...in which he said the conflict
 in Ukraine has a dimension associated
 with weapons of mass destruction,"
 the ministry comments.

"In particular, he made a dogmatic statement
 that Russia is conducting large-scale military
exercises to drill on nuclear tasks, including
 a ‘nuclear component’ in the conventional
 weapons’ drills."

"We've again heard reproaches that Russia’s
 strategic aviation ostensibly performs flights
closer & closer to NATO countries' borders,"
 the ministry says. "These allegations are
 totally ungrounded, and we have repeatedly
 proven this with facts to our foreign partners."

"Alexander Vershbow’s attempts to scare
 the world community with Russian nuclear
weapons, look inappropriate against the
backdrop of NATO’s long-term practice of
 involve non-nuclear members of the bloc
 in performing ‘nuclear missions,’ i.e. in
 planning and drilling nuclear strikes,
 including delivering nuclear bombs to
 targets," Russia's Foreign Ministry says.

 "To this end, American nuclear weapons
 are stored in Europe & NATO servicemen
 are being trained in their use. The latest
 such exercise, Steadfast Noon, was held
 last autumn, in Italy."

Russia's Foreign Ministry reminds people
 that nuclear and non-nuclear members of
the North Atlantic Alliance are signatories
 to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of
Nuclear Weapons (NPT), article 1 of which
prohibits nuclear states from transfering
 nuclear weapons, or giving control over
such weapons, to non-nuclear countries.

 Article 2 prohibits non-nuclear states from
 accepting nuclear weapons or being given
control over them, by nuclear countries.

 "It means that NATO’s nuclear strategy,
 which provides for the possibility of using
the aviation of NATO’s member countries
enjoying non-nuclear status to deliver US
 nuclear bombs, runs counter to the Treaty
 on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear
Weapons," the ministry stresses.

"NATO’s leadership would do better to
straighten this contradiction, rather than
 laying the blame on Russia, which has no
 nuclear weapons on countries’ territories
 and -- unlike the United States -- keeps
its reduced stockpiles of non-strategic
nuclear arms in a non-deployed state,"
the ministry underscores.


PLO plans to end all security
cooperation with Israel: Officials

The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO)
 has decided to end all security cooperation
 with Israel, Palestinian officials say.

According to reports on Thursday, the PCC
(Palestinian Central Council ) of the PLO, led
 by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas,
 decided to cut all security cooperation with
 Israel after two-day discussions in Ramallah.

“Security coordination in all its forms with
 the authority of the Israeli occupation will
 be stopped in the light of its (Israel’s) non-
compliance with the agreements signed
between the two sides,” the PCC, the
second highest Palestinian decision-
making body, says in a statement.

Tel Aviv “should shoulder all its
responsibilities towards the Palestinian
 people in the occupied state of Palestine
 as an occupation authority according to
international law,” the statement reads.

The statement calls on the UN Security
Council to “determine a deadline to end
 the Israeli occupation and ensure that
 the state of Palestine is enabled to
practice its sovereignty on its land
occupied since 1967, including its
capital east Jerusalem and, resolve
the issue of refugees according to
 resolution 194.”

“The concept of a Jewish state is
rejected and, also, a (Palestinian)
 state with provisional borders is
 rejected. Any formula that would
keep an Israeli military or settler
presence on any part of the land
 of the state of Palestine is
 rejected,” says the statement.

“Gangster” regime

At the opening of the talks, attended
by officials from the PCC, Abbas
denounced the decision by the
Israeli regime, to withhold Palestinian
 tax revenues worth over $100 million
 a month.

“How are they allowed to take away
our money? Are we dealing with a
state or with a gangster?” he asked.

The meetings, attended by legislators,
union leaders & other figures, focused
 on a review of the interim agreements
 with the Israelis.

In response to Palestinian efforts
to finally attain membership at the
International Criminal Court (ICC),
Tel Aviv announced the freeze on
 revenues transfer, in January.

Palestinians are continuing efforts
 to file war crime charges against
 the regime at the ICC.

The Palestinian president calls the
tax freeze a provocation, noting that
“peaceful, popular resistance is the
only way for us” in the fight against

Abbas also asked “all countries of the
 world to recognize the state of Palestine.”

“But we want to say to the Israeli side,
 these recognitions don't mean in any
way, that we don't want to negotiate,
 or that we're running away from the
 negotiations,” Abbas said, adding
 that talks will continue with “who-
ever” wins their general election
on March 17th.


 Russia concerned about
US plan to arm Ukraine

“The reports regarding the intentions of the US
 to start massive supplies of weapons to Ukraine,
 which keep on coming, cause our most serious
 concerns," Russian Foreign Ministry spokes-
person, Alexander Lukashevich, says, in a
 regular briefing in Moscow on Thursday.

He says the new move seriously undermines
 efforts for a successful implementation of
 the ceasefire in east Ukraine, which was
reached in Minsk on February 12th.

Known as Minsk II, a deal was reached
 when leaders of Russia, Germany, France
and Ukraine, promised to convince the
 warring factions in Ukraine to withdraw
all heavy weaponry from the frontlines. 

Lukashevich says the US decision “could
 not only lead to undermining the truce and
to a new escalation in the southeast, but
 also threaten the security of Russia.”

He says the only way out of the current crisis
 in east Ukraine will be a political solution:

"It is impossible to extinguish the fire of a civil
 war by weapons. This can
only be done through
 a political dialogue between the warring parties."

Lukashevich also accuses a number of European
 countries - including Finland - of following the US
 in arming the Ukrainian army, in violation of the
 Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).

He also warns that Moscow-Washington ties will
 be further strained if citizens in eastern Ukraine
 “start being killed, through these US weapons”.

The US and Western allies have accused Russia
 of having a major hand in the Ukrainian conflict
 which has claimed more than 6,000 lives since
 it started nearly 10 months ago.

Russia denies the accusations, saying that the
 government in Kiev must stop suppression of
the ethnic Russian population living in east
and south eastern parts of Ukraine.


Ukraine's Cabinet extends the
 list of uncontrolled cities

The Cabinet of Ukraine confirms the list of
 settlements in Donetsk region, where the
organs of state power don't exercise their
full commission, or do it only in part.

15 cities uncontrolled by Ukraine, or with
 limited control, are announced. There
 were 12 such cities in November.

Specifically, Avdeevka, Debaltsevo and
 Dzerzhinsk are added to the list, signed
 by PM, Arseniy Yazenyuk.

Moreover, villages around Mariupol, such
 as Sartana and Talakovka, and a whole
range of settlements in the Artemovskiy,
Marinskiy, Volnovahskiy, Telmanovsliy
& Yasinovatskiy regions, are now listed.


NATO’s group in Black Sea to grow
 to four ships — Russian Naval Staff

Two more NATO warships will enter the Black
Sea within several hours, a source at Russia’s
Chief of the Naval Staff told TASS Wednesday.

"At the moment two NATO ships are in the Black
Sea already -- the USS Vicksburg (a Ticonderoga
 class guided missile cruiser), Turkey’s frigate,
 the Turgut Reis. Within hours, the Italian frigate
 Aliseo and Canada’s frigate, the Fregerickton,
 will join in. At the moment, they are passing
 through the Black Sea straits, the source said.


Cuba Calls for Concrete Acts
             on Nuclear Disarmament               
 Cuba's Foreign Minister, Bruno Rodriguez, stresses
at Geneva, the need to take concrete actions to
achieve "the world free of nuclear weapons we
wish for."

A new world order based on peace, human solidarity
 and social justice is essential, he says at the Geneva
Conference on Disarmament.

The millions of dollars expended on weapons should
 be destined to promote peace, economic and social
 development and a dignified life for all human beings,
 underlines Rodriguez.

That's why nuclear disarmament can be an objective
which is continuously postponed. We condemn the
 use of nuclear weapons in political doctrines and
 security strategies -- or the threat of its use. We
 also demand respect for the inalienable right to
 the peaceful use of nuclear energy, he adds.

He urges the Geneva Conference to adopt a
work program, wide-reaching and balanced,
 that takes into account the real priorities in
 disarmament issues. It is important that this
 forum doesn't give in to the lack of political
 will of a few countries, he indicates.

If it accomplishes its mandate, he says, it could
 make a meaningful contribution to breaking the
status quo and quitting the present paralysis of
disarmament machinery, which only
the powerful.

The Minister notes the Conference is prepared
 to negotiate several issues simultaneously,
 including a treaty that eliminates and bans
 nuclear weapons and another banning the
 arms race in extra-terrestrial space.

It has the important responsibility of acting to
 the legitimate expectations of the international
 community and contributing in a decisive way
to peace and international security, as well as
 the survival of the human species, threatened
 by gigantic nuclear arsenals & climate change.

He also refers to the importance of agreements
 that guarantee effective security to States that,
 like Cuba, have no nuclear weapons, and favors
 a treaty which bans the production of fissionable
 material for manufacturing nuclear weapons or
other explosive devices, and includes arsenals.

It should be a commitment of all the members of
the Conference, to contribute to the success of
the International High Level Conference of the
 United Nations on Nuclear Disarmament -- to
 be held at the latest, in 2018, he stresses.

He recalls the 2nd Summit of the Community
of Latin American & Caribbean States (Celac),
 held in Havana in January, 2014, when the
 region of Latin America and the Caribbean
was formally proclaimed as a Peace Zone.

Such a declaration firmly establishes the
 commitment of Celac members to promote
 nuclear disarmament as a priority
objective, he concludes.


              NATO To Carry Out Drills Near Russia               
 NATO announces 'crisis management drills'
 for 'maritime security', says a press release.

It plans to play these war games from the 4th
to the 10th of this month from the capitals of
 its 28 member countries and its Brussels HQ.

Other countries taking part in the manouvres:
 Australia, Finland, Japan, Sweden, South
Korea and Ukraine.

Local media point out that last year, NATO
 carried out 300 drills near Russia's border.

Russia considers all NATO military drills
near its border, as a danger to its
national security.


Kiev Refusing To Form Working Groups
-- As Contact Group framework Requires

Ukraine's authorities have refused to create
 working groups within the framework of the
Contact Group, Foreign Minister Sergey
Lavrov says Wednesday. They're dragging
out the process, Lavrov adds.

"On February 24, in Paris, the Contact Group was
 urged to create working groups for reviewing all
 aspects of the Minsk agreements from February
 12th, including on the political process,
as soon
as possible," Lavrov says.

"Now, unfortunately, the Ukrainian authorities
 refuse the proposals of Donetsk and Luhansk,
of the Russian side, to create such groups and
 announce their composition, trying to drag out
the process. It is troubling," the minister adds.

"There should be no doubt that the documents
 from February 12 must be implemented fully,"
 Lavrov stresses. "This includes immediately
 establishing working groups, starting work
constitutional reform, restoring social and
 economic ties and so on," the minister says.

On Tuesday, the Donetsk People’s Republic
 envoy to the Contact Group, Denis Pushilin,
 said the Ukrainian side refuses to appoint
 representatives to working groups within
 the framework of the Contact Group on the
settlement of the situation in east Ukraine.

"The Ukrainian side refuses, for reasons
unknown to me, to appoint representatives
 to these departments," Pushilin noted then.

The next videoconference of the Contact
Group will take place "in the next few
days," he added.

Pushilin earlier said that DPR and the Luhansk
 People’s Republic (LPR) have already appointed
 their representatives to specialized departments.
 They have already started working on several
 issues, he added.

Kiev has vowed to complete heavy weaponry
 withdrawal from the disengagement line in
Donbas, by March 7th, Pushilin told TASS
 on Tuesday.

Pushilin is "moderately optimistic"
 after the last Contact Group video-
conference on Ukraine. "We managed to
agree on several issues. The main result
 was that the Ukrainian side confirmed its
plans to withdraw weapons by March 7th.
 They vowed to complete by this date,"
Pushilin said.

"This is very important for us, as we have
 completed the withdrawal ahead of
schedule," he noted.

Prisoner swaps will be discussed at the
 next Contact Group meeting, urgently,
he added.

LPR envoy Vladislav Deinego earlier said
 that the next Contact Group on Ukraine,
at the beginning of March, is to assess
the implementation of the package
measures adopted on February 12th,
in Minsk.

"Mainly, [the Contact Group] will discuss
 the agreements on weaponry withdrawal
 and the ceasefire," Deinego said.

The DPR and LPR have completed their
heavy weaponry withdrawal in accordance
 with the Minsk agreements, by March 1st.

 The Ukrainian forces announced they had
started their withdrawal on February 26th.


US troops to hold joint drills with
Ukraine’s army in mid-2015

US troops are to hold joint exercises with Ukraine’s
 military personnel between March 5 & October 31
--- at the International peacekeeping and security
 centre (IPSC) in Yavorov, in western Ukraine’s Lviv
 region --- a tender on the US government website

The contractor "shall provide all equipment, vehicles,
 and personnel" necessary for ground transportation
 in accordance with the ordering clause, the tender
says. In particular, seven 50-passenger buses are to
 be provided to ferry the military personnel from the
 Lviv international airport to the centre.

In August 2014, Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby
 said the US intended to allocate $19 million to train
 and equip Ukraine’s National Guard forces, which
 include members of the ultra-right 'Right Sector'.

Last year, the US Congress prepared the Ukraine
Freedom Support Act aimed at imposing sanctions
 against Russia and supplying weapons to Kiev.

In mid-December, US President Barack Obama
signed this document, but mentioned that the
 US administration would not take advantage
- yet - of the new legislation.

New tanks for Kiev coup forces:

Ukraine’s state company Ukroboronprom has
handed over to Ukraine’s National Guard and
 Defense Ministry a new batch of T-64B (B1)
 main battle tanks, the National Guard’s
 press-service says.

According to the report, "the vehicles are
 prepared for missions in the zone of the
 military operation."

The vehicles are said to have undergone routine
 maintenance and overhaul at a plant in Kharkiv,
 which is an affiliate of Ukroboronprom. The hulls
 and turrets have been equipped with dynamic
 protection, which makes the combat vehicles
secure against anti-tank weapons.

The facility was -- before the US-backed coup
-- involved in joint production with Russia.


US sanctions extension may derail Ukraine
conflict settlement — Russian Foreign Ministry

US President Barack Obama’s administration has
 again issued threats announcing the extension of
 the old sanctions and the possibility of introducing
 new ones, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson
 Alexander Lukashevich, says on Wednesday.

"We have noticed a remarkable fact - as soon as
signs of a peaceful settlement of the severe
 Ukrainian crisis appear, Washington, that had
a hand in last year’s coup in Kiev, starts to
exacerbate the situation," he comments.

"So this time, when the ceasefire regime agreed
 upon in Minsk on February 12th with assistance
 from Russian President Vladimir Putin, is being
 implemented, Barack Obama's administration
 is again issuing threats, announcing extensions
 of previously imposed sanctions and promising
 new ones: both against our country and against
 the DPR and LPR."

"What is this if not an attempt to destroy the
 tenuous budding of trust between them and
tUkraine's authorities, to undermine or even
 derail the peace process?" Lukashevich says.

"The same applies to promises of massive
 American weapons supplies to Ukraine,
 indulging the revanchist plans of Kiev’s
 "party of war."

"We would really appreciate it if the US
 would finally start thinking about the
 consequences of its decisions and
 actions. Moreover, no sanctions will
 change Russia’s principal position,"
the diplomat says. "It is high time
 for Washington to realise it."


Russia to hold artillery drills
 at testing range in Armenia

Artillery units of Russia's military base in Armenia
 will conduct field exercises at the Alagyaz high-
mountain training complex, the press service of
 the Southern Military District says on Wednesday.

The exercises at an altitude of more than 2,000
metres above sea level will last until the end of
 March. They involve about 400 troops. Half of
the drills will be conducted at night.

"Within a month’s training course the artillerists
 will have tactical, special and technical drills,
as well as modern military vehicle driving
practice, firing operations and weapons fire
 control. The drills involve the Gvozdika self-
propelled howitzers, Grad multiple launch
rocket systems, Podnos mortars and the
Konkurs anti-tank missile systems, as well
 as Navodchik-2 modern reconnaissance
drones systems, the Southern Military
 District sources say.

The artillery drills will end with tactical live
 firing exercises on the imaginary enemy’s
 facilities and personnel targets in mountain


From Warsaw Pact to CSTO

The post-Soviet security bloc is to discuss
 setting up a joint air missile defense system.

Over 100 warplanes took part in the former
 Soviet states recent air defense drills.

The post-Soviet security bloc’s special task
 forces have also been out "on drill" in

There is no 'cooling in relations' between
 the post-Soviet security bloc members,
 says the CSTO secretary general.


China to Hold Military Parade
    to Mark Victory over Japan   
China is to hold a military parade to mark the 70th
 anniversary of the victory of the Chinese People''s
 War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression,
 according to a communique released by the local
 media today.

The announcement was made by the Foreign
 Ministry's spokesperson, Hua Chunying, who
did not reveal the exact date of the parade.

Apart from the military parade, other events
are to include a rally, a reception and an
evening gala in Beijing, attended by the
President Xi Jinping and other leaders.

Leaders from the major belligerent states
 in World War ll, Asian States, other world
 regions, and international organizations
 such as the United Nations will be invited
 to these events for the 70th anniversary
 of the victory of the Chinese People's
War of Resistance against Japanese
Aggression, Hua says in the statement.

Foreign friends who contributed to the victory
 of China's war of resistance, or their family
members, will also be invited to the events.

The commemoration aims to honour
 all people of good heart who cherish
 peace, and prevent similar tragedies
from ever happening again.


Formation of constitutional commission in
Ukraine major breakthrough — Belarus leader

Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko has signed
 a decree setting up a constitutional commission
 for developing amendments to the country’s
fundamental law.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko
 welcomes, on Tuesday, the setting up of a
 constitutional commission in Ukraine, saying
 this means that the decisions of the Minsk
 summit are being implemented.

At talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin,
the host of the Normandy Four meeting on Feb
 11-12 says "Many were sarcastic, were joking,
but we were sure the meeting was needed and
that the presidents' decisions would be

implemented --- all of them".

Citing media reports saying Ukrainian President
Petro Poroshenko has signed a decree to set up
 a constitutional commission, Lukashenko says
 "Work on the Constitution begins, and all issues
 can be solved within that process's framework."

"This is a great breakthrough," the Belarusian
 leader says.

The Belarusian capital of Minsk hosted 16-hour
marathon summit negotiations which ended in
 a package of agreements, which in particular
envisaged a ceasefire between the Ukrainian
 conflicting sides starting from midnight on
February 15, a withdrawal of all heavy weapons
 by both sides, a dialogue on the political future
 of parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, as
 well as a constitutional reform in Ukraine with
the adoption of a new constitution by the end
 of 2015: decentralization being a key element.


Iran rejects Obama’s 10-year nuclear demand

Tehran on Tuesday rejects as “unacceptable”
US President Barack Obama’s demand that it
 freeze sensitive nuclear activities for at least
 10 years, Reuters reports.

 “Iran won't accept excessive & illogical
 demands,” Iranian Foreign Minister
Mohammad Javad Zarif, is quoted as
saying, by Fars news agency.

 Nevertheless, negotiations underway in
Switzerland now will carry on, he adds.


Obama to discuss global security,
Ukraine with European leaders

US President Barack Obama will hold talks on
Tuesday with European leaders to discuss the
 Ukraine crisis and global security issues,
 Reuters reports.

The leaders of the US, UK, France, Germany
and Italy, as well as the head of the European
 Commission, will hold a video conference at
 11:30EST (14:30 GMT), the White House says.


Merkel invites leaders of ‘Normandy Four’
 to Berlin over Ukrainian peace process

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has invited
 the leaders of the ‘Normandy Four’ to Berlin in
 March, to discuss Ukraine, Bloomberg reports.

 The phone talks took place between Merkel,
 and the presidents of France, Ukraine and
 Russia, Francois Hollande, Petro Poroshenko
 and Vladimir Putin, respectively.

 The leaders noted the progress in resolving
 the crisis in Ukraine. Their meeting is set to
 take place on March 6th.


Ukraine’s Frontlines Calm Ahead of Gas Talks

Ukraine's frontlines are relatively calm ahead
of high-level EU-mediated gas talks between
 Kiev and Moscow, as journalists mourn the
killing by mortar fire of another photographer.

Kiev's security officials say there was no fire after
 midnight, on Ukraine's positions, and no Ukrainian
 soldiers have been killed over the past 24 hours.

Security spokesperson Andriy Lysenko however
said that 8 soldiers were injured, after "rebels"
shot at Kiev's positions late Saturday, including
from a tank and a grenade launcher.

Relative quiet in eastern Ukraine has set in,
 following a shaky European-brokered peace
plan to end the fighting.

At the UN Security Council Friday, the OSCE's
 envoy to Ukraine, Heidi Tagliavini, said the
 current situation was now at a "crossroads"..
 where the risk of further escalation remains
 high, despite "encouraging signs."

In Kiev, colleagues mourned the death of photo-
journalist Sergiy Nikolayev from Ukraine's daily
 Segodnya, who died after being hit by a mortar
shell in Pisky, a village not far from Donetsk
airport, which Ukraine's forces ceded to the
 rebels in January.

Nikolayev, 43, succumbed to his injuries along
 with a fighter from ultra-nationalist organization
 Right Sector, late on Saturday.

Having covered conflicts in Somali, Lybia and
 Georgia, "he died as a true war photographer -
at a war," Segodnya editor Olga Guk wrote on
 Sunday, calling him a "fearless professional."

The OSCE's media freedom representative,
Dunja Mujatovic, said that his death was
a "gruesome reminder" of the dire safety
 conditions for journalists covering the
 Ukraine conflict.

 Seven media workers have been killed there
 since last April, according to the Committee
 to Protect Journalists.

With a relative hiatus in fighting on the ground,
 a gas dispute flared up recently, after Russia's
 Gazprom began direct deliveries to the anti-
coup areas in eastern Ukraine --- and then
demanded that Kiev pay for it.

Ukraine's national gas company Naftogas
stopped pumping gas to anti-coup areas
 last month, saying it couldn't deliver due
to a damaged pipeline, but then adding:
that supplies resumed "a few hours" later.

Russian President Vladimir Putin accuses
 Ukraine of perpetrating what smacks of
 "genocide" by denying energy to 4 million
 people living in a humanitarian crisis.

The Kremlin appeared to soften its rhetoric
 however, after the EU unveiled plans for a
continent-wide single energy market, with
 the goal of diversifying the bloc's energy
sources and decreasing its reliance on
 Russian gas.

Monday's talks between the energy ministers
 of Ukraine and Russia together with European
 Commission vice president Maros Sefcovic,
 will attempt to replace the "winter package"
 interim deal mediated by the EU, which
 guaranteed Russian gas supplies in March.

Moscow argues that supplies to the east by-
passing Kiev, fall within current agreements
 and must be bankrolled by Ukraine, but the
 government says it has no control over the
 volume or usage of such supplies, accusing
Gazprom of violating the deal.

Naftogaz hopes to discuss a future "summer"
 agreement and Moscow said last week that
 it will put the issue of supplies to anti-coup
 areas to one side, at the talks.

In the current agreement Kiev must pre-pay
 for all Russian gas. Russia's energy minister
 Alexander Novak warned last week that the
latest payment by Kiev will last only until
 this Tuesday.


Death toll in E. Ukraine passes 6,000
 – UN rights office

Over 6,000 people have died in eastern Ukraine
 since the start of the conflict almost a year ago,
according to the UN human rights office. 100s
of civilians and military personnel were killed in
 recent weeks alone, after an upsurge in fighting,
particularly at Donetsk airport and Debaltsevo,
 AP reports, citing the Geneva-based body.


OSCE in Ukraine: Neither side in conflict
 provides monitors with necessary information

Neither side of the conflict in eastern Ukraine
 provides monitors with all necessary information,
Sputnik quotes Michael Bociurkiw, spokesperson
 of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine
 as saying.

Thus, the Organization for Security & Co-operation
 in Europe’s mission, is unable to fully control the
heavy weaponry withdrawal from the contact line
 in areas of the conflict, according to Bociurkiw.

 In some cases, the monitors were not allowed to
 visit the places of new weaponry dislocation,
Bociurkiw tells Kommersant daily.


Iraq govt announces start of
 operation to retake Tikrit

Iraqi security forces, backed by allied Shiite and
 Sunni fighters, on Monday, began a large-scale
 military operation to recapture Tikrit from the
 Islamic State extremist group, state TV says.

 The battle for Saddam Hussein’s hometown is
 a major step in a campaign to reclaim a large
 swathe of territory in northern Iraq controlled
 by the militants, AP reports.

 The city of Tikrit, 130km north of Baghdad,
 fell into the hands of the Islamic State
 group last summer.


Lavrov: US Destabilizes
 Strategic Balance in the World

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, accuses
 the United States of destabilizing the strategic
balance in the world.

"Today, there are number of factors that affect the
 strategic balance, including the unilateral actions
of the US and allies, which destructively influence
 it," Lavrov says at a non-proliferation conference
 held in Geneva, adding that "such steps under-
mine the prospects for "nuclear zero."

The Russian FM touches on high-precision weapons,
 indicating that they have reached the level of mass
 weapons, and that the leading countries in this field
 will achieve a noticeable military superiority, which
 runs the risk of causing even more instability.

Lavrov expresses concern over the postponement
 of entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-
Test-Ban Treaty, and calls on all nuclear states to
 approve it, pointing out that Russia did so, in 2000.

On non-strategic nuclear weapons, Sergey Lavrov
 highlights that Russia has reduced its arsenal of
 such weapons by three-quarters, and moved all
the bases to inside its territories, adding that his
 country has taken this unprecedented step at a
 time when similar US arms are still deployed in
 Europe, capable of reaching Russian territory.

The result of the last summit in Wales?

Lavrov points out that now, some non-nuclear
NATO states are participating in joint nuclear
 maneuvers and being trained in the use of
nuclear weapons, as they implement the
NATO decisions of last year's summit in
Wales --- breaching the most basic rules
of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.

The Russian diplomat meanwhile, hails the
 findings of the nuclear talks with Iran.


Italy's Lawmakers Call for
 Recognition of Palestinian State

Italian lawmakers back a 'non-binding'
 resolution, encouraging the government
 to recognize Palestine as a state, a move
 that underlines European frustration over
 stalled Middle East peace negotiations.

European countries have become increasingly
 critical of the Zionist entity, which, since the
collapse of the latest US-sponsored talks last
 April has pressed on with building settlements
on territory the Palestinians want for their state.

Italy's Chamber of Deputies voted by 300 to 45
 to pass the motion, introduced by PM Matteo
 Renzi's Democratic Party (PD).

Ireland, the UK & France held similar votes
 in parliament, toward the end of last year.
 Sweden went further, officially recognizing
the state of Palestine.

The Palestinians want an independent state
 in the West Bank and Gaza, with its capital
 in East Jerusalem.

While Gaza's boundaries are clearly defined,
 the precise territory of what would constitute
 Palestine in the West Bank and East Jerusalem
 is to be determined via negotiations with the
 occupation authorities on a two-state solution.


Israeli Blockade Could Delay Gaza
               Reconstruction --- For One Century               
 The reconstruction of Gaza Strip, devastated
 by 50 days of Israeli military aggression, could
be delayed, at the current rate of "progress",
 for 100 years, warn UN agencies today.

The minimum daily number of lorries with
 construction materials needed to build
houses and schools destroyed by Israeli
 bombs between July to August, is 12,000
 per month and since last October, only
1,661 have entered Gaza, says Shelter
Cluster, which is co-chaired by the UN.

Since the 2014-2015
winter started, four
people, three of them recently born, died
 of the cold in Gaza, where over 100,000
buildings were devastated by the Army
 and the Israeli air force.

If the Israeli blockade on Gaza remains the
 same, the situation will not improve. During
 the eight years of the blockade there's been
 a natural growth of the population, but the
 provision of services has remained frozen,
states Oxfam spokesperson in the Gaza
Strip, Arwa Mhanna.

Last year, a donor conference held in Egypt
for Gaza committed up to 5.4 billion dollars
in aid for Gaza reconstruction, but funds are
 difficult, to dropped, and the restrictions of
Israel's government, make the crisis worse.

The situation is further complicated by the
closure of the border crossing between
 Gaza and the Sinai Peninsula, due to the
 increased attacks on army positions and
 Egyptian police there, by armed groups.

Egypt's government accuses Hamas, in
control of Gaza, of supporting the groups,
 one of which, Ansar Beit Al Maqdis, swore
 allegiance to the Islamic State, in October.


University of London SOAS
favors academic boycott of Israel

Students and staff at the SOAS school of the
 University of London have approved an academic
 boycott of Israel, in their week-long referendum.

The Friday vote, open to all students, academics,
 and management, ended with 73% voting for and
 27% against the 'Yes' campaign to boycott Israel.

The voters were asked whether they agreed with
 the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS),
 joining the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions
(BDS) campaign to impose an academic boycott
 on Israel, on the basis of the instructions of the
Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and
 Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI).

The BDS is a global campaign which uses
economic and political pressure on Israel
 to comply with the goals of the movement
 -- the end of Israeli occupation and the
colonization of Palestinian land, full
equality for Arab-Palestinian citizens of
 Israel, & respect for the right of return
 of Palestinian refugees.

The PACBI says the academic boycott of
 Israel is based on the fact that academic
 institutions there are massively complicit
 in Israel’s persistent denial of Palestinian
 rights, including academic freedom and
 the right to education.

The SOAS Students' Union has endorsed
the BDS campaign since 2005. The union
 ratified a motion in October 2014, urging
 its leaders "to take the BDS campaign to
 the university", through a referendum.

Proposals for the academic boycott of Israel
 are inspired by the historic academic boycott
 of the Apartheid regime of South Africa which
 attempted to pressure the regime to end its
 abuse of the majority black inhabitants.

Suggestions for the boycott of Tel Aviv, have
 also been made by academics & organizations
 in other countries, eg South Africa & Australia.

The goal of the boycotts is to isolate Israel in
order to force a change in its oppressive and
 discriminatory policies towards Palestinians.


Turkey to Launch ’Train-and-Equip Program’
 for Syrian Opposition Forces

The train-and-equip program for Syrian
militants will start on March
1st in Turkey, the
Foreign Ministry says.

Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesperson
Tanju Bilgic, adds "I cannot give further
details about the program."

Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu
 had previously mentioned that around 2,000
 Syrian gunmen would take part in a train-
equip program in Turkey early in March.

Cavusoglu said "the aim of the program
is to ensure a political transition and
strengthen the opposition in their fight
against threats such as, extremism,
terrorism and all the elements posing
a threat to the opposition, including
the regime (the national Syrian

Cavusoglu added that other countries,
 such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia, are
 also engaged in similar programs.

His remarks hardly justify the illegal
nature of regime change by force...
the very crime the Nazis were hung
for, at Nurenburg. Still -- after Iraq --
perhaps we're all used to it!

On February 19th, Turkey & the US inked
 a deal to train-&-equip Syrian opposition
 terrorists, Turkish diplomatic sources say.

Syria has been hit by violent unrest
mid-March 2011.

Where are the western media reports
 accusing the US, Turkey & Saudi Arabia,
of illegally orchestrating civil conflict in
the anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian country,
while giving terrorist groups money,
weapons and trained mercenaries..?


Offensive Against Boko Haram
              'Very Efective' in Nigeria               
 The Nigerian Army has recaptured 10 cities
 from the terrorist group Boko Haram, says
 Mike Omeri the government spokesperson.

The cities are Gabchari, Abba Jabari,
 Gajigana, Gajiram, Damakar, Kumaliwa,
 Bosso, Wanti, and Jeram y Karisungul.

The Armed Forces have also recovered
 19 towns, according to this source.

Nigeria's military says that the offensive
 against Takfiri Boko Haram is progressing,
claiming soldiers have recovered stocks
of arms abandoned by insurgents fleeing
 the recaptured towns.

Over one million people have been left
homeless since 2009, as the rebels have
sought to carve out an Islamic state in
 northeastern Nigeria.

The extremists have recently extended
 their violent campaign into nations neigh-
bouring Nigeria's northeast, as regional
 forces pursue them.

Nigerian military forces have support
 from a multi national force from Chad,
 Níger and Camerún.



Ukraine should complete payment for Russian
gas so that March's supplies are not ended, the
Russian Energy Minister, Alexander Novak, says.

"The concerns and worries are caused first of all
by the fact that not much prepaid gas is left. If
there is no money, supplies will stop --- starting
 from Tuesday," Novak says, adding that this is
in line with the agreements reached in Brussels.

"Payment should be completed on Friday so that
 gas is supplied starting from Tuesday," he says.

"If there is no payment there will be a break in gas
 supplies to Ukraine. The European consumers will
fully receive gas," Novak says, adding though, that
 since Kiev has not fully provided for its needs if
Ukraine does not receive gas from Russia, there
are risks that it will siphon off Russian gas.


Emirates Foreign Ministry refutes Kiev's
claims on plans for weaponry exports

An agreement on cooperation in defense
 technologies the UAE and Ukraine signed
 recently does not stipulate any contracts
 for deliveries of weaponry to the Ukrainian
 side, Faraj Faris al-Mazrouei says on Friday.

He says the agreement was only a future
 system of cooperation between the two
 states in the field of defense technologies.

First deputy chief of Ukraine’s National Security
 and Defense Council on Friday said Kiev had
concluded contracts worth hundreds of millions
 of dollars on
both exports & imports of weapons
 at IDEX-2015 exhibition this week in Abu Dhabi.

The official said that the majority of contracts
had been reached with US companies.

Asked if Ukrainian troops will have new lethal
weapons at their disposal, Gladovsky replies:
"We are in contact with the whole world. We
do get lethal weapons."

Earlier this week, Ukraine's President Petro
 Poroshenko announced concluding contracts
 on arms supplies to Ukraine at the IDEX-2015
arms exhibition in the United Arab Emirates.

 "During the IDEX-2015 arms exhibition, Ukraine
 concluded some 20 contracts on arms supplies,"
 he said. According to the president, European,
 American and Middle Eastern companies will
 supply defensive weapons to Ukraine.


‘100yrs to repair Gaza’: Oxfam says
 (blockade remains, aid almost non-existent)

Reconstructing Gaza could take a full century,
 if Israel doesn’t stop the siege, leading charity
 Oxfam warns. And that’s just the time frame for
essential projects. The NGO’s regional director
calls the situation “deplorable.”

Six months after the latest conflict, which saw
Israel roll out Operation Protective Edge, with
 eight weeks of bombardment, followed by a
 devastating ground assault, Oxfam’s states:

 “The situation in Gaza is becoming increasingly
 desperate” and calls for the lifting of the 8-year
 blockade, and a continuation of peace talks...

“Only an end to the blockade of Gaza will ensure
people can rebuild their lives,” Regional Director
Catherine Essoyan says. With the seige stopping
 the flow of construction materials in & agricultural
produce out, this is having a crippling effect on
 the lives of Palestinians.

According to the NGO, new figures reveal a drop
 last month in construction materials, which are
 vital to the efforts. "Less than 0.25 percent of
the loads of essential construction materials
 needed have entered Gaza in the past three
 months," the statement adds.

In pure figures, over 800,000 truckloads of
such materials are still required to repair
 the infrastructure damaged in last summer’s
 operation alone - Israel’s bloodiest in years -
 which claimed 2,200 Palestinian lives, most
 of them civilians.

About 100,000 people still live in shelters and
 other makeshift or temporary accommodation
 because of this lack of materials.

“Tens of thousands more are living in badly
damaged homes,” Oxfam adds.

“Families have been living in homes without roofs,
 walls or windows for the past six months. Many
have just six hours of electricity a day and are
without running water. Every day that people
are unable to build is putting more lives at risk.
It is utterly deplorable that the international
community is once again failing the people of
Gaza when they need it most,” she continues.

“Exports of agricultural produce from Gaza have
 fallen in the last year to just 2.7% of the level
before the blockade was imposed. Fishermen
 are still restricted to an enforced fishing limit
 of 6 nautical miles – far short of where most
fish are – farmers are also restricted from
 accessing much of the most fertile farmland.”

The charity continues to provide water, food
 vouchers and health services, where it can.

In the meantime no progress has been reached
 on a diplomatic, long-term solution to the crisis
--- supposed to take effect after the ceasefire.

As the separation between the Gaza Strip and
 the West Bank persists, people continue to
be trapped. The same goes for the border with
 Egypt, which has been shut for the past two
 months, preventing thousands from leaving.

The organization also places blame on the
 Palestinian unity government, which has
not been able to reach a consensus and
 is therefore “exacerbating the situation.”


Chinese diplomat teaches USA about Ukraine:

Western nations should heed Russia's legitimate
 security concerns over the volatile situation in
 Ukraine, a top Chinese diplomat says, in a rare
 public statement on a crisis that has damaged
 relations between Russia and the West.

Qu Xing, China's ambassador to Belgium, says
 the Ukraine crisis occurred due to an ongoing
 “game” between Russia and the West, which
 has not abated despite, or because of, the
collapse of the Soviet Union.

Saying that outside interference by various
powers has inflamed the Ukraine situation,
he says Moscow naturally feels threatened
-- unless the Western powers engage in a
 more constructive approach.

Xing advises the Western powers to “abandon
 the zero-sum mentality” in their efforts to deal
 with Moscow and the Ukraine crisis and “take
 the real security concerns of Russia into
 consideration," Reuters reports, quoting
 state news agency Xinhua.

China in the past has urged all parties
 to sit down and negotiate for peace.

China's ambassador, whose Brussels office
 is in the same city as NATO’s headquarters,
offers some insight as to what is motivating
 the United States on the international stage,
and what could lead to its possible decline.

“The US is unwilling to see its presence in
part of the world being weakened, but
the fact
is, its resources are limited, and it
will be --- to
some extent --- hard work to
sustain its
influence in external affairs,”
he is quoted
as saying.

Xing says Washington's involvement in
could “become a distraction
in its foreign policy.”

The Chinese diplomat’s words represent a
sharp departure from the relentless wave

of hostile rhetoric coming from the West,
 which has gone to great lengths to blame
 Russia as the aggressor in the crisis.

Russia has been accused of arming eastern
 Ukrainian militias and dispatching soldiers
 and armaments as reinforcements – claims
 Moscow has denied on numerous occasions.


Mariupol not being attacked: Militia news

The DPR’s Army "invaded" Pavlopol & Pischevik
as part of a plan to take Mariupol city, said the
West's apologists in the media recently.

French leader Hollande barked "more sanctions"
on Russia, if the militia's tried to march further...

What really happened...

The militias of the DPR’s Army came into Pavlopol
 and Pischevik, settlements in the southern front,
 near Mariupol, because they were neutral earlier,
 and then fighters of the punitive battalion Azov,
 announced their attack on Novoazovsk, then
took Pavlopol, Shirokino and Kominternovo.

Kiev's forces came into these settlements
and hoisted their flags, taking advantage
of the sharpening situation in Debaltsevo.

Ukraine's mass media presented this as a
 great victory. However, when the Army of
 Novorossia counterattacked, the Nazis fled.


Zionist Settlers Torch
Jerusalem Church Building

Zionist settlers set fire to a church-owned building
 in Jerusalem overnight; a day after a Mosque near
 Bethlehem was also torched by Zionist terrorists.

The vandals torched an annexe of a Greek Orthodox
 seminary just outside the walls of the Old City, and
 scrawled "graffiti insulting Jesus", Israeli occupation
 police spokesperson Luba Samri says, describing it
 as a "nationalist" attack.

There were no casualties and the fire was put out
 before causing any significant damage, she adds.

On Wednesday, a mosque near Bethlehem in the
 southern West Bank was set alight and anti-Arab
 slogans in Hebrew sprayed on a nearby wall.

Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erakat says
 the perpetrators of the incidents are terrorists,
 and he blames Israel's government for inciting
attacks by “continuing its illegal occupation &
colonization based on distorted religious claims."

The United Nations has warned such incidents
could "inflame an already volatile environment."

Both incidents bear the hallmarks of so-called
"price tag" attacks, which generally target
 Palestinians, but have increasingly also hit
 Christian and Muslim places of worship.


    Belarus Condemns Coup Attempt in Venezuela   

The Foreign Ministry of Belarus condemns
   attempts to destabilize Venezuela and the
 plans outlined abroad to overthrow elected
constitutional president, Nicolas Maduro.

Spokesperson for the Foreign ministry, Dmitri
 Mironchik, tells Prensa Latina news agency
 by 'phone, that they have heard the news
about the attempt to destabilize Venezuela
 with deep concern and alarm.

On February 12th, Maduro denounced the
 attempted coup in his country by extreme
 right-wing groups, coordinated from abroad.

He expresses Belarus' firm condemnation of
aggressive actions that seek violent change
  and are against the Constitution and Maduro.

Mironchik says that political dialogue should
be held strictly under the Constitution and the
 order established in Venezuela, where more
 than 15 years ago, the Bolivarian Revolution
 led by late President Hugo Chavez took place
 & is supported by a majority of the population.

Mironchik says he chose Prensa Latina
 agency to issue his statement, so that the
 support of his country for the Venezuelan
 Government and its people can be known
throughout Latin America & the Caribbean.

Obama Incited Bloodshed in Venezuela

The US special services together with their
 “assistants” from Canada and Great Britain
 tried again to stage a coup in Venezuela.

 In the middle of February, Venezuelan President
Nicolas Maduro said the state's security services
 frustrated the plans of the US embassy, and put
 an end to its hostile actions. As a result, a number
 of people were arrested, including Venezuelan air
force officers & activists of the radical opposition.

 The subversive activities were guided by Western
 diplomatic missions. The names of those behind
 the plot are known but they cannot be brought
to justice, as they are protected by 'diplomatic


War with Boko Haram will
soon be over: Nigeria army

The head of Nigeria's Army, Lt Gen Kenneth
 Minimah, says that the war against Takfiri
 Boko Haram militants, will soon end.

He makes the comments Thursday, as he
visits soldiers in Baga, a fishing town on the
 shore of Lake Chad in the far north of Borno
 State, in northeast Nigeria.

Nigeria’s military said on February 21st, that
 it had regained control of Baga from the Boko
Haram extremist group, which had overrun
 the town on January 3rd.

“The war is almost ended. We will liberate
 Dikwa, Bama, Gwoza, Marte --- and other
places --- in a few days’ time,” Minimah
tells the troops.

His comments come amid efforts by Nigeria
 and other regional countries, to secure and
 stabilize the volatile region before Nigeria’s
 general elections, on March 28th.

The vote was initially scheduled to take place
 on February 14th, but was postponed for six
 weeks over security concerns on polling day.

President Goodluck Jonathan and his ruling
 People’s Democratic Party (PDP) have been
 accused of buying time to revitalize their
 election campaign.

Minimah, meanwhile, describes the 6 week
 deadline as “achievable,” adding, “We are
still within the timeframe.”

Boko Haram, whose name means “Western
 education is forbidden,” says that its goal
 is to overthrow the Nigerian government.

It has claimed responsibility for a number
of deadly shooting attacks and bombings
in various parts of Nigeria since the start
 of its activities in 2009, which have left
over 13,000 people dead.

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for
Refugees (UNHCR), says 650,000 Nigerians
 have fled their homes over the Boko Haram
violence and are displaced inside Nigeria,
while thousands of others have taken
refuge in neighboring countries.


Kiev says started withdrawing
 weapons from eastern Ukraine

Kiev says it has started the withdrawal of
heavy weapons from the frontline in east
 Ukraine, as part of the Minsk ceasefire
deal with anti-coup, self defence forces.

“Ukraine is today (Thursday), beginning
 the withdrawal of 100-mm cannons from
 the front-line,” states Ukraine's military.

“This is the first step in the pullback of heavy
 weapons and will be carried out exclusively
under the supervision and verification of the
 OSCE (Organization for Security and
Cooperation in Europe),” the statement adds.

 Self defence forces have announced that
 they have already begun pulling back their
heavy weapons, including tanks & rocket
launchers, from the conflict zone.

Earlier on Thursday, military officials of the
self-proclaimed republic of Donetsk stated
 that 30 bodies of Ukrainian soldiers have
been retrieved from the rubble of Donetsk
 airport buildings, in eastern Ukraine.

Four other bodies were also discovered
 on Wednesday, the officials add.

“They will be taken to the morgue and work
 will begin to find their relatives,” the military
 of the self-proclaimed republic, states.

Donetsk airport was the scene of deadly
clashes between the Ukrainian army and
 self defence forces, before the ceasefire
 deal was signed.


UN: Yemen’s Saleh Stole Up to $60bn

Ousted Yemeni dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh
 amassed and transferred billions of dollars
 out of the world’s most impoverished Arab
country through “corrupt practices”, a UN
 panel says.

In a report to the UN Security Council released
 on Wednesday, the UN experts say the money,
 between $32 billion and $60 billion, was made
 corruptly, during his 33-year rule over Yemen.

The experts say the money was stashed in at
 least 20 countries, and they're continuing an
 investigation to find those who abetted the
 former dictator.

"The origin of the funds used to generate Ali
Abdullah Saleh's wealth, is believed to be
partly from his corrupt practices as Yemen's
president, particularly relating to gas and oil
 contracts where he reportedly asked for cash
 in exchange for granting companies exclusive
 rights to prospect for gas and oil in Yemen,"
 the report says.

Saleh pocketed nearly $2 billion per year over
 the past three decades, the report concludes.

"It is also alleged that Ali Abdullah Saleh, his
 friends, his family and his associates stole
money from the fuel subsidy program, which
uses up to 10% of Yemen's gross domestic
 product, as well as other ventures involving
 abuse of power, extortion and embezzlement."

Many officials interviewed by the experts
 have called for a return of the money to
the impoverished country.

"Many have argued that the country's
spiraling debt and economic problems
would be alleviated with a repatriation
 of these alleged stolen assets."


France warns Russia to face more EU
 sanctions 'if Mariupol, Ukraine, attacked'

Moscow will face more EU sanctions if self-defense
forces in eastern Ukraine attack Ukraine’s port of
Mariupol, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius
says, on Wednesday.

The deputy commander of self-defense forces
 in Donetsk, Eduard Basurin, on Tuesday denied
 Kiev’s statement that there are serious clashes
 in villages near Mariupol. He said there had
been provocations from the Ukrainian side, but
 no major incidents, Reuters reports.


US armour parades 300m from Russian border

NATO member Estonia has held a military parade
 in the border town of Narva, just 300 metres from
 the Russian border.

 Tallinn is a long-time critic of Moscow, which it
 accuses of having an aggressive policy towards
 the Baltic nation.

The military parade was dedicated to Estonia's
 Independence Day. Chief military commander
Lt. Gen. Riho Terras, headed the troops, as
President Toomas Hendrik Ilves reviewed them.

140+ pieces of NATO military hardware took
 part in the parade, including four US armored
 personnel carriers M1126 Stryker, flying the

Another foreign nation, the Netherlands, provided
 four Swedish-made Stridsfordon 90 tracked combat
 vehicles (designated CV9035NL Mk III by the Dutch).

Estonia also showed off its howitzers, anti-tank
 and anti-aircraft weapons, armored vehicles and
other hardware. Over 1,400 troops also marched
the streets of Narva.

The parade snubs Estonia's eastern neighbour,
 Russia, whom it accuses of pushing aggressive
 policies in Eastern Europe. Estonia's government
is among several who accuse Russia of waging
 a secret war against Ukraine, by supplying arms
and troops to anti-Kiev forces in the east.

Moscow denies the accusations, insisting that
 the post-coup government in Kiev alienated its
 own people in the east and started a civil war
instead of resolving differences via dialogue.

NATO seized the Ukrainian conflict as an
opportunity to argue for a military build-up
 in Eastern Europe, supposedly to deter a
 Russian threat. The three Baltic States
are among the most vocal proponents of
 this policy.

Russia sees it as yet more proof that NATO
 is an anti-Russian military bloc that has
 been moving towards Russia's border and
 compromising its national security.

The Estonian government defends its right
 to hold any military maneuvers it wants in
 its territory.

“Narva is a part of NATO no less than New
York or Istanbul, and NATO defends every
square meter of its territory,” Estonian PM
 Taavi Rõivas says in the capital, Tallinn.

Historically Narva was the focus of centuries
 of confrontation between Russia and Sweden,
when the two nations fought for dominance
 in the region. The city changed hands several
 times and ended up under Russian control in
 1704, serving as a military outpost for decades.

The city was again contested in the wake
 of the Bolshevik revolution of 1917, and the
dissolution of the Russian Empire it triggered.

 Narva took turns between being governed by
 a self-proclaimed Estonian Republic and being
occupied by German troops and the Red Army,
 until eventually becoming Estonian again under
 a peace treaty between Estonia and Russia.

It then changed hands between Nazi Germany
and the Soviet Union along with the rest of the
 Baltics during World War II and went on to be
part of an independent Estonia in 1991.

The city has a large number of ethnic Russians
 and a strong pro-autonomy movement, with
 some Estonian politicians fearing that it could
 be exploited now, by Russia, to sow dissent.

Commenting on the issue in an interview with
the Washington Post, President Ilves says that
seeing Narva as a potentially separatist region
“is stupid.”


Ukraine buying arms from the UAE?

Ukraine's government has approved a draft
 agreement with the government of the United
Arab Emirates on military-technical cooperation,
 Ukraine's political weekly Novoe Vremya reports.

Counselor of Ukrainian Interior Minister Anton
Herashchenko wrote on his Facebook page: 

"Arabs, unlike Europeans and Americans, don't
fear Putin’s threat to launch a Third World War
 if Ukraine is supplied with armaments and
 military equipment.

 "They must owe Russia a grudge on an almost
double oil price drop and the global instability,
hindering long-term development of the UAE.
 Thus this will be a small revenge on their part".

On February 23rd, Russian President Vladimir
Putin told a federal TV journalist interviewing
him that war in Ukraine shouldn't be expected.
 “In my opinion such an Apocalyptic scenario
is hardly possible”, he said.

EU countries refuse to supply armaments
 to Ukraine, and the US government is still
considering this issue. On February 21st,
 US Secretary of State John Kerry, stated
 that President of the USA Barack Obama
will decide on the provision of aid to
 Ukraine in the form of armaments,
 in the nearest future.

 On February 17th, Kiev was reported to
 have sent a list of military equipment it
 needed, to Washington.


40% Rise in new West Bank
Zionist Settlement Homes in 2014

The number of new homes under construction
 in Zionist settlements, in the Israel-occupied
 West Bank, rose last year by 40%, Peace Now
 anti-settlements group says.


End Demanded to Israeli Apartheid
                 System in Occupied Palestine               
 Judicial and government authorities and
political and social activists from forty
states, demand an end to the apartheid
system being imposed by Israel on the
occupied Palestinian territories of the
West Bank and East Jerusalem.

At the International Forum for Justice in
Palestine, held in Beirut this weekend,
participants denounced the persistence
of "an official and institutionalized
 regime of two separate legal systems
on ethical-national bases".

The criticisms of Tel Aviv are based on the
 systematic violation of international law,
 with the policy of settlements expansion
 in the heart of the occupied territories by
 building houses for Israeli citizens, who
are, by preference, Jews.

That, according to a report presented at the
 Forum, has led to systematic discrimination
- based on norms and laws that affect every
 aspect of the lives of Palestinian residents
 in the West Bank.

In international humanitarian law, occupying
 powers do not have the authority to set up
 "non-military or political courts appropriately
established" to try residents from occupied
territories for offenses against security and
 public order.

But from the beginning of the occupation
 of the Arab territories in 1967, specifically
in the West Bank and Gaza, the Zionist
 regime has created military courts with
jurisdiction to try any person accused of
 committing crimes against Israeli security.

Israeli military courts can try any person,
 resident or not, on occupied territories,
 but, almost without exception, they've
 only tried Palestinians, activists say.

Lawyers, including former US Attorney
 General Ramsey Clark, ministers, MPs,
 and other personalities with political
and social influence, call to set up an
 International Permanent Council, to
follow up on the defense of Palestine.

They recall that the 780-meter-long wall
 built by Israel in the West Bank, under the
 pretext of security, became another form
 of segregation or apartheid that led to the
 annexation of over 10% of the land in the
 West Bank --- and deprived Palestinian
 farmers of their land and water.

What many call a "wall of shame" left over
 10,000 Palestinians living in communities
trapped between the wall and the so-called
 Green Line, and this directly affects over
680,000 people, accounting for 30% of the
population of the West Bank, experts recall.


 Heavy weapons being withdrawn in
 E. Ukraine starting Tuesday – militia

Self-defense forces in Donetsk and Lugansk
 will begin the withdrawal of heavy weapons
 from the frontline in east Ukraine, on Feb 24,
 says the deputy commander of the Donetsk
Defense Ministry, Eduard Basurin. He adds
 that the process will be “fully transparent”
 and “under OSCE observation.” 

Basurin also confirms that over 30 pieces
of heavy artillery have already been pulled
 out, as of Monday.

 Earlier, Kiev’s military & the defence militia
 in eastern Ukraine, announced they would
 withdraw heavy weapons from the frontline
 after Saturday’s exchange of 191 prisoners.

 The process is to be completed by March
the 7th, under the terms of the truce.


'Normandy 4' FMs meet
 in Paris Tuesday – Kiev

The foreign ministers of the 'Normandy Four'
 group - Ukraine, Russia, France, and Germany
 - are discussing implementation of the Minsk
 agreement and withdrawal of heavy weapons
 on Tuesday, at a meeting in Paris, according
 to statements broadcast by Ukrainian Foreign
Ministry spokesperson, Andrey Perebiynis.

 He expresses hope that the meeting will help
 achieve implementation of the agreement.


Head of DPR Zakharchenko congratulated
 the nation on Defender of Fatherland day

Head of the DPR Aleksandr Zakharchenko
 appealed to the nation on this occasion:

“Dear fellow citizens, the inhabitants of
 Donbass, glorious warriors of Donetsk
 People’s Republic!

I heartily congratulate you on the Day of
 Defender of the Fatherland! The sons of
Donetsk land have always been known
 for their bravery and heroism.

 Legends are being told about their feats
 of arms. The glorious traditions of home-
land defense are being passed from one
generation to another – the traditions of
 the warrior-nation, the victorious nation –
 in the course of the most terrible battles
 of the Great Patriotic War, as well as in
 the course of carrying out international
 duties in Afghanistan and in the course
defending the frontiers of Donetsk
 People’s Republic.

The holiday we are going to celebrate is
one more reason to feel the incessant
consistency of our traditions.

 On this day we congratulate all those who
 are in the line of duty, who, while risking
 their lives, are protecting the security of
 our mothers & fathers, our children and
 all the peaceful citizens of the Republic.

Today our enemies enter into negotiations
 with us. They fear us and respect us as a
 force they have to regard. This is your
 achievement, first of all.

However at the same time, we bow our heads
 to those who gave their lives for their Father-
land. We mourn all those who perished in the
battles for the future flourishing of Donetsk

 People’s Republic.

Their heroic dead will always
stay in the
memory of our people. And our duty

 is to never forget them.

I want to wish every defender of our fatherland
strong health, well-being, happiness to your
 nearest and dearest, and, most of all, peace
 in our land!”


Ukrainian troopers in Artemovsk:
“Poroshenko is lying!”

Sources in Artemovsk report that remnants
 of Ukrainian units, having “broken through”
from the Debaltsevo cauldron — there are
about 1000 of them, more than one third of
 the troopers wounded and shell-shocked —
are on the brink of rebellion.

 Ukrainian troopers claim that they have
 been betrayed, and Petro Poroshenko is
 personally responsible for this betrayal.

The tragedy of the “breakthrough” from
 the cauldron occurred thus, reports
Novorossia Today:

On February 17th, the commander of
 the 128th Transcarpathian independent
 mountain infantry division, Colonel Sergey
 Shaptalo, entered into negotiations with
 the commanders of units of the DPR and
 LPR Army storming Debaltsevo.

 At that moment, Sergey Shaptalo was the
most senior officer of Kiev's Armed Forces
 in the cauldron, as all the top command
sector “S”, fled from the “non-existent”
 pocket one week before.  According to
 the troopers, Shaptalo negotiated the
of 128th brigade --- in trucks with
light firearms.

 However, in the course of implementing
 the agreement, he tried, under pressure
from Kiev, to withdraw with a convoy of
 armoured vehicles.

 It so happened that the staff column
and approximately half the personnel
 passed freely & the second and third
convoys of armoured vehicles, the
"separatists" smashed into pieces.

As a result of the 128th brigade's retreat,
 units of the DPR and LPR Armies practically
 eliminated the Debaltsevo cauldron, having
 captured without fighting, for instance, the
locality of Olkhovatka, in which Kiev's Army
left several dozen armoured vehicles and
  many artillery pieces.

 According to different estimates made by
the troopers who retreated to Artemovsk,
 about 3000 men were left in the cauldron
after their retreat. Most probably, they'd
already surrendered to the militiamen.

Also, during the march on Artemovsk,
about 300 troopers from 128th brigade
 and other units, surrendered to the
DPR Army of their own accord.

The spirit of the Ukrainian soldiers who'd
 broken through the cauldron in Artemovsk
low, and it got still lower after the
arrival of Petro Poroshenko in Artemovsk,
who in a rush, posed with the task force
 (those who left with the staff unhindered)
then praised the wise army command,
who had
“saved” people from the

Troopers took his speech as equivocal,
since they had been lied to constantly
 over the course of the last two weeks:
 they weren't told they'd been encircled,
they experienced food shortages, they
 were abandoned by almost all their
 commanders, and -- to crown it all --
on the march out, the commanders
 had, bluntly, violated an agreement
militia to save Poroshenko’s
 image, which led to heavy losses.

Artemovsk hospitals are full of wounded
 soldiers. They brought about 100 bodies
with them and no one knows how many
 dead troopers were left lying in the fields.
 Different figures are presented — from
 150, to one thousand.

Semyon Semenchenko has became the
popular figure among Ukrainian
as he is “the only one who
tells the truth”.

 On the whole, the troops are disorganized
 and demoralized; they openly disobey their
 commanders and curse them to their face;
rumours are circulating about the deserters
 who shot several Security Service agents
 on the road to Kramatorsk yesterday.

Perhaps such sentiments will herald the
 start of the end of Kiev's Armed Forces,
 as an organized military force.


Ukraine army puts off withdrawal
 of heavy weapons from frontline of conflict

The Ukrainian Defense Ministry says the army will
 not withdraw heavy weapons along the frontline in
 the east, as long as a full ceasefire with anti-coup
 forces has not come into force.

“As long as pro-Russians continue firing at (our)
 soldiers’ positions, we can't talk of withdrawing
 heavy weapons,” Defense Ministry spokesperson,
 Vladislav Seleznyov, says in Kiev, on Monday.

 Military spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Anatoliy
 Stelmakh, tells reporters:- no weapons withdrawal
 will begin until pro-Moscow forces stand down and
 their attacks stop "entirely".

Stelmakh adds that there were 2 artillery attacks
 overnight:- “as long as firing on Ukrainian military
 positions continues... it is not possible to talk
about a pullback.”

Colonel Valentyn Fedichev, deputy commander
of military operations against anti-coup forces,
 says there have been 27 attacks against Kiev's
 forces over the past 24 hours, adding, “If the
 enemy continues to use their heavy weapons,
 it's clear that Ukraine will continue to counter-
act these operations.”

Meanwhile, OSCE spokesperson, Michael
 Bocuirkiw, says monitors have seen heavy
weapons movements by both sides, but
cannot yet determine whether weapons
are being withdrawn, or just redeployed.


Crimea to prosecute Poroshenko
 over reintegration remarks

The Republic of Crimea says it will put Ukrainian
 President Petro Poroshenko on trial for his remarks
 about bringing the region back under Kiev’s rule.

"We pledged to convene a military tribunal in Crimea
 for Poroshenko and, believe us, we will deliver on
 our pledge. We will bring him here and try him,"
says Crimea’s Prime Minister Sergey Valeryevich
 Aksyonov in the region’s administrative centre,
Simferopol, on Monday.

Noting that Crimea’s territorial status won't change
 under any circumstances, Aksyonov adds, "Crimea
 will never return to Ukraine. Crimea has returned to
 its home country, the Russian Federation, forever."

Earlier in the day, Poroshenko vowed
to restore Crimea to Ukrainian territory:

"The Ukrainian state will regain control over this
 temporarily occupied territory. I am not saying
 that this will be a simple thing to do, which we
 will go through quickly. But this will happen by
all means,” he said in Ukraine's capital Kiev.

"Ukraine will never give up its sovereign right
 to Crimea and will defend the rights of the
people who live there. The Ukrainian leader-
ship, politicians & civil society have reached
 a complete consensus on this. We enjoy
absolute support for this course from other
 states and from international organizations,"
 he added.

In March 2014, Ukraine’s Black Sea peninsula
 of Crimea joined the Russian Federation after
 a referendum, in a move which greatly frayed
Moscow-Kiev ties.

Relations were strained further after Ukraine
 launched military operations in mid-April 2014
 to silence anti-coup protests in the country’s
 regions in eastern Ukraine.

Kiev, the US and the European Union accuse
 Moscow of involvement in the chaotic situation
in eastern Ukraine and have imposed a series of
sanctions against Russian & pro-Russia figures.

Moscow, however, rejects the accusation and
has retaliated with sanctions of its own.


    Ex Ukrainian Premier Azarov
                  Calls for Parallel Government               
 Former Prime Minister Nikolai Azarov is said
 to be ready now to gather opposition forces
 capable of counteracting the current regime
 in Kiev, on the first anniversary of the coup
 that changed the course of Ukraine.

Azaron, who was prime minister in 2010-2014,
 makes his remarks inn the program "The Right
 to Know" of the Russian TV Centre channel,
 on the first anniversary of the events in Kiev
 which overthrew President Viktor Yanukovich.

"I am ready to meet with professionally able
 people, with knowledge and experience, to
create this type of group, able to confront
 the anti-Ukrainian regime," says Azarov.

He refers to the formation of what he calls
 a government "in exile" that represents the
 interests of the opposition, which, he says,
 was forced to abandon their country in the
 wake of the coup of February 22, 2014 that
 was backed by ultranationalists, and the
main body of oligarchs.

He insists on the need to create this type
 of representative body that can offer the
 Ukrainian people an alternative viewpoint
 and design a concept for development for
 the country.

Azarov says that the country has gone
through "a difficult period during which
 the Ukrainian state and a great country,
has collapsed."


Half Kiev’s forces in east Ukraine
 killed by poor kit, friendly fire - media

At least a half of the Ukrainian military’s losses
 during the conflict in east Ukraine were caused
 by poor kit and friendly fire, The Sunday Times

The paper cites a former UK soldier who resigned
 to become an instructor of the Ukrainian National
 Guard in May 2014.

The 40-year-old, a naturalised Briton of Ukrainian
 descent who had served in Afghanistan and the
 Middle East, says Ukraine’s forces, largely made
up of volunteers and conscripts, suffered major
 casualties because of the frequent incidents of
 friendly fire and the mishandling of weapons,
 according to the paper.

He says the Ukrainian army's string of defeats,
 including last week’s fall of Debaltsevo, where
 Ukrainian troops were trapped by the Donbas
militia, was mainly due to a failure of command
and a lack of skills and discipline.

"Six out of 10 casualties with the Ukrainian
 volunteers occur, because of blue-on-blue
shooting [the army term for friendly fire] &
 the inability to handle weapons," says the
man, who gives only his nom-de-guerre,
Saffron, the paper says.


Weapons pullout in east Ukraine to start
 on Feb. 24 - Donetsk Republic’s Defense Ministry

Work began on Sunday for the Kiev military and
the self-defense fighters of the Donetsk and

 Luhansk People’s Republics, to pull out all their
heavy weaponry from the delimitation line, DPR
 Defense Ministry spokesperson Eduard Basurin
 said by 'phone on Sunday.

"The pullout was expected to start three days
 ago but nuances were determined and now all
 the sides have agreed & decided that February
 22nd will mark a two-week countdown for the
 weaponry withdrawal," he says, adding that
 Kiev's military had also agreed to start the
heavy weaponry pullout from Sunday.

The weaponry withdrawal will last about two
weeks "as prescribed in the Minsk accords,"
 the spokesperson says.

"Preparatory works are under way. Tomorrow
 will be a holiday and the process of weaponry
pullout, will really start from February 24."

Under a package of measures signed by the
 Contact Group on February 12th, the Ukraine
 army will withdraw weaponry from the actual
 engagement line, while DPR and LPR militias
 will pull out weapons from the line defined by
 the Minsk memorandum.

The ceasefire regime in Donbas officially came
 into force from 01:00 am Moscow time (00:00
 hours Kiev time) on February 15th.


Authorities of the DPR and LPR provide
 access to Debaltsevo for OSCE Sunday

The authorities of the Donetsk & Lugansk
People’s Republics were ready to provide
access to
the town to OSCE monitors on
Sunday, say
the authorized representatives
of the DPR
& LPR at the Minsk talks, Denis
and Vladislav Deynego.

‘We don't yet know the amount of cars and
monitors going to visit Debaltsevo, but we
 are ready to take them all’, he pointed out.


Kiev Ambassador to Germany:
 Neo-Nazis Are Part of Our Forces.
Ukraine’s ambassador to Germany, Andriy Melnyk
 (a Western Ukrainian from Lvov), made a shocking
 statement on Günther Jauch’s TV show, one of
the most popular political talk shows in Germany.

Answering a question on the large presence
 of “strange people with SS insignia” in the
Ukrainian Army, Melnyk admitted that Azov
and Right Sector neo-Nazis are a part of
Ukraine's armed forces, that they are
 controlled and coordinated by Kiev’s pro-
Western regime and that, without them,
 “the Russian army” would have
 advanced much further.


Alternative General Staff of Ukraine's Army
 poses threat to country, Europe - experts

The setting up of an alternative General Staff
 for Ukraine's Armed Forces, after the defeat
 at Dabaltsevo, is now proposed by neo-nazi
 units, who blame inept top commanders of
 the Armed Forces.

This is leading Ukraine to "an oligarchic coup"
 in favour of Ukraine’s political warmongers,
 experts believe.

On Thursday, the commander of the Donbas
 battalion, Verkhovna Rada deputy, Semyon
 Semenchenko, made public a plan to set up
 a Unified Staff of Ukrainian Volunteer Forces
 with its headquarters in Dnipropetrovsk.

A memorandum on the motion was signed
 by the representatives of 13 battalions &
 public associations, including 5 warlords
 and the leader of the radical nationalist
 Right Sector movement, Dmitry Yarosh.

According to the organizers, the staff of
volunteer battalions will be a centre for
"coordination, exchange of intelligence,
 and the drafting of operational plans"
to be handed "later on" to the General
 Staff of the Armed Forces.

"Events of the past few months, and
 especially of the past several weeks,
 have shown the inability of people
 at the General Staff, to control and
 coordinate the Ukrainian troops
 appropriately," Semenchenko wrote.

 He called on President Petro Poroshenko
 to change the top commanders in the
General Staff.

Semenchenko, after a bad reaction to his
 initial Internet posting, rushed to disprove
accusations that the "volunteer forces"
staff he was about to set up with Yarosh,
 would pressurise Poroshenko, or order
violence against the present authorities.

He promised to obey the orders of
government agencies.

"One-man command is the cornerstone
element for the defense capability of
any country," Dr. Sivkov, head of the
Academy of Geopolitical Problems says.

"The setting up of a parallel ‘general staff’
 in Dnipropetrovsk, proves that the system
 of control over Ukraine's Armed Forces
 is collapsing, and that the ‘volunteer
detachments’ have totally stopped
 reporting to the Supreme Commander,
personalized by President Poroshenko,
and to the country’s Defense Minister."

"Standing behind this new 'General Staff,
 are the Ukrainian oligarchs, with Mr Igor
Kolomoisky, governor of Dnipropetrovsk
 region, at the head," Dr. Sivkov says.

 "Kolomoisky, whom Russian Investigators
 have placed on an international wanted
list in connection with a case on the use
 of prohibited instruments and methods of
warring, propelled the field commanders
 to the Verkhovna Rada."

"In other words, the oligarchs are setting
 up a strike fist in a struggle to reconfigure
 all state power in Ukraine in favour of the
 ‘party of war’, alongside with the (existing)
 centre of political influence," he believes.

"It’s all too obvious that the initiative for
an alternative ‘general staff’ emerged after
 the operation the pro-Kiev forces had been
 conducting near Debaltsevo, collapsed.

 This aims at revenge, at a continuation of
 the civil war in Donbas, in violation of the
 agreements on a ceasefire & the pullout
of weapons reached in Minsk on February
the 12th," Dr. Sivkov says.

Col-General Leonid Ivashov, president of
 the International Centre for Geopolitical
 Analysis, believes the setting up of a
parallel "general staff" really means
"Farewell Ukraine".

"An uncanny radical force, the Right Sector,
and the field commanders of paramilitary
‘volunteer’ units, have now spoken out in
defence of the narrowly egotistic interests
 of the oligarchs," he says.

"But if you take account of the fact that this
 force is well-organized and armed, and that
 it has heavy armaments at its disposal, it
will be tearing the state and society apart,"
Gen Ivashov says.

"Demands for the resignation of the top
commanding officers of the General Staff
 will be followed by attempts on the part
 of the parallel staff to dislodge the
Supreme Commander," he says.

 "Ukraine will be pushed into turbulence,
 with everyone warring against everyone.

"Europe may bump into a situation like
the Middle East, gripped by the unruly
 and uncontrollable Isis, which it has
already bumped into," the expert says.

"The surfacing of an alternative ‘general
staff’ in Ukraine exposes a practical split
 between Poroshenko & Kolomoisky, who
 is trying to turn the battalions he finances
 into his own army," says A. Khramchikhin,
 deputy director of the Institute for Political
 and Military Analysis."

"Initially, this quasi-army was knocked to-
gether to suppress revolt in the east of
Ukraine, but now it will be spearheaded
 at the ‘party of peace’ in Kiev," he says.

"The rise of this parallel centre of political
 and power-wielding influence, carries a
threat to Ukraine’s existence within its
 current border & its transformation into
 a semblance of Somalia, where two de
facto states and several illicit zones
exist at the same time," he says.

"The problem is, the dismantling of a
state in the centre of Europe, will pose
a threat to the entire continent --- with
totally unpredictable consequences."


Russian Civil Defense Delivers
               Humanitarian Aid to Donbass               
 More than 200 tons in humanitarian aid have
 been delivered by the ministry for Emergency
 Situations of Russia to the people of Donetsk
& Lugansk, in an unprecedentedly fast time.

This fifteenth delivery since August 2014, in
over 30 lorries, consists of food and medicine
 for the populations of the cities most affected
 by the humanitarian crisis, says Oleg Voronov,
deputy head of the National Centre for critical

The aid will be distributed to the inhabitants of
 Donetsk and Lugansk, as well as Debaltsevo,
 say sources in the regions.

The local civil defense says that the aid was
 organized in record time, with extraordinary
 speed, by Russia's PM, Dmitry Medvedev.

Medvedev is asking the Ministry of Energy
 and Gazprom to present a proposal on the
 "humanitarian supply" of gas to Donbass,
as Kiev's gas cuts to these regions in a
harsh winter, have left many without heat.


Ex-NATO Chief: “Our Allies
 Funded ISIL to Fight Hezbollah”

A former US General admits that the Takfiri
 group operating in Iraq and Syria, ISIL, was
 funded by the US’s allies in a bid to fight the
Islamic resistance in Lebanon, Hezbollah.

In an interview with CNN earlier this week,
 General Wesely Clark, who was Supreme
 Allied Commander of NATO, said that ISIL:
“got started through funding from our
 friends and allies.”

“People will tell you in the region that if you
 want somebody who will fight to the death
 against Hezbollah, you don’t put out a
 recruiting poster saying ‘sign up for us
we’re gonna make a better world.’
 You go after zealots and you go after
these religious fundamentalists.
That’s who fights Hezbollah. It’s like
 a Frankenstein.”

General Clark didn't specify which US
 allies were involved in creating ISIL.

He's known for his critical comments
regarding Washington’s war plans.

In a book published in 2003, he said
the US is pursuing a campaign of wars
starting in Iraq which will later include
 Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan
and, finally, Iran.



Putin: Russia’s Military Might Unmatched

Russian President Vladimir Putin says that
 other countries shouldn't have the illusion
 that they can attain military superiority
over Russia, Interfax reports.

"No one should have the illusion that they
can gain military superiority over Russia
--- put any kind of pressure on it. We will
always have an adequate answer for
any such adventures," he is quoted
as saying in an address he will give
 next week on Russia's Defenders'
of the Father-land Day, holiday.

Putin's comments came the same day
the UK's Defense Secretary Michael Fallon
 said Putin poses a "real & present danger"
 to the Baltic nations of Estonia, Latvia and
 Lithuania, all of which are NATO members.

 In comments published by The Times, Fallon
 said NATO is preparing to repel any possible


Israel Worried about Upcoming
 War with Hezbollah

Zionist political and military analysts express
 their worries about 'surprises' that Hezbollah
 may shock Israel with, in any upcoming war:
 including their taking control of Galilee and
their use of strategic, pinpoint missiles.

The analysts also consider that the Zionist
 entity is not preparing well for the coming
 confrontation, the vague nature of which,
perplexes its political and military officials.

Asserting that ISIL does not endanger the
Zionist entity, they consider that Hezbollah
 and the Palestinian resistance factions
 represent the main direct threat to the
 existence of 'Israel', reports Al Manar.


Iranian Troops Besiege Israel, 130,000
Basij Fighters to Enter Syria: Zio-Study

From the Mediterranean to the Golan, Iran
 has built an active front and direct military
 presence on the Zionist entity's border,
 to deter and eliminate the Israeli Regime,
says an Israeli study published by the
 Middle East Media Research Institute.

The Zionist study concludes that 'Israel'
faces a fateful crisis and that, as much
 as it feared the Iranian nuclear program,
 it never imagined that Iran would be
 standing on its border, even before its
 nuclear agreement with the Americans
 was complete.

The Iranian threat to 'Israel' is no longer
theoretical, nor does it have anything
 to do with the entity's deterrent of using
its nuclear weapons, which cannot be
used, considering the international
power balance.

The threat has become direct, practical
 and conventional, it adds.

The study points out that Iran has based
 its Syria deployment on the establishment
of a new Hezbollah Syria organization along
 the lines of Hezbollah Lebanon, as well as
 on the direct presence of Iranian forces in
Syria, particularly in the Golan Heights.

"Iran's deployment in Syria & particularly
 the presence of its forces in the Golan
Heights, at first only as command posts
and a limited number of special forces,
reveals a trend of Iranian activity in the
region that is direct, not only by proxy,
as it has been, to date.

According to the Iranian plan, command
posts are meant to operate "130,000
trained Iranian Basij fighters waiting to
enter Syria," as is evident from May 2014
statements by Islamic Revolutionary
Guards Corps senior official, Hussein
Hamedani, that were censored and
 removed immediately after their
publication in Iran."

After the recent campaign in southern Syria,
Iran's direct deployment in the Golan creates
a single battle front against Israel from Rosh
 Hanikra to Quneitra, the study notes.

"Iran's aim in deploying in the Golan Heights is
 not only to deter Israel from acting against its
 nuclear program, defend Syria as part of the
 resistance axis, and establish an active front
for anti-Israel terror attacks in the Golan and
 even liberate the Israeli Golan..."

"It also meshes with the Iranian regime's
ideological perception of Israel, as an
entity that must be eliminated, as is
 evident in statements by the Iranian
Supreme Leader, Imam Sayyed Ali
Khamenei", the Zionist study stresses.


Yemen parties agree on transitional
 council – UN mediator

The feuding parties in Yemen agree on a “people’s
 transitional council,” Reuters quotes UN mediator
 Jamal Benomar as saying on Friday.

The Houthi movement, a Shiite Muslim militia, has
 taken over power, which led to the resignation of
 the president last month. Benomar says the deal
 isn't final, but is an “important breakthrough that
 paves the way to a comprehensive agreement.”


Russian humanitarian convoy with aid
 for Debaltsevo heads for Donbass

An additional convoy of humanitarian aid
to the population of eastern Ukraine has
 left the Rostov region, TASS news reports.

 The move followed orders from PM Dmitry
 Medvedev to offer additional assistance
to Ukraine’s Donetsk & Lugansk regions,
including the town of Debaltsevo. The
cargo includes medicine, food, water
and clothing.


No Russian military activity in region
bordering Ukraine, Dutch experts say

Dutch military experts confirm it -- there is no
 military activity in Russia’s Rostov region, on
 Ukraine's borders, head of Russia's Defense
 Ministry’s International Treaties Implement-
Department, tells Sputnik.

 International experts inspected 13,000 sq.
 kilometers (5,000 sq. miles) in the region,
 Sergey Ryzhkov adds. The inspection,
between 17th
and 20th of February, was
done on both the ground and
in the air,
and focused on the area that Ukrainian

specialists had chosen earlier.

The inspections are held in accordance with
 the 2011 Vienna Document, which stipulates
measures for confidence-building & security.



Mike Billington, with the Asia desk of
 the Executive Intelligence Review, from
Leesburg, Virginia, shares his thoughts
 on the Ukraine situation, with Press TV.

Billington argues there is a very real threat
 that Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko
 be subjected to a coup, because the army
has become totally demoralized.

The commentator censures Washington’s
 attitude to the events in eastern Ukraine.

As long as the US Assistant Secretary for
European and Eurasian Affairs, Victoria
 Nuland, remains in office, he says, peace
 will evade Ukraine’s eastern regions.


French analyst calls for
France-Germany-Russia alliance

The analyst stresses that the tripartite bloc
 "will be the only chance for Europe to get rid
of the United States protectorate & become,
 in General de Gaulle's words, a ‘Free Europe’"

France & Germany, following this historical
 tradition, should work on forming an alliance
with Russia, prominent French writer and
 political journalist, Eric Zemmour, says, in
 newspaper comments on Friday.

"NATO is doing its utmost to present Russia
 as an enemy of the West and thereby justify
its existence," Zemmour writes in Le Figaro.

"Fortunately, France & Germany in due time
 blocked Ukraine’s accession to NATO, and
that’s a positive fact," the journalist says.

"Now they've finally coordinated a position
 on establishing relations with Moscow, they
 shouldn't stop halfway and should move to
 form a tripartite alliance with Russia," he
 says, recalling numerous
past efforts by
"kings, emperors and presidents" of the

3 countries, to set up such an alliance.

"Alliance with Russia is absolutely necessary
 to fight against Islamists in Syria, Libya, Iraq,
Central African Republic, Nigeria, Pakistan
 Mali and Afghanistan, where these extremists
 are trying, not only to erase all traces of a
Western and Christian presence, but to pave
the way for carrying the war into European
 territory," Zemmour adds.


Russia Demands West Take
              Responsibility for Situation in Ukraine               
 Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warns
that Western politicians must contribute to a
solution to the Ukrainian conflict, instead of
adding fuel to the confrontation, says Lavrov,
in statements about the events in the city
of Debaltsevo, in Donbass.

The foreign minister notes that he is confident
 that responsible western politicians will do
 everything possible in the interest of Ukraine's
 people and State, and not incite confrontation
 or expose their lack of leadership, by making
 improper statements.

According to Lavrov, the US was misusing
 the complex situation in Debaltsevo, where
 5,000 Ukrainian soldiers were surrounded,
as the leaders of Germany & France warn
of the dangerous consequences for the
 negotiations now under way.

He says statements made by Vice President
Joseph Biden about possible further sanctions
 on Russia, in the case of non-compliance with
the Minsk agreements, prove Washington's
non-constructive line.

Debaltsevo is a pretext and when we warned on
11 about the need to solve that problem...
we were
told that "that problem did not exist", says
in reference to public statements by Ukraine
 President Petro Poroshenko, who denied a defeat
of Ukrainian troops on that front, where heavy
 clashes have taken place since January.

The head of Russian diplomacy says Moscow
shared the concerns about the situation there
 and demanded an end to the use of weapons in
 an effort to change the status quo that existed
 on February 15, when a ceasefire was decreed
 in the zone of operations in Donbass.

Lavrov insisted that common sense prevail
-- to save the people inside that siege. The
must be about saving lives, and above
all other political
ambitions, he points out.


Putin, Merkel, Hollande and Poroshenko
 back OSCE monitoring mission

In a phone conversation the 4 leaders noted
implementation of the set of measures
by the Contact Group on February
12th, is allowing
a reduction in the intensity
of any armed actions in
Donbas region.

President Vladimir Putin, Chancellor Angela
Merkel, French President Francois Hollande
 and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko,
in a 'phone conversation, focused on the
need to fully comply with the Minsk
agreements, the Kremlin press service
said on Thursday.

"The leaders of the four countries focused on the
 need to ensure a sustainable ceasefire regime
 and on taking practical steps on heavy weapons
 withdrawal by the warring parties - and also the
 speedy release of captives," the press service
 of the Russian president says.

The sides stressed their readiness to actively
support the work of OSCE's monitoring mission
 at this "current important stage of settlement,"
 the Kremlin says.

The leaders also agreed to hold contacts via
 the Foreign Ministries of the four countries in
 the near future in an effort to comply with the
 Minsk agreements, the press service says.


Talk of sending peacekeepers to Ukraine
could now 'frustrate Minsk agreements'

A senior Russian lawmaker Konstantin Kosachev
 says on Thursday, it is too early to discuss plans
to deploy peacekeepers to Ukraine and urges the
 sides to comply with the Minsk peace agreements.

"This initiative is inappropriate, no matter what
 its content, as it de-facto "washes away" the
 agreements reached in Minsk," says Kosachev,
 chair of the foreign affairs committee of Russia’s
 upper house of parliament, the Federation Council.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said on
 Wednesday to Kiev's National Security and
Defense Council, that it should consider the
 possibility of deploying an international
peacekeeping force to Ukraine.

The Council, headed by Oleksandr Turchynov,
later approved the relevant request for the UN
 and the EU to send peacekeepers to Donbas.

Russia’s Ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly
 Churkin has accused Kiev of seeking to “destroy”
 a recent ceasefire agreement by calling for the
 deployment of UN-mandated peacekeepers to
 eastern Ukraine to enforce the deal.

Churkin said on Thursday that Kiev aims to ruin
 the deal, which was reached last week in the
 Belarusian capital, Minsk, shortly after Ukrainian
 President Petro Poroshenko made the request
for the peacekeepers at an emergency meeting.

Churkin said, “When someone, instead of doing
what he's signed up to, suggests a new scheme
 and so soon, that raises suspicions that he
wants to destroy the Minsk accords.”

“If one proposes new schemes right away, the
 question arises if (the accords) will be
 respected,” he added.

The remarks by Churkin come after the anti-coup
 forces in Donetsk announce that a total of 3,088
 government troops have been killed in fighting in
the eastern flashpoint city of Debaltseve.

The speaker of Russia’s lower house of parliament,
the State Duma, Sergey Naryshkin says Thursday,
 that plans to invite peacekeepers to Ukraine could
 disrupt the Minsk agreements, which do not
envisage such a measure.


Kiev says troops withdrawn from Debaltsevo,
 rebels claim military ‘surrender en masse’

Kiev troops surrounded in the city of Debalstevo
have started to surrender en masse, Ukrainian
anti-coup rebels state. President Poroshenko
 announces that there has been a complete
 withdrawal from the contested city.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko confirms
 in a video statement that he has given an order to
 withdraw troops from Debaltsevo on Wednesdsay.

“We stated and proved that Debaltsevo was under
our control and that there was no encirclement.
Our units withdrew according to plan, in an
organized manner. They took military hardware
 with them – tanks, APCs, artillery pieces, tow-
tracks, cars,” the president says.

He adds that 80% of the troops have already
 left the city.

Reuters cites a witness who saw the troops,
some of them injured, arriving in Artemyevsk,
a city northwest of Debaltsevo, through which
 a road leading to Kiev-controlled areas goes.

Poroshenko will visit eastern Ukraine later in
the day and chair a security council session
 in the evening, Ukrainian media reports.

Earlier Semen Semenchenko, MP and commander
 of one of Kiev’s volunteer battalions, reported that
 troops were being withdrawn from the contested
 city. He added that Kiev should now attack in
other parts of the frontline, which have been
 weakened by the rebels to move on Debaltsevo.

“They are empty and we have troops. One strike
 and the frontline would crumble,” he assured,
adding: withdrawal is “beyond comprehension.”

Meanwhile Maksim Leshchenko, a senior official
in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic,
 told journalists on Wednesday that the Ukrainian
 troops are laying down arms “in their hundreds.”

Earlier on Tuesday, Eduard Basurin, a military
 spokesperson for the rebels, confirmed taking
some 300 soldiers prisoner.

Debaltsevo was Kiev’s stronghold deep inside
 the rebel-held territories in eastern Ukraine,
 a military asset portrayed in the media as a
site of a heroic last stand by Kiev's military.
 The rebels said they had some 3,000 troops
 encircled in a pocket and had been calling
them for days to lay down their arms and

 Kiev rejected this, insisting that Debalstevo
supply lines were intact and that the city
would remain under their control.

The fate of Debaltsevo was arguably the
 biggest debating point at last week’s
peace talks in Minsk, which resulted in
a ceasefire agreement. The continued
 violence around the city contrasts with
the virtually uninterrupted truce in
parts of eastern Ukraine.

EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini
 demanded an end to hostilities at Debaltsevo
& threatened Russia with more EU sanctions.

"The EU stands ready to take appropriate action
 in case fighting & other negative developments
 in violation of the Minsk agreements continue,"
 she said.

On Wednesday, anti-government forces started
 pulling back heavy weapons from the frontline
 in quiet areas of the conflict zone.

“Five 152mm self-propelled artillery pieces are
being withdrawn from the village of Yelenovka
to their permanent base,” Basurin told media.

RIA Novosti confirmed the pullout, saying that
 its correspondent witnessed the withdrawal of
 Grad multiple rocket launchers and tanks from
 the disengagement line.

On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin
called on Kiev and the rebels, to do whatever
they can to resolve the issue without loss of life.

“I really hope that the decision-makers in the
 Ukrainian leadership won’t prevent Ukrainian
 troops from laying down arms, if they cannot
take such an important decision themselves
 and order it. Or at least they shouldn’t harass
people who want to save their lives,” he said.

“On the other hand, I expect the militias not to
detain those people and allow them to leave
 the conflict zone & go back to their families,”
 he added.


UNSC calls on warring parties
 in Ukraine to stop fighting

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC)
 has called on warring sides in eastern Ukraine
 to cease fighting and implement a European-
brokered peace deal as the situation swiftly

The UNSC made the call on Tuesday, after a
meeting at which a Russia-drafted resolution
 endorsing the new ceasefire agreement on
Ukraine, was unanimously approved by the
15-member council.

The resolution endorses the peace deal
 reached after marathon talks on February
& 12 by the leaders of Germany, France,
Ukraine and Russia, which came into effect
 on February 14th.

The council expressed "its full respect for
the sovereignty, independence & territorial
integrity of Ukraine" and its "grave concern
 at the tragic events and violence in eastern
 regions of Ukraine."

"Since the very start of the crisis Russia has
 actively called for a peaceful settlement
through inclusive, transparent dialogue
between the sides in the internal Ukrainian
conflict," Russia’s UN Ambassador Vitaly
 Churkin told the council. "We will adhere to
 this fundamental approach in the future also."

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin
 called on Kiev to permit Ukrainian soldiers
 who are surrounded by pro-Russia forces in
 the town of Debaltseve to lay down their arms.

"I hope that the Ukrainian authorities are not
 going to prevent the Ukrainian soldiers from
laying down their weapons," Putin said at a
 press event in Hungary's capital Budapest.

Putin went on to say that he hoped Ukraine
 would refrain from legal action against its
surrendered troops.

The Russian president added that the crisis
 can not be solved through “military means".

Pro-Russia forces said on Tuesday they had
 taken control of 80 percent of the eastern
city of Debaltseve.

The pro-Russians say that because Debaltseve
 is inside their territory it should not be included
 in the ceasefire agreement.

Pro-Russia forces and Kiev troops have been
 battling for weeks over Debaltseve, which
 connects Donetsk and Luhansk, the strong-
holds of the pro-Russians in eastern Ukraine.


European court confirms Poland's
complicity in CIA torture program

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) rejects
 Poland’s appeal to overturn a criminal investigation
 into officials working at a secret prison used in the
 CIA torture program. The Polish government now
has to finish its investigation and pay damages.

The original July 2014 ruling by the court included
 a demand that Poland swiftly conclude a criminal
 investigation into the jail in question – code-named
 Quartz – and pay compensation totaling $262,660
to two men who were held and tortured at the site.

Both men are still imprisoned in the United States
 in the Guantanamo Bay prison complex in Cuba.

“Poland is required to finally conduct a thorough
and effective investigation, and make public the
information concerning its role and hold those
 responsible to account,” Helen Duffy, the lawyer
 for one of the men, Abu Zubaydah, says.

Alleged Al-Qaeda associate Zubaydah was said
 to have been waterboarded 83 times during his
 detention by the CIA.

Lawyers for the detainees say the investigation
 was deliberately stalled to avoid a politically
 embarrassing trial, possibly for senior Polish
 officials involved, but prosecutors denied this
saying the case was complex and needed time.

Amrit Singh is a lawyer with the Open Society
 Justice Initiative, who represents the second
 detainee in the case, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri.

 Al-Nashiri is allegedly involved with the bombing
 of the USS Cole warship in Yemen in 2000, which
 led to the deaths of 17 US sailors. Singh says that
 Tuesday’s ruling establishes a precedent for all
other countries.

“This judgment sends a message loud and clear
--- that European states that collaborated in the
CIA torture program can't evade accountability,”
she says.

Other countries with known black sites for the
 CIA’s rendition and torture program, include
the UK's Diego Garcia, plus bases in Romania
 Pakistan, Afghanistan, Morocco and Thailand.

The court’s decision adds pressure on other
European countries to end the secrecy about
 their involvement in the CIA’s global torture
program after the Sept 11, 2001 attacks on
the United States.

The US Senate Intelligence Committee report
 on torture in December revealed numerous
details of how dozens of detainees were
subjected to torture, including waterboarding
 and mock executions, that yielded very little,
 if any, intelligence as a result.

After the release of the Senate report, former
 Polish president Aleksander Kwasniewski and
 former PM Leszek Miller acknowledged for the
 first time that they knew that the CIA had been
holding people on Polish soil.

However, they said they knew nothing about
what happened inside the Quartz detention
 centre --- a secure villa on the grounds of an
 intelligence training academy in a Polish


Putin: The West ships arms to Ukraine already
The West is already supplying weapons to
 Ukraine, but it will not change the situation
 in the Donbass, Russian President Vladimir
 Putin says.

At a press-conference after talks in Hungary,
Russia's president responded to a reporter's
 question about supplies of Western weapons
 to Ukraine, which Kiev has been vehemently
seeking lately.

 Vladimir Putin said that he was aware of the
 fact that the West is already supplying lethal
weapons to Ukraine, although it won't change
 the situation in the Donbass...

"As for possible supplies to Ukraine, firstly,
according to the information that we have,
these arms are already being delivered to
 Ukraine. There's nothing unusual about it.
 Ukrainian military men have no desire to
 participate in the fratricidal war, and the
 militia fighters are very much motivated to
protect their families," Putin said. "I am
deeply convinced that whoever delivers
weapons, the number of victims can
certainly increase, but the result will be
 the same as it is today, it is inevitable,"
 the Russian president adds.

According to Politonline.ru, reports about
Western arms in Ukraine are plentiful on
 social networks, YouTube and media outlets.
Western arms, such as machine guns, sniper
 rifles and many other types of small arms,
 are frequently found in Ukraine.

Some experts, for example, US-based political
 scientist and research associate at the Centre
 for Globalization Studies, Stephen Lendman,
believes that "Washington delivered heavy
 combat weapons to the Ukrainian army from
 the very beginning of the conflict, or even
before the war started.

According to Lendman, the key to the situation
 lies in the fact that the US has always armed
Kiev, and Obama's statement about the USA's
 intent to supply weapons to Ukraine is a big
 lie, Pravda.Ru says.

"There are American weapons in the Donbas
 and in Ukraine," an officer of the Ukrainian
 Armed Forces tells Politonline.ru.

The officer says that other pro-Ukrainian
 countries are likely to be involved in the
 process to supply weapons to Ukraine.



The US and EU authorities claim that Russia
 has been isolated and deprived of all allies.

 Nevertheless, we know that representatives
 of many European countries stand in favor of
 dialogue & a resumption of normal relations
 and cooperation.

In Austria, many politicians & political scientists
 oppose sanctions against Russia and call for the
 need for a reasonable and balanced approach in
 building relations with Russia.

Professor at the Institute of East and South-
Eastern Europe in Vienna, Peter Bachmeier:

"I cannot say that Russia is isolated. Austria
 is against such a policy. Austria's government
 does not support sanctions against Russia.
In June, Austrian President Fischer invited
Russian President Putin to Vienna, and he
 spoke to the Chamber of Commerce.

 Of course, he spoke with the Chancellor
and other leaders of the country. The
 Austrian people are generally very
positive towards Russia.

Austria is a neutral country, it is not a
member of NATO, and the majority of
people reject NATO and NATO policy,"
 Peter Bachmeier told Pravda.Ru.

The professor says Austrians support the
policy of Russia. "They especially support
Russia's position on the conflict in
Ukraine," he says.

 "One should also distinguish the position
 of the authorities in different countries
 around the world, from their people. In
 many countries, the authorities have
 very strong anti-Russian propaganda
in the media, but this does not affect
the people's opinions. There is a gap
 between the media and the people,
 including on the part of intellectuals
 & the political class," says the expert.

The problem, he says, is the EU and
 European Commission, who support
 the sanctions. These remain under
 the influence of the USA.

"The Austrian government, unfortunately,
is taking a very careful stand. But on the
other hand... our government is taking
steps in favor of the Russian position.
Because our economy, the Chamber of
Commerce, our business community, is
 against the sanctions. They have very
 close relationships with Russia," Peter
Bachmeier says.


Kiev's army was pulling heavy weapons closer to
 Debaltsevo to unblock trapped troops — Basurin

Kiev was pulling heavy weapons closer to
Debaltsevo -- with the obvious aim of un-

blocking troops trapped in the Debaltsevo
 pocket, Eduard Basurin, a spokesperson
 for the defense ministry of the Donetsk
 People’s Republic (DPR), said on Tuesday.

"According to reconnaissance data, after
 dark, Ukraine’s troops are pulling heavy
artillery systems & multiple launch rocket
systems into position near the
Svetodarskoye & Luganskoye s
Donetsk News Agency quotes him as saying.

He said it indicates that the Kiev regime is
 preparing another attempt to free troops
 entrapped in the Debaltsevo pocket.

Basurin says hundreds of Ukrainian troops
 have surrendered to DPR militias over the
 past 24 hours. He says he refrains from
citing the exact number of surrendered
Ukrainian troopers and their names due
to security considerations.

"According to our information, the Ukrainian
 army command says those who surrender
 are "traitors to the country’" -- with all the
relevant legal consequences," he says.


 Novorossian forces are carrying out
mopping-up operation in Debaltsevo

The District Police Board and railway station
have been captured by Novorossian forces,
reports the news agency, Novorossia Today.

Both are situated in the centre of the town.
Kiev  troopers are surrendering en masse.
Some sources report that 120 of them laid
down their arms and were taken prisoner
by People’s Militiamen.


The German chancellor talked to President
Putin on Tuesday by 'phone, to resolve

the stand off in the "cauldron", of trapped
Kiev troops.

Otherwise, the ceasefire is holding, and
-- in the meantime -- the world turns its
attention to the IS terrorism threat...


US policy on Iraq led to creation of ISIL: Chomsky

The United States’ policy of war and sanctions
 against Iraq, destabilized its civil society and
 provoked the sectarian divisions which led to
 the creation of the ISIL terrorist group,  says
US linguist and philosopher, Noam Chomsky.

Chomsky made the comments in an interview
 with journalist David Barsamian published by
 New York's 'Jacobin' magazine, on Monday.
 The complete interview will be broadcast
by Alternative Radio.

Chomsky says he agrees with Graham
Fuller, a former CIA officer, who said,
 “the US created the background out
 of which ISIS grew and developed.”

The American scholar says the 2003 US
invasion was “devastating” to Iraq, which
 had “already been virtually destroyed, first
of all by the decade-long war with Iran in
which, incidentally, Iraq was backed by
 the US, and then a decade of sanctions.”

He adds that the “genocidal sanctions…
devastated civilian society, strengthened
 the dictator, compelling the population
 to rely on him for survival.”

Chomsky says the “very destructive…
 attack is compared by many Iraqis to
 the Mongol invasion of a 1,000 years

He says after the offensive, US policy
makers separated “the sects, Sunni,
 Shi’a, Kurd, from one another, and set
 them at each other’s throats. Within
 a couple of years, there was a major,
 brutal sectarian conflict incited by
 the invasion.”

Elsewhere in his remarks, Chomsky says
 the roots of the Takfiri ideology of ISIL “are
 in the major US ally, Saudi Arabia. That’s
been the major US ally in the region for as
 long as the US has been seriously involved
 there, in fact, since the foundation of the
 Saudi state.”

He adds that Saudi Arabia has “kind of a
family dictatorship” which “uses its huge
 oil resources to promulgate its doctrine
throughout the region. It establishes
schools, mosques, clerics, all over the
 place, from Pakistan to North Africa.”


Hezbollah engaged in fighting ISIL in Iraq,
 Nasrallah says

The Secretary General of Lebanon's Hezbollah
 resistance movement, Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah,
 says the Lebanese resistance movement has
been fighting the ISIL Takfiri group in Iraq.

“We may not have spoken about Iraq before,
 but we have a limited presence because of
 the sensitive phase Iraq is going through,”
 Nasrallah says in a Martyrs day speech.

Hezbollah fighters have been backing the
Syrian army, in its fight against Takfiri
militants operating inside Syria.

“I call for those who urge us to withdraw
from Syria to join us in our fight in Syria.
Let's go to Iraq and everywhere to face
 off this threat, because this is the right
way to defend Lebanon,” Nasrallah says.

Nasrallah criticizes Jordan’s double
standards in the fight against the
terrorists, saying that all terrorist
groups follow the same mentality.

"Jordan cannot fight ISIL in Iraq and
support al-Nusra in Syria, terrorist
 groups are faces of the same coin."

The al-Qaeda linked al-Nusra Front and
 the ISIL terrorist group have "the same
 essence, ideology, culture, methodology,"
 the head of Hezbollah says, adding, "The
 only difference between them was over
 leadership, but they are essentially one
 and the same." 

"All the Takfiri currents must be fought,
without distinction," he adds.

Nasrallah’s remarks come as Jordan vows
 to intensify airstrikes on ISIL strongholds
 after the immolation of a Jordanian pilot
 held hostage by the terrorist group.

Several Arab countries, like Jordan,
 are taking part in the US-led military
coalition, that has purportedly been
 targeting ISIL positions in Syria with
no authorization from Damascus...
 and no UN mandate.

The same Arab countries are accused of
 supporting the Takfiris in Syria and Iraq,
where ISIL terrorists are wreaking havoc.

"How can some countries in the Gulf take
part in the international coalition against
Daesh, while giving money and weapons
to the al-Nusra Front. How is that logical?"
 Nasrallah asks.


Bahrain regime 'terrified'

Nasrallah, leader of Hezbollah, describes
 the government in Bahrain as a “terrified”
 regime, saying Hezbollah supports the
Bahraini people.

“There's a terrified and weak government
 in Bahrain that fears any word of right, it
even threatens to expel the Lebanese,”
Nasrallah says.

Nasrallah slams those countries who criticize
 Hezbollah’s stance on developments in Bahrain,
 saying that those who arm militants, including
 ISIL, in Syria, can't criticize Hezbollah’s position
 on Bahrain.

“We didn't call for toppling the Bahrain regime,
 we only supported those who were calling for
 dialogue,” he notes.

On January 9th, Nasrallah highlighted the
peaceful nature of the anti-regime protests
 in Bahrain, and that month also slammed
the detention of Bahraini opposition leader,
 Sheikh Ali Salman.

“The people of Bahrain have legitimate rights.
 They decided to launch peaceful a revolution
 --- contrary to other movements in the world.
 They were shot at but they didn't shoot. They
 were killed on roads, but they didn't kill any-
one and held no knife,” Nasrallah said.

Since mid-February 2011, 1,000s of protesters
 have been holding numerous rallies, calling for
 the Al Khalifa royal family to relinquish power.

The Manama regime has, however, responded
 to the peaceful protest rallies by launching a
 heavy-handed crackdown on demonstrators
and political dissidents.

Bahrain has come under harsh criticism by
 many human rights groups, for its brutal
clampdown on peaceful gatherings and the
numerous cases of human rights violations.


Yemen’s Houthis rightful

Hezbollah's head praises the Houthi movement
 in Yemen for their contribution to restraining
 the expansion of Takfiri groups in the region.

He describes the Yemen’s Shia Ansarullah
 movement  as 'rightful', 'brave' and 'wise'.

Over the past months, al-Qaeda militants
 have frequently carried out attacks on
Yemen’s security forces. The militants
have also engaged in battles with

In September 2014, Ansarullah fighters
 gained control of the capital Sana’a,
 after a 4-day battle with army forces
 loyal to General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar,
 the half-brother of the country’s former
dictator, Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The Ansarullah revolutionaries say the
 Yemeni government has proven to be
incapable of running the affairs of the
properly, or providing security.


Israel ISIL's sole beneficiary

The leader of Hezbollah notes that Israel
 is the only entity in the Middle East that
 benefits from the ISIL Takfiri group.

“All the world considers ISIL to be a huge
 threat, except Israel,” Nasrallah says.
“ISIL's agenda has served the Israelis
immensely ."


ISIL against Islam and Christianity

Nasrallah condemns the execution of the
Egyptian Coptic Christians by ISIL Takfiris
in Libya: “We extend our condolences to
the Egyptian people and the Coptic Church,
 this crime has affected both Islam and

The ISIL Takfiri terrorists released a 5-minute
 video on Sunday showing the beheading of 21
 Egyptian Coptic Christians kidnapped in Libya.

The video showed handcuffed hostages
 dressed in orange jumpsuits, similar to
previous ISIL victims, kneeling along
 the seaside, near Tripoli.

The ISIL had earlier published photos of
 the 21 Egyptian workers, claiming that
the pictures were taken moments before
 their decapitation.

The victims, whose photos were published
 in the latest online edition of Dabiq ISIL's
 magazine, were reportedly abducted in Sirte
 in 2 attacks in December 2015 & in January.


Merkel says situation in east Ukraine
 unstable due to Debaltseve crisis

Achieving peace in east Ukraine will be an
 extremely difficult task as the situation in the
region remains unstable, German Chancellor
 Angela Merkel says at a news conference in
 Berlin on Monday.

"The situation is unstable. And this is not
unexpected, taking into consideration the
situation in Debaltseve," Merkel says.

"It has always been clear that we need to
 do a lot more. I have always stressed that
 the attempts we make, do not guarantee
 success. This will be an extremely difficult
 path," she stresses.

Russia’s Ambassador to Ukraine, Mikhail
Zurabov, says that the main problem in
implementing the Minsk agreements, is
a lack of regulation of the situation
 around Debaltseve.

At talks in Minsk, Ukrainian President Petro
 Poroshenko didn't admit that Kiev's forces
 were surrounded in Debaltseve.

Self-defense forces say there is encirclement
 and Kiev's forces can exit ----- but only if they
 leave their weapons and military equipment.

From 6,000 to 8,000 Ukrainian servicemen
 are surrounded in Debaltseve, according to
 different estimates.

Despite the situation in Deblaltsevo, Zurabov
 hopes the leadership of the self-proclaimed
 Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics will
 be able to implement the Minsk agreements,
 Izvestiya says. "There is a chance for that, at
 least that’s what I think," Zurabov is quoted
 as saying.

The present Kiev regime says the truce is
being violated "hundreds of times" by the
"terrorists", as the Luhansk republic today
reports one dead in the shelling of Zorinsk
 by Kiev's forces and the Donetsk republic
 says there will be no weapons withdrawal
 until Kiev stops its shelling.

Kiev is also blocking food supplies now, to
the self-proclaimed DPR republic — a DPR
 Contact Group envoy says.
The Donetsk People’s Republic urged Kiev,
on Sunday, to observe the truce, and

 stated that the situation in the strategic
 railway hub of Debaltseve, is still tense.

"The ceasefire there, did not come into
 force at the due time. Ukrainian troops
blocked in Debaltsevo keep on trying to
break the encirclement," DPR Defense
spokesperson, Eduard Basurin,

The ceasefire regime came into force
at midnight
on Sunday.

Chief monitor of the Special Monitoring Mission
 (SMM) to Ukraine of the OSCE Ertugrul Apakan
 earlier confirmed that the ceasefire has been
 generally observed, except for in Debaltseve.

OSCE monitors failed to reach Debaltseve to
 observe the situation, he says, and calls on
both parties to the conflict to provide access
 to all territories within the conflict zone, for
representatives of the OSCE mission.

Russia' top generals are hit by personal
sanctions today, by the EU, in a move
which prompted surprise in Moscow.


               Venezuela Facing Permanent Coup d'état               
 Venezuela faces a permanent coup d'état,
 a low intensity, implacable war, carried out
 under American supervision and planning,
 affirms an article published today in the
 French newspaper L''Humanité.

The evidence, by the specialist Jean Ortiz,
 underlines that this situation, incited by a
 spiteful opposition, has existed since the
 coup d'état of April, in 2002.

The target of this coalition, which unites
 the ultraright with ex social democrats,
 is to beat the government, which is
 following Hugo Chavez' ideas, by using
 all possible means to destabilize the
country, emphasizes Ortiz.

A permanent economic and ideological war
 and a violent strategy, prove to be the main
elements they work on, he points out in his
 work titled: 'Venezuela: dismantling of an
 attempted coup d'état'.

 Lecturer at the University of Pau, in France,
he says the coup d'état was meant to happen
on February 12th, after the publication of a
 manifesto asking for  a new "provisional"

The instigators, marionettes and puppeteers,
wish to undermine the Armed forces morale
 and the people's, and destabilize the country
'by all necessary means. At the cost of blood.
 Let us remember the Chile of Allende and
 Neruda. Let us not allow that to be repeated'.

Many across the world today join with
 Venezuelans in rejecting this attempt
 at a coup, involving the right party
 and the USA, which was denounced
 last Thursday, by Venezuela's
 president, Nicolás Maduro.


Gulf Arabs Threaten Measures
                  in Yemen if UN Hesitates               
 The Cooperation Council of the Gulf (CCG)
 urges the UN to resort to military force
 to solve the crisis in Yemen, threatening
 to 'use its own measures', if they think
 their interests are threatened.

In their declaration, Foreign Ministers of the
 Six Arab States of the Persian Gulf call on the
 UN Security Council to adopt a Resolution
 under Chapter VII that authorizes the use of
military force if peace is threatened.

The foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain,
Oman, Qatar, Kuwait and United Arab Emirates
 brand the seizure of power in their neighboring
country by the Houthi insurgents organization,
Ansar Allah,
as illegitimate.

They also ask the UN Security Council for
 'urgent actions to ensure the safety and
health of President Abed Rabbo Mansour
 Hadi and Prime Minister Khalid Bahah,
ministers and other officials, and release
 them from the house arrest, in which
they have been kept, since January.

The final statement of the extraordinary
meeting, supports the resumption of the
 peaceful transition of power process,
 based on the so-called GCC Initiative
 and its executive arm, plus the inter-
Yemeni Conference of National Dialogue.

The foreign ministers favor implementing
resolution 2140 adopted in 2014 'regarding
sanctions against anyone who lacerates
 the process of peaceful transition'.

The six Sunni Arab monarchies say:

'In the case of a failure to agree (between
the rival factions), the GCC member states
 will take measures to enable them to
maintain their vital interests & the security
 & stability of Yemen, warns the statement.


Putin, Merkel, Hollande, Poroshenko
discuss situation around Debaltsevo

The presidents of Russia, France & Ukraine,
 Vladimir Putin, Francois Hollande and Petro
 Poroshenko, and German Chancellor Angela
Merkel, held a 'phone conversation Sunday
 to discuss implementation of the complex
 measures of the peace settlement signed
 by the Contact Group earlier in the week,
the Kremlin's press service says.

The four leaders also discussed the difficult
 situation around the town of Debaltsevo and
 the OSCE's roll in controlling observance of
 the ceasefire regime.

"Special emphasis was placed on the need
 to strictly observe the ceasefire regime by
 both conflicting parties and to begin pulling
 out heavy weapons," the press service said.

The leaders also agreed on the "parameters
 of further joint efforts - within the context of
 promoting implementation of the Minsk


Germany, Russia send humanitarian aid to E.Ukraine

As the truce holds in Ukraine, two convoys with
 humanitarian aid from Russia are under customs
 clearance now on the Russian-Ukrainian border.

Once cleared, the white trucks of Russia’s
 Emergency Ministry will go on two routes: to
 Donetsk and to Lugansk, delivering food and
 medical supplies to the besieged citizens.

Simultaneously, 28 tons of medical supplies
 have arrived in Donets from Germany. They
 were bought using donations collected in
 Germany on the initiative of German MPs,
and their shipment has become the first
humanitarian aid delivered to Donbass,
 from the EU.

The delivery was made through Russian
 territory because Kiev failed to provide
 Berlin with transit authorization.

The four trucks from Germany delivered
supplies to Donetsk, Lugansk & Gorlovka.

Anyone in Wales doing ANYTHING?!!!


Head of Donetsk Republic: Donetsk militia
  to observe ceasefire at midnight Feb 15th

Militia of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s
 Republic (DPR) will observe a ceasefire from
 midnight on February 15, the republic’s head
Alexander Zakharchenko says.

"DPR will stop firing today at 24:00 across the
 republic, as it's written in the peace agreement
signed in Minsk on February 12," the Donetsk
 news agency reports.

The first condition of the document sets an
 immediate and comprehensive ceasefire from
 00:00 hours (Kiev time) on February 15th, 2015.

 The conflicting parties agreed on the withdrawal
 of all heavy weapons. Parties will pull back all
heavy weapons to locations equidistant from the
 disengagement line in order to create a security
 zone at least 50 klmtrs wide for artillery systems
 with a calibre of 100mm or more, a security zone
 70 klmtrs wide for most multiple rocket launchers
 and 140 klmtrs wide zone for the multiple rocket
 launchers Tornado-S, Uragan and Smerch and
 Tochka-U tactical rocket systems.


Ex-Georgian president to coordinate
Ukraine arms supplies

Ex-Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili,
 appointed on Friday as the chair of Ukraine’s
 international consultative reform council,
says he's going to coordinate the supply
of arms to Kiev.

"Now it is most important to help Ukraine
with weapons. Over the next several days,
I will be coordinating this," Saakashvili
told a Ukrainian TV channel.

US Department of State Spokesperson
Jen Psaki said Friday that arms supplies
to Ukraine are still on the table --- even
after this week’s signing of a new Minsk

Saakashvili, who's refused to apply for
 Ukrainian citizenship, says: "I am a free
politician & a Georgian citizen. All other
 proposals to obtain Ukrainian citizenship
did not fit into a whole strategy, and, of
 course, I should return to my country."

A decree published on Friday, says that the
 council he now chairs will be a consultative
 agency under Ukraine's president, providing
 proposals and recommendations on reforms
  - based on the best international experience.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says
 Saakashvili, who has unique knowledge and
 experience and has in fact worked as a free-
lance advisor on Ukrainian reforms, has now
finally received official status.

President Poroshenko says Saakashvili will
 become "Ukraine’s representative abroad &
 - at the same time - the representative of the
 international community in Ukraine."

Saakashvili was president of Georgia, for
 two consecutive terms from January 2004
 to November 2013. In his home country,
he is accused of embezzling state funds.

 In September, property of the ex-president
 & his family members was seized, as were
his personal bank accounts in Georgia.

Eka Beselia, a leader of the Georgian Dream
 coalition, chair of the human rights committee
 of Georgia's parliament, says the Ukrainian
 authorities’ decision to appoint Saakashvili
 to the post, is a "mistake."

"Georgia has an especially warm and friendly
 attitude to the Ukrainian people and Ukraine.
 I don’t know what reasonable advice Mikhail
 Saakashvili can give to Ukraine’s president,"
 she says, commenting on Ukrainian media
 reports about Saakashvili’s appointment.

"Political tastes differ," Georgian parliament’s
 vice speaker, Zurab Abashidze, says, adding:
 "If I was the Ukrainian president, I wouldn't
want Mikheil Saakashvili as an advisor."

In December 2014, Georgian PM Irakli
Garibashvili said that, in 2015, he would
 visit Kiev to discuss bilateral cooperation
issues with Ukraine’s leadership. He also
 said then, that in Kiev he wasn't going to
meet with former Georgian officials, now
members of the government of Ukraine.

 And in March last year, the Georgian PM
 said the current Ukrainian government
shouldn't listen to Saakashvili’s advice.

"Having - in this crisis situation - such an
 adventurer for an advisor, is fraught with
 disastrous consequences for Ukraine,"
 he said.



Sheikh Salman Calls from Prison
  for Continuous Peaceful Rallies

Sheikh Ali Salman, the Secretary General of
 Al-Wefaq, the powerful Bahraini opposition
 group, greets "the great people of Bahrain"
on the fourth anniversary of the revolution.

"I feel tranquility and peace of mind flooding
my heart thanks to Allah Almighty. You made
 me shy, by your noble stance on my arrest.

You did more than what's expected of you,
and I am grateful to you for your positions,"
 Sheikh Salman tells the Bahraini people in
a message he sent from Al-Khalifa prison,
and posted on his Twitter account.

"Don't forget the rest of the detainees. Do
not forget our main demand - electing our
 government in a democratic, sound way,
 as well as electing a parliament which
 legislates decrees without tutelage by
 a particular council in regular elections,
 based on equality," his eminence says.

"Equality-based elections is the one
 thing we demand," he stresses.

Sheikh Salman goes on to urge Bahrainis
 to continue their movement and to stick
 to their peaceful path.

"Protect yourselves and their private and
public property," he says.

Activists posted several videos showing
 the Bahrain monarchy's crackdown on
 peaceful protests in the kingdom.

In the scenes, security forces appear to
repeatedly fire live bullets at protestors
 from short distances.

Bahrain's peaceful revolution erupted in
February 2011, however, the monarchy
of Hamad bin Issa Al-Khalifa launched
 a brutal crackdown on the people, who
 demand democracy and social reform.

For three days in the run up to today,
a general strike has been observed.

Bahrain - which was always part of Iran
- was stolen by the UK, but then given to
the US as a military naval base as the UK
found itself bankrupt, after World War ll.


Kiev, Western nations
bending peace deal: Moscow

Russia says Kiev and its Western allies
 have twisted a peace deal to end the
crisis in east Ukraine which is shortly
 to go into effect.

The Russian Foreign Ministry says in
 a statement issued on Saturday, that
several official representatives of
Ukraine and Western countries, “the
US in particular, have essentially
expressed solidarity with the
opinion of radical nationalists in
 the Verkhovna Rada (Ukraine's

Moscow adds that they have also started
 “to distort the contents of the Minsk

The negotiating sides agreed on withdrawing
heavy weapons from Ukraine’s front lines and
 a ceasefire, beginning at 2200 GMT on Feb 14,
 (midnight Kiev time on February 15).

The Russian Ministry, meanwhile, warns
 that the Ukrainian government and the
 West “put in doubt the implementation
 of the document's concrete measures.”

The statement, however, reiterates
 that the representatives of the self-
proclaimed republics of Donetsk and
 Lugansk have a “responsible attitude
 towards their commitments.”

“We reaffirm that the principal message
 of the Minsk accords is: it is necessary
to end the fighting, to withdraw heavy
weapons and start real constitutional
 reform in Ukraine,” the statement says.

Russia also calls on all the signatories
to Thursday's agreement, as well as
 the parties that backed the process,
 including Germany and France, to do
everything in their power to make
certain that the accord is respected.


DPR -  Kiev’s refusal to amnesty Donbas leaders
shows reluctance to implement Minsk deal

Kiev’s refusal to amnesty the militia leaders of
 south-eastern Ukraine, shows its reluctance to
 implement the Minsk agreement, Andrey Purgin,
 the speaker of the People’s Assembly of the
self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic
 (DPR), states.

"As a matter of fact, they are saying they are
 not going to implement the law on amnesty,"
 he says.

The Ukrainian foreign minister today also
denies any constitutional reform, or any
decentralization liabilities, on Kiev and
Kiev's ex-deputy chief of a paramilitary
battalion turned lawmaker, vows to
defy the Minsk deal completely.

Earlier Friday, Ukrainian media cited Foreign
 Minister, Pavlo Klimkin, saying the amnesty
 agreed at the late Minsk peace talks, won't
be applicable to leaders of Donbas militia.

"Ukraine is forming an entire class of political
 prisoners. This is nothing but a witch hunt," 
Andrey Purgin tells Donetsk News Agency.

 "Yesterday, I spoke with a relative of one of
 the political prisoners from Poltava. This
man is now held for pro-Russian picketing
 and is being tried by a panel of 3 Poltava
 judges. This is persecution of dissidents.
This is the collapse of society."

"Tens of thousands of criminal cases, thousands
 of people kept in detention wards... And I would
 like to stress one thing. When we had the latest
 mass exchange of prisoners, we released people
 who'd come here to shoot at us, but among the
 220 people released by the Ukrainian side only
 34 had been self-defence fighters. It means that
 the rest of the people were political prisoners,"
Purgin notes.

Among the implementation measures of the
 Minsk agreements, are the pardoning and
amnesty through law, banning persecuting
 or punishing Donbas' citizens over events.


Ukraine ultranationalist leader rejects Minsk
peace deal, reserves right 'to continue war'

Ukraine’s Right Sector leader Dmitry Yarosh
 says his radical movement rejects the Minsk
 peace deal and that their paramilitary units
will continue “actively fighting" according
to their "own plans."

The notorious ultranationalist leader says
on his Facebook page, on Friday, that his
 radical Right Sector movement does not
 recognize the peace deal, signed by the
so-called 'contact group' on Thursday &
 agreed on by Ukraine, France, Germany
 and Russia, after epic 16-hour talks.

Yarosh claims that any agreement with
the eastern militia, whom he calls
 “terrorists,” has no legal force.

In his statement, Yarosh claims that the
 Minsk agreement is unconstitutional, so
 Ukraine's citizens are not obliged to
abide by it.

 So if the army receives orders to stop
 military activity and withdraw heavy
weaponry from the eastern regions...
 Right Sector paramilitaries, who also
fight there “reserve the right” to
continue the war, he says.

Right Sector continues to deploy its
 combat and reserve units, to train &
 logistically support personnel, while
coordinating its activities with the
military command of Ukraine's army,
 Defense Ministry paramilitary units
 and the Interior Ministry, he says.

Bluntly rejecting the German & French
 initiative, Yarosh says President Petro
 Poroshenko should have turned to the
 US or UK which “observe a consistent
 anti-Kremlin policy.”

In January, Russia’s Supreme Court
banned all the activities of 'Right
Sector' within the country. In July
 last year Interpol put Right Sector
 leader Yarosh, on its wanted list.

The radical movement was formed
as a coalition of nationalist & neo-
Nazi organizations during Maidan
 protests in Kiev at the end of 2013.


Ukraine Right Sector threatens
 Poroshenko with Yanukovich’s fate

Around 300 angry protesters wore masks
& shouted nationalistic slogans, as they
 tried to break through a police barrier
today. They carried Right Sector's red
and black flags.

The aggressive crowd was demanding
that President Petro Poroshenko veto
a bill passed by parliament, Tuesday.

The new law gives special status to the
eastern regions of Lugansk & Donetsk,
as well as an amnesty for those who
fought against government forces.

That particular statute will also see
 early local elections carried out this
December and allow the use of the
Russian language as an official one.

Today, the leader of Right Sector,
 Dmitry Yarosh, describes the law as
"anti-national" on his Facebook page.

“Unless Poroshenko comes to his
senses, we’ll have a new president
& commander-in-chief in Ukraine,”
Yarosh warns.

“If anyone doubts that it’s possible, he
 can write to Yanukovich. He can verify
 that impossible things... can be made
to happen.”

Former President of Ukraine, Viktor
Yanukovich, lost power in February,
 as a result of mass protests in which
 the radical nationalist group played
 a key role.

It’s not the first time that Yarosh and
his supporters, have threatened the
 Ukrainian leader over his policies.

 In August, Right Sector demanded that
 the president sack some senior officers
 in the Interior Ministry, whom radicals
 accused of persecuting their members.

The ultimatum was retracted a day later,
as Right Sector said police had released
 its people - previously arrested for the
alleged smuggling of arms from combat
zones in the east of the country.

Wednesday’s violent protest was not
 the first act of violence in Kiev in the
last couple of days.

 On Tuesday another radical rally turned
 to violence as ultra-nationalists mobbed
 against other laws passed by Ukraine's
parliament, the Verkhovna Rada.

They burnt tires and even clashed with
 the National Guard in front of parliament.

International law expert Alexander Mercouris
 believes that the radical element in Ukraine
will continue its unrest over the president’s
 attempts to reach peace in the east.

“What we're seeing is an escalation in
 Ukraine of the political crisis. For these
 people, any kind of autonomy to the
eastern regions utterly cuts against
their ideology - which is a centralized,
ethnically united, Ukrainian-speaking
 Ukraine,” Mercouris explains.


Maduro: Venezuela has foiled
 coup directed ‘from Washington’

Venezuela’s leader Nicolas Maduro says
 that the country has defeated an alleged
 US-sponsored coup which was reportedly
plotted by five Air Force officers.

“We have broken up and foiled a coup
attempt against democracy, and the
 stability of our country,” Maduro says,
stating that the coup was directed
“from Washington.”

The coup plan involved an attack on
 the presidential palace or another
 top target, Maduro says.

“This was an attempt to use a group
of military aviation officers to provoke
a violent event.” One of the detained
 plotters was “an [Air Force] general
 called Hernandez, alias el Oso
[the bear].”

“On the dates February 12th & 13th,
 during commemoration events, [the
plot was to] fly a 'Tucano' airplane,
arm the Tucano, and attack the
Miraflores [Presidential] Palace, or
whichever location I'd have been at
when participating in either event,
and then later attack other targets,
 which they had outlined before,"
Maduro says, as quoted by AP.

The alleged plot was uncovered by the
Venezuelan intelligence agency, and
 one of the participating officers was
connected to the right-wing forces
 allegedly planning to provoke the
wave of violence.

According to Maduro, the military man
was given financial aid, as well as a
US visa, which permitted him to leave
 on February 3rd.

Maduro said at the beginning of February,
 that US Vice President Joe Biden, was
 orchestrating the plot against Venezuela.

Nicolas Maduro, the National Assembly's
 president, Diosdado Cabello, also says:

 Venezuelan security bodies thwarted an
assassination attempt against elected
President Maduro.

The attack would have been executed
during an activity in which the president
 would participate, in Valencia, state of
Carabobo, but the individual responsible
 for executing the operation was detained,
the parliamentary leader says in his state
television program, "Con el mazo dando."

Thanks to the security and intelligence
bodies, citizen Alvaro Jesus Carmona,
linked to extreme right radical groups
 that planned to carry out the act, was
 detected in that city, Cabello says.

According to the legislator, the individual,
 leader of "Generacion Siete" Movement
and "Cuentas Claras", is on police files
 as an active participant in protests
 against the government, and also for
 his wrongdoings at the university
 where he studied.

The cell 'phone of Carmona, nephew of
councilor Gustavo Carmona, who financed
the so-called guarimbas (violent restrictive
acts on public roads) in Valencia, organized
 by the extreme right, showed footage of the
stage where the presidential activity would
 be carried out, he states.

Cabello says a sound box and pamphlets
 against the Bolivarian government were
found in an armored vehicle belonging to
 the detainee, as part of the destabilization
 plan and violence, known as La Salida,
 and instrumented by the extreme right.

Cabello calls on the people to defend
truth: not be influenced by destabilizing

campaigns promoted by national and
 international media, "which seek to
overthrow the Bolivarian Revolution'.

Last December, President Maduro
aired recordings, disclosing a US
plan to bribe and corrupt the
 Venezuelan authorities.

Relations between Venezuela and the US
 have been hostile for a few years: they've
 not sent ambassadors to each other since
 2010, and instead have chargé d’affaires
 running their embassies.


3 children killed in shelling of
 Gorlovka, E. Ukraine – officials

3 children have been killed in the eastern
 Ukrainian city of Gorlovka during shelling,
Emergencies Ministry of the self-
Donetsk People’s Republic
says, on Friday morning.

 A shell hit the roof of a one-story house,
TASS reports. About thirty people were
 injured in Donbass in the last 24 hours
after shelling by Kiev's armed forces,
 mostly in Donetsk and Lugansk.

 A peace deal was reached in Minsk
 on Thursday, and a ceasefire is to
begin in eastern Ukraine at
 22:00GMT on Saturday.


Ukraine peace deal: Ceasefire starting
 February 15, removal of heavy weapons

An agreement has been brokered in Minsk
 to stop hostilities in Ukraine from Sunday.

The deal was reached after marathon talks
 between the leaders of France, Germany,
 Russia and Ukraine, and signed by the
Ukrainian rebels.

“I believe we agreed on a big deal. We agreed
 to a ceasefire starting at midnight on February
the 15th,” Russian President Vladimir Putin
 told the media, after the talks were finished.

"The main thing achieved is that from Saturday
 into Sunday there should be declared - without
any conditions at all - a general ceasefire," the
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko told
 journalists in a separate statement.

A compromise decision was taken over the
 disengagement line, which was the biggest
 stumbling block in negotiations. According
 to the document, Kiev’s troops will pull back
 heavy weapons from the current frontline.

The rebels will pull back from the line as it
existed in September, when the previous
ceasefire agreement was signed.

The security zone separating the warring
sides must be at least 50km wide for artillery
 over 100mm caliber, 70km for regular multiple
rocket launchers and 100km for heavier arms
with a longer range, such as the Tochka-U
ballistic missiles, the document states.

The weapons pullout must start on Sunday &
 be completed in no longer than 14 days. The
OSCE is charged with implementing the cease-
fire on the ground and will use its drones and
 monitors, to verify that both parties stick to
the deal.

The ceasefire deal provides for a withdrawal
 of all "foreign troops, heavy weapons and
 mercenaries" from Ukraine, under OSCE
monitoring. "Illegal armed groups" will be
disarmed, but local authorities in the future
will be allowed to have legal militia units.

The agreement involves an exchange of all
prisoners, to be completed within 19 days.
 A general amnesty for the rebels will be
 declared by Kiev.

The national government’s control over the
borders between Donetsk and Lugansk
Regions, will be fully restored a day after
 municipal elections, which will be held
 in the regions as part of a profound
 constitutional reform.

The agreement requires political reform in
Ukraine to ensure decentralization and a
special status for its rebel provinces. It
 requires Ukraine to adopt legislation
 to provide permanent privileges to the
Lugansk & Donetsk Regions, currently
 self-declared republics, by the end of

The legislation will include the right for
language self-determination and trans-
border ties with Russia, as well as the
 authority of the local governments to
appoint local prosecutors and judges,
the document states.

Humanitarian and economic issues are
 also mentioned in the deal. Kiev will
 restore economic ties and the social
payments, it cut in rebel-held areas,
the document says.
 An international monitoring mechanism
 may be established for these payments.

During the transition period an inter-
nationally-monitored mechanism for
 humanitarian aid to the regions
affected by the war, will be
 implemented, the document states.

Putin said that Kiev’s unwillingness to
 hold direct talks with the self-proclaimed
 Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics
 was among the reasons it took so much
time to reach an agreement.

“They may be unrecognized, but we have
 to deal with real life here, and if everyone
wants to agree and have sustainable
relations, direct contacts are needed,”
 Putin said.

He added that the ‘Normandy Four’ expect
the parties involved in the conflict to show
restraint even in the days before the cease-
fire takes effect.

The members of the ‘Normandy Four’ –
Putin, Ukrainian President Poroshenko,
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and
French President Francois Hollande –
supported a joint declaration
describing the results of their work.

The declaration was not meant to be
signed by the leaders, Germany's FM,
 Frank-Walter Steinmeier said.

The Head of the Donetsk People’s Republic,
 Aleksandr Zakharchenko, who signed the
Minsk document, says it requires additional
 consultation and warns that “if these terms
 are broken, there will be no new meetings
 or memoranda.”

He added that he and Igor Plotnitsky, the
head of Lugansk People’s Republic, agreed
 to sign the document “due to guarantees
 from the president of Russia, chancellor of
Germany and president of France,” with the
 hope that it would allow their people to
 “achieve peaceful development.”

The new Minsk accord gives hope for a
de-escalation of the Ukrainian conflict,
but requires a major effort to build trust
 between the parties involved.

The previous deal collapsed as neither Kiev
nor the rebels implemented it fully, which
means the threat of renewed hostilities in
Ukraine, continues to loom.

"We now have a glimmer of hope," 
 Merkel and the French President
say jointly today, on the German
 federal government's website.

She stresses she has no illusions
 as "there are still major hurdles
 lying ahead," & "concrete steps"
 must be taken.

Germany and France have shown
 that they have made a contribution
 in line with Europe, she says, adding
 that her initiative with Hollande, to
mediate a political resolution to the
 Ukraine crisis, was worthwhile.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter
 Steinmeier says in a separate statement
that the marathon four-way negotiations,
attended by Germany, France, Russia
and Ukraine, "achieved something"...
 including a ceasefire to be effective
 as of Saturday night.

The talks have cleared timelines for
the implementation of elections in
eastern Ukraine, border control and
 prisoner exchanges, as agreed in
 Minsk last September, he says.

"It was an extremely difficult negotiation"
 and the new agreement had "a difficult
 birth," Steinmeier says, urging all the
relevant parties to refrain from doing
anything that might undermine the
current agreement, before the
ceasefire enters into force.


Al-Qaeda-linked militants overrun
 army camp in south Yemen

Al-Qaeda-linked fighters have launched
 an attack against a government army
base in Yemen’s southern province of
Shabwa, taking full control of the site,
local government officials say.

The terrorist Ansar al-Sharia said in a
Twitter statement on Thursday that its
members had fully seized the camp of
 the 19th Infantry Brigade in the town
 of Beihan, 320 klmtrs S. East of Sana’a.

The Takfiri militant group also criticized
 the Yemeni army, for collaborating with
 the Shia Houthi Ansarullah movement.

Tribal sources in Shabwa confirmed the
capture, saying Ansar al-Sharia militants
 captured the base after a gun battle with
 government troops. At least 7 people
 were reportedly killed in the process.

In past months, al-Qaeda militants have
 frequently attacked Yemen’s security
 forces. The militants have also been
 battling with Shia Ansarullah fighters.

The central government in Sana’a has
so far failed in its efforts to rid Yemen
of the threat from the terrorists.

Ansarullah fighters, who played a
big role in ousting Yemen’s former
dictator, Ali Abdullah Saleh, have
 intervened to fill the vacuum and
have driven al-Qaeda militants
 out of many areas in the country.

Ali al-Emad, an Ansarullah leader,
 recently said Saudi Arabia supports
 armed al-Qaeda extremists in order
to control oil and service centres
 in the Yemeni provinces of Marib
 and Hadhramaut.

He added that Riyadh seeks to stop
 changes in Yemen for fear of possible
 impacts on the Bab el-Mandeb Strait.


“Azov” battalion: who are
 the real governors of Mariupol?

Opinion of a dweller of Mariupol
Lyudmila Surikova:

“My acquaintances and friends often ask me:
“What's going on in Mariupol? Who is shelling
 peaceful cities and killing ordinary civilians?

 Who downed MH17, who blew up the bus in
 Volnovakha and bombed a residential area
in Vostochnyi?”

They expect me to answer that it was done
 by People’s Militias or by Ukraine's Army…
 but I surprise and disappoint them with my
 reply: Ukraine has no authority in Mariupol.

 The “Azov” battalion's the authority here.
 Ukrainians or militiamen have nothing to
do with the downed Boeing, or the bus
being hit, or the shelling of Mariupol.

All the above are the deeds of NATO’s
 foreign legion under the scandalous
name of “Azov” according to the true
words of the Russian President.

 Such battalions are also called territorial
 battalions. There are many of them. Azov
 isn't the only one. There's also Aidar,
Donbas and others. In reality they're not
 Ukrainian Nationalists; they are typical
 Western international mercenaries, hired
 in various countries by Mr. Kolomoyskiy,
 for American money and on the orders
 of the USA.

 In fact it is NATO’s foreign legion, as
 Putin said, masked as local Nationalists.
 They do not fight for any idea, they earn
 money. It makes no difference to them
 who they are killing or blowing up.

 They are only paid for combat activities,
 and that is why they need to constantly
 murder someone, in order to report in
work done and receive their salary.

 And the goal set before them is simple:
 exterminate as many as possible pro-
Russian local inhabitants, undermine
 infrastructure in the industrial region,
 and discredit Russia in the eyes of the
 world. If possible, even get it directly
involved in a World War.

 They are not subordinate to Kiev or
 the Headquarters of Ukraine's Army.

 They have a different task. Commands
 are directly issued from Washington,
 or Ukraine's Security Services, which
 have been a CIA department for some
time now.

They are instructed and trained by
counselors from the task forces of
NATO and Israel. It is they who are
 shelling peaceful cities, blowing
buses, murdering civilians and
 kidnapping people.

 It is they who shoot in both directions:
on Ukraine's military and militiamen,
 when ceasefires are declared, in
order to receive their blood money.

 It's they who shoot Ukrainian soldiers
 in the back, when they do not want
 to fight and torture and kill captured
 militiamen… They are called “the
Third Force” here in Donbass, and
 they are never taken prisoner.



US troops to start training Ukrainian forces

A battalion of US troops are to train three
battalions of Ukrainian troops at Yavariv
 training camp in Lviv, in March, US Army
 Europe Commander Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges
 said on Wednesday.

According to Hodges, US troops will train
 the Ukrainians in fields such as, how to
 better defend themselves against militia
rockets and artillery. They will also get
 training on how to secure roads, bridges
 and various other infrastructures.

He added they will also be taught how
 to treat and evacuate casualties and
 cope in situations as communications
are jammed.

Hodges made the remarks during a visit
 to NATO's Multinational Corps Northeast
Headquarters in Szczecin city, Poland.

Although his comments came amid a
surge in fighting in eastern Ukraine,
 he stated that the plans were made
 several months ago.

Meanwhile, the leaders of France,
Germany, Russia and Ukraine are
holding 'peace talks' in Minsk,
Belarus, as the fighting rages on.

 Donetsk officials say five people were
 killed and nine more injured, by Kiev
 government forces shelling a bus stop
 on Wednesday. City officials also report
 the death of 3 people during overnight

In a separate incident, one person was
 killed when a hospital was shelled by
 government troops in Donetsk.

"A shell hit hospital number 20, setting
 it on fire,"  a spokesperson, Yuliana
 Bedilo, told AFP, for the Donetsk

She added that the victim was a
 pedestrian passing by the hospital
during the incident.

One person in the hospital was
wounded and 5 others evacuated,
 said Bedilo.

Ukrainian officials said on Wednesday
 that 19 government troops were killed
and a further 78 injured in the fighting
in Debaltseve region.

Also on Wednesday, Ukraine’s regime
 announced it is to impose martial law
if the crisis escalates in Ukraine’s east.

“The government and parliament are
 ready to introduce martial law
throughout Ukraine,” said Poroshenko.

He added that the Minsk summit would
 determine whether the conflict could
resolved via “diplomatic channels”
the Ukrainian government should
“switch to a completely different mode.”


Yemenis hold rally to mark
revolution anniversary

Thousands of Yemenis have held rallies across
 Yemen, to mark the fourth anniversary of the
 country’s revolution, which toppled the long-
time dictator, Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Yemenis took to the streets on Wednesday in
various cities, including the capital Sana'a, to
celebrate the anniversary of Saleh’s downfall.

The demonstrators also called for the
establishment of security, across the
 impoverished country.

Four years after the February Revolution,
Yemen is currently the scene of massive
political changes, with fighters from the
Shia Ansarullah movement in control of
Sana'a and some other major towns

and cities across the country. 

‘Do not block Yemen’s revolution’

In a televised speech on Tuesday,
 the leader of the Shia Ansarullah
 movement, Abdel-Malik al-Houthi,
 warned against any plots to hinder
 the reform process in the country.

"The disturbed powers who are
causing instability, if they ever
 decide to play the economic
 card, their interests are going
 to be affected, because the
Yemeni people will never stay
watching them causing
 them harm --- and they know
exactly what to do," he said.

Houthi, addressing a huge gathering
 of people in the city of Sa’ada, said
 Western governments are trying to
spread fear in Yemen --- by closing
their embassies in the Arab country.

"There are some people trying to
spread fear in diplomatic missions:
aiming to scare them enough to flee
 the country, even though they know
they live in a stable security situation
 which is clear; there is no need for
 these fears," he said.

The US, UK and France have announced
 that their embassies in Yemen will close
 --- and have urged citizens to leave the
country, amid the ongoing turmoil.

The revolutionary leader defended his
 party’s forming of a new revolutionary
 committee, saying that the formation
 of the transitional council can thwart
 all the plots against Yemen, as it will
put an end to the political vacuum.

Houthi also asked all political factions
in the country to contribute to the new
 political process and help the country
build a better future.

"Come, be a partner in responsibility
 and a partner in building the future
of your country -- the whole of your
country: a partner in discussing &
 treating the issues we are facing,
no matter what issues they are,”
he appeale
d, as he saw the
contribution of all
factions & all
opposition parties,
in Yemen’s
system, as a

"This is the responsibility and the
ambition, do you have an ambition?
-- to be active in the whole country
and to be a partner in the decision
 making and a positive contributor
in every way?" he asked.

The Houthi movement continues to
strengthen its control over various
parts of troubled Yemen.

Military officials confirm that Houthis
 took control of the province of Bayda,
on Tuesday. This is the main gateway
 to Yemen’s Sunni-inhabited south.

Houthi gained control of the capital city
of Sana’a in September 2014, following
 four days of battles with army forces
loyal to the country’s former dictator.

 The revolutionaries say the Yemeni
government has been incapable of
properly running the affairs of the
country and providing security.



The West's press coverage of the speech below
was so anti-Assad we thought you might like a
more 'socialist' take on it -- from Prensa Latina.

Bashar Al-Assad Reaffirms Disposition
                  For National Dialogue in Syria               
 Syria has decided to fight terrorism and
establish a national dialogue, and can
not be in an alliance with states which
support terrorism, said President
Bashar Al-Assad, in an interview
 released today to the world's press.

Al-Assad stressed that most countries
 of the US-led coalition support terror,
 and it's important for Syria to maintain
 its independence.

'We would become a puppet working
against our own interests,' said the
Syrian president to the UK's BBC.

The Syrian leader said the ideological
source of the Islamic State terrorist
 organization and other groups linked
to Al-Qaeda is Wahhabism, which has
the support of the Saudi royal family.

He insisted that since the beginning
of the crisis in his country a decision
was taken to fight terrorism and to
conduct a nation-wide dialogue.

'Any war is bad and, in each, come
civilian casualties. The government
has decided to fight terrorism, to
defend its civilians', said Al-Assad.

The Syrian President rejected accusations
 against his government on alleged human
 rights violations against civilians, made as
 they are, by Western powers led by the US.

'If we were killing our people as the West
 alleges, we would not have stood firm
throughout this four-year period, and it
 is impossible for the government, army
 & state institutions to remain, without
popular support," said the president.

'When one enjoys popular support,
remarked Al-Assad, 'this means
that the people are defended.'

He also criticized the persistence of
Western states, who try to present
as a moderate opposition, armed
 bands who share terrorist roots
with the self-proclaimed Islamic
State group and the Al-Nusra Front.

Al-Assad strongly refuted recent
accusations made by Human Rights
 Watch, that the forces of the Syrian
army attack, brutally & deliberately,
 areas held by the armed opposition,
 with weapons that don't discriminate
 between combatants and civilians.

"These stories are silly and the West
 keeps repeating them," emphasized
 the Syrian president.



Russia and Egypt have agreed on establishing
 a free trade zone and Russia’s industrial zone,
 near the Suez Canal, Egypt's President, Abdel
Fattah el-Sisi, says on Tuesday, after talks
with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin.

According to the Egyptian leader, Russia and
 Egypt will go ahead with military-technological
 cooperation, under the current circumstances.

The parties also agreed on developing energy
 and on civilian nuclear power cooperation.

President Putin said the nuclear power
 deal signed by Russia and Egypt means
establishing a new nuclear power
industry in the North African country.


IS will control Mediterranean shore in 2 months
 unless West helps Libya – former Libyan PM

The militants of IS terrorist group will control
territory on the shores of Mediterranean
“within two months” unless the West helps
 Libya to counteract the extremists, the
former PM of Libya Ali Zeidan claims in his
 comments published on Tuesday in the
 Times newspaper.

Zeidan expresses his concern that the IS will
 seek to extend the declared “Caliphate” to
the territory of Libya, after the IS terrorists
managed to put several territories in Iraq and
 Syria under their control. The former head of
the Libyan government warns about the huge
expansion of IS and its presence everywhere.

According to Zeidan the IS branch in Libya made
up of local citizens is stepping up its presence in
 the majority of big cities in Libya and is engaging
 fighters from other Islamist groups.

Ali Zeidan expressed his hope that the world will
take the problem seriously. The situation in Libya
is still under control, but left as it is, it will not be
controlled as successfully as it used to be, the
 former Libyan PM adds.

There will be a big war in the country, and in
Europe too, he warns.

Last autumn militants from the Mediterranean
 city Derna were the first to swear allegiance
to IS. The city is close to European borders –
 only 200 miles from the Greek island of Crete.

This year there are reports that IS terrorists
are taking advantage of the chaos in Libya,
 since the overthrow of Muammar Kaddafi’s
 regime, and are starting to establish their
rule in the capital city, Tripoli.

The IS officially declared its presence in Libya
in a special video message last month, when
leaders of the local IS branch, declared their
intention to extend their influence over all of
the country.


African Leaders to Discuss UN Reforms in Zambia 
Zambia will host a meeting to be attended by 10
 African leaders, who will discuss reforms to the
UN Security Council, the Lusaka Times reports.

In an interview, Zambian Foreign Minister Harry
 Kalaba says that the decision was made at the
 recent summit of the African Union, held in late
 January, in Ethiopia.

The foreign minister expresses his hope that
 the reforms will result in a permanent seat
Africa at the UN Security Council, which
the power to veto decisions adopted by
UN General Assembly.


Putin''s Visit to Egypt Will
  Strengthen Trade and Political Ties
Russian President Vladimir Putin, on a
 2-day official visit to Egypt to strengthen
political relations and expand economic
and trade ties, with the emphasis on
military-technical cooperation, energy
 and investment, says that excellent
progress has been achieved.

The official talks agenda included an
assessment of events in the Middle
East, North Africa and the Israeli-
Palestinian conflict.

The leaders paid particular attention
 to the situations in Libya, Iraq & Syria
- conflicts in which Russia & Egypt as
mediators, deployed enormous efforts
 to find negotiated political settlements,
 without any external interference.

In the commercial sphere, the authorities
 in Cairo expressed interest in negotiating
 a free trade agreement with the recently
established Eurasian Economic Union
 (Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan & Russia)
 as advanced by Egypt's ambassador to
Moscow, Mohammed Al-Badri.

With trade at about 3 billion dollars a year,
favorable to Russia, the two countries are
now evaluating moving into a new system
 of accounting and paying in rubles.


Gulf states rejects Houthis' takeover in Yemen

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) rejects the
 Houthis' takeover in Yemen and warns of 'steps
 to protect its members' interests', according to
 local newspapers.

At a meeting in Riyadh, the GCC says they will
 continue to stand with the Yemenis, criticizing
 the Shiite Houthi group's latest move, which is
 described by the 6-nation bloc as a coup that
will end peaceful political processes in Yemen.

"This Houthi coup is a dangerous escalation,
 which we reject as unacceptable. It totally
 contradicts the spirit of pluralism and
 coexistence which Yemen has known,"
 the GCC says.

The GCC warns that the latest developments
 will lead to more violence and bloodshed in
 Yemen, and it calls upon the international
community to be responsible and denounce
 it, especially in the UN Security Council.

On Friday, the Houthi group announced it is
 taking over the government and dissolving
 parliament in Yemen.

It has also formed a 5-member presidential
 council to exercise presidencial power, in
 a move which further deepens the chaos,
 after Yemen's president and premier both
 submitted their resignations last month.

Moreover, a transition national council of
 551 members is being set up to replace
the parliament, which is currently under
the control of the former President, Ali
Abdullah Saleh.

Government sources say that the Houthi's
declaration is unilateral, without reaching
 a consensus with other political parties.

However, some senior officials, including
the defense minister and interior minister
 of the outgoing government, were seen
attending the meeting held in the
Republican Palace in Sanaa.


Split EU widens sanctions against Moscow
Ukraine rebels, implementation 'delayed'

The EU has announced new sanctions against
 Russian officials and Ukrainian militants, but
will postpone their enforcement for one week,
 pending Wednesday's peace talks in Minsk,
 says French foreign minister Laurent Fabius.

"The principle of these sanctions remains, but
their implementation will depend on results on
 the ground. We will see by Monday, how the
meeting in Minsk went," he says.

The foreign ministers of the 28 EU members
have added 5 Russian citizens, sources say.
The ‘black list’ also reportedly includes
members of the eastern Ukrainian militia

 and 9 organizations the EU considers to be
responsible for the escalation of violence.

The 4-way talks in the Belorussian capital,
 comprising Russia, Ukraine, Germany and
France, took place on Wednesday

The EU will decide if these new restrictive
measures against Russia are going to be
 implemented on Monday, February 16th,
after evaluating the Minsk negotiations'
results, Fabius adds.

Even if the new peace plan is successful,
 another decision by EU foreign ministers
will be required to stop the sanctions - a
safeguard demanded by Philip Hammond,
the UK's Foreign Secretary.

Britain had to fight a move to abandon the
sanctions, from Greece, Cyprus, Austria
other countries, who are hostile to
ratcheting up more
pressure on Russia.


Donetsk self-defense forces 'block key
highway' near embattled Debaltsevo

Militia of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s
 Republic have taken full control of Logvinovo
village, a strategic point on the road linking
 Debaltsevo & Artyomovsk towns, TASS reports.

The republic’s Defense Ministry says that “this
 strategic highway, used earlier for supplying the
 Ukrainian military with ammunition and military
 hardware, has been blocked by the DPR militia.”


No Curfew in Baghdad
              for the First Time in 12 Years               
 The residents of Iraq's capital woke up on Sunday
with hangovers from last night's revelry, because
 there was no curfew for the first time in 12 years,
 despite terrorism's vile presence in  Iraq.

Iraq's authorities conceived the end of the
curfew to help normalize life, and citizens
 celebrated from midnight, as they are now
able to go to cafes and restaurants and to
stay up until late, in squares and streets.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi ordered
 the Baghdad Operations Command to lift the
 curfew on February 7th. The measure was
imposed after the US military invasion of
Iraq, in March 2003, due to the alarming
 rise in bombings and sectarian violence.

A statement from the office of al-Abadi
acknowledges that the decision was
 made "despite the existence of a state
 of war" in Iraq, in a clear admission of
 the violence caused by attacks by Sunni
 fundamentalists of the Islamic State (IS)
 and related groups.


Moscow demands copies of
 ‘Russian soldiers IDs’ shown in Munich

Russia's Foreign Ministry says Kiev is reluctant
to supply copies of what it says are documents,
 proving a Russian military presence in Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko showed
 the audience at the Munich Security Conference
 several passports on Saturday, saying they all
 belonged to Russian soldiers fighting in Ukraine.

“We asked the Ukrainian side to give us copies
 of the documents containing last names, since
 such ID as was shown yesterday, could easily
 be bought,” said Viktor Sorokin, director of the
 CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States)
 department within Russia's Foreign Ministry,
 is quoted as stating, by RIA Novosti.

“There’s no real proof. As of today, the
Ukrainian side hasn’t been able to give
 us copies of these documents.”

The Ukrainian crisis and the prospect of
 arming Ukrainian troops was again top of
the agenda in Munich on Sunday, the last
day of the conference.

Germany has stayed firm in its opposition to
 military escalation. German Foreign Minister
 Frank-Walter Steinmeier, said that weapons
supplies to Ukraine, would only aggravate
the crisis. He added that European security
 could only be built in cooperation with
Russia, not against it.

Steinmeier, however, criticized his Russian
 counterpart Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov
 for his remarks, in which he accused the US
 and EU of escalating the crisis in Ukraine.

"It is Moscow's responsibility to identify
common interests," Steinmeier said. "We
have seen too little of this so far. And the
 speech by my colleague Lavrov yester-
day, made no contribution to this."

US Secretary of State John Kerry denied
America and Europe were split over the
 Ukraine crisis.

"On the fundamental goal with respect to
 Ukraine, we are absolutely united ...we
want a diplomatic solution," he said.

Nevertheless, on Thursday, Kerry spoke
 to Ukraine’s leadership in Kiev about the
possibility of supplying arms, at the same
 time as the German and French leaders
were announcing snap talks with Putin &
Poroshenko to discuss a new peace plan.

“President Hollande & Chancellor Merkel
 seem to have a much greater sense of
responsibility about the importance of
getting a quick ceasefire plus a new
negotiating framework or restoring the
 Minsk negotiating process framework.
One doesn’t sense the same urgency in
Washington,” Martin Sieff, columnist for
 the Post-Examiner newspaper, told RT.

US Senator John McCain voiced the idea
 of arming Ukrainian troops, on Sunday.

"In the heart of Europe, we see Russia
emboldened by a significant modern-
ization of its military, resurrecting old
 imperial ambitions and intent on
 conquest once again," McCain said
 in Munich.

He has called for sending "defensive
 weapons" to Ukraine. The term has
 raised questions, though.

“I’d like to know what defensive weapons
 are,” political analyst, Chris Bambery says.
“I mean what’s the difference between
 offensive and defensive weapons? We are
seeing a very confused situation because,
there’s a welcome for the ceasefire; and
for the arrival of Francois Hollande and
 Angela Merkel in both Kiev and Moscow,
 but we also see NATO suddenly announce
 it’s going to be setting up bases in 8 NATO
 countries bordering the former Soviet Union.”

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov
noted that the idea of supplying weapons
 to Kiev remains quite unpopular in Europe.

“The majority, if not all European politicians,
 consider the idea a bad one, that might lead
 to further aggravating the Ukrainian crisis,”
he said on Sunday.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius repeated
 that granting a special legal status to the break-
away territories in eastern Ukraine, could be a
solution to the crisis.

In September, President Poroshenko said
 there would be no special status for the
 Donetsk and Lugansk regions.

There have been reports that the new text of
 the Ukraine peace deal presented by Merkel
 and Hollande, contains the promise of more
 autonomy for rebel-held eastern Ukraine.

The latest escalation of violence started in mid-
January after Kiev announced a mass operation
 against Donetsk airport, in violation of a previous
 ceasefire agreement. Since then there have been
 almost daily reports of civilian casualties in the
 conflict. Five people died in shelling on a hospital
in Donetsk on Wednesday. The UN has warned of
a looming humanitarian catastrophe in the region.


50,000 casualties in Ukraine: German
 intel says ‘official figures not credible’

The German intelligence service estimates
that the real losses in Ukraine's civil war
are 50,000 dead (civilians & servicemen)
 -- nearly 10 times higher than reported by
Kiev's authorities, German media report.

The information comes from a source in
 German intelligence, who spoke to the
Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung
 (FAZ) newspaper.

“Germany’s special services estimate the
 probable number of deceased Ukrainian
servicemen and civilians at up to 50,000
people. This is about 10 times higher
 than the official data. The official
figures are clearly too low and not
credible,” the newspaper reports on
 Sunday, citing its source.

Just the day before the report was
published, the Ukrainian president
gave completely different numbers
to the world.

“The death toll for Ukrainian soldiers
defending land from the aggressor
is now 1,432. Thousands of people,
5,638, have been killed since April
and every single day the number of
victims among civilians is rising,”
 Petro Poroshenko said, addressing
 the 51st Munich Security Conference
 on Saturday.

The Ukrainian army is reported to be
suffering its heaviest losses since the
beginning of the conflict last spring.

According to the Donetsk militia rep-
resentative, Eduard Basurin, Ukraine's
 army has lost 1,569 servicemen in just
3 weeks since restarting the offensive.

The situation on the battlefield is dire for
 the Ukrainian forces. Some 8,000 Ukrainian
troops are believed to be surrounded near
 the village of Debaltsevo in Donbass. Militia
 units have cut off the only road linking this
 pocket of land to Kiev-controlled territory.

Taking into account these heavy losses,
Ukraine is set to call up as many military
age Ukrainians as possible. The national
military draft for 2015 is expected to see
100,000 people joining the army in three
 stages throughout the year.

The recruitment effort, co-inciding with
 intensified fighting in eastern Ukraine,
is being met with a distinct lack of
enthusiasm, by potential soldiers.


Belgian parliament approves
Palestine state resolution

Belgium’s parliament has approved a resolution
that calls for the recognition of Palestine as an
 independent state. The international campaign
 to recognize Palestine as a sovereign state, is
now gaining momentum.

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel from the
 Reformist Movement party, the Flemish Liberals
 and Democrats, the Christian-Democratic and
 Flemish Party, and the New Flemish Alliance
 have all submitted the resolution.

Sweden is the only European country that has
officially recognized Palestine’s statehood, but
 several other parliaments in the European Union
 have made similar moves, which demand that
 their governments recognize Palestine as a state.

Israel has been angered by the motions being
submitted to Europe's parliaments.

On December 2, 2014, French lawmakers voted
 overwhelmingly in favor of a motion to recognize
 Palestine as an independent state. The motion,
 urging the government to recognize Palestine as
 a sovereign state, was backed by a majority of
 339 lawmakers and 151 members voted against.

On November 18th, 2014, Spain's lawmakers
 overwhelmingly approved their (non-binding)
resolution on recognizing a Palestinian state.

Britain and Ireland have also passed similar
non-binding motions.

On November 29th, 2012, the 193-member UN
 General Assembly voted to upgrade Palestine’s
 status to non-member observer state.

Palestinians seek to create an independent state
 on the territories of the West Bank, East al-Quds
(Jerusalem), and the Gaza Strip, and demand
 that Israel withdraw from occupied Palestinian
 territories. Israel, however, refuses to return to
 the 1967 borders and is unwilling to discuss
 the issue of al-Quds.


Russia eyes new peace conference
 without USA to avoid WWIII

An international scientific conference,
 "Yalta-1945. Past, Present, Future" has
just taken place in the Livadia Palace,
 in the Crimea.

 70 years ago, the palace was the venue