(Reuters) – Ukraine is borrowing another $2 billion from Russia on the same terms as a $3 billion Eurobond sold in December, in a sign that Moscow is pushing on with a $15 billion bailout despite concern about violence at anti-government protests in Kiev. In a geopolitical battle with the European Union after Ukraine spurned a trade pact with the… Read more →
Ukraine’s parliament repealed controversial laws aimed at curbing political protests Tuesday, hours after the country’s Prime Minister submitted his resignation in a pair of moves aimed at calming violent unrest across the country. In a statement that appeared on the Ukraine government’s website Mykola Azarov offered his resignation in order to encourage what he called “social-political compromise.” It was not… Read more →
Vladimir Putin is seeking to unite nations formerly attached to Russia through the Soviet Union with an economic partnership that would make them a challenge to the European Union. The AFP reports today that Putin’s plan for a “Eurasian Union” will count on Belarus and possibly Ukraine, but will meet resistance in most recently freed states. Putin, who had announced… Read more →
Russian terror attacks could be chilling prelude to Olympic violence
A pair of suicide bombings that left 31 dead in Russia could be a chilling tune-up for the Olympic Games, where a Muslim terrorist leader has vowed to put Chechnya’s long-standing grievance with Moscow in the international spotlight, according to terrorism experts.
Although no one has claimed responsibility for the twin bombings, which occurred less than 24 hours apart in the city of Volgograd, formerly known as Stalingrad, terror experts strongly suspect they were inspired, if not ordered, by Chechen Muslim rebel leader Doku Umarov. Umarov, who calls himself the emir of the terror group the Caucasus Emirate, has called on Muslims to attack civilians and to prevent the Olympics from occurring.
The games, scheduled to begin in six weeks in Sochi, the Black Sea resort about 400 miles southwest of Volgograd, are “Satanic dancing on the bones of our ancestors,” Umarov said in a video released online in July.
“No Olympics in recent memory will commence as inauspiciously at the 2014 Sochi Games,” Hoffman told FoxNews.com. “Although fear of terrorist attack has been a staple of Olympics security for the past four decades, the back-to-back blasts yesterday and today, coupled with another attack in the same city in October, are likely intended to be the opening salvos in a sustained terrorist campaign.
“This would be unprecedented in Olympic history and likely reflects the perpetrators’ intention to disrupt the games even before the opening ceremony,” Hoffman added.
In the first attack, a bomber authorities believe may have been a woman detonated explosives in front of a metal detector just outside a train station entrance Sunday as a suspicious police sergeant approached to check the bomber’s ID. The officer was one of 17 killed by the blast. Hours later, early Monday, a suicide bomber on a bus killed at least 14 people and left nearly 30 wounded, Russian officials said. The bombs were similar, according to Vladimir Markin, the spokesman for Russia’s main investigative agency.
“That confirms the investigators’ version that the two terror attacks were linked,” Markin said in a statement. “They could have been prepared in one place.”
Following the most recent attack in Volgograd, Russian news outlet Lifenews.ru, posted what it claimed was an image of the severed head of the female attacker. The report said the woman’s two successive rebel husbands had been killed by Russian security forces in the Caucasus. Female suicide bombers, often widows or sisters of slain rebels, have mounted numerous attacks in Russia and are commonly referred to as “black widows.”
Fox News has the full article
(Photo: Police and medics work at the site of a bomb blast on a bus in Volgograd Dec. 30, the second suicide bombing in less than 24 hours. (Reuters))
Ukraine’s decision to suspend a deal on closer EU ties and sign a Russian aid agreement instead has helped avoid bankruptcy, Prime Minister Mykola Azarov has told ministers in Kiev. The government’s surprise U-turn on an EU association agreement last month has sparked weeks of mass demonstrations. But Mr Azarov said the package from Russia would provide stability. Russia has… Read more →
(Reuters) – Poland is worried about the possibility Russia has deployed Iskander missiles in the Baltic Sea exclave of Kaliningrad, and will consult with its NATO partners on the issue, the foreign ministry in Warsaw said on Monday. “The plans to deploy new Iskander-M rockets in Kaliningrad are worrying,” the ministry said in a statement, commenting on reports in Russian and German… Read more →
Ukrainian riot police withdraw after overnight move on demonstrators
(Reuters) – Battalions of Ukrainian riot police withdrew on Wednesday from a protest camp after moving against demonstrators overnight in the authorities’ biggest attempt yet to reclaim streets after weeks of protests against President Viktor Yanukovich.
Columns of police abandoned positions around a protest camp and state buildings occupied by demonstrators enraged at Yanukovich’s decision to spurn an EU trade deal and move Ukraine further into Russia’s orbit.
Overnight the police had cleared streets near the protest camp, bulldozed tents and skirmished with demonstrators. They later surrounded the City Hall, where protesters who have set up a makeshift hospital in the occupied building sprayed them with water hoses to prevent it from being stormed.
Those moves by hundreds of black-clad police with visors and helmets were the boldest steps the authorities have ordered so far against demonstrators, although the sudden withdrawal suggested they were not prepared orders to use full force.
At stake is the future of a country of 46 million people, torn between popular hope of joining the European mainstream and the demands of former Soviet master Russia, which controls the flow of cheap natural gas needed to stave off bankruptcy.
At the main protest camp on Independence Square, pop stars, politicians and priests pleaded with police not to shed blood. Opposition politicians called for mass demonstrations to protect the square and predicted that Yanukovich would soon be toppled.
The interior minister called for calm and promised that the square would not be stormed. But even after the police left the streets, Vitaly Klitschko, a world boxing champion who has emerged as one of the main figures of the opposition, said the overnight action had “closed off the path to compromise”.
“We had planned to have talks with Yanukovich. We understand that Yanukovich has not wish to talk to the people and only understands physical force,” he told a news conference.
The police moves energized the protests, drawing thousands of people back out into the streets to defend the camp, many wearing plastic hardhats in orange, the color that symbolized a successful popular revolt against a fraudulent election in 2004.
Police had been bussed in to the city center under darkness to shouts of “Get out criminal” – a reference to Yanukovich, who suspended plans to sign a trade pact with the European Union last month and instead embraced closer ties with Russia.
Riot police flooded roads to Independence Square, where thousands of people have maintained a vigil in bitter winter cold. Helmetted officers moved slowly into the camp, bulldozing tents and barricades with tractors mounted with shovels. Dozens of demonstrators and police were hurt in scuffles but several officers said they had orders not to use force.
*****WARNING VIDEO SHOWS*****
*****VIOLENT/GRAPHIC ACTIONS BY POLICE*****
The action stalled after day broke, with temperatures in the snowbound capital stuck at minus 8 degrees Celsius (17 Fahrenheit). Some riot police left to cheers from lines of protesters holding them back. At City Hall, demonstrators lobbed a Molotov cocktail from a window into a police truck before the officers finally withdrew.
On the square, protesters said they had feared they would be stormed. Priests intoned prayers from a stage on the square and urged police not to use violence. Ruslana, a Ukrainian pop star, called from a loud hailer: “Do not hurt us!”
Some protesters held mobile phones in the air like candles and sang the national anthem, while church bells rang out from a cathedral about 2 km (about 1 mile) away, as in times of danger centuries ago.
“He is spitting in the faces of the United States, 28 countries of Europe, 46 million Ukrainians,” another opposition leader, Arseny Yatsenyuk, said of Yanukovich overnight. “We will not forgive him this. Tomorrow there will be a million people here and his regime will fall.”
The eventual police withdrawal was greeted with euphoria.
“We are seeing that truth does exist, that it is worth fighting for. It is a small victory, but these small victories will lead to big victories,” said protester Serhiy Chorny.
Reuters has the full article
The fight for Ukraine has now become a contest between the Russian president and the German chancellor. Putin won the first round. But Merkel and her fellow Europeans are grooming professional heavyweight boxer Vitali Klitschko to be their new strongman. By Thursday of the week before last, it was abundantly clear that any friendship between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and… Read more →
Sweden spied on Russian leaders for US – NSA leaks
Swedish signals intelligence agency FRA spied on Russian leaders and shared the data collected with the US, local media report citing Edward Snowden leaks. Sweden’s ‘cable access’ made its position ‘unique’ in the eyes of the NSA. READ MORE:http://on.rt.com/6tf2fd