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Ukraine crisis. News in brief. Thursday 22 October [Ukrainian sources]

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Ukraine crisis. News in brief. Thursday 22 October [Ukrainian sources]

Post by Admin on Thu Oct 22, 2015 9:53 am

THURSDAY

Please scroll down to view news items added during the course of the day.


NEWS:

There were no casualties, but terrorists still attacking with mortars and still have the heavy armor that was requested to pull back near the front DMZ.  There was one soldier injured from a land mine.  There was also on terrorist killed.  Russian soldiers are pulling an old NKVD stunt by disguising themselves in terrorist uniforms.  EU also stated, the sanctions won't be lifted till all of Minsk Agreement is fulfilled.

WEATHER:

Kyiv has fog with temperatures around +5c.  Southern Ukraine is cloudy with +9c.

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Russian recruiting centers in occupied Donetsk hire mercenaries for Syrian war, - Defense Ministry Main Intelligence Directorate

Post by Admin on Thu Oct 22, 2015 10:00 am

Recruiting centers hiring mercenaries for the war in Syria operate in the occupied areas of the Donbas.
This was announced by the press service of the Main Intelligence Directorate (MID) of the Defense Ministry of Ukraine, Censor.NET reports.

"According to data acknowledged by the Defense Ministry of Russia, over the past day and night Russian air forces conducted 46 flights and carried out missile and bombing raids against 86 objects in Aleppo, Damask, Deir ez-Zor, Idlib, and Hama. According to independent observers, about 50 civilians have been killed in the air strikes since Sept. 30," the Directorate said.

The intelligence have also found a network of recruiting offices in the occupied areas of the Donetsk region that form "volunteer units' to participate in combat activities in Syria. At least two offices have been found in Donetsk, the MID informed, which agitate to join 'international Krestonosets battalion' in Khartsyzsk and Makiivka. The recruiters are promised high salary and no other social guarantees, the intelligence say.

en.censor.net.ua In Russian


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Rebels merely imitate pull-out of heavy weapons – Tymchuk

Post by Admin on Thu Oct 22, 2015 10:08 am

Over the past 2 days, Russian/rebel troops have been actively imitating the pull-out of heavy weaponry in the “C” sector. The weaponry changed locations but stayed within the 15-km zone – a definite violation of the Minsk agreements, military expert Dmytro Tymchuk writes in Facebook Oct. 22.

“Near Bezimenne and to the north-east of Kominternove the enemy concentrated 24 tanks, allegedly awaiting the pull-out. However, part of the weaponry (at least 7 tanks) was deployed north of Telmanove and carefully concealed in the forest near Bohdanivka, Tymchyk says.

The enemy announced the arrival of rail platforms in Debaltseve for the withdrawal of tanks, but no loading has been done so far. Instead, the rebels have been moving 2-3 tanks and 3-4 APCs daily to Yenakieve and Vuhlehirsk areas.

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Russian military disguised as militants conduct reconnaissance along the border, - InfoResist

Post by Admin on Thu Oct 22, 2015 10:10 am


Russian servicemen disguised as local militants are carrying out reconnaissance in the areas of Sverdlovsk, Krasnodon, Amvrosiivka, and Antratsyt.

MP Dmytro Tymchuk wrote on Facebook citing the situation report by Information Resistance group, Censor.NET reports.

"At once several reconnaissance groups of the Russian soldiers disguised as local militants have been spotted in the areas of Sverdlovsk, Krasnodon, Amvrosiivka, and Antratsyt. The task of these groups is to find areas suitable for holding weapons and military equipment. It can be assumed that some part of weapons and military equipment that were previously delivered to the militants from the Russian Federation would be withdrawn to the state border with subsequent return to Russia. The weapons and military equipment may also be concentrated to carry out rotation, repair, and directed maintenance," he wrote.

Tymchuk also noted that periodic technical servicing of equipment and weapons started in the detachments and military bases of the militants under the order of the Russian-terrorist troops' command. However, the servicing was carried out occasionally and at a slow pace due to problems with spare parts and expendables.

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U.S. to modify radar systems before shipping them to Ukraine, - The Wall Street Journal

Post by Admin on Thu Oct 22, 2015 10:13 am

Advanced radar systems being shipped to Ukraine to counter artillery strikes by pro-Russia separatists have been modified to prevent them from peering into Russia.

This is reported by The Wall Street Journal citing U.S. officials, Censor.NET reports.

President Barack Obama signed an order on Sept. 29 to give Ukraine two radar systems worth $10 million each. U.S. officials said this week that the systems would arrive at Ukraine's Yavoriv training ground by mid-November.

But with a cease-fire holding in eastern Ukraine and artillery attacks significantly reduced, the U.S. doesn't want the equipment to antagonize Russia. The modifications are supposed to ensure that Ukrainian forces don't escalate the current conflict by using the new systems to counter fire originating from Russian territory, officials said.

The modifications drew fire from a leading Republican critic of the Obama administration, who called it a misguided attempt to mollify Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the modifications to weaken the radar were symptomatic of a "delusional view" by the Obama administration that Mr. Putin will modify his behavior in Ukraine.

Read more: Putin is thug and bully, US must massively respond to his actions, - Senator McCain

"This is part of their continuing effort to appease Vladimir Putin," he said. "It sends a signal to Russia and Ukraine that we are not willing to seriously confront Vladimir Putin's aggression."

Republicans, and some Democrats, have been urging the Obama administration to provide more systems to Ukraine, including Javelin antitank missiles. The Obama administration has been unwilling to provide any equipment that could be construed as offensive weaponry.

U.S. officials said the new radar are likely to provide a tempting target for any Russian troops active in eastern Ukraine. They are worried that Russian forces will target the radar, either seeking to jam or destroy the equipment, and will train vetted Ukrainian forces on how to minimize chances it can be detected by Russian forces.

U.S. Army officials have identified six surplus Q-36 systems currently stored in a Pennsylvania depot.

If Congress approves additional money and the Ukrainians show that they can use the systems effectively, officials said, the transfer of the other four would be considered.

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EU will not lift sanctions against Russia until full implementation of Minsk agreements - Prime Minister of Luxembourg

Post by Admin on Thu Oct 22, 2015 10:14 am

The strengthening or lifting of sanctions imposed by the EU against Russia will depend on the implementation of the Minsk agreements.

Xavier Bettel, the Prime Minister of Luxembourg, which holds the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, stated, Censor.NET reports citing Interfax-Ukraine.

"28 Member States have single view of the situation: if the Minsk Agreement is not observed, the new sanctions will be imposed, if they are implemented, then we will discuss other issues... But President Poroshenko, the Ukrainian side must also fulfill their obligations," Xavier Bettel said at a joint press conference with President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko in Kyiv on Thursday.

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Iryna Herashchenko: separatists turn prisoner exchange into indecent bargaining

Post by Admin on Thu Oct 22, 2015 10:17 am

Donbas separatists have assumed responsibility for disrupting the Minsk agreements by demanding full amnesty in exchange for Ukraine POWs, Rada lawmaker Iryna Herashchenko, president’s commissar for the peaceful settlement of the conflict in Donbas writes in Facebook Oct. 22.

The rebels condition the release of Ukraine POWs on the amnesty for themselves. This is blatant blackmail, Herashchenko commented.

The amnesty is one of the terms of the Minsk agreements and must be enforced, she said

The amnesty can be granted only to those rebels who have no blood on their hands and will be declared after the pull-out of the rebel forces and implementation of the rule of law in Donbas, Iryna Herashchenko said.

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Ukraine army intelligence reports concentrations of heavy artillery in violation of Minsk agreements

Post by Admin on Thu Oct 22, 2015 10:18 am

The Ukrainian army informed OSCE that in the areas near Seleznyovka, Petrivske and Solntseve there are concentrations of over 100-mm SAU self-propelled artillery – which is a violation of the Minsk agreements.
Ukraine intelligence also informs about the shoot-outs among the rebels. As a result of using artillery and mortars, there are losses among the fighting rebel groups.

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OSCE: One DPR militant killed in 'exchange of fire' near Donetsk airport

Post by Admin on Thu Oct 22, 2015 10:33 am

The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine has reported on a cross shootout between the combined Russian-separatist forces and the Ukrainian military near Donetsk airport.

"At the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) observation post at Donetsk railway station ("Donetsk People's Republic" ("DPR")-controlled, 6km north-west of Donetsk), the SMM heard a total of 28 explosions and two single small-arms shots 3-5km north-north-east, west and north-north-west of the observation post in what a Ukrainian Armed Forces officer and a Russian Federation Armed Forces officer at the JCCC described as an exchange of fire in the area of the Volvo Centre ("DPR"-controlled, 12km west-north-west of Donetsk)," the OSCE SMM said on October 21 in its update based on information as of 19:30 local time on October 20.

At 13:05 Kyiv time, another Russian Federation Armed Forces JCCC officer told the SMM that as a result of this exchange, a "DPR" member was killed and another one was injured................

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Tymchuk: Militant kills local resident near Maryinka

Post by Admin on Thu Oct 22, 2015 10:37 am

A local resident, who has been trying to leave the temporarily occupied territory in Donbas, has been shot dead by one of Russian-backed militants at a checkpoint of the so-called Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) near the village of Oleksandrivka not far from the town of Maryinka in Donetsk region, head of the Information Resistance Group and MP Dmytro Tymchuk wrote on Facebook on Friday.

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Think tanks: Russia will make new attempt to divide the EU

Post by Admin on Thu Oct 22, 2015 11:03 am

Russia’s strategies to divide the European Union over the Ukraine crisis have failed so far, but Moscow will try again to divide the bloc, against the background of the Syrian war, professors said yesterday (21 October) at a discussion organised by German and US think tanks.

Organised by the German Marshall Fund of the United States, and by the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, the event, “Russia Re-Emerging, the end of the liberal order”, took place under Chatham House rules. The three main speakers were professors from Europe and North America.

The speakers broadly agreed that the EU had been remarkably united in the handling of the Ukraine crisis, and that Russian President Vladimir Putin was “surprised” by the bloc’s strong response to the Russian action against Ukraine, in the context of the illegal annexation of Crimea, and the destabilisation of Donbas.

The Kremlin’s strategy of “divide and rule” has failed in Ukraine, but Putin will make another attempt to divide the EU, as a new “bargaining situation” is taking shape, one of the speakers said.

Speakers argued that it would be “wise” for the EU to prepare for the Spring, when the issue of lifting the EU sanctions would arise.

The EU restrictions for Crimea and Sevastopol would stay, but the more hard-hitting sanctions targeting sectoral cooperation and exchanges with Russia, as well as the restrictive measures (asset freezes and visa bans) could be lifted in case the Minsk agreement is observed.

“What we are observing now is that things can work better for [Russia] now, that there is fatigue in Europe, that there is really big pressure among business communities," said one of the speakers, adding that Russia has strong lobbies in several EU countries.

In addition, it was said that Russia’s strategy was to use the situation in Syria, “because this is where the Europeans don’t have a policy and a capacity”. The Kremlin and the Russian armed forces realise that they don’t have the capacity to deal with Syria either, but they know they have the capacity to maintain the conflict and put pressure to the EU, the argument was.

‘Weak and brutal regime’

Speakers said the sanctions against Russia had “worked to some extent”.

“They have hit a corrupt and clientelist leadership," a speaker said, adding that Putin wasn’t just a president, but “a kind of oligarch”. Russia’s regime was described as “weak and brutal”.

The situation in Russia was described as a deep economic and social crisis, but it was admitted that not only the sanctions, but mostly falling oil prices had hit the Russian economy. The question was raised how long Putin could afford to pursue his policies within his country, but also with the EU, as he had spoiled his country’s relations with its most important partner. The issue of the loss of patience of European businesses who are also suffering from the sanctions was also raised.

“Russia is not an emerging power. It is a superpower in military terms, but beyond that, the country has failed to modernise its economy," a speaker said. Russia, he said, has the ambition to be a “nuisance power”, “to block things, to disturb things”, not to project its power constructively.

The further assistance to Ukraine was described by a speaker as another major challenge for the West.

‘Tremendous success of the liberal order’.....................

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Protest outside Ukraine's constitutional court as judges re-examine law on ousting corrupt officials

Post by Admin on Thu Oct 22, 2015 11:20 am

MPs under investigation and linked with deposed president Yanukovych led calls for review

A protest has been held outside Ukraine's constitutional court, as judges inside hold a session to re-examine a law on clearing the government of corrupt officials.

Read also ‘Prevention, Prevention, Punishment' – the only way to eliminate corruption in Ukraine

MPs from political party Opposition Bloc, a number of whom are being investigated under the anti-corrutpion law, had been leading calls for the law to be reviewed.

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Back To The Future: Echoes Of Soviet Past In Modern Russia

Post by Admin on Thu Oct 22, 2015 11:23 am

Soviet leader Josef Stalin has reappeared in many places -- and not only in the pro-Russian, rebel-held Donbas region in Ukraine -- while many of the dictator’s murderous deeds are also being sanitized in Russian media.

To mark Back to the Future day on October 21, the precise date in the second installment of Hollywood’s comic science-fiction trilogy when the main characters travel in time to 2015, RFE/RL takes a look at seven aspects of the Soviet era that have reappeared since Russian President Vladimir Putin came to power in 2000.

The Red Star, Soviet National Anthem, Soviet Honors

Josef Stalin established the Hero of Socialist Labor award in 1927 to honor the achievements of Soviet citizens. The award was discontinued in 1991, but Putin brought back the Hero of Labor awards and accompanying lapel pins in March 2013. He honored a theater director, a veteran farm-machinery operator, a neurosurgeon, a coal miner, and a woodworker with Hero of Labor awards at a May 1 ceremony that year. That was after Putin had already revived the Soviet national anthem -- albeit with new lyrics -- in 2000 and the bombastic Soviet military parades. In 2002, Putin also brought back the renowned Soviet-era red star as the emblem of the Russian military. Russia’s defense minister at the time, Sergei Ivanov, said that the red star was "sacred for all servicemen."

Foreign Military Intervention

Russia’s dash into Georgian territory in 2008 was the first time the Kremlin had sent forces into combat in a foreign country since mild incursions into separatist regions in Georgia and Moldova and fighting in the Tajik civil war shortly after the breakup of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s. The "little green men" in Ukraine in 2014 and the widely reported Russian military involvement in Ukraine’s Donbas region (Russia denies such reports) are the latest examples of foreign military intervention by Moscow, a phenomenon that took place on various continents throughout the Soviet era and ended with the decade-long war in Afghanistan in 1989.

The ongoing military intervention in Syria, which includes heavy weaponry, advanced fighter jets, helicopters, naval squadrons, and naval infantry, is Russia’s largest outside the former Soviet Union since Afghanistan.

International Isolation, Close Ties To Cuba

Due mainly to the Kremlin’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, Russia and its people are far closer to the level of Soviet-era isolation from the Western world than at any time since the Soviet Union’s demise. Russia has been sidelined from the Group of Eight (G8) industrialized countries and been slapped with sanctions by more than 30 European countries, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and Canada. Moscow reciprocated with sanctions of its own, and the subsequent squeeze on the Russian economy has contributed to the ruble’s plummet and left dozens of Russian officials and entrepreneurs unable to travel to Western countries.

Even within the Moscow-led Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) -- a club of former Soviet republics -- relations are bad and getting worse. Georgia left the organization in 2009, and at a CIS summit in Kazakhstan last week, Ukraine didn’t show up while Turkmenistan and Moldova sent stand-in officials. Moscow’s best friends currently include a range of authoritarian regimes and outright dictatorships: North Korea, China, Vietnam, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Belarus, Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba, and Zimbabwe.

Echoing Soviet times, Russia has stepped up ties with Cuba. After a complete downfall of relations during perestroika and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia has worked hard in recent years to upgrade relations to a level not seen since pre-Gorbachev times. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has met with Cuban officials several times in recent years, and the latest move by Moscow is a $1.32 billion loan to Havana on October 17 to refurbish the communist island’s power plants.

Closed Cities

After the 1991 Soviet collapse, dozens of formerly closed cities -- usually places where sensitive military installations were based -- were opened or their strict regimes relaxed. But from the industrial Arctic city of Norilsk, which rejoined the ranks of Russia’s closed cities in 2001 when all non-Russians (except for Belarusians) were banned from entering,  to Siberia’s Novy Urengoi, which was closed to both foreigners (including Belarusians) and "unsanctioned" Russians in 2012,  several Russian cities that were "opened" in the 1990s are now closed.

Cheese And Food Smuggling

Perhaps no aspect of the Western sanctions against Russia stirred more grassroots outrage than the food ban on such cheese specialties as French Camembert and Roquefort, Dutch Gouda, or Italian mozzarella. Thissatirical image on Twitter reflects many Russians’ frustrations with their homemade cheeses (Warning label says: Russian cheese produces the desire to eat Parmesan). As does this one,  this one,  and this one:

"We’ve got accustomed to rely on imports and have made no good cheeses of our own for 100 years or so. So it would be naive to think that good cheese will suddenly emerge out of nowhere. It never happens, " Sergei Ivanov, Russia’s former defense minister and Putin’s current chief of staff, said on October 19.

Of course, food shortages and lines formed by people patiently waiting for meat, vodka, or other goods were commonplace during Soviet times,  and these notorious queues have long since disappeared in contemporary Russia. But the food ban by nearly 40 countries over Russia’s role in the Ukraine crisis has left Russians missing many of their favorite foods and even led to people smuggling items into the country, a practice reminiscent of a bygone era when Western foods and goods were largely inaccessible and prized.

The Gulag’s Alright! So Are Lenin, Stalin, And Dzerzhinsky

During Boris Yeltin’s presidency, there was serious talk at various times about having the ghoulish, wax-like figure of Soviet founder Vladimir Lenin from his Red Square Mausoleum removed and mercifully buried. That notion, however, seems to have been forgotten in recent years. Lenin statues are being protected and even reerected -- perhaps in response to the disappearance of the Soviet founder’s busts across non-separatist-held Ukraine.

Far more noticeable, however, has been the homage paid to Stalin -- and not only in the pro-Russian, rebel-held Donbas region in Ukraine. Stalin has reappeared in many places, including last month in the Mari-El Republic,  while many of the dictator’s murderous deeds are also being sanitized in Russian media.

No whitewashing of the communist era would be complete without trying to rehabilitate Feliks Dzerzhinsky, the founder of the Soviet secret police force known as the Cheka, the forerunner of the KGB. Not only might his infamous statue return to the front of Moscow’s Lubyanka building -- the former headquarters of the KGB in Moscow -- but a statue reappeared in the central Tyumen region in 2012.

The vast network of brutal labor camps known as the gulag is not being left out either, as the complete overhaul of this gulag museum in the Ural mountain city of Perm shows.  To be sure, the gulag system was largely shuttered in the early 1960s, though some individual labor camps existed into the 1980s.

Hatred Of The United States -- The Feeling Is Becoming Mutual

Whipped up by fierce anti-U.S. stories and a "blame-Washington-for-all-of-the-world’s-ills" message on Russian media, dislike of Americans has reached levels unseen since Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev banged his shoe on the table at the United Nations. Racist representations of and jokes about U.S. President Barack Obama are commonplace on the Russian-language Internet, and polls in recent years have repeatedly shown an escalating antipathy for the United States. This mural at a bar in the Tyumen region called Oblacko encapsulates the hostility felt by many Russians toward both the U.S. president and the United States.

Meanwhile, a U.S. poll released on October 20 by The Wall Street Journal/NBC showed that 74 percent of Americans polled believe that Russia is either an "immediate" or a "long-term" military threat. Those numbers have skyrocketed compared to surveys taken just two years ago and point to a U.S.-Russian distrust and political rivalry not seen since Soviet times.

One satirical Twitter personality, known as Darth Putin, pointed out on October 21: "Imagine building a time machine in 1985 [and traveling to 2015] only to find an oil-dependent country run by the KGB who blame everything on the U.S."

And if Marty McFly, the protagonist of the Back To The Future films, did come from the year 1985 and arrived in Russia today, he might react something like this:

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US radar modified for Ukraine to please Putin

Post by Admin on Thu Oct 22, 2015 6:09 pm

US radar modified for Ukraine to please Putin
Today at 00:29
"Commander in Chief"

The advanced radar systems, which the United States to bring Ukraine to counter artillery attack pro-Russian militants had been amended so as not to allow them to reach the territory of Russia. It is reported by Wall Street Journal.

Citing anonymous US officials, the newspaper writes that US President Barack Obama on Sept. 29 signed a decree on the transfer of two Ukrainian radar systems worth $ 10 million each. This week, US officials said that the system will be delivered to the landfill in Yavorov in Lviv region by mid-November.

Representatives of the US Army expressed the hope that the radar will give Ukraine new opportunities for the suppression of artillery and missile attacks of separatists, the newspaper said. Other officials say that, thanks to these deliveries Kiev feel that Washington still has its impressive military support.

But in a situation where the cease-fire in eastern Ukraine is maintained, and the number of artillery attacks decreased significantly, the US does not want the supplies used for the confrontation with Russia, the article says. Modifications radars should ensure that the Ukrainian army will not be able to use the new system to suppress the fire from the Russian territory, and thus bring the crisis to a new level of escalation, officials said.

However, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, John McCain said that the modification of the radar to reduce their capacity indicative of "delusional stance" of the Obama administration, which, he said, hopes that Russian President Vladimir Putin will change their behavior in Ukraine.

"This is part of their work to ensure that cater to Vladimir Putin - he said. - This should be a signal to Russia and Ukraine, that we are not willing to seriously oppose the aggression of Putin. "

Republicans and some Democrats call on the Obama administration to put Ukraine additional weapon systems, including anti-tank missiles "Javelin", the newspaper said. For its part, the Obama administration does not want to supply any equipment that may be perceived as offensive weapons.

glavcom.ua In Russian

It'll clearly show if any missiles coming into Ukraine would have been sent from Russia.


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Obama vetoed the law, which provides $ 300 million for weapons Ukraine

Post by Admin on Thu Oct 22, 2015 8:55 pm

President Barack Obama vetoed the law on defense spending, which provides for the allocation of 300 million dollars on weapons in Ukraine, informs AFP. The bill, passed by both houses of the American parliament, called for 612 billion dollars for US military needs, reports "TSN".

This law gives the Minister of Defense of the United States the right to use 300 million dollars to the Ukrainian government to provide "appropriate assistance in the field of security and intelligence." Kiev could get anti-tank weapons, mortars, systems that are maintained in the calculation of battle / crew, as well as ammunition, rocket-propelled grenades and small arms.

Earlier, US President repeatedly spoke about the intention to veto the law. According to him, the lawmakers resorted to budget "tricks" to allocate money to "unwanted programs". The Obama administration will provide the military needs US $ 38 billion less than the legislators.

In addition, the White House opposes the extension of the work of the prison at Guantanamo. Does not support the president of the United States and the provision of military assistance to Ukraine, although this was not the reason for the veto.

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Re: Ukraine crisis. News in brief. Thursday 22 October [Ukrainian sources]

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