Sunday, 21 January 2018
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Kremlin: Putin, Ukraine leader meet unannounced; Kiev denies

Added: 21.01.2018 20:40 | 0 views | 0 comments


MOSCOW (AP) — The Kremlin's spokesman says contacts between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukraine's leader have taken place outside the public eye, but Kiev denies any meetings were held. Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov did not specify on Sunday how many contacts the Russian president has had with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko or when the ...]

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Kremlin spokesman: Putin, Ukraine’s leader meet unannounced

Added: 21.01.2018 16:49 | 0 views | 0 comments


MOSCOW (AP) — The Kremlin's spokesman says some contacts between Ukraine's leader and Russian President Vladimir Putin have taken place outside the public eye. Dmitry Peskov, Putin's spokesman, did not specify how many contacts the Russian president has had with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko or when the most recent one took place. Putin and Petroshenko ...]

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Kremlin 'regrets' Ukrainian law recognising Russian occupation

Added: 21.01.2018 6:03 | 0 views | 0 comments


Of course, Russia will remain committed to the word and spirit of the Minsk accords with other guarantor countries France and Germany, but we regret that such steps only distract us from the desired goal," the Kremlin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists. The EU-brokered Minsk peace agreement, backed by Moscow and Kiev, was first reached in late 2014 and then re-worked in early 2015 with the help of Germany and France, but is violated almost daily.

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Turkey says it will press ahead with all out attack on Kurdish held city of Afrin in Syria

Added: 21.01.2018 5:03 | 0 views | 0 comments


Turkey said Friday that it would press ahead with a full scale assault on a Kurdish enclave in northern Syria despite pleas from the US to hold back.  Ankara has been threatening for days to send its forces into Afrin, a Syrian district near the Turkish border controlled by Kurdish forces who are allied with the US but mortal enemies of Turkey.  Turkish troops shelled the area on Friday and said it was moving units of commandos near the border as well as mobilising pro-Turkish Syrian rebel groups for the attack. “This operation will take place; the terror organisation will be cleansed,” said Nurettin Canikli, Turkey’s defence minister. "The operation has actually de facto started with cross border shelling.” Mr Canikli said Syrian opposition fighters would lead the attack with the support of Turkish ground forces.  Graphic: Areas of control in Syria As of Friday night, an all out ground invasion did not yet appear to be underway. Turkey has in the past promised a major incursion into northern Syria but pulled back at the last minute.  Turkey’s apparent willingness to press ahead with the attack, despite American objections, illustrates the dire state of relations between Washington and Ankara.  Turkey has long fumed over America’s decision to ally itself with the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil).  The US has found the Kurds to be effective allies against the jihadists but Turkey accuses them of carrying out terrorist attacks against Turks.  Turkish anger reached boiling point this week after US officials said they were helping the YPG to train a 30,000 strong “border force” that would patrol the Syrian side of the Turkish border. Rex Tillerson, the US secretary of state, hastily tried to ease tensions, insisting that it had been a mistake to call the unit a “border force” but his words have so far done little to appease the Turks.  The potential Turkish offensive is complicated by the presence of Russian troops in Afrin. Turkish state media reported that Russian soldiers had evacuated ahead of the offensive but the YPG said they remained in place.   Turkish military and intelligence chiefs travelled to Moscow this week to discuss the operation with their Russian counterparts. The Syrian regime warned that any Turkish offensive would be considered "aggressive act” an that Syrian forces would attack Turkish aircraft.  But the regime has often issued such warnings to the myriad of foreign militaries operating inside Syria without then acting on them.   

Turkey faces balancing act amid border offensive in Syria

Added: 21.01.2018 4:03 | 0 views | 0 comments


BEIRUT (AP) — As Turkey threatens a bloody confrontation with a U.S.-backed Kurdish militia in the main Syrian Kurdish enclave in northwestern Syria, it faces the challenge of maintaining its old alliance with Washington and reinforcing a new rapprochement with Moscow.

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Russia exhorts Trump to counter 'Russo-phobic' intrigues

Added: 21.01.2018 3:04 | 0 views | 0 comments


UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Russia's top diplomat on Friday exhorted President Donald Trump to counter "Russo-phobic" intrigues against him in the United States to improve ties between Washington and Moscow.

Turkey launches offensive against Syrian city held by US-backed Kurdish forces

Added: 21.01.2018 1:03 | 0 views | 0 comments


Turkish warplanes stuck residential parts of Syria’s Afrin on Saturday, forcing people to hole up in their homes and shelters, as Ankara launched an offensive to smash positions held by US-backed Kurdish forces. Hevi Mustafa, a top member of the civilian administration that governs the city in the northwest of Syria, said several wounded people had arrived in the hospitals. "As of this moment our brave armed forces have started the aerial offensive to eliminate the PYD and PKK and Daesh elements in Afrin," said Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said, referring to the Kurdish Democratic Union Party and the Kurdistan Worker's Party respectively, and using an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group. Associated Press journalists at the Turkish border saw at least five jets heading toward Afrin. They also witnessed a convoy of buses, believed to be carrying Syrian opposition fighters, traveling along the border across from Afrin. The convoy included trucks mounted with machine guns. A senior Turkish official said the jets hit positions held by US-backed SDF militias. The militias had said any attack would be “sudden and unjustified” and “breathe new life” into Islamic State. Turkey has been shelling the area for two days, while Syria had warned it would shoot down any Turkish planes over its territory. Ankara, which claims the offensive will provide safety to its Turkey’s borders and the region, informed foreign governments involved in Syria about the attack, which began at 5pm local time and has been codenamed Operation Olive Branch. A military aircraft of Turkish Air Force lands at the Incirlik 10th Tanker Base Command in Saricam district, in Adana after Turkish military started the''Operation Olive Branch'' in Afrin on January 20, 2018. Credit: Anadolu Agency  Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has discussed Turkey's military offensive in Syria with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Separately, Turkey's chief of military staff Hulusi Akar spoke with his US and Russian counterparts, Turkish media reports said. Ministry officials said Saturday Tillerson requested a telephone conversation with Cavusoglu. They did not provide further details. Graphic: Areas of control in Syria Saturday's attack follows Turkish anger at a US announcement of plans to create a 30,000 Kurdish-led "border security force" along the border of Turkey. Tillerson later said the US plans were "misrepresented," in an apparent bid to appease Turkey. Russia has removed its military observers  from the Kurdish-run city. Moscow has said it will demand Turkey halt military operation in Afrin in support of its Syrian allies. At 7.30pm local time, Russia pulled back troops deployed close to Afrin to Tell-Afjar, which is within the de-escalation zone established in September. The Defence Ministry said the decisions was made “to prevent possible provocations” and to “exclude the threat to life and health of Russian servicemen”. Rojhat Roj, a spokesman for the Syrian Kurdish militia group, confirmed that a Turkish plane struck Afrin city. Smoke rises from the Syria's Afrin region, as it is pictured from near the Turkish town of Hassa, on the Turkish-Syrian border in Hatay province Credit: Osman Orsal/Reuters  

Kremlin 'regrets' Ukrainian law recognising Russian occupation

Added: 20.01.2018 22:06 | 0 views | 0 comments


Of course, Russia will remain committed to the word and spirit of the Minsk accords with other guarantor countries France and Germany, but we regret that such steps only distract us from the desired goal," the Kremlin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists. The EU-brokered Minsk peace agreement, backed by Moscow and Kiev, was first reached in late 2014 and then re-worked in early 2015 with the help of Germany and France, but is violated almost daily.

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Turkey seeks Russian approval for air campaign against Afrin

Added: 20.01.2018 19:57 | 0 views | 0 comments

Turkey dispatched its military chief to Moscow on Thursday, seeking approval for an air campaign in Syria's Kurdish-controlled Afrin region, although Damascus warned it could shoot down any Turkish planes in its skies. Turkey's foreign minister said the Moscow trip by Chief of Staff Hulusi Akar was part of talks with both Russia and Iran, the two main backers of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, to allow Turkish planes to take part in an Afrin campaign.

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Turkey says it will press ahead with all out attack on Kurdish held city of Afrin in Syria

Added: 20.01.2018 19:06 | 0 views | 0 comments


Turkey said Friday that it would press ahead with a full scale assault on a Kurdish enclave in northern Syria despite pleas from the US to hold back.  Ankara has been threatening for days to send its forces into Afrin, a Syrian district near the Turkish border controlled by Kurdish forces who are allied with the US but mortal enemies of Turkey.  Turkish troops shelled the area on Friday and said it was moving units of commandos near the border as well as mobilising pro-Turkish Syrian rebel groups for the attack. “This operation will take place; the terror organisation will be cleansed,” said Nurettin Canikli, Turkey’s defence minister. "The operation has actually de facto started with cross border shelling.” Mr Canikli said Syrian opposition fighters would lead the attack with the support of Turkish ground forces.  Graphic: Areas of control in Syria As of Friday night, an all out ground invasion did not yet appear to be underway. Turkey has in the past promised a major incursion into northern Syria but pulled back at the last minute.  Turkey’s apparent willingness to press ahead with the attack, despite American objections, illustrates the dire state of relations between Washington and Ankara.  Turkey has long fumed over America’s decision to ally itself with the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil).  The US has found the Kurds to be effective allies against the jihadists but Turkey accuses them of carrying out terrorist attacks against Turks.  Turkish anger reached boiling point this week after US officials said they were helping the YPG to train a 30,000 strong “border force” that would patrol the Syrian side of the Turkish border. Rex Tillerson, the US secretary of state, hastily tried to ease tensions, insisting that it had been a mistake to call the unit a “border force” but his words have so far done little to appease the Turks.  The potential Turkish offensive is complicated by the presence of Russian troops in Afrin. Turkish state media reported that Russian soldiers had evacuated ahead of the offensive but the YPG said they remained in place.   Turkish military and intelligence chiefs travelled to Moscow this week to discuss the operation with their Russian counterparts. The Syrian regime warned that any Turkish offensive would be considered "aggressive act” an that Syrian forces would attack Turkish aircraft.  But the regime has often issued such warnings to the myriad of foreign militaries operating inside Syria without then acting on them.   

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