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Anti-Ukrainian incident in Poland inspired by Russia - Jan Pieklo. Russian military draws lessons from Ukraine and Syria operations.  Merkel and Hollande want to prolong sanctions against Russia.  Russian opposition leader Navalny announces he will seek Russian presidency.  Savchenko quit Batkivshchyna party, remains parliamentary faction member.  27 Ukraine soldiers defected to enemy since 2014, SBU says. Former NATO chief defends CIA's Russia assessment

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on Wed Dec 14, 2016 12:24 amAdmin
Putin complained to Merkel about Ukraine

Putin and Merkel continued discussing the situation around Russian gas supplies to European consumers via Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin is concerned that there is still no agreement with Ukraine on gas purchases from Russia in the current winter season.

This was discussed in a telephone conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the press service of the Kremlin.

According to the leaders continued to discuss the situation around Russian gas supplies to European consumers through Ukraine.

"Putin again expressed concern at the fact that the Ukrainian side avoids coordination agreements on gas purchases from Russia in the current winter season, which threatens transit to Europe" - said in a statement on the results of talks the Kremlin.

In addition, the sides discussed issues related to the conflict in Donbas, and the situation in Syria. , In Ukrainian / на українській мові
Savchenko called the names of the Russians in secret meetings with militants

The meeting was held in the trilateral format in the presence of Russian and Belarusian sides organizational side, said Savchenko

MP Hope Savchenko said that the meeting of the leaders of "DNR / FSC" in Minsk took place in the presence of. She said in an interview with Radio Donbas.Realiyi.

"The meeting was held in the trilateral format in the presence of Russian and Belarusian sides organizational side. It happened 3 hours, from the 15th to the 18th hour. I think that ended on a positive note. Let's wait for the results, "- said Savchenko.

She confirmed to journalists in Minsk Radio Liberty that with her at the meeting were Michael Baluev, Shkryaba Oleg and Vladimir Ruban. According to her, Baluev and Shkryaba - a "third-party", ie Russia.

Savchenko said that they are in Minsk contact group on humanitarian issues. "So they introduced", - she said.

Earlier, media reported that Savchenko Minsk secretly met with leaders of "DNR" and "FSC".

The head of the so-called FSC Igor Carpenter confirmed that he and the leader of the self-proclaimed DNR met with Nadezhda Savchenko and discussed with him the formula exchange of prisoners "all in all"., In Ukrainian / на українській мові
Central bank governor suspected of embezzling UAH315 bn ($11.6 bn)

According to a source in the prosecutor general’s office, prosecutors opened a criminal investigation against Central bank governor Valerya Hontareva, Ukrainian News reports Dec. 13.

The investigation will be centered on Hontareva and Kostyantyn Vorushylin, head of the fund guaranteeing the repayment of deposits of the clients of bankrupt banks. 

 The investigation was launched by the PGO high-level official, Vladyslav Kutsenko. Prosecutors will charge both officials of the abuse of power and embezzlement state funds, the source said.
Putin warns western sanctions will hinder Kurils deal with Japan

Russian leader casts doubt on deeper ties as long as Tokyo backs action against Moscow

Vladimir Putin has warned that sanctions imposed by the US and its allies, including Japan, on Russia over its role in the Ukraine conflict are hindering efforts to settle a long-running territorial dispute between Tokyo and Moscow.

Mr Putin’s remarks will deflate hopes in Tokyo that Shinzo Abe, Japan’s prime minister, can convince the Russian president to return at least part of the southern Kuril Islands when he receives the Russian leader for a two-day summit on Thursday. The then Soviet Union seized the islands from Japan at the end of the second world war.

“Japan has joined the sanctions against the Russian Federation. How are we going to further economic relations on a new and much higher basis, at a higher level under the sanctions regime?” Mr Putin said in an interview with Japanese media, according to a transcript published by the Kremlin.

Mr Putin said he supported a proposal by Mr Abe to liberalise the existing visa-free travel regime for Japanese visitors to the islands and expand economic co-operation between the two countries. “However, given that Japan has joined the anti-Russian sanctions, how ready is Japan and how can it do that without breaching its commitments to its allies?” he said.

Russian observers see the remarks as a hint that Japan may need to offer Moscow economic sweeteners to maintain relations in the current political climate, in which the election of Donald Trump as US president has raised hopes in Moscow of better relations with Washington. Russia is keen to attract Japanese technology and investment in its far east.....................

Access complete text of the editorial: In English
SBU exposes Ukrainian colonel collaborating with Russia special services

The SBU Security Service of Ukraine has held a multi-move special operation to detain Colonel of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Ivan Bezyazykov, who was released in summer 2016 after two-year captivity in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, on suspicion of collaborating with Russian special services, according to an UNIAN correspondent.

According to Tkachuk, Bezyazykov repeatedly traveled to the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don for briefings by members of the Russian special services. "While in captivity, he would freely travel to the Russian Federation. He was seen to show off a Stechkin [automatic pistol]," the SBU officer said.

"The traitor colonel collaborated with the intelligence structures of the [Donbas] militants controlled by the Russian special services," the SBU tweeted on Tuesday. Donbas terrorists knew Bezyazykov under such noms de guerre as "Louise," "Uncle Vanya," "Colonel," "Ivan Nikolayevich."...............
27 Ukraine soldiers defected to enemy since 2014, SBU says

Since the beginning of the conflict, 27 Ukrainian servicemen decided to switch sides and join the Russian-backed separatist forces, after they were captured in Donbas, SBU Chief of Staff Oleksandr Tkachuk said in a statement on December 13, 2016.

These 27 soldiers now fight in the conflict zone alongside the militants against their former colleagues from Ukraine's armed forces.

The news arrives shortly after the SBU has accused Ukrainian colonel Ivan Bezyazykov, who was earlier freed from captivity, of working for the Donbas separatists............
Russian opposition leader Navalny announces he will seek Russian presidency

Prominent Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny has announced that he will run for president in an election due to be held in March 2018, according to Radio Liberty.

"I will participate in the fight for the post of president of Russia," Navalny said in a videotaped statement posted on a new campaign website on December 13, RFE/RL wrote. The decision potentially sets up Navalny, a fierce critic of President Vladimir Putin, to challenge the longtime leader in a direct election. Putin is eligible to seek a new six-year term in the election and is widely expected to do so, but has not announced his candidacy.

"Russia should be a rich, free, strong country.… I am going into the election with a program to make Russia strong and modern. To curb corruption. To turn Russia's riches into prosperity for every family," Navalny said on the website. "A presidential election is a discussion about the country's path of development.".............
Former NATO chief defends CIA's Russia assessment

Retired Adm. James Stavridis, the former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, defended Monday the CIA's high confidence assessment that Russia interfered in the U.S. presidential elections in attempt to elect President-elect Donald Trump.

'High confidence' is not just hyperbole, Stavridis said on MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports. “This is a term of definition in the intelligence community ... I would put a lot of weight behind that judgment by the CIA.”

According to the CIA's assessment, Russia had hacked into the Democratic National Committee's email server, as well as the email of Clinton campaign chair John Podesta, in order to help Trump win the election, the Washington Post reported on Friday.

Trump has dismissed the CIA assessment, attacking the CIA and accusing Democrats of playing the “Russia/CIA” card.

But Stavridis, now the dean of the University of Pennsylvania's Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, said assessments like the CIA's are based on forensic examination, as well as other highly classified inside sources and means.

“When they put all that together and they make a judgment and they call it 'high confidence,' that frankly carries a lot of weight in the intelligence community,” he said................

Access complete text of the editorial:  In English
Anti-Ukrainian incident in Poland inspired by Russia - Jan Pieklo

Jan Pieklo considers the incident in Przemyśl as an action, aimed at the deterioration of Polish-Ukrainian relations. On December 10, local nationalists organized a "March of Przemyśl and Lviv eaglets". When the column of participants walked by the Ukrainian house, people started to shout anti-Ukrainian slogans. Namely, "Death to Ukrainians"...........
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry told why the Kremlin is playing for time in negotiations on the Donbas
According to Klimkin, Moscow has it has its own geopolitical benefits

The Russian side is deliberately delaying the negotiation process on the settlement of the situation in the Donbass, waiting for a change of leadership in several key countries in the world. This was stated by Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Pavlo Klimkin.

" Russian special stalling ... delaying logic stems from the fact that, in my opinion, they are expected to change in the conditions, such as changing the American leadership and the possibility to negotiate with them, weakening Europe etc.", - Said the head of the Foreign Ministry Ukariny .

The Minister also noted that now fundamentally important transatlantic and European solidarity.

"And it's not only about sanctions ... If there is solidarity, that Russia has no place in the civilized world, and to live out of it - it is impossible", - expressed an opinion Klimkin.

The Foreign Minister also stressed that Russia, delaying the negotiation process, hopes to change participants' Normandy format ".

"In the" Normandy format "has members that are very deep in the subject, and it also wants to take advantage of Russia - to lose such key politicians, for whom this is not just a political issue, but also emotional," - said the Minister.

Klimkin also lamented the possibility that the head of the German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier is to leave the negotiation process.

"Steinmeier for all these years, not only knows the situation, he knows it in detail Of course, we all wish him to become president, but I told him that we wished he would leave the negotiating process.", - Said the head of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry. , In Ukrainian / на українській мові
Merkel and Hollande want to prolong sanctions against Russia

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President of France Francois Hollande say the European Union should extend the sanctions against Russia because of insufficient progress in solving the armed conflict in Ukraine, reports Reuters.

"It will be necessary to extend the sanctions against Russia again - although we would have wished for better progress in the implementation of this process," Merkel told reporters before talks with French President Francois Hollande in Berlin........
Russian military draws lessons from Ukraine and Syria operations

The Syrian army and its allies are close to pushing anti-government rebels out of Aleppo as thousands of civilians flee the fighting, leaving the regime of Bashar al-Assad close to taking the smoking ruins of the country's second-largest city.

Moscow's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov claimed the Syrian army was holding fire Thursday, allowing civilians to leave the city before government forces fight their way through the last remaining rebel neighborhoods, with Russian aircraft providing cover overhead. Activists in the city reported continuing airstrikes and rocket assaults on Friday however, despite the Russian claims.

The fall of Aleppo will mark a major victory for both Assad and and his ally, Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose 15-month intervention in the Syrian civil war was launched to prop up the faltering Assad regime under the guise of fighting the Islamic State.

But there was another reason for the campaign of Russian air strikes and special operations support: providing Moscow with a venue to show off its newly modernized military hardware.

After years of mouldering away under post Cold war budget crunches, Putin has spent billions to modernize the Russian arsenal, churning out new tanks, submarines, drones, cruise missiles, and fighter jets that have pounded both Syrian rebels as well as Ukrainian troops in eastern Ukraine's Donbass region....................
Savchenko quit Batkivshchyna party, remains parliamentary faction member

MP Nadiia Savchenko quit Batkivshchyna all-Ukrainian party union.

As reported by Censor.NET, this was said by MP Ivan Krulko (Batkivshchyna faction) to Interfax-Ukraine news agency.

"She quit the party. This happened several weeks ago but we didn't make it public," he commented to the news agency on Tuesday.

Krulko confirmed Savchenko remained a member of Batkivshchyna faction in the Ukrainian parliament.

The MP said he didn't know whether the party would discuss Savchenko's trip to Minsk and her meeting with Donbas terrorist leaders Alexander Zakharchenko and Igor Plotnitsky.

As reported, on Dec. 12 leader of Batkivshchyna party Yuliia Tymoshenko said her faction member Nadiia Savchenko would decide her political career on her own.

Speaking of Savchenko's future political destiny, Tymoshenko stated: "I think Nadiia Savchenko has already defined her fate. She is setting up her own political project, where she will be a leader. It will be up to Nadiia how to plan her political activity." , In Ukrainian / на українській мові
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