Damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – KYIV BLOG: Ben Aris in Moscow – August 31, 2015) A grenade thrown by nationalists at police outside Ukraine’s parliament may only be the beginning of troubles for Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who is facing a stark choice between enraging violent nationalists or condemning his country to further military destabilisation by Russia. The grenade […]

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Dagestan: Living on the front line of Russia’s fight against terror

Map of Russia Highlighting Dagestan

For several years already, Russia’s southernmost republic Dagestan has been the epicenter of terrorist activity in the country, with state law-enforcement agencies and special services engaged in a continuous struggle to identify and neutralize terror cells. However, as RBTH reports, these anti-terrorist units do not always use the most humane methods, which inevitably complicates the lives of local residents. (Russia […]

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Interfax: Netherlands: Investigators so far don’t confirm finding Buk parts on MH17 crash site in Donbass

Ukraine Air Crash Scene with Uniformed Security Personnel, Flames, Smoke

(Interfax – August 12, 2015) The international group of investigators conducting the criminal investigation into the circumstances surrounding the Malaysian Boeing crash in Donbas does not confirm finding fragments of a surface-to-air missile Buk on the crash site in Donbass, the Dutch National Public Prosecutor’s Office reported. It is now too early to draw conclusions that the found fragments are […]

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Interfax: Pro-Russian rebel official says MH17 “most likely” downed by Ukrainian Buk

Ukraine Air Crash Scene with Uniformed Security Personnel, Flames, Smoke

(Interfax – August 12, 2015) Andriy Purhin (Andrey Purgin), the deputy speaker of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic’s (DPR) people’s council, has said that the Malaysian Boeing is likely to have been downed by a Ukrainian Buk air defence system, privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax quoted him as saying on 12 August. “Certainly, a Buk [missile] is more likely [to […]

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NEWSWATCH London Times: Ukraine rebels ‘building dirty bomb’ with Russian scientists

Radioactivity Symbol

The Times reports on Ukrainian intelligence findings about Russia-bombed rebels working with Russian scientists to develop conventional bombs laced with radioactive material to maximize their impact. Rebels in Ukraine are working to develop a radioactive dirty bomb with the help of Russian nuclear scientists, according to a Ukrainian security service dossier obtained by The Times.   The report draws on hacked emails […]

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RIA Novosti: East Ukraine separatist spokesman denies reported plans to create “dirty bomb”

Radioactivity Symbol

(RIA Novosti – August 1, 2015) Documents provided by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), which have been mentioned by the foreign mass media and which allegedly contain information about development of a “dirty nuclear bomb” by members of the militia, are Kiev’s “yet another lie” and attempt to discredit the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), RIA Novosti (part of […]

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US expands sanctions day after Russia vetoes MH17 UN tribunal

Portion of U.S. Treasury Department Building Facade, North Side, with Sculpture of Alexander Hamilton

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews – July 31, 2015) [DJ: US Department of Treasury press release here http://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/jl0133.aspx] The US Department of Treasury announced on July 30 it would expand the sanctions against Russian and Ukrainian companies, officials and individuals, which “underscores US commitment to maintain the strength of existing sanctions and the unity of the international […]

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Interfax: Russia will respond to sanctions imposed against it using principle of mutuality, but asymmetrical actions are also possible

Dmitry Peskov file photo adapted from image at kremlin.ru/wikimedia commons

(Interfax – July 31, 2015) Russia will proceed from the principles of mutuality regarding the countries imposing sanctions against it, but it does not rule out an asymmetrical response as well, Russian presidential press officer Dmitry Peskov said on July 31. “In general, the principle of mutuality, no doubt, is a basic principle in this sanctions exchange. At the same […]

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RBTH: Flight MH17: Russia blocks UN resolution on international tribunal

Ukraine Air Crash Scene with Uniformed Security Personnel, Flames, Smoke

Russia has vetoed a UN Security Council draft resolution on the establishment of an international criminal tribunal in connection with the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in July 2014. While countries in favor of the resolution accuse Russia of insulting the families of the 298 victims of the disaster, Russia says the tribunal would have been premature, and questioned […]

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NEWSWATCH Ukraine Today: Russia greater threat to US than IS terrorism – Breedlove

Philip Breedlove file photo

Ukraine Today covered remarks on threat assessment by both the NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe and the new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. General Philip Breedlove, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe has told PBS news that he agrees with the new US Joint Chiefs of Staff Joe Dunford, who said Russia is a bigger threat to US state security […]

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Unlike Putin, Russian People Think that a Malaysian Plane Tribunal Would Hold Ukraine Responsible, Gudkov Says

Ukraine Air Crash Scene with Uniformed Security Personnel, Flames, Smoke

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, July 29, 2015) The Russian government is totally opposed to the creation of an international tribunal to investigate the downing of the Malaysian airliner a year ago and will likely veto a proposal for such a venue at a meeting of the UN Security Council today. But a recent poll shows about […]

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RBTH: How effective is Russian drive to combat ISIS recruiters?

Map of Area Spanning Portions of Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, highlighting military engagements against ISIL

People in both Russian diplomatic circles and the security forces have been describing Islamic State (ISIS) as a “real threat” for a long time now. On Aug. 1 a hotline will start working in Russia for those whose friends or family members have joined ISIS. With experts warning that ISIS cannot be defeated with force alone, RBTH found out what […]

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Russian Foreign Ministry calls for resumption of Russian-U.S. bilateral cooperation on counterterrorism

foreign-ministry-200

(Interfax – July 27, 2015) Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Oleg Syromolotov has called for the resumption of bilateral cooperation between Russia and the U.S. on counterterrorism, saying he intends to discuss it with his American colleagues. In an interview published in the July 27 edition of Kommersant, Syromolotov said it is important to “think about resuming direct bilateral cooperation on […]

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Interfax: Moscow supports bringing closer stances with Kuala-Lumpur on MH17 issue – diplomat

Ukraine Air Crash Scene with Uniformed Security Personnel, Flames, Smoke

MOSCOW. July 24 (Interfax) – Moscow is ready to start work to bring closer the viewpoints of Malaysia and Russia in regard to the investigation of the Malaysian Boeing 777 crash in Ukraine, Russian Ambassador to Malaysia Valery Yermolov said. The text of the ambassador’s speech on the Boeing 777 tragedy and situation concerning the attempts to form an international […]

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Interfax: MH17 investigators have yet to establish type of missile – Dutch prosecutors

Ukraine Air Crash Scene with Uniformed Security Personnel, Flames, Smoke

(Interfax – July 17, 2015) An international group of investigators probing the crash of the Malaysian Boeing in eastern Ukraine have yet to find out whether the plane was shot down from the ground or from the air, according to the Dutch prosecutor general’s office. “We are investigating the scenario of the ground-to-air missile that downed MH17 and the other […]

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The Day Putin Became A Pariah

Ukraine Air Crash Scene with Uniformed Security Personnel, Flames, Smoke

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – July 16, 2015) It was the day Moscow’s dreams of empire cost European lives. It was the day the Kremlin lost its last vestiges of credibility. It was the day when it became impossible to continue even pretending that Vladimir Putin’s regime was anything close to respectable. It was the day the mask […]

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IS Boosts Russian-Language Propaganda Efforts

Middle East Map

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Joanna Paraszczuk – July 6, 2015) The militant group Islamic State (IS) has stepped up its Russian-language propaganda efforts, another sign that its Russian-speaking contingent is becoming more powerful. Though Russian-speaking IS militants have put out their own propaganda for some time, in recent weeks a new Russian-language IS media wing — Furat Media — has […]

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Interfax: Russians concerned about spread of terrorism from Caucasus to other regions – poll

Chechen Militants file photo

(Interfax – July 2, 2015) A total of 67% of Russian citizens are concerned about the spread of terrorism from the North Caucasus to other regions of the country and 32% say they are very disturbed by this issue, the Levada Center told Interfax following the poll held on June 19-22 among 1,600 respondents in 134 cities, towns and villages […]

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Russian Security Fear Citizens Joining ISIS More than Ukrainian Separatists

Map of Area Spanning Portions of Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, highlighting military engagements against ISIL

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – June 22, 2015) More than 1,000 Russian citizens are believed to be fighting alongside the Islamic State, but Moscow is unable to stem the flow of militants to the terrorist group, nor the flow of “volunteers” to separatist forces in eastern Ukraine, a top security official said in an interview published Monday. […]

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Experts Downplay Trend of Russians Joining Islamic State

Map of Area Spanning Portions of Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, highlighting military engagements against ISIL

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber – June 18, 2015) Reports of Russian citizens taking up arms for the Islamic State terrorist group have dominated headlines in recent days, sparking debate about the cause of the apparent trend. Andrei Novikov, head of the Commonwealth of Independent States’ (CIS) Anti-Terrorism Center, told the Interfax news agency Wednesday that according to […]

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Remembering Budyonnovsk

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(opendemocracy.net – Svetlana Bolotnikova – June 15, 2015) Svetlana Bolotnikova is a Russian journalist and correspondent for KavPolit, an online publication specialising in political developments in the Caucasus. I was in Budyonnovsk on 14 June 1995, when Chechen separatists raided the town and took hostages, killing 129. Twenty years later, this town in southern Russia is still known as the […]

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NEWSLINK New York Times: Dutch Foreign Minister Reports Progress in Inquiry Into Downing of Malaysian Jetliner

Ukraine Air Crash Scene with Uniformed Security Personnel, Flames, Smoke

NATO officials have said Russian-backed Ukrainian insurgents firing a Russian-made missile were responsible for downing the jetliner on July 17. Russia has blamed Ukrainian forces and denied responsibility in the disaster, which caused shock around the world and played a role in the worsening of relations between Russia and the West over the past year. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/29/world/europe/progress-reported-in-malaysian-plane-shootdown-inquiry.html

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NEWSLINK The National Interest: ISIS on the Move: Russia’s Deadly Islamist Problem

Caucasus Map of Chechnya and Caucasus Environs

Killings of leaders of the ongoing insurgency in Russia’s North Caucasus no longer make front page news in either Moscow or foreign capitals, and the recent violent death of Emirate Caucasus’ emirAliskhab Kebekov is no exception. But regardless of whether such deadly news is buried in the inside pages or not, the North Caucasus insurgency, whose representatives not only regularly […]

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NEWSWATCH Interfax-Ukraine: All terrorist attacks in Ukraine coordinated by Russian special forces – Nalyvaichenko

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

[“All terrorist attacks in Ukraine coordinated by Russian special forces – Nalyvaichenko” – Interfax-Ukraine – April 1, 2015] Citing a published account by the “Den” (Day) newspaper, Interfax-Ukraine reports on declarations by the head of Ukraine’s SBU security service that Russian special forces are coordinating terrorist attacks out of headquarters in Luhansk and Donetsk. Russian special forces and their representatives have […]

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Why the Jihadi Threat to Russia Is Getting Worse

Caucasus Map of Chechnya and Caucasus Environs

More jihadi fighters come from Russia than any country outside the Middle East and North Africa. What happens when they come home? (Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Carol Matlack – March 30, 2015) The deadly terror attacks in Paris in January underscored the risk facing Western Europe as jihadis return home from fighting in Syria and Iraq. But the place that […]

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NEWSLINK: Nemtsov’s Murder: Islamist Footprint?

Boris Nemtsov file photo

The origins of the murder of Yaroslavl Oblast assembly deputy and Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov are still unclear and may be forever. We are, after all, talking about Russia. However, news reports and the chief suspect’s own statements indicate that an Islamic/Islamist motive may have prompted the killing. …

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Gorbachev: Nemtsov murder a scheme to provoke political trouble in Russia

Boris Nemtsov file photo

(Interfax – February 28, 2015) Former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev has expressed confidence that Friday night’s assassination in the center of Moscow of opposition politician Boris Nemtsov is a scheme to “provoke aggravation, and maybe even destabilization, of the situation in the country, increase the confrontation.” “It’s hard to say now which side is responsible for this. One mustn’t hurry […]

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Experts See Dark Plot in Spate of Mystery Bombings in Ukraine

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Allison Quinn – February 26, 2015) As the latest blast in a recent string of mysterious bombings in eastern Ukraine claimed another victim Wednesday, experts warned that there would be more to come – and they could spread the conflict further from the front lines. A Donetsk grocery store became the latest scene of carnage […]

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Interfax: Terrorism in Europe rooted in Middle East policy – diplomat

Russian Foreign Ministry Building Tower file photo

MOSCOW. Feb 18 (Interfax) – The ongoing surge of terrorism in Europe is rooted in the European policy in the Middle East and North Africa, Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Department on New Threats and Challenges Ilya Rogachev said. “This is a consequence of the policy, including that of the Europeans, in the Middle East and North Africa,” he […]

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Putin Now has His Storm Troopers and Pogroms Will Surely Follow, Ganapolsky Says

Vladimir Putin

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, January 23, 2014) Putin’s Russia has crossed a Rubicon: it now has sanctioned the Anti-Maidan Movement, a domestic version of Hitler’s storm troopers, and thus created a monster that almost certainly will engage in pogroms against one group or another in the future, according to Moscow commentator Matvey Ganapolsky. Despite Putin’s ratings […]

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Interfax: Making people choose between terror, blasphemy wrong – Russian church official

Archpriest Vsevolad Chaplin file photo

(Interfax – January 14, 2015) Forcing people to choose between terrorism and blasphemy is dangerous, public relations chief of the Russian Orthodox Church Vsevolod Chaplin has said. He was speaking on the Russian Orthodox Church TV channel Spas on 14 January, as reported by Russian privately-owned news agency Interfax. A week after the deadly attacks in Paris, today the French […]

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RIA Novosti: Russian diplomat calls for renewed cooperation with West against ISIS

Map of Area Spanning Portions of Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, highlighting military engagements against ISIL

(RIA Novosti – January 13, 2015) The Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) poses just as much of a threat to Russia as it does to the West, the director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s department of new threats and challenges, Ilya Rogachev, was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti (part of the state-owned International News Agency Rossiya Segodnya) on 13 January. “ISIL […]

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‘Top 15 Russian Fears for ’15’ — a ‘Versiya’ Checklist

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, January 14, 2015) Russians face so many problems and have so many fears that it is often a daunting task to ensure that one is keeping track of all of them. As a guide for the perplexed, Kseniya Veretennikova provides a checklist of the “top 15 fears” Russians have about the year […]

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In Implicit Criticism Of West, Russia’s FM Calls For ‘More Serious’ Fight Against IS

Map of Middle East and North Africa with Inset Map of Holy Land

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Joanna Paraszczuk – January 13, 2015) Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has called for a “more serious” fight against the Islamic State (IS) group, amid reports that the militant group is present in Afghanistan and is expanding elsewhere. “‘Islamic State’ is a structure that calls for a great deal more attention and a more serious reaction. […]

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Putin’s Backing Allows Kadyrov Free Reign for Open Threats, Analysts Say

Ramzan Kadyrov file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Allison Quinn – January 13, 2015) Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has embarked in recent days on a marathon of threat-laden spats with prominent public figures, making statements so brazen they would be unimaginable coming from any other regional leader. Analysts interviewed by The Moscow Times attributed Kadyrov’s recent bout of brashness to the unyielding trust […]

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In Russia, Tears and Jeers After Charlie Hebdo Massacre

Paris, France, View from Eiffel Tower

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber – January 12, 2015) A mixture of genuine grief, petty political pandering and condemnation of a vaguely defined notion of blasphemy have dominated a broad array of Russian reactions to the massacre at French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo that left 12 dead. As much of the world commiserates with France in the aftermath […]

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NEWSWATCH: In 2015, Vladimir Putin may witness his empire’s death knell

Vladimir Putin

[“In 2015, Vladimir Putin may witness his empire’s death knell” – Strobe Talbott – Reuters – Dec. 16, 2014] Strobe Talbott predicts that a third Chechen War could break out in 2015, sounding the death knell for Russia’s current geographic configuration. Indeed, Talbott comments that Russia could break apart by the end this century, and that the policies of Russian President […]

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Moscow Times: Russians More Afraid of U.S. Than Islamic Terrorism, Survey Shows

File Photo of Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama Seated Before Russian and U.S. Flags

(Moscow Times – moscowtimes.com – Allison Quinn – October 22, 2014) Nearly a quarter of Russians believe that the United States poses a bigger terrorist threat to their country than radical Islamists, a survey published Tuesday showed. Twenty-two percent of respondents to the poll by the state-run All-Russia Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM), titled “Terrorist Threats Against Russia: New Sources,” […]

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NEW BOOK: The Caucasus Emirate Mujahedin: Global Jihadism in Russia’s North Caucasus and Beyond

Caucasus Mountains Satellite Image

Subject: Book announcement Date: Sat, 18 Oct 2014 From: GORDON HAHN <gordon-hahn@sbcglobal.net> My most recent book – The Caucasus Emirate Mujahedin: Global Jihadism in Russia’s North Caucasus and Beyond – has been published by McFarland Publishers. It is available for purchase from the publisher and Amazon. The Caucasus Emirate Mujahedin: Global Jihadism in Russia’s North Caucasus and Beyond Gordon M. […]

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Interfax: Most Russians unaware of ISIL, others see it as threat to peace, Russia – poll

Map of Iraq

MOSCOW. Oct 9 (Interfax) – Only 13% of Russians are aware of the existence of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and 54% learned about it during a poll held by the Public Opinion Foundation. Another 26% of 1,500 respondents polled in 43 regions on September 28 had heard something about the ISIL, and 7% failed to […]

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Islamic State Grooms Chechen Fighters Against Putin

Map of Iraq

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Michael Winfrey – October 9, 2014) When the Islamic State commander known as “Omar the Chechen” called to tell his father they’d routed the Iraqi army and taken the city of Mosul, he added a stark message: Russia would be next. “He said ‘don’t worry dad, I’ll come home and show the Russians,’” Temur Batirashvili said […]

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RIA Novosti: Fears of Radicalization Among Muslim Youth Rising in Russia

Russian Mosque File Photo

MOSCOW, October 1 (RIA Novosti) – There is an increasing risk of radicalization among Muslim youth in Russia, Russian News Paper Kommersant reported on Wednesday. A large group of Muslim youth attacked a police bus on September 26, as the police arrested a man, who drove into an officer, after being told to move his car, parked in a no-parking […]

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Russia Calls for Joint Effort With U.S. to Fight Islamic State

Map of Iraq

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 29, 2014) Russia’s deputy foreign minister on Monday called for a joint effort between Moscow and Washington in fighting the radical group Islamic State, but appeared to play down fears of a high number of Russians in the group. “The Americans say terrorism represents a direct threat to their national security. I think the […]

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Business New Europe: MH17 report – The how, but not the who

Ukraine Air Crash Scene with Uniformed Security Personnel, Flames, Smoke

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Nikolai Holmov, OdessaTalk – September 10, 2014) Today saw the release of the preliminary findings of the downing of the MH17 flight over eastern Ukraine. To be blunt, these preliminary findings confirming very much what everybody suspected – no crew error, no mechanical failure, no flying in unauthorised airspace etc. “Based on the preliminary […]

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Business New Europe: Last minutes of MH17 flight not recorded by Nato Awacs spy planes

Ukraine Air Crash Scene with Uniformed Security Personnel, Flames, Smoke

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – September 9, 2014) The last minutes of the MH17 flight downed over East Ukraine July 17 were not recorded by NATO Awacs “eye in the sky” planes, according to Germany’s Der Spiegel. As a result, the German government has no “certain knowledge” that the plane was shot down by a surface-to-air missile, the government […]

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Decade After Beslan, Questions Remain Unanswered

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – September 1, 2014) The children who set off for their first day of school 10 years ago in the small Caucasus town of Beslan, North Ossetia, will graduate from high school this coming academic year – at least, those who survived will. On Sept. 1, 2004, a group of 32 armed terrorists […]

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Islamic State to Putin: We Are on Our Way to Russia

Syria Map

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Allison Quinn – September 4, 2014) Members of the Islamic State, a violent group of extremists presently terrorizing Iraq and Syria, have released a video threatening President Vladimir Putin and vowing to wage war in Russia’s restive North Caucasus. Message to Putin A video released by Al Arabiya and reportedly filmed in a seized airport in […]

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Moscow Times: Ukraine Says Rebels Mistook Doomed Flight MH17 for Aeroflot Plane

Ukraine Air Crash Scene with Uniformed Security Personnel, Flames, Smoke

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – August 8, 2014) Ukraine has claimed that pro-Moscow separatists downed Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 after mistaking it for a Russian Aeroflot plane that they supposedly wanted to shoot down to provide Moscow with a pretext for invading Ukraine. The latest theory in an array of conflicting claims about the possible causes of […]

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Russian Billionaires in ‘Horror’ as Putin Risks Isolation

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Henry Meyer, Irina Reznik, Ilya Arkhipov – July 21, 2014) Russia’s richest businessmen are increasingly frantic that President Vladimir Putin’s policies in Ukraine will lead to crippling sanctions and are too scared of reprisal to say so publicly, billionaires and analysts said. If Putin doesn’t move to end the war in Ukraine in the wake of […]

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