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NATO has a Scandinavian
'leftist' as its head - WHY?

THIS VIDEO EXPLAINS A LOT ABOUT TODAY'S NORWAY




REQUIEM
Efran and Poet's tribute to
 all those killed by wars

__________________________________________

  LATEST NEWS
 

‘Israel’ Won’t Engage in Marine War
 with Iran, IRGC Will Strike All
Zionist 
Ships in Gulf Area
: Report
April 15th, 5:32pm


According to a number of Western newspapers, 
‘Israel’ will not respond to the attack which 
targeted the Israeli ship near UAE coasts 
a few days ago, which indicates that Tel
Aviv 
is not interested in engaging in a 
marine war with Iran.
 
The Zionist circles said that Iran’s IRGC can strike 
all the Israeli ships in the Gulf region, adding that 
such operations represent a moral victory 
for Tehran.
 
The Israeli analysts stressed that the Islamic Republic
 would deter the Zionist escalation against its nuclear 
program, adding that Europe and the Gulf states 
were shaken and panicked by Iran’s decision 
to enrich uranium at 60%.
 
Source: Al-Manar English Website
 
 
_____________________________



Diplomat warns US placing 
dollar and West’s payment 
systems in jeopardy
April 15th, 17:01 (TASS)


 Recent US actions cast doubt on the advisability 
of using the dollar and those payment systems 
controlled by the West, spokesperson for the
Russian Foreign Ministry, 
Maria Zakharova,
said at a 
briefing on Thursday.
 
"Naturally, all this casts doubt on not only the 
expediency of using the American currency 
as a priority payment currency, but also the
 reliability of using payment mechanisms 
controlled by the West," the
diplomat said.
 
She pointed out that Russia's gradual reduction 
of the dollar share in national and cross-border 
settlements - is a "forced decision" made "in 
the conditions of losing ''confidence'' in the 
West, in matters of ensuring uninterrupted
access to international financial systems" 
as well as the declining predictability of 
US economic policy & the uncontrolled
 introduction of unreasonable 
restrictive measures.
 
On Thursday, the United States introduced another 
package of sanctions against Russia, this time 
related to Moscow’s alleged hacker attacks, 
interference in the US elections and the 
situation around Crimea.
 
 
_______________________________

 
 
Israel continues with its policy of
systematic forced displacement
in occupied Jerusalem /al-Quds
Palestinian minister
April 15th, 3:50pm (PressTV)
 
Palestinian Minister of Jerusalem al-Quds Affairs 
Fadi al-Hadami says that the Israeli authorities 
continue a systematic pattern: to forcibly 
displace Palestinians; change the 
demographics in the occupied 
holy city; and replace original 
residents with batches of 
extremist settlers.
 
“The Occupation follows a systematic policy to reduce
 the number of Jerusalemites, through a replacement 
policy in several cities – the last of which was the 
plan to build 9,000 new settlement units in the 
vicinity of Jerusalem Airport, and other units 
in the areas of Jabal Abu Ghneim, Beit 
Safafa and the E1 zone,” Hadami said 
in an exclusive interview with the 
Arabic service of Russia’s
Sputnik news agency.
 
He went on to say that Israeli officials also seek the
eviction of 28 Palestinian families from their homes
 in the Sheikh Jarrah district of Jerusalem al-Quds, 
and dozens more Palestinian families in 
other regions.
 
'This is a dangerous precedent in the history of
 Jerusalem,' the Palestinian Supreme Fatwa 
Council has warned.
 
The Palestinian minister highlighted that the Israeli 
authorities follow the policy of home demolitions
as
 a new strategy to advance their settlement 
expansion plans --- as they have razed the
homes of Jerusalem al-Quds residents 
under false pretenses or have forced
 Palestinian families to demolish
their
 own homes.
 
“Such attempts are meant to reduce the number of 
Jerusalemites and increase the number of settlers, 
change the demographic situation and status quo 
of Jerusalem al-Quds, and destroy the livelihood 
and accommodation of the residents of the
city,”
 Hadami pointed out.
 
'Palestine waiting for strong US
position 
against Israeli settlements'
 
Also on Thursday, the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign
 Affairs and Expatriates said, in a statement, that the 
Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority is waiting for 
a strong position from the international community 
- the United States in particular - against Israel's 
settlement expansion activities in the 
occupied Palestinian territories.
 
The ministry stated that Israeli authorities have 
escalated construction of housing units in the
 illegal settlements, as well as settler-only
roads 
and tunnels, mainly in occupied
East 
Jerusalem al-Quds and the 
surrounding neighbourhoods.
 
It underscored that such an uptick would only “put
 more obstacles in the way of a negotiated political
 settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and
 would also make it even impossible to achieve 
peace on the basis of international agree-
ments, 
specifically the principle of a
[so-called]
 two-state solution.”
 
“The rise in illegal settlement construction 
& expansion activities, is evidence of the 
Occupation’s intention --- to undermine 
international efforts to rekindle the 
peace process & to systematically 
sabotage it,” the Palestinian 
foreign ministry underlined.
 
“The [Israeli] colonial settlement policy constitutes a 
daunting challenge for the international community
-- including the administration of new US President 
Joe Biden. It requires him to adopt a clear position
 consistent with his earlier remarks about rejection
 of settlement activities & annexation -- in addition 
to his opposition to unilateral measures taken by 
the occupying regime,”
the statement read.
 
Biden had claimed that his administration would 
restore the US policy of opposing settlement 
expansion in occupied Palestinian territories.
 
His predecessor Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem 
al-Quds as the "capital" of Israel in December 2017 
and announced, in November 2019, that his 
administration no longer considered Israeli 
settlement construction in the occupied 
West Bank, a violation of international 
law.
 
Over 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements, 
built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the 
Palestinian territories of the West Bank 
and East Jerusalem al-Quds.
 
After Trump took office in December 2016, Israel
stepped 
up its settlement expansion in defiance
of United Nations 
Security Council Resolution
2334, which pronounces
 settlements in the
West Bank and East Jerusalem 
al-Quds
“a flagrant violation under
 international law.”
 
All Israeli settlements are illegal under
international
 law, as they are built on
occupied land.
 
 
_______________________________


DPR prosecutors file case against
 Ukrainian army officer complicit in
 death of man in northern Donetsk
April 15th, 2:17pm (DAN) 
 
The Donetsk People’s Republic Prosecutor 
General’s Office filed a terrorism case 
against the Ukrainian army’s brigade 
commander, Dmitry Kaschenko
--- complicit in the shelling of 
Donetsk overnight to April 
15th, the PGO press 
service reported 
on Thursday.
 
“The DPR PGO is investigating a criminal case 
against 58th Separate Motorized Infantry 
Brigade commander, Colonel Dmitry 
Kaschenko, and his subordinates, 
over the commission of an act of 
terror - which is covered by DPR 
Criminal Code Article 229, Part
 3, Item b,” the report said.
 
Investigators found out that Ukrainian servicemen 
had opened aimed fire at residential areas of the 
city’s Kievskiy district, at Kaschenko’s order,
 overnight to April 15th. A civilian was
fatally 
wounded in the strike.
 
The DPR PGO also opened criminal proceedings 
against the Ukrainian army’s 28th Separate 
Mechanised Brigade Commander, Maxim 
Marchenko --- whose subordinates 
caused damage to a house in the
Staromikhailovka settlement.
 
 
___________________________




Iran to withdraw from nuclear deal talks 
unless there are positive developments
 — diplomat
April 15th, 13:47 (TASS)
 
 
Tehran will withdraw from nuclear deal talks unless 
they take a positive turn, Iranian Deputy Foreign 
Minister Abbas Araghchi said on Thursday.
 
"If talks take the constructive turn that we expect, our 
country will continue participating in the process.
 Otherwise, we will withdraw from the talks," he 
said, as cited by the government’s press 
service. Araghchi added that "Iran has 
no wish to hold talks that are nothing 
but a waste of time."
 
The statement came before another meeting of the 
Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) Joint
 Commission that is taking place in Vienna on 
Thursday. Araghchi noted that "Iran held 
numerous consultations with various 
delegations in the past two days."
 
Iran and the other five members of the JCPOA held a 
meeting of their Joint Commission in the Austrian 
capital of Vienna last week. The meeting’s 
participants discussed ways to restore
the nuclear deal and determine issues 
expert groups will need to consider.
 
 
___________________________________



 
Yemeni Forces Strike Aramco,
 Important Targets in Jizan
April 15th, 12:49pm (al Manar)
 
 
Spokesman of Yemen’s Armed Forces, General 
Yahya Sarea, announced on Thursday that the 
Yemeni rocketry and drone forces carried out 
a major attack on Aramco facility and other 
important targets in KSA’s Jizan.
 
General Sarea said that seven ‘Saeer’ and ‘Badr’ 
were fired at Aramco oil facility in Jizan, adding 
that the target was hit accurately and that a 
huge fire broke out inside the company.
 
According to General Sarea, the stores and Patriot 
batteries were also accurately hit by four Sammad 
III, and Qasef K2  drones.
 
General Sarea stressed that the operation came
in 
response to the ongoing Saudi aggression and 
blockade, vowing more attacks, as long as the 
Saudi led war on Yemen continues.
 
Yemen has been since March 25th, 2015 under an
aggression by the Saudi-led coalition, in a bid to 
restore power to fugitive president Abd Rabbu 
Mansour Hadi, who is Riyadh’s ally.
 
Tens of thousands of Yemenis have been 
killed or injured by Saudi-led airstrikes.
 
The Arab impoverished country has been also under 
a harsh blockade by the coalition which includes, in 
addition to the Kingdom, the UAE, Jordan, Bahrain, 
Kuwait, Egypt, Morocco and Sudan.
 
Source: Al-Manar English Website
 
 
_____________________________


US mind-games: Slaps New
Sanctions on 
Russia,
Expels Diplomats
April 15th, 12:26pm (Sputnik)
 
 
The hostile measures come just days after the 
US president extended an invitation to 
President Vladimir Putin to meet
 "in the coming weeks."
 
The Biden administration has announced new 
financial & banking sector sanctions against
 Russia, and simultaneously expelled 10 
diplomats from Russia's diplomatic 
mission in Washington.
 
The sanctions, based on a presidential executive 
order, target 32 entities and individuals, plus six 
Russian technology sector companies, over 
alleged Russian meddling in the 2020 
elections and hacking attacks,
 including the SolarWinds 
incident. 
 
The 32 designated entities and individuals are 
targeted for their supposed involvement in 
"Russian government-directed attempts
to
 influence the 2020 US presidential
election, and other acts of
disinformation 
and
interference."
 
Significantly, the Treasury restrictions target all Russian 
sovereign debt -both ruble and non-ruble denominated,
issued after June 14th, 2021, by the Central Bank of 
Russia, Russia's National Wealth Fund and the 
Ministry of Finance. 
 
"This directive provides authority for the US government to 
expand sovereign debt sanctions on RUssia as appropriate,"
 a release by the White House said.
 
In a related measure, the Treasury announced Thursday 
that it had sanctioned eight more individuals over 
Russia's "occupation" of Crimea, in coordination 
with the European Union, the UK, Australia 
and Canada.
 
The 10 expelled diplomats have been ordered to leave 
Washington on the pretext that they were working as
 intelligence officers under diplomatic cover.
 
NATO expressed support for the new sanctions Thursday, 
saying US allies "stand in solidarity with the United
States'', 
over what it said, were its "actions to
respond to Russia's 
destabilizing activities."
 
"We call on Russia to cease, immediately, its destabilizing 
behaviour, and to uphold its international obligations, as 
Allies do theirs (sic), including existing arms control, 
disarmament, and non-proliferation agreements 
and commitments. We also call on Russia to 
cease its provocations and to immediately 
descalate tension on Ukraine's borders,"
 the alliance said.
 
 
______________________________


70 DPR recruits pass medical 
examination, go to militia’s 
training centre
April 15th, 12:07pm (DAN)


 More than 70 recruits who arrived at the Donetsk 
People’s Republic military commissariat central 
assembly point, have been sent to a training 
centre after passing a medical examination,
 the DPR militia reported on Thursday.
 
“More than 70 recruits have arrived from their places 
of residence, to the central assembly point of the 
Republican Military Commissariat,” the report 
said. “After the medical examination and 
document processing, they received 
military uniforms and heard 
motivational words of the 
Republic’s military 
commissar.
 
“The recruits were then taken to the premises 
of the training centre, where they will learn 
military professions.”
 
The medical examination was carried out by the 
People’s Militia Medical Service. The recruits 
also took a COVID-19 rapid test and the first
dose of the Gam-COVID-Vac vaccine.
 
Earlier, DPR Head Denis Pushilin announced the 
first conscription in the history of the country 
starting April 1st. Two hundred recruits are 
expected to be enlisted. Their military 
service will run at a training centre 
for six months.
 
 
_________________________
 
 
 
Biden Drops Afghan Mess
 to Target China, Russia
by Finian Cunningham
April 15th, 11:37am (Sputnik)


President Joe Biden’s administration is the sixth 
one to have presided over the 20-year US war 
in Afghanistan. And he is the fourth president
 to have overseen America’s “longest war”.
 
Two previous presidents, Obama and Trump, 
promised to end the “forever war” and both
 left office without fulfilling that aspiration.
 
So there is fair reason to view with skepticism 
Biden’s vow this week to withdraw all US 
troops from the Central Asian war-torn 
country – known as the “graveyard
 of empires” – by September.
 
Currently, there are 2,500 US troops in Afghanistan 
along with 9,600 other NATO soldiers. That’s a 
fraction of the numbers a decade ago when 
the war was at its height. Washington and 
its NATO allies agreed, this week, to all 
pull out residual forces by September,
in an 
“orderly” exit.
 
This delays an earlier withdrawal date – next month – 
that the Trump administration had negotiated with 
the Taliban enemy in a deal struck last year. The 
Taliban aren’t happy about the US missing the 
deadline and the delay might suggest the US
 procrastinating on its eventual departure.
 
Nevertheless, the indication is Biden wants to wrap 
up the war by definitely pulling American boots out
of Afghanistan. The main reason is less to do with 
Afghanistan, and more to do with confronting 
China and Russia.
 
First of all, there is the hype about a “job done”. Biden 
claimed this week that the US defeated the Al Qaeda
 terror group in Afghanistan - and had eliminated its
 leader Osama bin Laden, back in 2011. There was
 no reason to stick around any longer, he said.
 
Secondly, Biden is linking the withdrawal of US troops to
 the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks on New 
York City and the Pentagon. That linkage is meant to 
convey the public image - that the United States
ostensibly completed its mission of avenging
those American deaths.
 
Many observers will not buy Biden’s implied claims 
of an “accomplishment”. Indeed, such a notion is 
preposterous and grotesque, given the reality
 of criminality and catastrophe, of the war 
in Afghanistan.
 
More US and NATO troops were killed in the war than
American citizens on 9/11. Over 20,000 casualties 
were incurred by US forces, in a war whose 
original pretext was dubious.
 
More than 43,000 Afghan civilians are estimated to have
 been killed in war-related violence,  many of them from 
US airstrikes and deadly night raids on villages by 
special forces. The total death toll stands at
more
 than 157,000.
 
Biden’s hype about “war over” is really just a facade
to 
cover the disgrace of American failure and near-
destruction of a nation. The fact is the Americans 
lost, and the Taliban won, if we measure by who 
is left standing. But the contrived American 
narrative infers that the US desperately 
wants out of a quagmire it created at 
the cost of trillions of dollars.
 
Another indicator... is Biden’s announced withdrawal comes 
with “no conditions”. It's an unconditional retreat, meaning
 the Americans have been beaten to a pulp and have no
 leverage. The Taliban will easily push aside the US-
installed regime in Kabul once the Americans and 
their NATO partners bail out. And... by saying “no 
conditions”, Biden is really saying to the Taliban, 
“Do what you want, we just want out (just don’t 
shoot at us as we leave, though).”
 
A further sign of US determination to get out of Afghanistan
 came from Biden’s announcement this week that America 
needs to prioritise bigger challenges. In particular, he 
mentioned the “rise of China” as an adversary to 
US power.
 
“We have to shore up American competitiveness to meet 
the stiff competition we’re facing from an increasingly 
assertive China,” Biden told the nation, adding: “We’ll
 be much more formidable to our adversaries and 
competitors over the long term, if we fight the 
battles for the next 20 years, not the last 20.”
 
Since Biden became president 3 months ago, he has 
ramped up hostility toward China and Russia with 
blistering speed. It is clear that the imperial 
planners in Washington realize that in order
 to cope with what they call “great power 
rivalry”, the US needs to conserve its 
resources --- for warmongering 
elsewhere.
 
That’s why Afghanistan is being dropped like a blood-soiled 
rag. Not for any regretful moral reason, or sense of war 
weariness. It’s all about Washington consolidating
its 
belligerent efforts against China and Russia.


 
___________________________________
 

Putin-Biden meeting hardly 
possible in coming weeks 
— Kremlin
April 15th, 11:22am (TASS) 
 
A bilateral meeting between Russian President 
Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Joe 
Biden, can hardly be arranged in the 
coming weeks -- while the issue is 
still being analyzed -- Kremlin 
Spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, 
said on Thursday.
 
"Naturally, it won’t be possible to organize a bilateral 
meeting so quickly. This issue is still being analyzed," 
the Russian presidential spokesman said, replying 
to a corresponding question.
 
The Kremlin spokesman added that most likely "this 
relates to a climate summit planned for next week."
 
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken earlier announced 
that during a telephone conversation with the Russian 
leader, Biden proposed holding a meeting with Putin 
in the coming weeks.


 
________________________________________



Rouhani: We Can Do 
90% Enrichment But 
We Are Not after Bomb
April 15th, 10:49am (al Manar)
 
 
Rouhani dismissed the US, E3’s concerns over 
Iran’s 60% uranium enrichment, saying that 
today, we can do 90% enrichment, if we 
want to, but we are not seeking a 
nuclear bomb.
 
Speaking during a ceremony to inaugurate four 
major petrochemical projects on Thursday via 
video-conferencing, Iranian President Hassan 
Rouhani dismissed the US and the three major
 European countries for expressing concerns 
after Iran’s announcement of starting
uranium
 enrichment to 60% level,
as “wrong.”
 
He blamed the other parties to the nuclear deal for 
Iran’s latest move and stressed that as soon as 
the other parties abide by their commitments 
under the deal, Iran will reverse course and 
will stop both 20% and 60% enrichment.
 
Rouhani also underscored that Europeans and the 
United States are not in a position to accuse Iran 
of seeking nuclear weapons.
 
He further said, “We could have done 60% [enrichment] 
before. Today we can do 90% enrichment if we want to, 
but we are not seeking a nuclear bomb.”
 
Stressing that Iran is only pursuing peaceful nuclear 
activities, Rouhani underlined, “It is you who have 
been seeking nuclear bombs for years, 
stockpiling them, and building new 
bombs every year.”
 
“Whenever you return to the JCPOA commitments, we 
will return to our obligations immediately and our 
enrichment will not be above 3.67% as allowed 
by the JCPOA,” the Iranian President said.
 
Earlier, President Hassan Rouhani said that Iran’s decision 
to start enriching uranium to 60% was a response to the 
“malicious acts” perpetrated by Iran’s enemies.
 
Iran’s vowed the start of the 60% enrichment following a 
suspected Israeli act of sabotage at an Iranian nuclear 
site Natanz. Tehran has strongly condemned the act 
of sabotage as “terrorism.”
 
Source: Iranian Agencies
 
 
_________________________________


 
Three houses damaged
by 
Ukrainian strikes in
Donetsk over 24 hours
– JCCC
April 15th, 9:20am (DAN) 
 
Ukrainian armed formations fired at the Donetsk 
People’s Republic territory five times over the 
past 24 hours, the DPR Office at the Joint 
Centre for Control and Coordination
 reported on Thursday.
 
“Over the past 24 hours, Ukrainian armed formations 
violated the ceasefire 5 times - expending 17 rounds 
of ammunition (the amount of expended ammunition 
of calibre up to 12.7mm is not added to overall daily 
statistics – eds Donetsk News Agency),” the 
report said.
 
The enemy used 120mm mortars, grenade launchers 
& high calibre small arms. Sniper fire was recorded
 also. Strikes were delivered at Donetsk’s Kievskiy
 district, the Lozovoye and Staromikhailovka 
neighbourhoods in the west of the city, the 
northern suburb of Vesyoloye and the 
Yasnoye settlement in the outskirts
of 
Dokuchayevsk, the JCCC said.
 
Damage was caused to houses No 15 and No 17 
in Novorossiiskaya Street in Donetsk’s Kievskiy 
district and house No 33 in Zhukovskiy Street
in Staromikhailovka. “Preliminary reports 
said that a 59-year-old man was killed by 
the strike at 15 Novorossiiskaya Street,” 
the JCCC said. 
 
The DPR Office the JCCC sent a team of officers
to
 the scene for recording the aftermath of the 
shelling and fact finding.
 
In the previous reporting period, Ukrainian army 
units opened fire at DPR areas, six times.
 
The package of tighter ceasefire control measures 
came into force in Donbass on July 27, 2020. The 
document bans the use of all weapons, and the
deployment of hardware, special operations, 
engineer works and unmanned aerial 
vehicles flights.
 
 
___________________________________
 
 

Turkish Foreign Minister Confirms:
 US Has Cancelled Black Sea
 Passage of Warships
by Maxim Minaev
April 15th, 7:54am (Sputnik)
 
 
Earlier, a source in the Turkish Foreign Ministry 
said that Washington had notified Ankara about
 the passage of its two warships through the
 Bosphorus to the Black Sea.
 
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has 
relayed - that the United States has cancelled
the 
passage of its warships to the Black Sea.
 
“We were verbally told that the passage of the ships 
was cancelled. However, if they change their mind, 
they have three more days to use the previous 
notification & send the ships:  the notification
 will still be valid. If the ships dont pass within
 three days, then they will again need to make
a
 notification, 15 days before the expected
passage," Cavusoglu said.
 
According to him, recently the United States sent 14 
notifications about the passage of its warships to
 the Black Sea, of which five were later cancelled.
 
Earlier, a source in the Turkish Foreign Ministry 
said that Washington had notified Ankara about
 the passage of its two warships through the 
Bosphorus to the Black Sea, where they 
would be stationed from 14-15th of 
April, to the 4-5th of May.
 
According to Pentagon spokesman John Kirby, the 
operations of American warships in the Black Sea 
are "routine", the United States is coordinating 
these actions with the Turkish authorities
 under the Montreux Convention.
 
 
_______________________________

 
Iraqi group claims
responsibility 
for
attacking Mossad
centre
in Erbil
April 14th, 11:20pm (PressTV)
 
 
An Iraqi group has claimed responsibility for an 
attack on a facility serving Israel’s spy agency
 Mossad, in the northern Iraqi Kurdistan 
Region’s capital, Erbil.
 
The group, named Saraya Awliya al-Dam, claimed 
the Tuesday incident that targeted Mossad’s 
special information and operations centre 
in the city, in a statement on Wednesday.
 
The operation reportedly killed 10 Israelis, 
including three Mossad agents.
 
The Kurdistan Region’s Government... has denied that 
any such operation ever took place. Channels tied to
 Iraqi resistance groups have, however, insisted that
 the incident took place, and even published the
 names of some of the fatalities.
 
Citing security sources late on Tuesday, Iraq's Sabereen 
News television channel identified those behind the 
operation as "unknown resistance forces."
 
The Israeli officers have been working for several months 
at the Mossad-affiliated centre in Erbil & there is detailed 
information on the location & type of Mossad intelligence
 activities that would be released, if necessary, the 
channel said.
 
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office 
has declined to comment on the reports.
 
In February, the Iraqi group claimed a rocket attack in Erbil 
that had killed a contractor and wounded several others,
 including an American service member.
 
The next month, it said it had been behind multiple roadside
 explosions that had separately struck five convoys of 
trucks carrying logistical equipment for the US-led 
coalition forces in Iraq.
 
Saraya Awlia al-Dam is a subdivision of Iraq’s Popular 
Mobilization Units (PMU) or Hashd al-Sha’abi. The 
PMU took shape following the emergence of the
 Takfiri terrorist group of Daesh in Iraq in 2014. 
Its decisive and successful contribution to 
Daesh’s eventual defeat in 2017 led to its 
integration into Iraq’s official armed 
forces.
 
The same group, though, stopped all of its anti-terror 
operations, during a four-day visit by Pope Francis to
 the Arab country, earlier in March, when he met with
 Iraq’s senior Shia cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.
 
Announcing the cessation of its operations during the 
pontiff’s stay, it said, “We, Arabs, warmly receive our 
guests. Unlike the United States which betrayed the 
official guest of Iraq, and warrior of Islam, General 
Soleimani, we will never follow such an approach.”
 
It was referring to a January 2020 US drone attack
that
 martyred senior Iranian and Iraqi anti-terror 
commanders, Lieutenant General Qassem 
Soleimani, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. 
General Soleimani was targeted by
 the strike while he was on an 
official visit to Baghdad.
 
Both commanders enjoyed immense domestic and 
regional reverence, and acceptance, and their 
martyrdom was followed by massive protests 
and funeral processions, both inside and 
outside Iran and Iraq’s borders.
 
After the assassinations, Iraq’s parliament voted 
overwhelmingly in favor of a law mandating the
withdrawal of all US-led forces from the Arab 
country’s soil.
 
Also on Wednesday, Iraqi outlets and journalists 
reported taking place of an operation targeting
 the US’s airbase in Erbil.
 
They described it as a “rocket attack,” while 
Kurdistan’s interior ministry claimed that the
 incident had involved a “kamikaze drone.”
 
No person or group has claimed the incident yet.
 
 
_______________________________


 
Terrorists Carry Out 17 Attacks on
 Syria's Idlib De-escalation Zone, 
Reconciliation Centre Says
April 14th, 23:01 pm (Sputnik) 
 
The Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist group* shelled Syria's Idlib 
de-escalation zone 17 times over the past 24 hours, Rear 
Adm. Alexander Karpov, deputy head of the Russian 
Defense Ministry's Centre for Reconciliation of
 Opposing Sides in Syria, said at a briefing.
 
"Seventeen shelling attacks from the positions of the Jabhat 
al-Nusra terrorist group were registered in the Idlib de-
escalation zone... in the provinces of Idlib (10 attacks),
 Latakia (5), Aleppo (1) and Hama (1)," Rear Adm.
 Karpov said.
 
He said the number of attacks according 
to the Syrian side's data totaled 16.
 
Rear Adm. Karpov said no shelling on the part of illegal 
armed groups controlled by Turkey had been registered
 in the past day. He said Russian military police units 
continued patrols in the Aleppo province.
 
The Russian Defense Ministry's Centre for Reconciliation 
of Opposing Sides and Control over the Movement of 
Refugees in the Syrian Arab Republic was created
in 
February 2016. The centre's tasks include the
 signing of agreements on illegal armed groups
and individual settlements 
joining the regime
of cessation of 
hostilities, as well as
coordinating 
the delivery of
humanitarian aid.
 
*Jabhat al-Nusra (also known as Al-Nusra Front, Jabhat 
Fatah al-Sham, or al-Qaeda in Syria) is a terrorist group
 outlawed in Russia and many other states.



__________________________________________



Biden and Putin 
discuss conflict
 in Ukraine
 April 14th (Prensa Latina) 


Russian President Vladimir Putin and his counter-
part from the United States, Josep Biden, talked 
on Tuesday, over the telephone, about the 
conflict in Ukraine, the Kremlin press 
service reported.
 
'When exchanging views on the internal crisis in 
Ukraine, Vladimir Putin outlined approaches to
a political settlement based on the package
of 
measures for the Implementation of the 
Minsk Agreements,' the text reads.
 
It was reported that both presidents debated in detail 
on bilateral relations, in addition to other key issues 
on their international agenda.
 
The Kremlin press service reported that Biden 
suggested considering holding a meeting with 
Putin, in the foreseeable future.
 
Both Biden and Putin agreed to order the relevant 
departments of the two countries, to solve the 
issues tackled during the conversation.
 
On March 18th, Putin invited Biden to an 'online and 
open' talk, but the US did not respond, so it was 
considered as a refusal.
 
Putin then said that they could talk about two-way 
relations, strategic stability, the resolution of 
regional conflicts and other issues, such as
 the fight against Covid-19.
 
A day earlier, in a televised interview, Biden gave an 
affirmative answer to the journalist's question about 
whether he considered Putin a murderer. He also 
said that Russia would have to 'pay the price' for 
interfering in the 2020 elections in the US.
 
On this subject, the Russian president made it clear 
that in relations with Washington, Moscow will 
depend on honest and decent US people, 
TASS news agency reported.
 
He warned that Russia will cooperate with 
the United States only on favorable terms.
 
 
_____________________________



Public representatives excluded 
from the Minsk talks - following 
OSCE suggestion
April 14th,  21:50 DAN)
 
 
 Public representatives from the Republics, and Ukraine, 
will no longer take part in the Contact Group meetings, 
said DPR Foreign Minister, Natalia Nikonorova.
 
“Today a decision was announced, which we hope will
 unblock the discussion, on the political track.  The 
decision is that only official representatives of the
 sides will be taking part in the political subgroup 
of the Contact Group. Public representatives
will 
not be participating.”
 
Nikonorova emphasized that the decision
was 
taken with the assistance of the OSCE.
 
“The OSCE pressured the Ukrainian side into agreeing 
with one of our alternative suggestions: return to the 
format that existed for several years before Kiev’s 
provocations, so that we find a way out of the 
deadlock,” she explained.
 
Kiev suggested to include public representatives into 
the peace talks in December 2019. The Republics 
dismissed the idea as “another absurd idea”, 
but later, Ukraine amended its proposal, 
and limited the changes to adding two 
notorious journalists to its delegation.
 
In response, the Republics included its
public activists,
 though Kiev refused
to collaborate and blocked the
 political subgroup talks. 
 
 
 
___________________________________
 
 
 
Contact Group achieves no 
progress on security issues
April 14th,  21:49 (DAN)
 
 
Ukraine’s representatives in the Contact Group 
have refused to discuss a full-fledged operation 
of the coordination mechanism within the
frame
work of the Additional Measures
to Strengthen
 the Ceasefire, the
DPR delegation press 
service said.
 
“Today’s discussion... was a continuation of 
yesterday’s meeting, an absolutely wasted
 meeting of the security subgroup,” the 
statement reads.
 
The Additional Measures to Strengthen the Ceasefire
were signed at the Contact Group meeting on July 22
 to reinforce and control the indefinite ceasefire in 
effect since July 21, 2019, the latest in the series 
of more than 20 reconfirmations and announce
-ments of the “silence
 regime”. The package
came
 into effect on July 27th.


 
____________________________________



 
'Attack' targets US airbase 
in Iraqi Kurdistan: Reports
April 14th, 9:26pm (PressTV)
 
 
The United States’ airbase in the northern
 Iraqi Kurdistan region’s capital, Erbil, has 
come under an "attack."
 
Iraq's Sabereen News television channel and 
Qatar’s Al Jazeera television network reports
 that explosions had rung out in the city on 
Wednesday night.
 
The Iraqi channel reported shortly afterwards
 that columns of smoke were being seen 
billowing from the base towards
 the sky.
 
It added that the roads leading to the US Consulate 
in the city and the Erbil International Airport had 
been shut down following the incident. Another
 Iraqi information network said the airport itself
 had also been shut down after the 
development.
 
Iraqi journalists confirmed that at least one rocket 
had landed inside the outpost. They also 
circulated footage of overflights above
 the city of a large number of aircraft
 that they identified as, likely, 
US drones.
 
Kurdistan’s interior ministry claimed that the incident 
had involved a “kamikaze drone.”  It stated the alleged 
attack had targeted a facility affiliated to the forces 
of the United States-led coalition, that has been 
operating in Iraq, since 2014, under the pretext 
of fighting the Takfiri terrorist group of Daesh.
 
Other footage showed that a fire had broken out at 
the airbase. Rocket alarms, meanwhile, went off
at 
the US diplomatic mission.
 
Erbil’s Governo,r Omed Khoshnaw, claimed that
 the incident had led to no human losses.
 
No person or group has yet claimed responsibility 
for the incident. The interior ministry has asked 
the relevant authorities to investigate the
 development and report back to Erbil.
 
The Kurdistan-based installation & Ain al-Assad 
Airbase, in the western Iraqi Anbar Province,
constitute 
the US’s main military outposts
in Iraq.
 
The two facilities have repeatedly come
 under rocket fire, in the past.
 
Western and regional officials, and media outlets, 
have been trying to stereotype the developments 
as “terrorist” incidents.
 
Many, however, consider the developments to be a
 response to the United States and its allies’ long
-drawn-out military and political intervention in
the 
country. They describe the response as a 
“natural” reaction to interventionism, that 
arises from the depths of the Arab 
country’s grassroots and various 
political factions.
 
Last year, the Iraqi parliament voted overwhelmingly 
in favour of a law, mandating the withdrawal of all
the US
-led forces.
 
The legislation came only days after a US drone attack 
martyred senior Iranian and Iraqi anti-terror 
commanders, Lieutenant General Qassem 
Soleimani, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, 
targeting their convoy.
 
Both commanders enjoyed immense domestic and 
regional reverence and acceptance, and their 
martyrdom was followed by massive protests
 and funeral processions both inside and 
outside Iran and Iraq’s borders.
 
 
________________________________________
 
 
Ukraine conducting counter-
terrorist
 drills near
Crimean border
April 14th, 19:49pm (TASS) 
 
The Ukrainian Security Service is conducting 
large-scale counterterrorist drills in the
 Kherson Region, the service’s press 
centre informed Wednesday.
 
"The Ukrainian Security Service is holding large-
scale multistage counterterrorist exercises in
 the Kherson Region. Special attention is paid
 to the sea coastal zone of the region as well 
as the borders with Crimea during the
 trainings," the press centre
underlined in a statement.
 
 
_____________________________


 
NATO plays along with Kiev’s
 attempts to paint Russia as 
culprit in Donbass conflict 
- diplomat
April 14th, 19:39 (TASS)
 
 
NATO eagerly plays along official Kiev in its attempts 
to paint Russia as a culprit in the internal conflict in 
eastern Ukraine, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister 
Alexander Grushko said in an interview for 
TASS Wednesday.
 
"All recent statements of the Ukrainian authorities aim 
at only one thing: to present the war they carry out 
against their own people in Lugansk and Donetsk, 
in Donbass, as a conflict with Russia. Therefore, 
all statements they make, all calls on NATO to
 defend them are aimed only at this," he said. 
"Unfortunately, we see that NATO eagerly 
plays along, because the Alliance made
 Russia the main threat --- and, instead of 
being concerned over a situation caused
 by the non-implementation of the Minsk 
Agreements... they eagerly play along 
with Kiev authorities in these attempts
 to paint Russia, as the culprit of their 
internal conflict. Therefore, all these 
political statements must be viewed
 from this angle, specifically."
 
Earlier, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov noted
 that Western states turn a blind eye to Ukraine’s 
preparations in Donbass. He warned that those 
who seek to start a new war in Donbass can 
destroy Ukraine, and expressed his hope
 that the West --  led by the US -- will not 
nudge Kiev towards a military venture.
 
The situation in Donbass escalated in late February.
 Shootouts, including with the use of mortars and 
grenade launchers, were registered in the region 
almost every day. Both Kiev and Donbass 
accused each other of the escalation.
 
 
________________________________

 
 
Lavrov conveys concerns over 
escalation in Donbass to
 OSCE chairperson
 April 14th, 18:25 (TASS)
 
 Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has 
expressed concern over escalating tensions 
in Donbass Wednesday in a phone call with 
Swedish Foreign Minister and OSCE Chair-
person-in-Office Ann Linde.
 
"The key attention was paid to the situation in south-
east Ukraine. The Russian side expressed concerns 
over the escalation of the conflict caused by Kiev’s 
redeployment of personnel and military equipment 
to the line of engagement as well as shelling of 
neighborhoods of Donetsk and Lugansk by 
the Ukrainian Armed Forces that became a 
regular occurrence," the Russian Foreign 
Ministry said in a statement.
 
The minister voiced hope that Sweden, as the 
current OSCE chair, will make necessary efforts
 to compel Kiev to strictly abide by its obligations 
in conflict settlement, including resolution of the
humanitarian problems of populations of Donetsk 
and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR, LPR) 
primarily by recognizing the fact that these
 territories are subjected to an 
economic blockade.
 
Lavrov reaffirmed that Moscow is interested in settling
 the conflict exclusively by peaceful means based on
 the Minsk Package of Measures that has
 no alternatives.
 
"The necessity was noted that the parties to the conflict, 
Kiev, Donetsk and Lugansk, to strictly implement the 
additional measures to strengthen the ceasefire 
agreed in the Contact Group in July 2020," the 
diplomatic agency pointed out in the statement. 
 
"The Russian side also stressed that the OSCE Special 
Monitoring Mission to Ukraine in the current situation
 needs to step up efforts of unbiased observation of
 the situation on both sides of the line of engagement
 in Donbass and primarily instances of civilian deaths
 and civil infrastructure destruction.".
 
 
________________________________




Debate on fate of nuclear 
weapons in Scotland 
heats up
April 14th, 6:15pm (PressTV)
 
The fate of the UK's submarine-based nuclear 
"deterrence" at Clyde Naval base in Scotland,
 is arguably the most sensitive aspect of the 
Scottish independence debate.
 
The debate on the future of the UK’s Scotland-based 
nuclear weapons capability has begun in earnest 
with an online exchange between a leading
 Scottish National Party (SNP) MP and the
 former director of the National Cyber 
Security Centre (NCSC).
 
Talking at a lecture organized by The Times news-
paper, Ciaran Martin – who was director of NCSC
 between 2016 & 2020 – argues that an independ
-ent Scotland will have no choice
 but to host the
UK’s nuclear capability at
 the Clyde naval base
in Faslane.
 
Martin, who was the first director of NCSC after the 
centre became operational in October 2016, is the 
first leading former British security official to 
address the future of the UK’s nuclear 
capability in the event of 
Scottish statehood.
 
Martin’s position carries weight as, prior to leading 
the NCSC, he was head of cyber security at the 
signals intelligence agency, GCHQ.
 
The NCSC is effectively an extension of GCHQ and 
acts as public interface of the secret organization.
 
Martin also attacked the ruling Tories’ position on 
the issue of Scottish independence which he 
argues blocks a “lawful” and “democratic” 
path to Scottish statehood.
 
Martin argues that by blocking a second independ-
ence referendum the Tories risk reducing the UK 
to a partnership “that survives only through
 force of law”.
 
However, Martin’s contention that a future independent
Scottish state would be
 compelled to host the UK’s 
submarine-based nuclear capability, has been 
rejected by SNP MP, Stewart McDonald.     
 
McDonald tweeted that it is “inconceivable” that
a Scottish state would host Trident, the UK’s 
nuclear capability, which is comprised of 
4 Vanguard-class submarines, carrying
ballistic missiles fitted 
with
nuclear warheads.
 
I thoroughly enjoyed @ciaranmartinfox’s 
lecture last night, but on this we do diverge. 
It’s inconceivable that an independent 
Scotland would will host trident: 
This will be our first test as a 
new security actor & we will 
negotiate its safe removal
 https://t.co/nrm7PhEOP7
 
— Stewart McDonald MP 
(@StewartMcDonald)
 April 14, 2021
 
By depicting the future Scottish state as a “new 
security actor”, McDonald gave strong hints, as
 to an independent Scotland’s divergent defense
 & security policies vis-à-vis the remaining UK.  
 
In view of the political weight of both McDonald 
and Martin, this debate is expected to develop 
in the months ahead.
 
__________________________________

 
 
US, NATO turning Ukraine into Europe’s
 ‘powder keg,’ says Russian delegation
 to OSCE
April 14th, 17:31  (TASS) 
 
 
Western curators of Kiev, namely the US and NATO, 
are essentially turning Ukraine into Europe’s 
"powder keg," Yulia Zhdanova, an advisor 
to the Russian delegation at the Vienna 
talks on military security and arms 
control, said at an urgent joint 
meeting -- of the OSCE Forum 
for Security Cooperation, and
 the OSCE Permanent Council.
 
Representatives of OSCE member states are holding 
a session at the request of Ukraine on April 14 over
 unusual military activity on the border between 
Russia and Ukraine. The Russian delegation 
opposed approving any decisions or 
recommendations during this 
OSCE session.
 
"The actions and the rhetoric of the foreign "curators" 
of the Kiev government - the US and their NATO allies 
- show that they are pushing their "clients" towards a
 military resolution of the issue (in Donbass - TASS).
 Despite vowing to be committed to a peaceful 
regulation, they are essentially turning 
Ukraine into the "powder keg" of 
Europe," Zhdanova’s statement 
reads.
 
The Russian emissary mentioned the training and the 
funding of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and other 
armed formations, as well as providing them with 
intelligence data and political cover by the West 
as an example. "Besides, NATO states are 
supplying units of Ukrainian government 
forces with anti-tank equipment, armored
 vehicles, radar counter-bombardment 
systems, sniper rifles, unmanned 
drones, boats, and ammunition 
of various kinds," she noted.
 
Tensions in Donbass surged at the end of February, 
as exchanges of gunfire involving mortars and
 grenade launchers were registered daily 
despite the agreement on additional 
measures to secure a ceasefire
 dated July 22, 2020.
 
Serious gun battles have resumed on the line of 
contact, with both sides reporting casualties and 
wounded. Ukraine accused the Donbass republics 
of this de-escalation. In turn, the self-proclaimed 
republics stated that the reason for this flare-up 
was Kiev’s non-adherence to the 
July agreements.
 
 
_______________________________
 
 

CIS states to hold joint air 
defense drills in September
April 14th,  17:12   (TASS) 
 

The CIS member states will hold Combat Brother-
hood-2021 drills of their integrated air defense 
system at practice ranges in Russia, Kazakh-
stan and Tajikistan in September, Russia’s 
Air and Anti-Ballistic Missile Defense 
Commander, Aerospace Force 
Deputy Commander-in-Chief 
Lieutenant General Yuri 
Grekhov announced 
on Wednesday.
 
"In the course of the drills, there are plans to involve 
the training grounds Ashuluk in the Russian 
Federation, Sary-Shagan in the Republic of 
Kazakhstan and Kharb-Maidon & Chorukh
-Daron in the Republic of Tajikistan. The 
combat teams of the Air Defense and Air 
Force units from the armed forces of
 Belarus, Russia, Kazakhstan, 
Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan will
 participate in the drills," the 
Russian general said, after
the results of a meeting of
the CIS Air Defense Co-
ordination Committee.
 
The drills will aim to practice employing groupings 
of aircraft and air defense forces from the CIS 
states in anti-terror operations and armed 
conflicts. The exercises will focus on 
raising combat coherence of the CIS 
air defense forces and practice their 
inter-operability in combat operations 
and also examine problematic issues 
of jointly employing troops.
 
The CIS integrated air defense system was established
 pursuant to an agreement between the organization’s 
10 member states signed in Almaty on February 10, 
1995. The deal concluded for an indefinite period is
 open for other countries to join it. It currently 
embraces Russia, Armenia, Belarus, 
Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan 
and Uzbekistan.
 
The CIS integrated air defense system of forces and 
capabilities comprises about 20 aviation units, over 
50 missile and radio-technical troops’ formations 
and about 10 air defense brigades. The CIS 
integrated air defense also includes 
electronic warfare units.
 
 
______________________________
 
 
 
Western efforts to involve Russians
in extremism should be staved off
 — security chief
 April 14th, 17:00  (TASS)
 
 Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev 
has said that reliable barriers should be erected 
against efforts of the US and its allies to try to 
engage Russia’s population in 
extremist activities.
 
"We should not allow any discreditation of Russia’s 
national and cultural policy by the US and its allies
 and should put up reliable barriers on the way of 
their efforts to involve population in extremist 
activities or impose and spread radical 
religious ideas," he told a meeting 
that focused on Crimea's national 
security, hosted in Sevastopol 
on Wednesday.
 
The Russian security chief pointed out that it is vital to 
strengthen the unity of the country’s multiethnic nation 
and form intolerance in society to propaganda of 
nationalist ideas. "To this end, I ask that more 
energetic efforts are taken to detect & thwart 
activities of various groups aimed at under-
mining interethnic peace and accord and
 inciting national and religious strife and 
to prevent manifestations of disrespect 
& aggression towards representatives 
of any nationality or ethnic group," 
Patrushev underscored.
 
The Russian security head also emphasized the 
need to ramp up support for socially oriented
 nonprofit organizations that engage in projects
 to harmonize interethnic relations and make it
 easier for migrants to adapt to life conditions 
in Russia.
 
 
___________________________________



Zarif Says Not Much 
Time Left for Biden
April 14th, 4:15pm (al Manar)


Iranian FM, Zarif, believes that the nuclear
terrorism at 
Natanz, has unleashed a
dangerous spiral - that can 
only be
contained by ending the US' 
economic terrorism.
 
''Nuclear terrorism at Natanz has unleashed 
dangerous spiral that can only be contained 
by ending US economic terrorism initiated
by Trump. Biden/Harris have 
a clear choice
to make: Either the
 Obama/Biden deal OR
Trump’s
 ‘maximum failure’ campaign 
No alternative. Not much time,”
he tweeted.
 
Meanwhile, in a letter to the IAEA Director,
General 
Rafael Mariano Grossi, Iran’s
permanent 
representative to the
Vienna-based 
international
organization..  named
 the
Natanz incident as an act 
against international
regulations.


Source: Mehr News Agency
 
 
___________________________
 
 
 
Crimea needs more measures
to 
protect Russia’s national
interests, 
says security chief
April 14th, 15:24 (TASS)
 
 
 Secretary of Russia’s Security Council Nikolai 
Patrushev has said that additional measures 
are required to guarantee the protection of 
Russia’s national interests in Crimea and 
Crimeans themselves amid the current 
escalating tensions in the region due
 to actions undertaken by the United 
States, NATO and Ukraine.
 
Speaking at a meeting focused on national security 
issues in Crimea hosted in Sevastopol on Wednesday,
 Patrushev noted that the US and its allies are pushing 
Ukraine to stage provocations against Crimea, and 
NATO has ramped up its activities in direct proximity
 to Russia’s borders in the Black Sea region, while
 the Russian peninsula is still facing risks of 
potential terrorist and extremist incidents 
backed from overseas.
 
"All the listed factors require that additional 
comprehensive measures be taken to 
guarantee the protection of Russian 
national interests and the security 
of the peninsula’s residents," 
he specified.
 
According to the security chief, "hostile and destructive
 acts against Russia must be harshly suppressed and 
those responsible brought to justice, including in 
accordance with the norms of international law.".
 

 
________________________________________
 


Israeli Circles Concerned about 
Iran’s Enrichment of Uranium at
60% and Attack on Zionist Ship; 
Shows Tehran Out of Patience
April 14th,  3:18pm (al Manar)
 
 
Zionist circles followed up carefully the attack 
on the Israeli ship - near the UAE's coasts - 
considering it indicates that Tehran's
 patience has run out.
 
In this regard, the Israeli analysts stressed that
 Iran possesses sophisticated capabilities to 
avenge the Zionists' acts, adding that the 
attack mentioned above, will be 
the beginning.
 
The Zionist experts described Iran’s decision to 
enrich Uranium at 60% as unprecedented, 
pointing out that the Islamic Republic
is 
engaging in two simultaneous 
confrontations: with ‘Israel’ 
and the United States.
 
Source: Al-Manar English Website
 
 
_____________________________

 
 
Minsk says NATO deploying
reconnaissance
 centres near
borders of Russia and Belarus
April 14th, 15:03 (TASS)
 
 
 NATO continues its activity near the borders of 
Belarus and Russia, deploying reconnaissance
 centres and improving military infrastructure, 
Chief of the Belarusian General Staff Major 
General Viktor Gulevich said at a meeting
 of the CSTO (Collective Security Treaty 
Organization) Military Committee in 
Moscow, the republic’s Defense 
Ministry reported Wednesday.
 
"Major General Gulevich expressed the Belarusian 
side’s opinion on the situation in the regions of the 
CSTO’s collective security, substantially dwelling 
on the aspects inherent in the Eastern European 
region," the ministry said.
 
"In this regard, he noted the continued activity of the 
NATO bloc near the borders of Russia and Belarus:
 the deployment of reconnaissance & transportation 
centres & the improvement of military infrastructure 
facilities, in particular, for receiving contingents and
 other processes," the statement says.
 
The participants in the CSTO Military Committee heard
 and discussed information on the priority areas of the 
organization’s activity in the military sphere proposed 
by the Republic of Tajikistan during its presidency in 
2021, and also the issues related to jointly training 
governance bodies and forming forces and 
capabilities of the CSTO collective security 
system this year, the ministry said.
 
According to the data of the Belarusian Defense Ministry, 
the participants in the meeting agreed to continue the 
practice of holding "joint operational and combat 
training measures amid the common background 
of a notional military-political & military-strategic
 situation --- when all the drills and exercises are 
interrelated by their goals, tasks & their place
 and time, in particular, within the framework 
of holding the Combat Brotherhood-2021 
joint operational & strategic maneuvers."
 
In this regard, the Belarusian military contingents will 
take part in all the components of the Combat 
Brotherhood-2021 drills, the ministry said.
 
 
________________________________
 
 
 
Russia forced to take
measures over 
NATO’s
stepped-up Black Sea
activity,
 says official
April 14th, 14:48 (TASS)
 
 
Given the activity of the US and NATO in the Black Sea,
Russia is forced to take measures to guarantee its own 
security, however, it is interested in politically settling 
the situation, Russian Security Council Secretary
 Nikolai Patrushev said.
 
"Stepped-up military activity by the NATO bloc, and the 
US in particular, in close proximity to Russia’s borders 
in the Black Sea region has been determined," he
said
 on Wednesday during a session dedicated to 
guaranteeing national security in Crimea. "The 
question is, what does the US have to do with 
the Black Sea? What national interests are 
they pursuing here, if many Americans 
have no idea where this sea is?" 
Patrushev deliberated.
 
Under these conditions, Russia "is forced to take measures
 to ensure the security of its territory," but at the same time,
 "is interested in conducting negotiations on a political
 settlement of the situation," he added. "However, the 
US, England and a number of other states accuse 
Russia of moving its troops on its territory, 
essentially ignoring our sovereign right
 to ensure our own security,"
 Patrushev said.
 
 
__________________________________
 
 

 
Ukraine and its Western backers
plotting
 to destabilize Crimea
 says top
 security official 
 April 14th, 14:47 (TASS) 
 
Ukraine and its Western handlers are scheming
to 
destabilize the situation in Crimea, Russian
Security
 Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev
stated
 on Wednesday.
 
"Over the past seven years tremendous work has 
been conducted on the peninsula to iron out the 
problems that had accumulated over the years 
of Ukrainian independence," he noted at a 
meeting on national security issues on
 the peninsula in Sevastopol.
 
He reiterated that significant funds were invested in the
 modernization and development of the peninsula’s 
transportation, energy & social infrastructure. In
 addition, new jobs were created, and housing
 issues are being resolved systematically. 
What’s more, monuments and objects of 
cultural heritage are being restored. 
Furthermore, measures are being 
undertaken to harmonize inter-
ethnic relations, enforce rights 
of all citizens regardless of their
 ethnicity or religious affiliation, 
while Ukrainian and Crimean 
Tatar languages, along with 
the Russian language, have
 received the status of state
 languages in Crimea.
 
"However, as a counterbalance to this work, various
 sanctions are being imposed on the part of Ukraine 
& its Western backers, attempts are being made to
 destroy economic ties, and to intentionally worsen
 the living conditions on the peninsula --- including
 through food, energy and water blockades," the 
Security Council secretary said.
 
"Political opportunists are plotting to destabilize the 
social and political and socio-economic situation
in 
Crimea," he added, noting that on the Internet "
constant calls to [participate in] protest rallies 
[are spread], and revanchist and nationalistic 
ideas are being promoted."
 
One source for disseminating radical ideas is the Mejlis 
of the Crimean Tatar People, an organization that is
 considered to be extremist and banned in Russia, 
the Security Council secretary pointed out. 
 
Members of this organization after it was banned
in 
Russia have focused on conducting acts of 
information & psychological pressure from
abroad, and primarily target young 
people, the official noted.
 
On April 26, 2016, the Supreme Court of the Republic of 
Crimea declared the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People
 to be a terrorist organization, and its activities are 
outlawed in Russia.
 
 
______________________________________
 
 
 
Crimea seeks to prosecute 
Ukrainian individuals for 
water blockade
 April 14th, 14:12 (TASS) 
 
The Crimean parliament’s working group is drawing 
up a statement to law enforcement agencies to 
launch a criminal case against a number of 
Ukrainian citizens regarding the damage to
 the peninsula’s environment due to the
 water blockade by Ukraine, the 
parliament’s press service 
reported on Wednesday.
 
"The statement on prosecution for committing a crime
 against peace and security of mankind is at the final 
stage," the press service stated.
 
Crimea’s State Council (parliament) noted that while 
drawing up the statement, the working group’s 
members studied data on the consequences 
of the peninsula’s water blockade
by Ukraine. 
 
According to the experts, the artificial water shortage 
reduced the number of birds’ species --- as well as 
worsened the state of their populations. Further-
more, the blockage of the North Crimean Canal 
has been detrimental to the wetlands of
 international importance "Central 
Sivash" and "Eastern Sivash".
 
According to the Article 358 of Russia’s Criminal Code, 
mass destruction of flora or fauna, poisoning of the 
atmosphere or water resources as well as other 
actions capable of causing an environmental 
disaster are punishable by 12-20 years 
behind bars. Earlier, the Crimean 
authorities reported that they 
would file a lawsuit against 
Ukraine’s former President 
Pyotr Poroshenko and four 
other individuals due to
the
 damage caused by
the 
water, energy,
transport 
and food
blockades.
 
In May 2014, Ukraine unilaterally cut off water from the 
Kherson Region, supplied through the North Crimean
 Canal, which met up to 90% of the peninsula's
demand.
 Currently, the region’s residents
and enterprises r
eceive water from
local sources. 
 
Russia’s government will allocate more than 48 bln rubles 
(about $630 mln) until 2024 to solve the problem of water 
shortages in Crimea. The comprehensive plan, prepared
 on behalf of Russian President, Vladimir Putin, is going
t
o give an additional water supply of at least 310,000
 cubic metres per day.  Besides --- in November 2015, 
electricity supplies to Crimea from the neighboring
 state were completely cut. Until May 2016, a state 
of emergency remained in force across the
peninsula, 
while rolling shutdowns of
consumers were used.
 
 
__________________________________
 
 
 
Western countries pushing Ukraine
 towards provocations, says 
Russia’s security chief
April 14th, 14:08 (TASS)
 
 Western countries led by the United States are declaring 
an absence of interest in inciting a conflict around 
Crimea but are actually pushing Kiev towards 
provocations and reinforcing the Ukrainian 
army, Secretary of Russia’s Security 
Council Nikolai Patrushev said
 on Wednesday.
 
At a meeting on regional national security in Crimea held
 in Sevastopol on Wednesday, Russia’s security chief
 pointed out that while urging Moscow not to take 
measures for ensuring security on the border
 territory, the US-led West, "is pushing
Ukraine 
towards provocations."
 
"They verbally declare that they are disinterested in 
inciting a conflict but are, in fact, allocating 
funds for the Ukrainian army’s armament, 
building up the presence of ships in the
 Black Sea, planning a series of joint 
drills, delivering lethal weapons, 
training Ukrainian servicemen 
and intensifying recon activity 
in the Crimean area using air-
craft and radio-electronic 
means," Patrushev 
pointed out.
 
"Over the past few days alone, over five military
 transport planes have arrived in Ukraine from 
American air bases," the secretary of
Russia’s 
Security Council said.
 
 
________________________________
 
 
 
Russia urges OSCE members
to make
 Kiev drop plans for
'bloody adventure'
 in Donbass
 April 14th,  13:47  (TASS)
 
 
The OSCE member-countries should force Kiev to give up 
plans for a "bloody and suicidal adventure" in Donbass, 
an advisor to the Russian delegation at the Vienna talks 
on military security and arms control Yulia Zhdanova 
said at an urgent joint meeting of the OSCE Forum for 
Security Cooperation & the OSCE Permanent Council.
 
The OSCE member-countries are holding an OSCE meeting 
at Ukraine’s request to discuss what they claim is unusual
 military activity on the Russia-Ukraine border. The Russian
 delegation opposed the idea of adopting any resolutions 
or recommendations at the OSCE meeting.
 
"If the OSCE member-states really wish to prevent an 
escalation of tensions, not just verbally, but with 
reaction --- they should not be urging Russia to
 ‘curtail a military buildup’, in its own territory
 (in fact, there is none!), but force Kiev to give
 up warmongering rhetoric & refrain from a
 bloody and suicidal adventure (in Donbass - 
TASS)," Zhdanova said in a statement 
obtained by TASS.
 
"Russia is for a peace settlement of the intra-Ukrainian 
conflict through Kiev’s direct dialogue with Donetsk
 and Lugansk on the basis of strict observance of 
the Minsk Accords in their entirety, with the 
sequence of steps strictly observed. We 
call upon all others to follow suit. We will 
do our utmost to restore peace to 
Donbass and protect its civilian
 population," the Russian d
iplomat stressed.
 
Western countries in recent days repeatedly voiced concern 
over the Ukrainian military’s speculations about a Russian 
buildup along the border with Ukraine. Kremlin Spokesman 
Dmitry Peskov said earlier the movement of Russian troops
 inside Russian territory, should not worry other countries
 because it did not threaten them in any way whatsoever. 
Also, he stressed that the events in Donbass were an 
intra-Ukrainian conflict in which Russian forces had
 never been involved.
 
The situation in Donbass exacerbated at the end of February, 
with exchanges of gunfire, including those involving mortars 
and grenade launchers, registered every day. The warring
 parties blamed each other for the surge in tensions.
 
 
________________________________
 
 
 
‘Unusual military activity’ in
Donbass 
conducted by Kiev,
not Russia:
 delegation advisor
April 14th, 13:33 TASS) 
 
"Unusual military activity" has been carried out in Donbass
 by Ukraine since 2014, adviser to the Russian delegation 
at the Vienna talks on military security & arms control, 
Yulia Zhdanova, said at an urgent joint meeting of the 
OSCE Forum for Security Cooperation and the OSCE 
Permanent Council.
 
Delegates from the OSCE member-countries are holding a 
meeting on Wednesday at Ukraine’s request on what they 
consider to be unusual military activity on the border 
between Russia and Ukraine.
 
"Unusual military activity does take place in Europe. It has 
been carried out in Donbass since 2014, & with numerous 
violations of the Vienna Document 2011. This is being 
done by Ukraine, which, by all indications, has been 
under external control since then," Zhdanova said
 in a statement obtained by TASS.
 
She put the spotlight on the fact that Ukraine has been 
conducting military activities on its soil for seven years
 in a row, involving up to 70,000 troops and massive 
amounts of military equipment, without prior 
notification under the Vienna Document of
 2011. Kiev also failed to invite observers 
to the region.
 
Zhdanova was also surprised at the fact that there has 
been no response from the West to Kiev’s violations of 
the provisions of the Vienna Document. That may 
indicate that it is discredited as a confidence 
building tool, she noted. 
 
"The hypocritical disregard for truly unusual military activity 
- Kiev’s ongoing punitive operation against the Donbass 
civilian population - against the backdrop of their 
excessive interest in Russia’s routine, low-
intensity exercises involving minimum 
numbers of weapons and personnel, 
discredits the Vienna Document as
tool to build trust between the 
participating states,"
 she elaborated.
 
The situation in Donbass deteriorated in late February, with 
shootouts recorded almost every day, especially with the 
use of mortars and grenade launchers. The parties blame 
each other for the exacerbation of the situation.
 
 
 
__________________________________
 
 
 
Security chief warns: Kiev may stage 
provocations to launch military 
actions against Crimea
April 14th, 13:24 (TASS)
 
 
 Ukraine could carry out provocations as supported by 
the US resulting in the deaths of its own servicemen 
and the loss of equipment with the goal of launching
 military actions against Crimea, Russian Security 
Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev said 
on Wednesday.
 
With Washington’s backing, Ukraine has been voicing plans
 to establish control over Crimea’s soil by force, ever more
 often, while Kiev’s new military security strategy, clearly 
designates Russia as a ''foe'', Patrushev told a meeting in 
Sevastopol on ensuring the peninsula’s national security.
 
"A pretext for launching military actions could be provocations
 organized by Ukraine with the US support, resulting in the 
deaths of servicemen and the loss of military equipment,"
 Patrushev warned.
 
"While flirting with the new US administration, Kiev is ready 
to drag the country into new military ventures, regardless 
if it further worsens the country’s economic situation,"
 Patrushev stated.
 
 
______________________________
 
 
 
Ukraine launches extensive anti
-terror drills near Russian border
April 14th, 12:50 (TASS) 
 
 
The Ukrainian military is launching large-scale anti-terrorism 
drills in the Kharkov Region near the Russian border on 
Wednesday, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) said 
in a statement.
 
"The SBU will launch multi-stage anti-terrorism drills in the 
Kharkov Region on April 14. The exercises will be taking
 place across the region until the end of May with a 
focus on border areas," the statement reads.
 
The drills will involve the SBU, the National Guard, police, 
State Border Service, the Kharkov Prosecutor General’s
 Office and other agencies from the coordination group 
of the Anti-Terrorism Centre, the SBU added.
 
According to the agency, the exercises will be held in 
conditions as close as possible to real life with troops
 using firearms, military equipment & radio-electronic 
devices. Restrictions may be introduced in certain
areas 
during the drills, identity and vehicle checks
may be 
conducted.
 
 
_____________________________________
 
 
 
Ukrainian intelligence plotting 
sabotage, terror attacks in
 Crimea, warns security chief
April 14th,  12:45 (TASS) 
 
 
Ukraine’s intelligence services are plotting to carry out acts
 of sabotage and terrorism in Crimea, including at vital
 infrastructure facilities, Russian Security Council
 Secretary Nikolai Patrushev said on Wednesday.
 
"Ukraine’s intelligence agencies and extremist groups 
constantly carry out provocations on the state border
 and attempt to conduct acts of sabotage & terrorism 
in Crimea, notably at critical infrastructure facilities,"
 Patrushev stressed.
 
The security chief warned that Crimea was vulnerable to 
national security threats from the activity of the United 
States as well as a number of EU countries and Ukraine. 
"Conditions for emerging threats to national security on
 the territory of the Crimean Peninsula still persist, and 
are linked to a possible deterioration in the inter-ethnic 
inter-religious situation, and the likelihood of terror 
attacks," Patrushev emphasized.
 
According to Patrushev, among the key reasons for these
 threats would be "the destructive activity of the US, and
 the NATO bloc controlled by it, a number of EU states,
 Ukraine, aimed at discrediting Russia’s domestic and
 foreign policy, harming its authority & international 
image, and disseminating extremist and 
nationalist ideology."
 
West training saboteurs and terrorists
 
Centres for training saboteurs are established in Ukraine 
with the West’s support, Patrushev said. "At its Western 
sponsors’ behest, these centres for training sabotage &
reconnaissance groups, have been set up in Ukraine.
 It is not ruled out that the graduates of these centres
 will focus on plotting terror attacks, and not only in 
Russia, but also in other states," he stated.
 
The risk of carrying out terror attacks in Crimea is among 
other things explained by the return of militants from 
abroad, who had fought on the side of international 
terrorists, Patrushev warned. "The situation is also 
complicated due to individuals returning to Crimea
 ...who had participated in armed conflicts on the
side
 of international terrorist organizations
abroad," 
he noted.
 
Last year, six terror attacks, and ten terror-related crimes 
were thwarted and 23 extremism-associated crimes were 
foiled in Crimea, Patrushev pointed out.
 
On April 9th, 2021, another attack plotted
by supporters 
of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham
international terrorist 
organization
(outlawed in Russia) was prevented 
in Simferopol, Patrushev revealed.
 
 
____________________________________
 
 
 
Six terror attacks 
prevented in 
Crimea in 2020
 April 14th, 12:39 (TASS)
 
 Six terror attacks were prevented in Crimea last year, 
Secretary of Russia’s Security Council Nikolai 
Patrushev said on Wednesday.
 
"Last year, six terror attacks and ten terror-related 
crimes were prevented and 23 extremism-
associated crimes were exposed in 
Crimea," he said at a meeting on 
regional national security 
in Sevastopol.
 
On April 9, 2021, another terror attack plotted by supporters
 of the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham international terrorist 
organization (outlawed in Russia) was prevented
 in Simferopol, Patrushev informed.
 
This statistics "is evidence of an uneasy operational 
situation in the region," the secretary of Russia’s 
Security Council said.
 
"A public opinion poll shows that most of the peninsula’s 
residents consider the spread of the ideology of 
terrorism and extremism as quite a real threat," 
he stressed.
 
 
_______________________________________
 
 
 
Moscow warns US: to stay away
 from Crimea, Black Sea coast
April 14th, 12:12 (TASS)
 
 
Moscow urges Washington to stay away from Crimea 
and Russia’s Black Sea coast, Russian Deputy
 Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told 
reporters on Tuesday.
 
"We have warned the US that it should stay away
 from Crimea and our Black Sea coast for its own 
good," he said.
 
 
______________________________________
 
 
 
Russia’s top brass anticipates
deepening
 defense cooperation
within Moscow-led bloc
 April 14th, 12:11  (TASS)
 
 Russia is looking forward to boosting defense cooperation
 within the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), 
Chief of the Russian General Staff Army General Valery 
Gerasimov said on Wednesday, addressing a meeting
 of the CSTO Military Committee as its chairman.
 
Gerasimov pointed out that the coronavirus pandemic had 
prevented the Military Committee from meeting in person
 in 2020, two gatherings had been held via
v
ideo conference.
 
The head of the CSTO Military Committee briefed the meeting’s 
participants on the changes in the committee’s composition. In
 particular, Lieutenant General Artak Davtyan was appointed as
 Armenia’s chief of the general staff, Major General Viktor 
Gulevich was appointed as Belarus’ chief of the general 
staff and first deputy defense minister, and Major 
General Erlis Terdikbayev was appointed as 
chief of the general staff of Kyrgyzstan’s 
Armed Forces.
 
The meeting, held behind closed doors, also involved Chief of
 the Kazakh General Staff Lieutenant General Murat Bektanov,
 Chief of the Tajik General Staff Lieutenant General Emomali
 Abdur Rahim Sobirzoda, head of the CSTO Joint Staff 
Colonel General Anatoly Sidorov and CSTO Deputy
 Secretary General Tahir Khairulloyev.
 
 

_________________________________
 
 
 
Medvedev highlights
 need to fight NGOs that 
plot to destabilize Russia
April 14th, 12:08 (TASS) 
 
Russia needs to create an effective mechanism to counter 
those non-governmental organizations (NGOs) the work 
of which is aimed at destabilizing the situation in the 
country, Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security 
Council Dmitry Medvedev said on Wednesday at
 a meeting of the Ministry of Justice board.
 
"It is essential to create the most comfortable conditions for
 bona-fide non-profit organizations whose work indeed helps
 the state and society, and, on the other hand, ensure effective 
counteraction to those organizations, which act out of sync 
with the interests of the Russian Federation," he noted.
 
"In order to do so, clear and understandable legal 
instruments are required," Medvedev emphasized.
 
"It is fundamentally important for us to make sure that 
there is a balance between this kind of activity and 
ensuring security. As you know, the mechanisms 
of NGOs are often used in what’s known as 
hybrid warfare," he stressed.
 
"Organizations that are aimed at just one thing -
 destabilizing the situation in the country - 
appear under the guise of a decent 
undertaking. This is a time-tested 
technique," Medvedev noted.
 
He pointed out that, in 2020, the Russian Ministry of 
Justice had transferred information to the Economic
 Development Ministry on almost 3,000 charitable
 organizations which were able to apply for 
government assistance in the pandemic.
 In total, more than 20,000 NGOs have 
received state support.
 
 
___________________________________



MP Underlines Iran's
Support 
for Formation of
New 
Lebanese Government
April 14th, 11:56am (FNA)


Iran supports the formation of the new government
 in Lebanon, an Iranian lawmaker said, stressing
 that Lebanon can overcome all its challenges 
through national unity.
 
“The Islamic Republic of Iran supports and recognizes
the formation of a new government in Lebanon”,
Chair
man of the Foreign Affairs Committee of
Iran’s 
Parliament, Abbas Golroo, said, during
meeting with the Lebanese Ambassador
 to Tehran, Hassan Abbas.
 
“Iran- Lebanon relations in various economic, trade and 
political fields is a strong barrier against the plots of
the
 Zionist regime in occupied Palestine,”
Golroo added.
 
He underlined the need to boost Tehran-
Beirut parliamentary cooperation.
 
Golroo hailed the role of the Lebanese Parliament 
Speaker, Nabih Berri, in bolstering national unity.
 
Hassan Abbas, for his part, praised Iran’s 
support for the Lebanese nation 
and government.
 
“The full support of the Islamic Republic of Iran for
the Lebanese nation, the government and the Axis 
of Resistance has strengthened the unity of this 
country against foreign aggression”, 
he explained.
 
The Lebanese envoy called for further relations with 
Iran in the fields of science and technology, and the
economy as well as investment in the private sector.
 
In relevant remarks in late March, Iranian Parliament 
Speaker’s Special Aide for International Affairs,
 Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, said that the US, 
France and Saudi Arabia intend to prevent 
the formation of a strong government
 in Lebanon.
 
“USA, France & KSA pursue 'weak Gov' policy along 
w/ weakening Resistance in #Lebanon construing
as 
the ties normalization w/Israel & Lebanon's 
debilitation,” Amir-Abdollahian wrote, in a 
post to his Twitter page.
 
He noted that the trio of Resistance, Army
and government, 
will be the main victor
in Lebanon --- adding that Iran will 
continue its support for security
and stability in
 the country.
 
 
________________________________________
 



US Secretary of State Says: 
'Now It's Time to Bring Our 
Forces Home' from 
Afghanistan
April 14th, 11:50am (FNA)


 US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said it's time 
to bring US forces home from Afghanistan, as 
several US media reported -- citing adminis-
tration sources, that President Joe Biden 
plans to publicly set the deadline for the 
withdrawal of the US' troops from 
Afghanistan, for September 11th.
 
He also stated during a briefing in Brussels on Wednesday 
that the US will cooperate with its NATO partners to safely 
withdraw its troops from the country, RIA Novosti reports. 
 
"Now it is time to bring our forces home. President [Joe] 
Biden will speak to this, in a few hours, in the United 
States and I am here to work closely with our allies
with the [NATO] Sec.-General [Jens Stoltenberg] 
on the principle that we have established from
 the start. Intogether, adapt together -- and out 
together. We will work very closely together
in 
the weeks and months ahead, on a safe, 
deliberate and coordinated withdrawal 
of our forces from Afghanistan," 
Blinken added.
 
NATO'S foreign and defence ministers are scheduled
 to discuss their plans, via video link, on April 14th.
 
On Tuesday, the US presidential administration announced 
that the United States would complete its troop withdrawal 
by September 11th, which will mark the 20th anniversary 
of the 9/11 attacks, after which the administration of ex-
US leader, George Bush, started its operation against
the Al-Qaeda terrorist organization. Its founder, 
Osama Bin Laden, was killed in a US SEAL 
team raid in Pakistan, in May 2011. 
 
However, US and NATO forces have remained in 
Afghanistan, since then, in order to assist the 
Kabul government in its fight against the 
Taliban insurgency.
 
 
__________________________________
 
 
US Delegation Arrives in Taiwan as 
Beijing Warns Washington to Keep 
Out of China’s Internal Affairs
April 14th, 11:46am (FNA)


 A delegation of senior former US officials arrived
 in Taiwan, as China warned against the move.
 
Former US Senator Chris Dodd and former Deputy 
Secretaries of State Richard Armitage and James 
Steinberg arrived in an unmarked private jet that
 landed at Taipei's downtown Songshan airport -- 
after Washington gave its ambassadors greater 
freedom to meet with officials from the 
island nation.
 
The three were met off the aircraft by Taiwan Foreign 
Minister Joseph Wu and the top US diplomat in Taipei, 
Brent Christensen, in footage which was carried live 
on Taiwanese TV stations.
 
State news agency CNA has reported that Dodd will 
meet with high-level Taiwanese national security, 
foreign affairs, and defense officials during his 
visit, as well as President Tsai Ing-wen on 
April 15th.
 
On Tuesday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry announced - 
it had lodged “stern representations” with Washington 
over the US’ recent decision: to give its diplomats
more 
freedom to meet with Taiwanese officials. 
 
China considers Taiwan an integral part of its territory, 
and Spokesman Zhao Lijian urged the US “not to play 
with fire on the Taiwan issue, immediately stop any 
form of US-Taiwan official contacts, cautiously 
and appropriately handle the matter".
 
China has, repeatedly, called on Washington not to send
 the “wrong messages” about Taiwanese independence.
 
 
_____________________________________
 
 
 Russian Warships Deploy to Black
Sea 
Amid US Destroyers' Arrival 
as Ukraine Tensions Grow
by Ilya Tsukanov
April 14th, 11:46pm (Sputnik)
 
 
Last week, a Turkish Foreign Ministry source 
confirmed to Sputnik that Washington had 
notified Ankara about plans to sail a pair 
of Arleigh Burke-class missile destroyers
 through the Bosporus into the Black Sea,
 where they are expected to be stationed 
between mid-April and early May for
 “routine” “freedom of navigation” 
operations.
 
A detachment of warships from the Russian Black 
Sea Fleet has gone to sea to conduct artillery fire 
exercises, the Defence Ministry announced 
on Wednesday.
 
The artillery drills will involve the Admiral Makarov, 
an Admiral Grigorovich-class frigate, as well as the 
Grayvoron and Vyshny Volochek Buyan-class 
corvettes. All three are capable of carrying 
Kalibr or Oniks anti-ship cruise missiles.
 
Other ships involved will include the Samum, a hove-
rcraft missile ship, the Ivan Golubets minesweeper, 
and multiple unnamed large landing ships. The 
drills will also feature the use of helicopters and 
aircraft from the naval aviation and air defence 
forces of the Black Sea Fleet, with ship crews 
to conduct artillery fire at surface and
 air targets.
 
Earlier, it was reported that as many as 15 ships from
 Russia’s Caspian Flotilla had been transferred to the 
Black Sea for drills.
 
The drills come ahead of the imminent arrival of the 
USS Roosevelt and the USS Donald Cook warships
 in the Black Sea. The Arleigh Burke-class guided 
missile destroyers are armed with Tomahawk 
cruise missiles, VL-ASROC anti-submarine 
missiles, and RIM-156 SM-2 surface to air 
missiles, and are expected to sail into the
 Black Sea between 14 and 15 April, and 
to remain in the area until 4 and 5 May, 
respectively. Last week, Pentagon 
spokesman John Kirby called the 
operations of US warships in the 
Black Sea a “routine” manner.
 
The presence of US warships in the Black Sea area is 
restricted under the terms of the Montreux Convention 
of 1936, which limits the tonnage and numbers of navy 
vessels from non-Black Sea powers allowed in the 
body of water. Countries not adjacent to the Black
 Sea cannot stay in its waters for more than 21 
days, and their total tonnage cannot exceed 
30,000 tonnes.
 
The Russian Black Sea fleet drills and the imminent 
deployment of US warships to the body of water 
come amid a major escalation of tensions in 
eastern Ukraine. Officials from the breakaway 
Donbass republics have accused Kiev of 
preparing a new major military offensive.
Washington, its European allies and Kiev 
accuse Moscow of stationing troops on 
the border and seeking “provocation”. 
 
Russia has urged Kiev and the breakaways 
to stick to the terms of the Minsk ceasefire.
 
On Tuesday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei 
Ryabkov accused the US and NATO  - of “deliberately 
turning Ukraine into a powder keg” with its weapons 
deliveries, and stressed that if any escalation takes 
place, “the responsibility for the consequences of 
such an escalation will lay entirely at the feet of 
Kiev and its Western curators”.
 
Last month, the Biden administration approved the 
delivery of another $125 million in military aid to 
Ukraine, bringing the total ‘anti-Russia’ 
assistance delivered to the country in 
recent years to over $1.85 billion.
 
Moscow is a guarantor of the 2015 Minsk peace agreements,
 which froze the civil war that broke out in eastern Ukraine in 
the aftermath of the February 2014 Euromaidan coup d’etat 
in Kiev. The agreements stipulate a ceasefire, the with-
drawal of heavy military equipment from the line of 
contact, and more significantly, the return of the 
breakaway regions to Ukrainian jurisdiction ---
after they are granted broad autonomy and 
protected status. 
 
The ceasefire portion of the agreement has generally held, 
but Ukrainian legislators have refused to extend autonomy
 to the breakaways, thus preventing the peace deal from 
being fully implemented.
 
 
_________________________


Kiev forces violate ceasefire
 six times in 24 hours
April 14th, 10:54am (DAN)


Ukrainian forces violated the ceasefire three times 
over the past 24 hours, the DPR mission to the 
Joint Centre for Control and Coordination
 (JCCC) said.
 
“Over the past 24 hours, the number of registered 
violations was six, the number of rounds fired 
was 42″.
 
Zaitsevo, Shakhta 6/7, Luganskoye, Vesyoloye,
 Leninskoye were targeted with 120 mm 
mortars, grenade launchers and
 small arms.
 
All the attempts to reinstall the ceasefire through the 
coordination mechanism failed, as the Ukrainians
ignored the requests.
 
“The only reply to all our requests was that 
do not confirm the shelling and observe
the ceasefire”.
 
In the previous reporting period eight 
violations by Ukraine were recorded.
 
The Additional Measures to Strengthen the Ceasefire 
were signed at the Contact Group meeting on July 22 
to reinforce and control the indefinite ceasefire in 
effect since July 21, 2019, the latest in the
series 
of more than 20 reconfirmations
and 
announcements of the “silence 
regime”. The package came 
into effect on July 27th.
 
 
_________________________________
 
 
 
De-escalation in Ukraine possible 
only if Kiev abandons
provocations 
— Kremlin
April 14th, 10:47am (TASS)


De-escalation in Ukraine is only possible, if the 
Ukrainian Armed Forces abandon provocative
 actions, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov 
told reporters on Wednesday.
 
"We consider all the concern expressed by whomever, 
including the US, over the movement of our armed 
forces on Russian territory, as groundless. De-
escalation on the territory of Ukraine can
 happen, only if the Ukrainian armed 
forces abandon their provocative 
actions," he stated, answering
the question of whether the 
Russian and the US leaders 
reached an understanding 
when it comes to Ukraine 
during their 'phone call 
on Tuesday.
 
US President Joe Biden called his Russian counter
part Vladimir Putin on Tuesday. The Kremlin press 
service informed that the White House had offered 
to consider the possibility of holding a face-to-face
 meeting in the foreseeable future, and that Biden 
also expressed interest in normalizing bilateral 
relations and ensuring strategic stability. It is 
reported that Putin informed his American 
colleague of the approaches to political 
regulation in Ukraine, based on the
 Minsk Agreements. 
 
The leaders agreed to give directives to the 
corresponding Russian and US agencies
 to work on the issues mentioned in the
 'phone call.
 
 
_____________________________________
 
 
EU’s current leadership
tries to ignore 
importance
of Minsk Accords: diplomat
April 14th, 10:30am (TASS)


The European officials in Brussels, just like the 
Ukrainian leadership in Kiev, have been trying 
to produce an impression.. that they bear no 
responsibility for the adoption of the Minsk 
Accords and can ignore their importance, 
Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman 
Maria Zakharova said on the Vesti FM
radio station on Wednesday.
 
"All this team in Brussels is new...  They have shed 
off the old skin & think they have assumed a new 
disguise. They pretend they have no personal 
responsibility, for all these agreements. They 
were not participants, in those events. They 
made no comments on them at that moment. 
They are trying to make everybody think they
 are new people. Just like [Ukrainian president
 Vladimir] Zelensky they create an impression 
they are in the current situation despite them-
selves, and for this reason the Minsk Accords 
are not sacrosanct," she said.
 
Zakharova stressed -- that the Minsk Accords
had been 
verified by the UN Security Council
and are mandatory.
 
"They are not just agreements between two parties that 
can be abandoned the way Zelensky tried 18 months 
ago, and brushed off as irrelevant, because the 
world has allegedly moved forward. This 
cannot be done," Zakharova said.


"Ukraine, the centre of Europe, which Ukraine has been 
urged to join for so long, is a site of a terrible, bloody 
conflict. The most awful thing, is that this conflict is 
rooted in a nationalist ideology. The evidence that 
confirms this, is in abundance. These are hard 
facts," she said.
 
 
______________________________________



 
Is there a war about to break out
 between Russia and Ukraine?
April 14th, 8:28am (PressTV)
 
Tensions between Russia and
Ukraine 
show no signs
of abating.
 
The escalation of tension risks a confrontation 
between the United States, NATO and Russia.
 
Russia is getting its troops prepared on the 
Ukraine border, due to what, it says, is a 
NATO threat, with NATO and the US 
accusing Russia of the same.
 
The threat of war breaking out
appears to be
 a distinct
possibility.
 
 
_______________________________



Taliban won’t partake in peace talks 
until withdrawal of foreign troops
 from Afghanistan
April 14th,  04:21am (PressTV)


The Taliban say they will not participate in any peace talks for
 Afghanistan, until all foreign forces leave the Asian country.


“Until all foreign forces completely withdraw from our 
homeland, (we) will not participate in any conference 
that shall make decisions about Afghanistan,” 
Taliban spokesman, Mohammad Naeem, 
said, in a post on Twitter, on Tuesday.


Naeem made the remark following reports that US 
President Joe Biden has decided to withdraw all 
US troops from war-ravaged Afghanistan, by 
September 11th, this year.
A senior US administration official said on Tuesday the 
United States “will begin an orderly drawdown of the 
remaining forces before May 1st and plan to have all 
US troops out of the country, before the 20th 
anniversary of 9/11.”


The plan was formally announced on Wednesday, pushing 
back a May 1st withdrawal deadline set in a peace deal 
negotiated by former president, Donald Trump, with 
the Taliban.


This is while the militant group has already threatened
 to resume attacks against US-led foreign troops in 
Afghanistan, if Washington fails to meet the 
agreed deadline.


Biden’s decision suggests he has concluded that the
 US military presence will no longer be decisive in 
achieving a lasting peace in Afghanistan.


“There is no military solution to the problems plaguing 
Afghanistan, & we will focus our efforts on supporting
an ongoing peace process,” the senior administration 
official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, 
said, according to Reuters.


The disclosure of the plan came on the same day that 
the US intelligence community predicted “low” 
chances of a peace deal this year, in a report
 sent to Congress, warning that the Afghan 
government would ''struggle'' to hold the 
Taliban militant group at bay, if the US
-led coalition withdraws support.


“Kabul continues to face setbacks on the battlefield, 
and the Taliban is confident it can achieve military 
victory,” it stated.


US Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has 
also accused Biden of planning to “turn tail and 
abandon the fight in Afghanistan.”


“Precipitously withdrawing US' forces from 
Afghanistan is a grave mistake,” McConnell 
said.


Officials in Afghanistan are already 
bracing for the withdrawal.


“We will have to survive the impact of it, and it should 
not be considered as Taliban’s victory or takeover,” 
said a senior Afghan government source, speaking 
on the condition of anonymity, Reuters reported.


Under a February 2020 deal between the Taliban and 
the Trump administration, Washington vowed to 
withdraw all the US troops remaining in 
Afghanistan. In return, the Taliban
 pledged to stop attacks on 
US troops.


The US, along with its NATO allies, invaded Afghanistan 
in October 2001. The invasion — which has led to the 
longest war in US history — removed the Taliban
 from power, but the militant group never 
stopped its attacks.


Washington has spent trillions of dollars waging the war 
on Afghanistan, which has left thousands of Afghan
 civilians and US soldiers dead.


Roughly 7,000 NATO troops in Afghanistan rely on the 
US for logistics and security support and will also 
have to pull out, if the US forces withdraw.


NATO likely to withdraw from 
Afghanistan in September
- Germany


German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer 
said Wednesday that there was a probability that NATO 
will withdraw all troops from Afghanistan in 
September, at the same time as the US.


"We always said: we'll go in together, we'll leave together," 
she told ARD public television. "I am for an orderly 
withdrawal and that is why I assume that we
 (NATO) will agree to that today."


Britain to withdraw nearly all its troops from Afghanistan


Meanwhile, Britain has decided to withdraw nearly all its 
troops from Afghanistan, since Washington’s decision 
to pull out its troops by September 11th.


Britain has drawn up plans to hand over control of the 
''academy'' in Kabul, where troops help train Afghan 
soldiers for the government, The Times reported 
on Tuesday.


According to the newspaper, there are about 750 British 
soldiers in Afghanistan, who would struggle without US 
support, because of their reliance on US bases
 and infrastructure.


Turkey to host Afghanistan peace process


Turkey has announced it will host an international 
peace conference on Afghanistan from April 24th
to 
May 4th, in an attempt to sketch out a possible 
political settlement.


The Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement on 
Tuesday --- that the Afghan government and the 
Taliban militant group will attend the meeting, 
which will include representatives from the 
United Nations (UN) and Qatar.


“Participation in the conference and its agenda have 
been the subject of extensive consultations with the
 Afghan parties,” the ministry said.


However, the Taliban said their internal discussions 
regarding the meeting, have not completed yet, 
adding that the date can't be specified, until 
their discussions are completed.


On Monday, the Taliban said they were unwilling, 
based on timing, to attend the talks in Turkey, 
initially scheduled for April 16th.


A diplomatic source told Reuters that more than 20 
countries had been invited, including Iran and 
Afghanistan’s other neighbours.


UN spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, has told reporters 
in New York, that “we very much hope” the Taliban
 will attend.


The Turkey summit is meant to end the Afghan conflict, 
pave the way for a “just & durable” political settlement 
and “accelerate and complement” intra-Afghan 
negotiations in the Qatari capital, Doha, the 
ministry said.


________________________________


 
Biden administration
proceeding with
 $23 billion
weapons sales to UAE
April  14th, 02:41am (PressTV)


The administration of US President Joe Biden is
 moving forward with over $23 billion in weapons 
sales to the United Arab Emirates, which
include 
advanced F-35 aircraft, armed
drones, and 
other equipment.
 
The Biden administration will proceed with the
 proposed sales to the UAE ---  “even as we 
continue reviewing details and consulting 
with Emirati officials” pertaining to the
use 
of the weapons, a State Dept. 
spokesperson said, on Tuesday.
 
The deals were agreed by former Republican
 president, Donald Trump, but the Democrat
 president’s administration had paused 
them for review.
 
In November, the White House informed the Congress 
about the planned $23.37 billion package which 
contained products from General Atomics, 
Lockheed Martin Corp and Raytheon 
Technologies Corp, including 50 
F-35 Lighting II aircraft, up to
18 
MQ-9B Unmanned Aerial 
Systems, and a package 
of air-to-air and air-to-
ground munitions.
 
The sales were approved after the so-called 
Abraham Accords, a US-brokered agreement
in 
September, in which, the UAE agreed to 
normalize relations with Israel.
 
Some US lawmakers had criticized the UAE for its 
involvement in the Saudi's devastating war on
Yemen, 
which according to the UN, has 
caused one of the world’s worst 
humanitarian crises.
 
The sales’ opponents warned that the transactions 
were being rushed through, without sufficient 
assurances that the advanced weapons 
would not fall into the wrong hands or 
fuel instability in the Middle East.
 
A Senate effort to block the sales failed in December, 
as Trump’s fellow Republicans in Congress backed 
his plans.
 
The sales were finalized by the Trump administration 
on January 20th, about an hour before Biden was
sworn in 
as president.
 
If implemented, the estimated delivery dates on the 
sales, are for after 2025 or later, according to the 
State Department spokesperson.
 
During Trump’s tenure, lawmakers had repeatedly failed 
to block his plans for arms sales to Washington’s allies
 in the Middle East, including Israel and Saudi Arabia, 
that latter of which, has been Washington’s number 
one weapons buyer.


 
_________________________________


Israel’s Mossad in Iraq attacked, 
a number of Israelis killed, 
wounded --- Sources
April 13th, 9:05pm (PressTV)
 
 
Israel's Mossad spy agency in Iraq has come 
under a deadly attack, security sources say.
 
Israel's Mossad spy agency has come under attack 
in Iraq, security sources say, with a number of
 Israeli forces killed or wounded in what was 
described as a “heavy blow” on the 
Zionist regime.
 
Iraq's Saberin News, citing security sources, reported
 late on Tuesday that a facility affiliated with Israel’s 
Mossad spy agency had been attacked in the 
north of the country.
 
The Iraqi media said the attack resulted in the death 
and injury of a “number of Israeli forces,” dealing a
 “heavy blow” to the regime and its spy agency.
 
The incident came hours after an Israeli ship was 
attacked in the Emirati port of Fujairah, causing 
damage but no casualties.
 
Media reports say an Israeli ship called the Hyperion 
affiliated with the regime’s PCC company has come 
under attack off the Emirati coast.
 
Israel’s Channel 12 quoted unnamed regime 
officials as blaming Iran for the ship attack.
 
The vessel, called the Hyperion and sailing under
 the Bahamas flag, was associated with the Israeli
 Ray Shipping company, the same company that
 owns a vessel hit by an explosion in the Sea of 
Oman in February.
 
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hastily 
accused, at the time, Iran of attacking the ship, 
with Iran categorically rejecting the charge.
 
Israeli media said the Tuesday’s attack on Hyperion 
was likely carried out with a missile... or a drone.
 
The attack followed an act of sabotage that targeted
 the electricity distribution network of Iran’s Shahid 
Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan nuclear facility in Natanz, 
which is a uranium enrichment centre located in 
the city of the same name in Iran’s central 
province of Isfahan.
 
Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh 
told reporters on Monday that, “The appalling incident
 that took place in Natanz, was the work of the Zionist
 regime (Israel), given what it was repeatedly saying 
before, and what is still being heard from various 
sources, these days.”
 
Iran said earlier this month that one of its merchant
 vessels has been targeted by an explosion of
 unknown origin in the strategic Red Sea,
in 
the second such incident in less
than 
a month.
 
The Foreign Ministry spokesman told reporters the 
Saviz ship was struck by the blast on April 5th near
 the coast of Djibouti, and sustained minor damage.
 
In a similar incident last month, an Iranian cargo ship
 was damaged after it was targeted by a terrorist 
attack en route to Europe in the
 Mediterranean Sea.
 
 
____________________________________


Joe Biden Invites Vladimir Putin for 
Meeting to 'Discuss Full Range of 
Issues Facing US and Russia'
by Andrei Dergalin
April 13th, 7:20pm (Sputnik)


The US & Russian presidents had a 'phone talk
on 
Tuesday, discussing a wide range of issues,
including 
"the intent of the United States and
Russia to pursue a 
strategic stability dialogue
--- on a range of arms control
 and emerging
security issues, building on the 
extension
of the New START Treaty" and the 
possible meeting in person.
 
During a 'phone conversation with Russian President 
Vladimir Putin, US President Joe Biden has invited 
him to hold a meeting "in a third country."
 
"President Biden reaffirmed his goal of building a stable 
and predictable relationship with Russia -- consistent 
with US interests, and proposed a summit meeting 
in a third country in the coming months to discuss 
the full range of issues facing the United States 
and Russia," the White House said in a 
statement on Tuesday.
 
According to the W.H., Putin and Biden "discussed a 
number of regional and global issues, including the 
intent of the United States and Russia to pursue a 
strategic stability dialogue on a range of arms 
control and emerging security issues, 
building on the extension of the 
New START Treaty."
 
Ukrainian Context
 
Tensions between the US and Russia have recently 
escalated at the deteriorating situation in eastern 
Ukraine, where the Donetsk and Lugansk regional 
authorities and militia forces, have reported an 
escalation in shelling attacks, bombings, and 
sniper fire, by Ukrainian forces.
 
The United States blamed Russia for allegedly stoking 
tensions in the region, and threatened to respond to 
Russian "aggression."
 
The armed conflict in eastern Ukraine broke out in 2014 
shortly after the Euromaidan coup in Kiev, when 
residents of the Donbass region refused to 
submit to the new authorities.
 
Navalny Affair
 
Earlier this year... the US also sanctioned a number of 
Russian entities over the alleged poisoning of Russian
 opposition figure, Alexei Navalny, who fell ill on a 
domestic flight in Russia, and was eventually
 transferred to Berlin's Charite Hospital,
for 
specialist treatment.
 
The German government later claimed that doctors found 
traces of a nerve agent from the Novichok group, in his 
system, although Moscow pointed to the apparent lack 
of evidence in Berlin's claims and noted that Russian 
doctors who treated Navalny prior to his transfer to
 Germany, found no toxic substances in him.
 
Having been arrested upon his return to Russia in February
 over multiple probation breaches linked to the 2014 Yves 
Rocher fraud case, Navalny is currently serving a 2.5-
year prison term after his suspended sentence was 
replaced with a real prison term, with Washington 
calling on Russia to release him.
 
And during an interview with ABC in March, Biden said 
that Putin would have to "pay a price" for his alleged 
interference in the 2020 US presidential election, 
and replied in the affirmative, when asked if he 
considers the Russian president a "killer."
 
 
__________________________________



Russia, Iran Urge Regional 
Cooperation - To Face 
US Unilateralism
 April 13th, 6:53pm (teleSUR)


Both nations highlighted the dangers of supporting 
the Zionist regime in the Persian Gulf and accused
 Israel of orchestrating "nuclear terrorism" on Iran.
 
Russia's Foreign Affairs Minister, Sergei Lavrov, and
 Iran's President, Hassan Rouhani, on Tuesday, 
discussed expanding regional cooperation 
to confront U.S. unilateral sanctions 
against the Persian country.
 
During a meeting in Tehran, they called for establishing 
cooperation mechanisms with Syria, Afghanistan, and 
Yemen to achieve peace & stability in the Middle East.
 
Tehran and Moscow agreed to fight jointly against 
COVID-19 and boost bilateral economic activities 
through oil, energy, transportation, and
 nuclear companies.
 
Lavrov also called for more military cooperation in the 
region, especially as the UN Security Council's arms 
embargo on Iran, ended in October 2020.
 
Rouhani thanked Russia's support to the Joint 
Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), a 
multilateral nuclear deal that the U.S. 
abandoned in 2018.
 
"The world has concluded that the U.S. maximum 
pressure policy has failed. The only way for 
Washington to return to the nuclear deal,
is 
to lift sanctions against my country,"
 he said.
 
Iran's leader also highlighted the dangers of 
supporting the Zionist regime in the Persian 
Gulf and accused Israel of orchestrating 
"nuclear terrorism".
 
 
_______________________________



US should stay clear of Crimea 
Black Sea ‘for its own good,’
says Moscow's deputy FM,
as
US warships move
closer to Russia
by Jonny Tickle
April 13th, 6:20pm (RT)
 
 
Any US presence in the Black Sea is a provocation, 
and Washington should keep away from the area. 
That's according to a senior Russian diplomat, 
speaking after Turkey revealed that two US 
warships would soon arrive in the region.
 
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told
 journalists that there is “absolutely nothing” that 
requires the US’ presence near his country's 
Black Sea shore --- accusing the White
House 
of trying to provoke Moscow.
 
“Provocative in the literal sense of the word: they are 
testing our strength, playing on our nerves. They 
won't succeed,” he said, noting that Washington 
would also be better off staying away.
 
“It will be for their own good,” Ryabkov added, also 
dubbing Washington as Moscow's “adversary.” His 
use of the term marks a departure from Moscow’s 
usual manner of referring to the Americans as 
“partners.” He also accused Washington of
 “doing everything to undermine Russia's 
position in the international arena.”
 
The official's words come. after the US told Turkey that 
2 US warships would pass through the Bosporus Strait
into the Black Sea next week. Ankara, in turn,