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  • Russia introduces embargo on Ukrainian salt
    UAWIRE ORG September 14, 2016 8:27:23 AM

    On Tuesday, September 13, Russia added salt to the list of foods prohibited from import into its territory as part of a food embargo, Interfax reports. The relevant resolution of the Russian government was published on the legal information portal of the Russian Federation. The restrictions take effect on November 1, 2016, and apply to Ukraine as well.

    Traditionally, the Ukrainian company Artyomsol was a major supplier of Russia’s salt. The import of its products into the Russian Federation was previously banned from January 2015 to May 2016. Then the supply was restored although with certain restrictions. According to the company, in May and July 2016 it exported to Russia 329,000 tons of salt, of which 16,000 tons was edible salt.

    Russia introduced the food embargo on August 7, 2014, in response to Western sanctions imposed on the country after the annexation of the Crimea. The embargo applies to meat, fish, milk, fruits, vegetables and some other products. The ban applies to the countries that support the anti-Russian sanctions: United States, Australia, Norway, Canada, Albania, Montenegro, Iceland, Liechtenstein and EU member states. Ukraine was added to this list on January 1, 2016.

    On June 29 the Russian food trade restrictions imposed on countries that have introduced sanctions against Russia were extended until the end of 2017. UAWire - Russia introduces embargo on Ukrainian salt

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    • Separatist commander: Accession of the Donbas to Russia is impossible
      UAWIRE ORG September 20, 2016 2:27:00 PM

      Influential military commander of the so-called Donetsk People's Republic (DPR), Alexander Khodakovsky, has reported that Russia will not be incorporating the Donbas into its territory and that this issue is no longer relevant in Russian society. This was said by Khodakovsky during his video conference in Donetsk. The commander is also known as being at the forefront of the uprising of the new government in 2014.

      “I don’t think that we can talk about the accession in the near future as it’s impossible. Russia does not react as actively to events taking place here anymore. Their interest in us only rises if something significant is happening here. It is impossible to keep their attention at a consistently high level as this situation has been dragging on for years. This is a natural process. When the escalation in conflict happened in Syria, their attention turned towards Syria. We also see this with the crisis, sanctions, etc. The inner life of Russia proceeds according to its own laws. We could of course hold a referendum and appeal to Russia. However, this will only make sense if the results of the referendum will be recognized by Russia and if it will then be agreed to by them and accepted by us. For many reasons, Russia is not ready for this so it will be useless for us to carry on any activities,” Khodakovsky explained.

      According to him, 70% of the residents of the militia-controlled territory wants to join Russia. This means that the people no longer believe in the prospect of the self-proclaimed republic surviving by itself.

      In addition, the commander of the Vostok battalion voiced a criticism addressed to the leader of the separatists, Alexander Zakharchenko.

      “When we started all this in 2014, we did not think that we would verbally criticize our own comrades and companions, or that we would find ourselves in positions so different from those of our friends and colleagues. It’s depressing,” Khodakovsky added.

      He said that people from Zakharchenko’s team, such as the DPR ministers, originate mainly from criminal circles and are engaged in plundering activities of the occupied territories.

      “‘To grab three rubles and flee’, this is the mentality and psychology of the members of our government. If we look at each of them, we would see that only few of them continue in the same old spirit. They would have a deep note of regret in their voices while carrying out their functions and duties, without hiding their disappointment in their colleagues. These colleagues today use all of their energy to find a way to make money in this poor environment, to find a way to promote their interests. Once the ministers begin, for example, to organize illegal vodka production in garages, then it is very bad,” Khodakovsky said.

      At the same time, the commander said that the Donbas cannot be a part of Ukraine at this moment.

      “We cannot join a country with which we have just fought. How can we seriously say that now we will become a part of Ukraine? Decades will pass before we will be able to talk about it. Perhaps even only future generations will be able to discuss this without resentment. At the same time, it is necessary to build a normal and healthy dialogue with Ukraine. In any case, we will either have to separate completely from Ukraine, or find a form of coexistence where Ukraine will have absolutely no influence on any processes here,” Khodakovsky concluded. UAWire - Separatist commander: Accession of the Donbas to Russia is impossible

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      • Ukraine to cooperate with Thailand on armored vehicle production
        UAWIRE ORG September 20, 2016 6:16:00 AM

        Ukraine confirmed its readiness to cooperate with Thailand in armored vehicles production, particularly with the transfer of technology for producing BTR-3E1 armored personnel carriers. On Friday, the government announced the venture on the official website of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (NSDC).

        During the meeting of First Deputy Secretary of the NSDC Oleg Gladkovsky with the official delegation of the Ministry of Defense of Thailand, headed by Deputy Minister Udomdej Sitabutr, the Thai representatives expressed interest in continuing cooperation and considered Ukraine a reliable, long-term partner with significant potential in the defense industrial sector. Gladkovsky mentioned Ukraine’s unconditional fulfillment of the current agreement to supply Oplot main battle tanks.

        During the visit, the Thai delegation visited the State Enterprise Malyshev Plant, Kharkiv Morozov Machine Building Design Bureau (KMDB) and the Kiev Armor Repair Plant.

        The Oplot battle tank, created by KMDB and commissioned by the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine was adopted by the Armed Forces of Ukraine. In May 2009, the Ukrainian army was provided with the first two tanks. In 2011, a $200-million contract was negotiated to supply 49 new generation Ukrainian Oplot main battle tanks to Thailand; in April 2012, State Enterprise Malyshev Plant started the realization of the contract. Launching the mass production of Oplot battle tanks, according to the plant, cost $30 million. The first five tanks were shipped to Thailand in early 2014. According to Interfax-Ukraine agency sources in the defense sector, the Thai contract is set to be completed before the end of 2016.

        Since 2010, Ukraine has also supplied the BTR-3E1 to Thailand under contracts signed in 2006 and 2011, which total about $270 million for the supply of 233 units before 2015. The final batch of armored vehicles under the 2011 contract, consisting of 11 APCs, was shipped in March 2016. In 2015, at the Defense & Security-2015 international defense exhibition in Bangkok, Thailand and Ukraine signed a framework agreement on the organization of an SKD (semi-knocked down) assembly of Ukrainian BTR-3E1 APCs and its modifications in Thailand. UAWire - Ukraine to cooperate with Thailand on armored vehicle production

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        • Obama: No plot from abroad after EuroMaidan - No external pressure was exerted upon Ukraine in the process of the change of government in 2014, after the Revolution of Dignity, President of the United States Barack Obama said during his address to the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly.
          UNIAN 10 Sept 2016

          "In Europe, the progress of those countries in the former Soviet bloc that embraced democracy stand in clear contrast to those that did not. After all, the people of Ukraine did not take to the streets because of some plot imposed from abroad.They took to the streets because their leadership was for sale and they had no recourse," Obama said while addressing the General Assembly, according to the White House.

          "They demanded change because they saw life get better for people in the Baltics and in Poland, societies that were more liberal, and democratic, and open than their own," said the U.S. President. As UNIAN reported earlier, the Russia Federation had repeatedly accused the United States and the European Union of setting up a “coup” in February 2014.

          Obama: No plot from abroad after EuroMaidan - News about politics | UNIAN

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          • Results of the 2016 Duma elections: Russians prove disinterested in voting; United Russia wins again
            MEDUZA 04:27, 19 september 2016

            The Russian Federation held its elections for the seventh convocation of the State Duma, its lower house of parliament, on Sunday. Only four political parties managed to win seats in the Duma, among them pro-Kremlin political party United Russia, The Communist Party, far-right Liberal Democratic Party, and A Fair Russia party. A few places were also secured by single-seat constituency from other political parties, though their parties failed to secure any 'party-list proportional representation' seats. Some regions saw a record low turnout. Below, Meduza gives you the rundown of the most important things to know.

            Less than half Russia's registered voters turned up at polling station in this election, meaning that the new Duma was chosen by less than 50 percent of Russians. In some regions, less than one third of registered voters participated. Turnout in Russia as a whole was at 47.9 percent.

            According to preliminary data, turnout in Moscow, the Moscow Region, and St. Petersburg was also at a record low. As of 6 PM on Sunday, only 28.62 percent of Moscow's voters had cast their vote (a striking contrast with the 50.1 percent that had voted by 6 PM the day of the 2011 elections). In the Moscow region, this figure stood at 21.73 percent (as opposed to 44 percent in 2011) and at 17 percent in St. Petersburg (as opposed to 38.65 percent in 2011).

            The maximum turnout in Sunday's elections was seen in the Kemerovo region, where 78.96 percent of the population had voted by 5 PM, in the Tyumen region, where 74.3 percent of the population had voted by 5 PM, and in Chechnya, where 72.16 percent of the population had voted by 5 PM.

            After a break of 13 years, the State Duma has again opted for a mixed system: allocating 225 seats in accordance with a proportional representation system (in which a party compiles a list of candidates and wins seats in proportion to the number of votes it receives) and its remaining 225 seats to candidates from single-member districts.

            The results of this election show that the new Duma will consist of the same four political parties as the previous one: United Russia, The Communist Party, far-right Liberal Democratic Party, and A Fair Russia party. Other political parties could not get past the five percent threshold required to secure seats. The new Duma will also have one representative from the Rodina political party and one representative from the Grazhdanskaya platforma political party, as well as one independent member.

            One of the surprises of the elections was the success of Liberal Democratic Party when it came to winning seats from the proportional representation scheme. For the first time, the far-right party has caught up with the Communist Party in terms of popularity with a gap of only one-quarter of a percent (compared with 5.95 percent in 2011 and 3.43 in 2007).

            United Russia was the leader in the 2016 Duma elections, achieving stunning results. United Russia candidates managed to win 90 percent of Russia's districts, winning 203 mandates. In terms of party list seats, United Russia won just over half the votes with its 54.23 percent victory.

            In total, United Russia has secured 343 seats in the new Duma and has set a new record for itself (it won only 238 seats in 2011 and 315 seats in 2011). By achieving a constitutional majority, United Russia has now won the right to amend Russia's constitution without the help of opposing political parties.

            "It is safe to say that our party won," said Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Sunday evening.

            Almost no one voted for liberal non-parliamentary parties and none of them were able to move beyond the five percent threshold necessary to gain seats through the proportional representation system. Yabloko won only 1.9 percent of the vote and Parnas less than one percent. Nor did Mikhail Khodorkovsky's Open Russia win a single seat in the new Duma.

            In Moscow's central district, Parnas' Andrei Zubov and Open Russia's Maria Baronova lost to United Russia candidate Nikolai Gonchar. In the Tushino district, sixth convocation Duma member Dmitry Gudkov, running this time from political party Apple, lost to former chief sanitary doctor, United Russia's Gennady Onishchenko. In the Cheremushkinskaya district, Yabloko's Elena Rusakova finished in third place and Parnas' Konstantin Yankauskas did not even end up among the top three. They lost to United Russia candidate Dmitry Morozov. Nor did Yabloko candidate from Pskov Lev Schlosberg end up in the top three in his district.

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            • 163,000 laid off police officers to serve in Russia’s National Guard
              MEDUZA Interfax 12:25, 20 september 2016

              The 163,000 police officers who were rendered redundant earlier on Tuesday when Russian President Putin signed a degree reducing the maximum number of law enforcement officials to 904,881 individuals, effective October 1, 2016, compared with the current 1.068 million, will be transferred to the country's National Guard, reported the Ministry of the Interior.

              Russia's National Guard was formed in April 2016 as a result of another decree signed by Putin. The agency is composed of Interior Ministry troops, riot police, SWAT teams, and personal security personnel. It is headed by Viktor Zolotov, who was formerly in charge of Putin's protection.


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              • Putin reduces number of Ministry of Internal Affairs employees by 163,000
                MEDUZA 12:15, 20 september 2016

                Official website of the state system for legal information

                Russian president Vladimir Putin signed a decree reducing the country's maximum number law enforcement employees, and, in particular, those in the central office of the Interior Ministry. The decree, which was published on an official government website on Tuesday, sets the maximum number of law enforcement staff at 904,881 individuals, effective October 1, 2016.

                The decree sets the number of personnel allowed to work in central agencies of the Ministry of Interior at 6,714, compared with a current 7,475. In addition, the decree stipulates that the head of the Interior Ministry is allowed to have six deputies, as opposed to the current seven.

                - The previous presidential decree limiting the number of full-time Internal Ministry employees was passed on July 7, 2016. It set the limit at about 1.068 million people.
                - The Ministry of Internal Affairs previous major reform took place in 2009-2011.
                - In April 2016, the Federal Drug Control Service and the Federal Migration Service were disbanded, and their departments and staff numbers were transferred to the Ministry of Interior. Some employees of the abolished agencies went to work in law enforcement bodies.
                - It was assumed that former employees of the Federal Drug Control Service would be able to go work for the Interior Ministry without re-certification or probation. In reality, however, several thousand employees found themselves "unplaceable" in the alternative structure.

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                • FSB warns two Russian citizens who tried to sell concocted military secrets to the CIA
                  MEDUZA Interfax 06:16, 20 september 2016

                  Two residents of the Trans-Baikal city of Borzi had offered the CIA secret Russian military information that was false, said Russia's security service the FSB on Tuesday.

                  According to the FSB, a man had written the CIA a letter in 2015 with an offer to sell military information. The CIA, FSB noted, expressed interest in the proposal, but did not hold discussions in regards to payment. The man subsequently asked a friend serving in the military to create a report for the CIA claiming that Ukraine had received missiles from Russia that it intended to aim at the United States. In reality, the men had no access to any sensitive information and had invented the story in its entirety.

                  Russia has not initiated a criminal case against the men as they had not actually revealed any secret information. Instead, the men were warned of the inadmissibility of such actions.

                  FSB officials were surprised that the CIA would express interest in information coming from such dubious sources.
                  --- In early 2015, Svetlana Davydova, a resident of Vyazma, was arrested for reporting to the Embassy of Ukraine about the possibility of troops being sent to Ukraine without having reliable information on the issue. Davydova was prosecuted for treason, a development that caused a notable stir. The case was subsequently closed.

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                  • Russia’s investigative committee offers insight into killing of pro-Russian Ukrainian leader
                    MEDUZA Interfax 06:53, 20 september 2016

                    Russia's Investigative Committee is looking into the commercial activities of pro-Russian Ukrainian leader and head of public organization Oplot Yevgeny Zilin as the main motive behind his murder in Moscow on Monday. The Investigative Committee has not ruled out the possibility that the motive could have been a hostile relationship, but has prioritized investigating the business-related hypothesis.

                    The Investigative Committee has also established that Zilin's murderer was under disguise: he had a false mustache, a panama hat, and glasses with yellow lenses.

                    -- Yevgeny Zilin, leader of pro-Russian Ukrainian organization Oplot, was shot dead in a restaurant called Veterok on the Rublevo-Uspensky highway in Moscow on Monday. The killer left almost no evidence; even shells could not be found at the scene of the crime.
                    -- Zhilin and plot played an active role in the events in Kiev in the winter 2013-2014. In his own words, he kept to quell the "invasion of nationalists from the west of the country" through the use of violence, among other tactics. He was also involved in the conflict in eastern Ukraine on the side of separatists.
                    -- Zhilin was wanted in Ukraine.

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                    • The ‘Criminal Russia’ Party Meduza summarizes Ilya Yashin’s new report on corruption in Russia’s ruling political party
                      MEDUZA 10:12, 31 august 2016

                      Ilya Yashin, a prominent member of the anti-Kremlin opposition, has released a new report, titled “The ‘Criminal Russia’ Party,” examining corruption in Russia's leading political party, United Russia. Yashin focuses on party members who have already been prosecuted for various crimes and members he suspects are involved in illegal activities. Meduza summarizes his findings.

                      The 60-page report covers four general categories of officials: governors, federal ministers, members of the State Duma, and mayors. Yashin's report relies on open sources, without any new investigative work.

                      The report begins with the story of Vyacheslav Gayzer, the governor of the Republic of Komi, who successfully led the region starting in 2010, until five years later when it suddenly turned out that he was the head of an organized crime group. In autumn 2015, nearly two dozen people were arrested along with Gayzer, including several senior officials.

                      Next comes Alexander Khoroshavin, who presided over the region of Sakhalin for eight years until spring 2015, when he was arrested for bribery.

                      In autumn 2015, Nikolai Denin, who had served as the governor of Bryansk for nearly ten years, was sentenced to four years in prison.

                      All of these governors were members of United Russia.

                      The report also mentions the head of the Pskov region, Andrey Turchak, and his alleged involvement in the attack on journalist Oleg Kashin in 2010. After an argument online, Kashin was severely beaten by the guards of a factory supervised by the Turchak family. There are, however, no formal charges against Governor Turchak.

                      Citing media reports, Yashkin accused former Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov of giving lucrative contracts to the company of his wife, Yelena Baturina. (Law enforcement agencies have not filed complaints against the couple.)

                      The report mentions two ministers: former Minister of Agriculture Elena Skrynnik and former Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov.

                      Yashin accuses Skrynnik of signing fraudulent leasing agreements in which she earned $35,000, which she allegedly spent on a purse. He also claims she spent another 50,000 euros on a wris****ch. Today, Skrynnik lives abroad, though she did travel to Russia for questioning on charges of embezzlement at the Ministry of Agriculture.

                      Yashin says Serdyukov was involved in a corruption scandal at the Ministry of Defense. In 2012, it became clear that the agency sold property at reduced prices, and Serdyukov was dismissed and prosecuted only for negligence, and later pardoned. The main defendant in the criminal case was the head of the Department of Property Relations of Russia's Defense Ministry, Evgenia Vasilyeva, with whom Serdyukov had a close relationship.

                      State Duma members
                      Yashin suspects Duma member Vladislav Reznik of being involved in money laundering operations with the Russian mafia in Spain. Spanish police also believe that Reznik lobbied the interests of Gennady Petrov, who is part of a criminal organization founded by former wrestler Aleksandr Malyshevsky.

                      Duma member Adam Delimkhanov is a close associate of Chechen ruler Ramzan Kadyrov. The report says Delimkhanov is believed to be the "executioner" behind the killings of Boris Nemtsov, Movladi Baisarov, and the Yamadayev brothers.

                      Russian authorities have made no official accusations against either Reznik or Delimkhanov, both of whom are members of United Russia.

                      Local officials
                      The report argues that Sergei Tsapok—the leader of Kuban-based Kushchevsky criminal organization—was also a member of United Russia and even attended the presidential inauguration of Dmitry Medvedev in 2008. United Russia, however, refutes these claims. Tsapok died in prison several months after starting a life sentence.

                      Makhachkala Mayor Said Amirov was undisputedly a member of United Russia. He ruled the city starting in 1998 and was arrested in 2013 for—among other things—preparing a terrorist attack and ordering the murder of an investigator. Amirov is now serving a life sentence.

                      Yashin also mentions Yuri Lastochkin from Rybinsk, who is rumored to have become the focus of a criminal investigation after a dispute with Vladimir Putin, and the mayor of Vladivostok Igor Pushkarev, who was arrested June 1, 2016, on charges of abusing his authority and accepting bribes. Lastochkin and Pushkarev were also members of United Russia.


                      “The ‘Criminal Russia’ Party” is not Yashin's first such report. He issued a similar paper about Chechen dictator Ramzan Kadyrov, and helped finished a report started by slain opposition leader Boris Nemtsov titled "Putin: War" about Russian combatants fighting in eastern Ukraine.


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                      • Ukrainian citizens are now a group at risk in Russian-occupied Crimea
                        21.09.16 | Halya Coynash HUMAN RIGHTS IN UKRAINE

                        Gury Kornilyev, a young botanist from Yalta, recently lost his job after two years of harassment over his rejection of Russian citizenship. He knows of two other colleagues who were dismissed or demoted for their pro-Ukrainian position. Kornilyev’s case is just one of many that the Crimean Human Rights Group has come upon of discrimination and pressure put on people unwilling to accept Russian citizenship.

                        Kornilyev, who holds a PhD in Botany was officially made redundant on Aug 8, after the Botanical Gardens that he had worked for since 2005 removed his post. He says that this was after 2 years of warnings from the management and demands that he take back his formal rejection of a Russian passport back in March 2014.

                        One other colleague without Russian citizenship was also made redundant, while another lost his managerial post, and resigned. Kornilyev has had no success in finding another post, and assumes that prospective employers decide against him after finding out from his ex-employers the real reason for his dismissal. On one occasion, a firm promised to consider his application, but then later suddenly ‘discovered’ that they didn’t have any vacancies.

                        Kornilyev’s elderly mother lives in Crimea and he does not want to leave, but is increasingly feeling that he has no choice.

                        The young botanist made his opposition to Russia’s occupation clear from the outset. He explained to the Crimean Human Rights Group that he had written to colleagues due to attend an international conference, telling them that open military intervention by Russian forces was underway. He explained that there had never been any persecution or violations of the rights of the Russian-speaking population (as was claimed then and continues to be asserted by Russian President Vladimir Putin and his people). There were no grounds, he wrote, for believing that Crimean Russian speakers needed Putin’s ‘protection’ or to be taken away from Ukraine.

                        After Russia’s formal annexation on March 18, 2014, he says that he decided that he must, whatever happened, reject Russian citizenship “so as not to give Putin even the formal grounds to protect me as a Russian-speaking citizen.”

                        He is convinced that, had the de facto authorities not deliberately made it so difficult, far more Crimeans would have formally rejected Russian passports.

                        As reported here, Crimeans were given one month during which they had to turn up in person at only three offices throughout all of Crimea in order to formally register their rejection of Russian citizenship. Kornilyev says that there were huge queues which the guards were not allowing into the buildings.

                        You also needed to produce a Ukrainian passport in which a ‘residence permit’ would be stamped. This was yet another deterrent since by no means everybody had a current passport.

                        All those Crimeans who did not go through this ‘automatically’ received Russian citizenship.

                        In attempting to foist unwanted Russian citizenship on Crimean political prisoners filmmaker Oleg Sentsov and civic activist Oleksandr Kolchenko, Russia specifically referred to the fact that they had not formally declared that they were remaining Ukrainian citizens. In fact, the lack of sufficient offices was probably only part of the issue. There was very little publicity about the mechanisms, and many would have objected on principle to having to ‘apply’ to retain what was their fundamental right.

                        Kolchenko’s lawyer has applied to the European Court of Human Rights on his behalf over the manner in which he was denied his own citizenship. Although Russia appears to have accepted defeat over Sentsov and Kolchenko’s citizenship, most Crimean political prisoners have faced similar attempts to deny them their citizenship. Many people serving prison sentences when Russia invaded and annexed Crimea have since been taken against their will to Russia and ‘resentenced’ according to Russian law, with Russian citizenship there also forcibly imposed.

                        Kornilyev did get through all the queues back in March 2014 and affirmed that he wanted only Ukrainian citizenship.

                        He was asked several times at his work to take back his formal rejection. The person in charge of young scientists even asserted that since he had taken such an “anti-Russian position”, he did not have the moral right to work at what the man called “a Russian enterprise” and should leave for mainland Ukraine. Kornilyev says that the colleague who also rejected Russian citizenship had the same experience.

                        The Director of the Botanical Gardens claimed that he would have to explain to his bosses why he had ‘a foreign national’ on his team.

                        The Crimean Human Rights Group points out that Ukrainian nationals have become a vulnerable ‘group’ in Crimea. They need to get a ‘residence permit’ to live in the place that many will have lived in all their life. They suffer discrimination at work, receiving social benefits, medical care, banking services, etc. Such treatment of them as ‘foreign citizens’ and discrimination against them is designed to push Crimeans with a pro-Ukrainian position out of Crimea.
                        Ukrainian citizens are now a group at risk in Russian-occupied Crimea ::

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                        • September 19, 2016 - 12:24 News, Videos
                          StopFakeNews #100 [ENG] with Irena Chalupa

                          The latest edition of StopFake News with Irena Chalupa. Among the disinformation debunked this week are two fake stories concerning the OSCE, inflated translations of a CNN story that makes Russia the key world player and we look at claims of ridiculously high Russian beer exports to Ukraine.

                          StopFakeNews #100 [ENG] with Irena Chalupa

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                          • Obama praises Ukraine's democratic aspirations, slams Russian imperialism at United Nations (VIDEO)
                            KYIV POST Sept 21, 2016

                            U.S. President Barack Obama didn't forget about Ukraine during his final address as president to the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York City.

                            He singled out Ukraine for praise once and Russia for criticism twice. Ukraine has been defending itself against Russia's military invasion since the spring of 2014, shortly after the EuroMaidan Revolution toppled Kremlin-backed President Viktor Yanukovych. Russia seized Ukraine's Crimean peninsula and continues to occupy it while its soldiers and proxies have waged war in the eastern Donbas, occupying the easternmost big cities of Donetsk and Luhansk.

                            Here is the passage about Ukraine:

                            In Europe, the progress of those countries in the former Soviet bloc that embraced democracy stand in clear contrast to those that did not. After all, the people of Ukraine did not take to the streets because of some plot imposed from abroad. They took to the streets because their leadership was for sale and they had no recourse. They demanded change because they saw life get better for people in the Baltics and in Poland, societies that were more liberal, and democratic, and open than their own.

                            Here are the two passages about Russia:

                            -- In a world that left the age of empire behind, we see Russia attempting to recover lost glory through force. Asian powers debate competing claims of history. And in Europe and the United States, you see people wrestle with concerns about immigration and changing demographics, and suggesting that somehow people who look different are corrupting the character of our countries.

                            -- If Russia continues to interfere in the affairs of its neighbors, it may be popular at home, it may fuel nationalist fervor for a time, but over time it is also going to diminish its stature and make its borders less secure.

                            Video of U.S. President Barack Obama's final address as president to the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly.

                            Obama praises Ukraine's democratic aspirations, slams Russian imperialism at United Nations (VIDEO)

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                            • Half of Russians believe that West will forgive their war with Ukraine – poll
                              UT UKRAINE TODAY Sept 21, 2016

                              Relations with the West will return to their state of 2013, and Putin's crimes will be played cool, Russians say

                              Residents of Russia believe that international situation around Russia will be solved by itself and the world will accept occupation of Crimea and invasion to Ukraine, says referring to the poll of ‘Levada-Center' results.

                              Only quarter of Russians citizens (27%) expecting a new round of the Cold War "after the current conflict over Ukraine and Crimea", the report states. At the same time, almost half of respondents (48%) believe that everything will be gradually soft-pedal, and the "relationship gradually return to those before this incident."

                              Almost two thirds of respondents (62%) say Russia should reestablish the relations with the US and other countries. But still the share of Russians concerned about the international isolation of their country is still significantly lower than the number of respondents who do not care about it: 29% versus 62%, respectively.

                              The survey was conducted on September 9-12, 2016 among 1,600 people in 137 settlements of Russia. Research carried out at home by the respondent's personal interviews. The error does not exceed 3.4%.

                              According to the survey, held by ‘Levada-Center' in August, the share of Russian citizens having negative attitude towards the United States, the European Union and Ukraine was about 60%.
                              Poll in Russia: Half of Russians believe that West will forgive their war with Ukraine – poll

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                              • RADIO FREE EUROPE September 21, 2016
                                Journalist, Kremlin Critic Flees Russia Following Threats

                                A Russian journalist known for his anti-Kremlin stance has left Russia, saying he feared for his life.

                                In a video posted on YouTube on September 20, Aleksandr Sotnik said he had received threats in a telephone call.

                                “We are going to tolerate you until October and after that we will transfer you to a vegetable department," Sotnik quoted the unknown caller as telling him.

                                Sotnik said that he would temporarily stay in Georgia, from where he plans to continue his online video channel.

                                The channel, called Sotnik-TV, has been available on YouTube for five years.

                                He has criticized the Russian leadership, including President Vladimir Putin, and expressed support to Ukraine in its fight against Russia-backed separatists.

                                Russia illegally annexed Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula in March 2014 and has supported separatists in the country's east. Journalist, Kremlin Critic Flees Russia Following Threats

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