26 May 2018

Russia

Rusia Anggap Keputusan AS Tarik Diri dari Pakta Nuklir Iran Gegabah

KONFRONTASI-Wakil Menteri Luar Negeri Rusia Sergei Ryabkov hari ini menyatakan bahwa adalah mungkin saja membahas masa depan perjanjian nuklir Iran tanpa keterlibatan Amerika Serikat, lapor kantor berita RIA Novosti.

Sebaliknya Ryabkov menyatakan adalah mustahil melindungi pakta nuklir itu tanpa ada konsesi dari Iran.

Ryabkov kemudian menyebut keputusan AS menarik diri dari pakta nuklir Iran sebagai gegabah, padahal AS sedang membahas masalah nuklir di Semenanjung Korea.[mr/tar]

Russian army hints at providing advanced air defences to Assad

KONFRONTASI-The Russian army has hinted that it would supply the Syrian government with a sophisticated air defence system.

Colonel General Sergei Rudskoi said on Wednesday that Moscow would supply Damascus with "new missile defence systems soon".

The statement did not specify what kind of system would be given to the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a major ally of Russia.

Militants prevent OPCW access to Syria's Douma: Russia

KONFRONTASI-Russia's deputy foreign minister says foreign-backed terrorists in Syria have been preventing inspectors from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) from reaching the Damascus suburb town of Douma. 

Mikhail Bogdanov warned on Thursday that Douma militants still pose a threat to both citizens and the OPCW experts.

Threat of U.S.-Russia clash hangs over Syria

KONFRONTASI-The prospect of Western military action in Syria that could lead to confrontation with Russia hung over the Middle East on Friday but there was no clear sign that a U.S.-led attack was imminent.

International chemical weapons experts were traveling to Syria to investigate an alleged gas attack by government forces on the town of Douma which killed dozens of people. Two days ago U.S. President Donald Trump warned that missiles “will be coming” in response to that attack.

The allies of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad were eager on Friday to lay blame for the crisis not with him but with Trump.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said international relations should not depend on one person’s morning mood, in apparent reference to Trump’s tweets.

“We cannot depend on what someone on the other side of the ocean takes into his head in the morning. We cannot take such risks,” said Dvorkovich, speaking at a forum.

Russia has warned the West against attacking Assad, who is also supported by Iran, and says there is no evidence of a chemical attack in Douma, a town near Damascus which had been held by rebels until this month.

Vassily Nebenzia, Moscow’s ambassador to the United Nations, said he “cannot exclude” war between the United States and Russia.

“The immediate priority is to avert the danger of war,” he told reporters. “We hope there will be no point of no return.”

 

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow was in contact with Washington but the atmosphere was alarming. “God forbid anything adventurous will be done in Syria following the Libyan and Iraqi experience,” he told a news conference.

Sheikh Naim Qassem, deputy leader of the Iranian-backed Hezbollah, told Lebanese daily al-Joumhouria: “The conditions do not point to a total war happening ...unless Trump and (Israeli leader Benjamin) Netanyahu completely lose their minds.”

U.S. allies have offered strong words of support for Washington but no clear military plans have yet emerged.

British Prime Minister Theresa May won backing from her senior ministers on Thursday to take unspecified action with the United States and France to deter further use of chemical weapons by Syria.

Some national leaders appeared anxious to avert a U.S.-Russian showdown.

 

Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday France had proof the Syrian government carried out the Douma attack and would decide whether to strike back when all necessary information had been gathered.

But on Friday he appeared conciliatory. Macron’s office said he spoke by phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin expressing concern about the deterioration of the situation in Syria and calling for more dialogue with Moscow.

NATO members Germany and the Netherlands have said they will not take part in any military action.

Tayyip Erdogan, president of Syria’s neighbor Turkey, said on Friday he had spoken by phone with Trump and Putin and told both that increasing tensions in the region was not right.

Russia successfully tests modernized anti-ballistic missile system

KONFRONTASI - Russia has successfully test-launched a new upgraded anti-ballistic missile system days after it tested an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

“The new modernized anti-ballistic missile system has successfully fulfilled the task and struck a conventional target at the designated time,” Russian media quoted Deputy Commander of the Air and Missile Defense of the Aerospace Forces Maj. Gen. Andrey Prikhodko as saying on Monday.

The test took place in Kazakhstan at the Sary Shagan testing range.

Russia denies aiding Afghan Taliban in wake of U.S. general's comments

U.S. Army General John Nicholson

KONFRONTASI-Russia has rejected comments by NATO’s top commander in Afghanistan that it has been supporting and even supplying weapons to the Taliban, in a clash of words that underlines growing tension over Moscow’s involvement in the conflict.

Iconic abandoned TV tower demolished in Russia ahead of World Cup

KONFRONTASI-A never-completed television tower in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg was demolished on Saturday.

The construction started in 1983 and was active until 1991, when it was shelved due to the lack of funds.

The facility, stretching 220 metres into the sky, was the tallest abandoned building in the world in the 1990s and remained the highest point in Yekaterinburg.

For 30 years the authorities and residents had tried to find a use for the tower.

Europeans eye Russian expulsions over UK spy attack

KONFRONTASI-Several European governments moved closer on Friday to expelling Russian diplomats in a show of support for Britain, which ordered out 23 “undeclared intelligence agents” after a nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy.

In a boost for Prime Minister Theresa May, the European Union as a whole agreed late on Thursday to pin the blame on Moscow for the attack, which a judge in England said may have left Sergei Skripal and his daughter brain damaged.

That hardened previous EU language on the issue as French President Emmanuel Macron and others helped May overcome hesitation on the part of some of Moscow’s friendlier states, some of whom questioned how definitive Britain’s evidence is.

In a symbolic move that displayed unity of purpose, the bloc also recalled the EU ambassador to Russia for consultations — a conventional form of diplomatic protest. A spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin said he regretted the move. The EU said the envoy was expected back in Brussels over the weekend.

And in a sign that nations were prepared to go further to punish Russia, which denies any involvement in the attack, several EU leaders said on Friday they were considering expelling diplomats.

“What we will now consider in the coming days is whether we want to take individual action relating to Russian diplomats in Ireland,” Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar told reporters as he arrived at the second day of an EU summit in Brussels.

“So we would have to do a security assessment just like they (Britain) did ... We’re not going to randomly expel people.”

Britain has been pressing for coordinated action against Russia after the Skripals were found slumped on a bench in the English city of Salisbury on March 4 in what was the first known offensive use of a nerve toxin in Europe since World War Two.

Welcoming the solidarity she secured from a summit that moved on to discuss Brexit after May left on Friday morning, May told reporters: “The threat from Russia is one that respects no borders and I think it is clear that Russia is challenging the values we share as Europeans and it is right that we stand together in defense of those values.”

The Russian Foreign Ministry said Europeans were being drawn by London and Washington into an anti-Russian campaign.

Some British officials were pressing other countries to expel diplomats after London told 23 Russians to leave, a move followed by measures in Moscow, including the closure of Britain’s cultural center in St Petersburg.

But first May had to convince others to back a tough statement saying that the EU “agreed” with her government “that it is highly likely that the Russian Federation is responsible and that there is no plausible alternative explanation”.

Militants left over 40 tons of chemical weapons in Syria: Russia

KONFRONTASI - Militant groups have abandoned chemical arms production facilities and over 40 tons of chemical weapons after retreating from different conflict zones in Syria, a Russian defense ministry official says.

“More than 40 tons of poisonous substances were found on the territories, liberated from terrorists,” Igor Kirillov, the commander of Russia’s Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Protection Forces, said at a press conference in Moscow on Wednesday.

Russia’s presidential election begins

KONFRONTASI - Russians are casting their ballots in a presidential election that is expected to hand incumbent Vladimir Putin a resounding victory and a fourth term in office.

Polls opened at 8 a.m. local time (2000 GMT) in Russia’s far eastern regions on Saturday and will close in the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad at 2 p.m. (1800 GMT) on Sunday.

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