ANKARA, July 1 -- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that Russia’s S-400 air defense systems will be delivered to Turkey within the next ten days, Turkey’s NTV television reported on Monday.
According to the TV channel, Erdogan was speaking on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Japan, answering reporters’ questions after negotiations with his US counterpart Donald Trump. Erdogan was also certain that Turkey would be able to resolve disagreements with the US caused by the S-400 deal. Speaking at the final news conference at the G20 summit on Saturday, the Turkish president said that Washington would not impose sanctions on Ankara over the purchase of Russia’s S-400 systems. He also recalled that Ankara was awaiting the delivery of 100 fifth-generation F-35 fighter jets. Relations between Turkey and the United States have deteriorated in recent months because of Ankara’s S-400 deal with Moscow. Washington earlier warned Ankara that the US could refuse to sell F-35 jets to Turkey, if it purchased Russia’s air defense systems.
Author: Lora Smith
SOCHI, June 20 -- The United States is escalating the situation around Iran, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said on Thursday, commenting on Washington’s decision to dispatch additional Patriot surface-to-air missile systems, unmanned aerial vehicles and aircraft to the Middle East.
"We have spoken on many occasions that this reflects the policy towards deliberately escalating the situation. We have no doubts that the US political and military leadership is not stopping at any actions whatsoever in order to maximally complicate the situation and, most importantly, increase pressure on Iran. This fully contradicts our understanding of what has to be done in such situations, namely, to double diplomatic and political efforts to stabilize the situation and reduce tension, create pre-requisites for implementing a whole range of ideas that were also put forward by Russia, which stands for developing a system of collective security, strengthening confidence-building measures in the Persian Gulf region and establishing direct contacts between countries of that region," the high-ranking Russian diplomat stressed, responding to a questions. Otherwise, the region may plunge into a new conflict, which is "completely inadmissible, considering the grave consequences of such a scenario," Ryabkov said. "There is still time to stop and come to senses and prevent further sliding into uncontrolled confrontation. Unfortunately, our calls and our logic to this effect, apparently, fail to meet understanding in the United States and they do not listen to us but still I think that an overwhelming majority of members of the international community share this approach and proceed from the fact that there is no alternative to it," the Russian deputy foreign minister said.
The US Defense Department announced on Wednesday that it was dispatching additional Patriot surface-to-air missile systems, unmanned aerial vehicles and aircraft to the Middle East for gathering intelligence data. As the Pentagon stated, this will be done as part of the decision announced on Monday to dispatch 1,000 US military personnel to the region due to the situation around Iran.
US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo earlier stated the United States was considering all options to counter Iran in the region. He let it know that the US administration would not request legislators’ approval for possible military operations against Tehran, arguing this was required to defend American interests.
MOSCOW, June 19 -- International terrorists are trying to obtain access to nuclear and biological weapons and also toxic chemicals to use them in their attacks, Russian Deputy Security Council Secretary Yuri Kokov told the tenth international meeting of high-level delegates overseeing security matters in Ufa.
"A number of tendencies in the tactics of international terrorist organizations’ steps deserve special attention and analysis," Kokov said. "First of all, this concerns the continued attempts to get access to data about the manufacturing of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, their increased attention to issues related to the use of pathogenic biological agents and toxic chemicals for terrorist purposes. "
"The increased use of modern high-tech technical means creates additional risks as terrorists seek to quickly acquire them and use in order to commit crimes," Kokov said. As an example, the deputy security chief cited the attacks on Russian military facilities in Syria carried out with the use of drones. This March, in order to prevent such attacks, Russia’s Aerospace Defense Forces destroyed a depot belonging to the Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham terrorist group in Syria’s Idlib, which stored combat unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
According to him, terrorists have started using suicide groups consisting of members of one family with minor children to penetrate protected facilities more actively. One of the new forms of terrorist activity was an attempt to attack coastal infrastructure using saboteur swimmers, who had been trained and had skills in mining seaports and capturing civilian vessels, primarily tankers and gas carriers.
WASHINGTON, June 18 -- The United States is sending 1,000 additional troops to the Middle East after last week's attacks on the two tankers in the Gulf of Oman, US Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan said in a statement on Monday.
"In response to a request from the US Central Command (CENTCOM) for additional forces, and with the advice of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and in consultation with the White House, I have authorized approximately 1,000 additional troops for defensive purposes to address air, naval, and ground-based threats in the Middle East," Shanahan said. "The recent Iranian attacks validate the reliable, credible intelligence we have received on hostile behavior by Iranian forces and their proxy groups that threaten United States personnel and interests across the region," he added. "The United States does not seek conflict with Iran. The action today is being taken to ensure the safety and welfare of our military personnel working throughout the region and to protect our national interests," he noted. "We will continue to monitor the situation dilligently and make adjustments to force levels as necessary given intelligence reporting and credible threats," Shanahan concluded.
On June 13, two tankers caught fire in the Gulf of Oman after an attack. The crews, with Russian nationals among their members, were evacuated by the Iranian rescue services and taken to the port of Jask. US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said that Iran is responsible for the attacks. Tehran has denied any involvement in the incident. The Kokuka Courageous tanker, registered in Panama and owned by a Japanese transport company, was carrying methanol from Saudi Arabia to Singapore. The Marshall Islands-flagged Front Altair vessel, owned by Norway's Frontline, was sailing from the United Arab Emirates to Taiwan with petrochemical feedstock.
ANKARA, June 17 -- The supplies of Russia’s S-400 missile defense systems to Ankara will begin in the first half of July, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters after returning from the summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.
"We discussed with Russia the S-400 issue, this is a closed chapter. There haven’t been any problems. I think the supplies will begin in the first half of July," Erdogan said, according to the NTV TV channel. Ankara is not planning to give up its S-400 contract, Erdogan stressed. "We have put our signature, we will fulfill what we have started. As part of the loan, Russia gave us various benefits and granted a loan with such interest rates which do not exist on the international market," he explained. Turkey’s National Defense Ministry is preparing a reply to a letter sent by Acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan on Washington’s decision to suspend Turkey’s participation in a program on training Turkish pilots in the US on the F-35 bombers in the wake of the S-400 deal. "Very soon, maybe even this week the letter will be sent to [the US side]," Erdogan said.
The first reports that Russia and Turkey were in talks on the S-400 supplies emerged in November 2016. Moscow confirmed that the contract had been signed in September 2017. Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said back then that the deployment of S-400 systems would begin in October 2019. According to Sergei Chemezov, the director general of Russia’s Rostec state corporation, the contract’s price tag is $2.5 bln. Turkey is the first NATO member state to buy these missile systems from Russia. The US has been vigorously trying to stonewall the S-400 deal. Earlier Washington warned Ankara that should the deal with Russia be implemented, the US would not supply its F-35 fighter-bombers to Turkey. The S-400 Triumf is the most advanced long-range air defense missile system that went into service in Russia in 2007. It is designed to destroy aircraft, cruise and ballistic missiles, including medium-range missiles, and can also be used against ground installations. The S-400 can engage targets at a distance of 400 km and at an altitude of up to 30 km.
DUSHANBE, June 15 -- Russian President Vladimir Putin has wished Chinese leader Xi Jinping a happy birthday, presenting him with Russian ice cream, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
On June 15, Xi Jinping turned 66. "The president praised Xi Jinping’s role in the development of bilateral relations and pointed to his recent successful visit to Russia," Peskov said. Xi Jinping thanked the Russian president, adding that Putin was very popular in China. A few years ago, Chinese businessmen participating in the Eastern Economic Forum told Putin that the Chinese people were especially fond of Russian ice cream. The Russian leader brought some ice cream as a present for Xi Jinping when he next visited China.
ST.PETERSBURG, June 7 -- Russia may increase the number of its military specialists in Venezuela if it sends such a request, Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Latin American Department, Alexander Shchetinin, told reporters on Friday on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.
"We have got contracts on maintenance works for what has been supplied to Venezuela. Any works demand a certain involvement of people," the diplomat said, noting: "If more [specialists] are needed, we will send them." "This is an absolutely technical issue related to implementing certain contracts on a particular volume of work," the diplomat said, noting that more specialists could arrive if needed. "Some of them will leave and the others will come." In late March, two planes with Russian servicemen arrived in Venezuela. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov later said that the military specialists, who are currently in Venezuela, are repairing the equipment under an agreement on military and technical cooperation between Moscow and Caracas.
VATICAN CITY, June 6 -- Pope Francis will receive Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Vatican on July 4, Agence France-Presse reported on Thursday, citing a statement by Vatican Spokesman Alessandro Gisotti.
"I can confirm that the Holy Father will receive Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Vatican on July 4," Gisotti said. The Kremlin earlier confirmed that Putin was expected to make a visit to Italy but said nothing about the date of the visit and the president’s plans to meet with Pope Francis. In November 2018, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the date of Putin’s visit to Italy would be agreed on through diplomatic channels. He pointed out that the invitation for the Russian leader to visit Italy had been mentioned during Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte’s visit to Russia on October 24, 2018. In April, Kremlin Aide Yuri Ushakov told reporters that the Russian president planned to visit Italy in the summer. Italian Ambassador to Russia Pasquale Terracciano said later that Putin was expected to visit the country in July.
KUALA LUMPUR, MAY 31 -- The Malaysian government wants strong evidence to show that Russia is responsible for the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 tragedy in 2014, says Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
"They are accusing Russia, but where is the evidence? "We know the missile that brought down the plane is a Russian-type missile, but it could also be made in Ukraine. "You need strong evidence to show it was fired by the Russians. "It could be by the rebels in Ukraine, it could be Ukrainian government because they too have the same missile,” he said during a dialogue and media conference with the Japanese Foreign Correspondent Club (FCCJ) here on Thursday (May 30).
Dr Mahathir said Malaysia accepted the investigation report by Holland but only up the point where the plane was brought down by a missile made by Russia. He said while the government agreed that the plane was brought down by a Russian missile, it could not be ascertained that the missile was launched by Russia. The Russians were a military people and they would know that MH17 was a passenger plane, he added. "I don’t think very highly disciplined party is responsible for launching the missile,” he said. The Prime Minister said Malaysia should also have been involved in the examining the black box as the plane belonged to Malaysia and there were Malaysians passengers. "We may not have the expertise, but we can buy the expertise. For some reasons, Malaysia was not allowed to check the black box to see what happened. "We don’t know why we were excluded from the examination but from the very beginning, we see too much politics in it, and the idea was not to find out how this happened but seemed to be concentrated on trying to pin it on the Russians. "This is not a neutral kind of examination,” said Dr Mahathir.
Had a neutral party examined and made the conclusion, Malaysia would be willing to accept the findings but here we have parties with political interests in the matter, he added. Flight MH17, which departed from Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam on its way to Kuala Lumpur, was shot before crashing near Torez in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine, about 40km from the Russian border on July 17, 2014. The incident killed 298 people, including 15 crew members. Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team (JIT) said the team was convinced that a BUK TELAR missile was used to down MH17, and that it originated from the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade (53rd Brigade), which is a unit of the Russian Army in Kursk in the Russian Federation.
BEIJING, May 30 -- China and Russia plan to sign around 30 agreements during Chinese President Xi Jinping's upcoming visit to Russia at the beginning of June, Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Zhang Hanhui told a briefing on Thursday.
"I think that around 30 agreements will be signed," Hanhui said. He added that he cannot tell yet the concrete number of agreements and their specific contect. "I cannot yeat provide this information as consultations continue," he noted. The diplomat said that Xi and Russian President Vladimir Putin will sign two joint communiques during the visit, one on bilateral relations, and the second on issues "on the international agenda and strategic stability" of mutual interest. Other joint documents will focus on cooperation in economy, trade, energy, investment and other spheres.