Iraqi group claims
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
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
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
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.
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
*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
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
'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
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
framework of the Additional Measures
to Strengthen the Ceasefire, the
DPR delegation press
“Today’s discussion... was a continuation of
yesterday’s meeting, an absolutely wasted
meeting of the security subgroup,” the
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
The Iraqi channel reported shortly afterwards
that columns of smoke were being seen
billowing from the base towards
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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
"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
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
Lavrov reaffirmed that Moscow is interested in settling
the conflict exclusively by peaceful means based on
the Minsk Package of Measures that has
"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
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
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
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
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
— Stewart McDonald MP
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
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
"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
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
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
Lieutenant General Yuri
"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-
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
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
"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
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,"
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
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'
''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,”
Meanwhile, in a letter to the IAEA Director,
General Rafael Mariano Grossi, Iran’s
permanent representative to the
organization.. named the
Natanz incident as an act
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,"
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 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?"
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,"
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
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
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
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 receive water from
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
to 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
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
"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
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
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
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
a tool to build trust between the
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
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,"
"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,"
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,"
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
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
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
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,"
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
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
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.
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”,
Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of
Iran’s Parliament, Abbas Golroo, said, during
a 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,”
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
“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”,
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
“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
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,"
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
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
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
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”
A detachment of warships from the Russian Black
Sea Fleet has gone to sea to conduct artillery fire
exercises, the Defence Ministry announced
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
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
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
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
“Over the past 24 hours, the number of registered
violations was six, the number of rounds fired
Zaitsevo, Shakhta 6/7, Luganskoye, Vesyoloye,
Leninskoye were targeted with 120 mm
mortars, grenade launchers and
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
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
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
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
The leaders agreed to give directives to the
corresponding Russian and US agencies
to work on the issues mentioned in the
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
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
Taliban won’t partake in peace talks
until withdrawal of foreign troops
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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-
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
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
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
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
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."
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
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.
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
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
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,"
Iran's leader also highlighted the dangers of
supporting the Zionist regime in the Persian
Gulf and accused Israel of orchestrating
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,