Tuesday, July 22, 2014

U.N. Security Council Unanimously Approves Probe of Crash in Ukraine

e United Nations Security Council, increasing pressure on Russia over the downing of a jetliner of Ukraine, adopted a resolution Monday calling for investigators to have unfettered access to the crash site and demanding a cease-fire in the area. Russia, which has been accused by other nations of involvement in Thursday’s shooting down of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, joined other Security Council members in the 15-0 vote. As a permanent member of the Security Council, it had the power to veto the resolution. The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, said a resolution would not have been necessary if Moscow had used its influence over pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine to permit access to the scene, where bodies and debris were strewn for miles. Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s U.N. ambassador, said his nation “stands ready to provide any assistance necessary.” But Churkin quickly resumed attacks on Ukraine, accusing it of drawing on the “shock” of the jet’s downing to step up its own attacks along the border against the separatists, who are seeking independence and possible union with Russia.

http://www.echo.msk.ru/blog/echomsk/1364434-echo/ (video)

Sunday, July 20, 2014

U.N. Security Council Mulls Resolution on Ukraine Crash Site Access

The U.N. Security Council is considering a draft resolution to condemn the "shooting down" of a Malaysian passenger plane in Ukraine, demand armed groups allow access to the crash site, and call on states in the region to cooperate with an international investigation. Australia - which lost 28 citizens - circulated a draft text, seen by Reuters, to the 15-member Security Council late on Saturday and diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity, said it could be put to a vote as early as Monday. The draft resolution "demands that those responsible for this incident be held to account and that all states cooperate fully with efforts to establish accountability." It "condemns in the strongest terms the shooting down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 ... resulting in the tragic loss of 298 lives" and "demands that all states and other actors in the region refrain from acts of violence directed against civilian aircraft." The United States and other powers have said the plane was likely brought down on Thursday by a surface-to-air missile fired from rebel territory. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power said on Friday that Washington could not rule out Russian help in firing the missile. Moscow denies involvement and has pointed a finger at Kiev's military.


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Malaysian Flight Shot Down Over Ukraine

A Ukrainian official said a passenger plane carrying 295 people was shot down Thursday over a town in the east of the country, and Malaysian Airlines tweeted that it lost contact with one of its flights over Ukrainian airspace. Anton Gerashenko, an adviser to Ukraine's interior minister, said on his Facebook page the plane was flying at an altitude of 33,000 feet. He also said it was hit by a missile fired from a Buk launcher, which can fire missiles up to an altitude of 72,000 feet. As plumes of black smoke rose up near a rebel-held village of Grabovo in eastern Ukraine, an Associated Press journalist counted at least 22 bodies at the crash site. The plane appeared to have broken up before impact and the burning wreckage - including body parts and the belongings of passengers - was scattered over a wide area. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called the downing an act of terrorism and called for an international investigation into the crash. The government of Ukraine said in a statement Thursday afternoon that it has evidence that the Russian military was involved in the crash. "The plane was shot down, because the Russian air defense systems was affording protection to Russian mercenaries and terrorists in this area," the statement said. Ukraine pro-Russia rebels said they didn't shoot down the airliner and blamed Ukrainian armed forces.


Russia Calls US Sanctions ‘Blackmail’

Russian President Vladimir Putin says the latest round of U.S. sanctions on Russia will stall bilateral relations and hurt U.S. businesses as well as Russian ones. Putin made his televised comments during a visit to Brazil, just hours after President Barack Obama announced new sanctions on Russian banks and energy companies for Moscow's support of the pro-Russian separatist rebellion in Ukraine. "[Sanctions] have a boomerang effect and without any doubt they will push U.S.-Russian relations into a dead end, and cause very serious damage, and I am sure that this also damages national long-term strategic interests of the U.S. government and the U.S. people,” said Putin. Separately, Russia's foreign ministry said Thursday that Russia will not tolerate "blackmail" from the United States and reserves the right to take retaliatory measures. It accused the European Union of submitting to pressure from the U.S. to impose sanctions as well. Obama, speaking Wednesday at the White House, said he has repeatedly urged Moscow to take key steps to ease the crisis, and that Russia so far has failed to meet any of the U.S. recommendations.


Russian Stock Market Hit by Sanctions

The United States imposed its toughest sanctions yet on Moscow on Wednesday, and Russian stocks and the rouble tumbled on Thursday. The rouble-traded MICEX stock market dropped 2.5 percent in early deals, its dollar-traded cousin, the RTS index , fell 3.2 percent and the rouble dropped as much as 1 percent against the dollar. "From the West's perspective they could not have chosen a better time to intensify sanctions," said Societe Generale strategist Regis Chatellier. "Until a few weeks back Russia was in a position of relative strength because there was massive pressure on oil but that is not the case any more." The new U.S. sanctions effectively shut off medium and longer-term dollar funding for companies close to Vladimir Putin. The EU also expanded its punishments for certain firms and said it would ask two of its development banks to halt their lending in Russia.


US, EU Boost Sanctions on Russia

The US and EU have bolstered sanctions against Russia over its alleged support for separatists fighting in Ukraine. The US has targeted major banks including Gazprombank, defence firms and energy companies including Rosneft. Russian President Vladimir Putin was quoted as saying sanctions would take US-Russia relations to a "dead end". The EU said it would announce details of its sanctions by the end of July, but added that its investment banks would no longer fund Russian projects.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

At Least 20 Killed in Moscow Metro –°rash

At least 20 people were killed and more than 150 injured when a Moscow Metro train derailed during rush hour. Several carriages left the track on the Arbatsko-Pokrovskaya line, also known as Line Three, on Tuesday morning and the rescue operation has so far lasted more than seven hours. Emergency officials said 50 of more than 150 passengers injured are in a serious condition in hospital. The accident on Tuesday was the worst loss of life in the Moscow Metro since twin suicide bombings in 2010, carried out by female terrorists from the region of Dagestan, that killed 39 people during morning rush hour.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Ukraine: Plane Downed by Missile Probably Fired From Russia

Ukraine said a powerful rocket probably fired from Russian territory downed a Ukrainian military cargo plane close to the border in a region where fighting with pro-Russia rebels has intensified. The allegation came a day after Moscow accused Ukrainian forces of hitting a Russian house on its side of the border with artillery fire, killing a Russian civilian. Russia's Foreign Ministry warned of "irreversible consequences" for the Ukrainian government in Kiev, which has denied involvement. The exchange of accusations illustrates heightened tension between Moscow and Kiev as the conflict in Ukraine's east grows increasingly bloody. After a lull, fighting has intensified in recent days between separatists and Ukrainian forces, who have been facing off since the spring. Representatives from Russia, Ukraine and Europe are trying to arrange a new round of cease-fire talks with the separatist leaders, as the Europeans weigh further sanctions against Russia.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Russia Accuses US of 'Kidnapping' MP's Son

The Kremlin is accusing the U.S. of "kidnapping" alleged Russian hacker Roman Valerevich Seleznev after the Secret Service arrested the 30-year-old for allegedly installing malicious software to steal credit numbers, the International Business Times reported. Russia is calling the U.S. arrest of Seleznev "yet another unfriendly gesture" of the United States. Prosecutors say Seleznev, who's scheduled for a July 22 hearing, programmed malicious software to steal credit numbers, using computer servers all over the world. He is charged with bank fraud, obtaining information from a protected computer, possessing stolen credit cards and identity theft. According to Russian media, Seleznev is the son of Russian MP Valery Seleznev. The Russian Parliament member reportedly told the Itar-Tass news agency he was unable to speak with his son but called the allegations a "monstrous lie and a provocative act." "We consider this as the latest unfriendly move from Washington. This is not the first time the US side, ignoring a bilateral treaty ... on mutual assistance in criminal matters, has gone ahead with what amounts to the kidnapping of a Russian citizen," the Russian Foreign Ministry said on its website. Seleznev was arrested July 5 by the U.S. Secret Service in an airport in the Maldives. He was taken to Guam where he appeared in court on Monday, according to the International Business Times. Seleznev faces up to 30 years in jail if found guilty of the charges, which include bank fraud, unlawfully obtaining information from a protected computer and aggravated identity theft. Meanwhile Seleznev Sr., the lawmaker, called for "retaliation" against the Maldives that assisted U.S. authorities in the arrest.