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Oleh Sentsov hospitalized in intensive care
Published: Wed, 17 Oct 2018 12:00:44 GMT

Channel 24 reports that according to the Ukrainian political prisoner’s sister Natalia Kaplan, Oleh Sentsov was sent to the intensive care in Labytnangi hospital.

According to his cousin Natalya Kaplan, the hunger strike, which Sentsov held for 145 days, led to irreversible consequences for his health. Including ischemia, cardiac arrhythmia, problems with the liver, stomach and other organs.

Currently, the political prisoner is in the process of ending the hunger strike. “The situation is very critical, no one knows how this will end,” said Kaplan.

However, Interfax reports that according to Russian prison officials, Sentsov is under medical supervision in the penal colony’s medical unit and does not require to be transferred to the intensive care unit. The Russian Federal Service for Execution of Punishment notes that the political prisoner’s health condition has been determined as satisfactory.

Earlier, the film director’s lawyer Dmitry Dinze said that Russian doctors threatened Oleh Sentsov with forced feeding and “making him into a vegetable” if he does not stop the hunger strike.

Netanyahu: Friendship with Putin is important for Israel’s safety
Published: Tue, 16 Oct 2018 21:00:32 GMT

A friendly relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin is important for Israel’s safety, stated Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reports the newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth.

He noted that he supports “frequent friendly contact” with Putin which is marked with “mutual respect.”

“This relationship is important for the safety of Israel,” stated the prime minister.

It was also reported that earlier Putin and Netanyahu scheduled their first meeting since the incident on September 17th, when the Russian Il-20 was shot down off the coast of Syria during an air raid by the Israeli Air Force. At the end of September, the Israeli prime minister intended to meet with the Russian president together with the Minister of Defense and Chairman of the Israeli National Security Council Meir Ben-Shabbat. However, the meeting did not take place, although Moscow denied media reports that they refused to accept Netanyahu.

Hungary promises to continue blocking Ukraine-NATO commission
Published: Tue, 16 Oct 2018 20:00:27 GMT

Hungary will continue blocking the NATO-Ukraine Ministerial Commission, stated Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto during a meeting with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin on the sidelines of the meeting of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg, reports DW.

Szijjarto said that Ukraine didn’t make any progress on the law on education and didn’t implement the recommendations of the Venice Commission. The Hungarian Foreign Minister also expressed dissatisfaction with the petition to regulate the status of Ukrainian citizens with dual or more EU citizenship, as well as the inclusion of a number of Hungarian citizens, including Szijjarto himself, on the Myrotvorets website.

During the negotiations, the parties noted that even if the conflict hasn’t been resolved, significant progress has been made. “We need to find a way to meet on common ground with Hungary even if this is a difficult way,” Klimkin concluded. Szijjarto would also like to “strengthen and improve the bilateral relations.”

After his meeting with Szijjarto in Luxembourg, Klimkin stated that Hungary agreed to change the name of the position of the “authorized minister for Transcarpathia”. The minister also announced a comprehensive consular consultation with Budapest.

Kremlin invites Kim Jong-un to Russia
Published: Tue, 16 Oct 2018 14:00:00 GMT

The press secretary of the Russian president, Dmitry Peskov confirmed that North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un received an invitation to visit Russia, reports Interfax.

“Russian officials have invited the North Korean leader to visit Russia. The dates and place will be agreed via diplomatic channels, "- said Kremlin’s representative.

Earlier, the Russian newspaper Izvestia, citing an informed diplomatic source in South Korea, reported that the North Korean leader is likely to visit Russia. “This will happen at the end of October or at the beginning of November, however, before the U.S. Congress elections, which are scheduled for November 6. Among the potential meeting places, officials are considering Moscow and Vladivostok, “said the source.

The DPRK embassy said that exact information about the Kim Jong-un’s visit to Russia is currently not available and the time of the visit has not been confirmed yet. The representative office stressed that the date of the trip will depend "on the decision of the two leaders." The Foreign Ministry of Russia and North Korea refused to comment on this visit.

Information about the likely meeting between Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un first appeared at the end of May. Then, during a visit to North Korea, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov invited the DPRK leader to come to Russia. Diplomatic sources said that meeting in Vladivostok during the Eastern Economic Forum is a likely option for this visit.

By August, the Russian president again expressed his readiness to hold a personal conversation with Kim Jong-un in a congratulatory telegram sent for the occasion of the 73rd anniversary of the peninsula’s liberation. “I confirm that I’m ready to meet with you soon to discuss bilateral issues and regional problems,” quoted the message North Korean TSTAK agency.

In September, the Federation Council speaker, Valentina Matviyenko, announced about the possible Kim Jong-un’s visit to Russia. According to her, the time of the North Korean leader’s arrival depends on Putin’s schedule: “He intends to respond to the president’s invitation and in the near future, without a delay and depending on the Vladimir Vladimirovich’s schedule, he is ready to visit Russia,” she said.

Previous North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-il visited Russia three times. His last visit was in 2011.

Yarosh announces withdrawal of volunteers from the frontline in the Donbas
Published: Tue, 16 Oct 2018 19:00:24 GMT

Participants of the Ukrainian Volunteer Army (UVA) are leaving the frontline in Donbas, stated Commander Dmytro Yarosh, former leader of the Right Sector.

“This day I announce that the 5th and 8th separate battalions of the Ukrainian Volunteer Army are leaving the frontline but we are not leaving the war. As long as there is a war, we will participate in it,"  he said. According to Yarosh, the UVA is now planning to establish resistance “in any area” and unite those who took part in the military operation in the Donbas. Yarosh stated that many military volunteer organizations have been formed in Ukraine that they have huge potential that "can be important for Ukraine".

In late April 2018, the President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko declared the completion of the ATO (Anti-Terrorist Operation) in the Donbas and the beginning of the Joint Forces Operation

Amnesty International worker kidnapped and tortured in Russia
Published: Tue, 16 Oct 2018 18:00:17 GMT

In Ingushetia, Russia, a worker of the international human rights organization Amnesty International Oleg Kozlovsky was kidnapped and beaten, stated the press-service of the Russian unit of the organization.

Kozlovsky arrived in the capital of Ingushetia Магас on October 5 in order to monitor peaceful protests that started after the signing of the agreement on the administrative border between two regions by the leaders of Ingushetia and Chechnya. 

“The following evening, an unknown man claiming to be a representative of the protest organizers lured Kozlovsky to his car under the pretense of organizing a meeting with protesters.  He was taken outside of town where he was stripped, beaten and threatened with being shot. "The abuse lasted two hours," Amnesty International states.

“They put a gun to my head and said that they were going to kill me. Men introduced themselves as workers of the local center for combating extremism. They demanded the names of my contacts in Ingushetia and threatened to kill my wife and children if I told anyone what happened to me,"  he said.

Human rights activists report that Kozlovsky was beaten twice, made to think that he would be executed, forced to strip and photographed naked, with threats to publish the photos. When the kidnappers realized that Kozlovsky would not disclose the information he knew, they took him to North Ossetia and dropped him off near the airport.

Kozlovsky said on Facebook that he and his family left Russia but he hopes to return and continue his work in the near future.

On September 26, leaders of Chechnya and Ingushetia signed the agreement clearly identifying their border that has not been clearly established since the collapse of the Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Soviet Socialistic Republic in 1991. 

According to the new agreement, Chechnya received a part of the Nadterechny district of Ingushetia, and Ingushetia received the territory on the border with Malgobetsky district. After that, mass protests broke out in Ingushetia.

Turkey postpones joint patrols with Russia in Syrian Idlib
Published: Tue, 16 Oct 2018 17:00:00 GMT

Patrolling the demilitarized zone in the Syrian province of Idlib scheduled for October 15th was temporarily put on hold due to a request by the Turkish side, reports a RIA News source, familiar with the situation.

“Turkey asked for more time and to postpone the start of joint patrols in Idlib. The Russian side was ready to start this morning,” said a source in the agency.

According to the source, the Turkish side referred to safety concerns, which so far, they cannot fully guarantee.    

“We cannot say with certainty when the patrolling will start, maybe in the coming days,” added the source.

The Turkish Defense Ministry reported a complete withdrawal of large weaponry from the demilitarized zone in Idlib including tanks, MLRS, and artillery of all opposition groups. The start of the full-scale operating zone was scheduled for October 15th. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov noted that the start date for an operational demilitarized zone may be moved “for a day or two” and this does not have an impact. Turkish and Russian military agreed to coordinate their patrols of an area of 15-20 kilometers in the Idlib province.

Putin prohibits 'foreign agents' from looking for corruption in Russia
Published: Tue, 16 Oct 2018 16:00:11 GMT

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law that prohibits independent anti-corruption inspections of   legislative acts and their projects i.e. citizens with an unexpunged or unspent conviction and non-profit organizations deemed as “foreign agents”.

Interfax reported that the law “is aimed at improving the legal regulation of independent anti-corruption inspections”.

“International and foreign organizations no longer have an opportunity to conduct inspections. Citizens who were dismissed from their positions due to the loss of trust for committing a corruption offence and were recorded in the relevant register will not be permitted to conduct such an inspection,” the statement said.

Persons who carry out activities in the government, local governments, and state corporations that conduct anti-corruption inspections will not be permitted to carry out independent anti-corruption inspections either.

In 2017, the Russian Ministry of Justice recognized nine media outlets as foreign agents. According to the law On Mass Media, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Voice of America, Current Time TV, Sibir.Realii, Kavkaz.Realii, Idel.Realii, Tatar-Bashkir Service of Radio Liberty, Crimea.Realii, and Factograph were deemed  as “foreign media acting as foreign agents”.

Aksyonov plans to invite Assad to Crimea
Published: Tue, 16 Oct 2018 15:00:09 GMT

On Tuesday October 16, Russian Prime Minister of Crimea Sergey Aksyonov intends to invite Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to visit the annexed peninsula during the fifth Yalta International Economic Forum which will be held in April 2019.

Aksyonov revealed his intention during a session of the Syria-Crimea bilateral cooperation commission, TASS reports.

“We have already had the opportunity to invite your colleagues from the government to the fifth Yalta International Economic Forum. We hope that tomorrow at the meeting with Mr. President [Assad] we will be able to pass on the invitation to him too. The rest depends on a political decision,” Aksyonov said.

Earlier Aksyonov spoke about the negotiations with the Syrian Ministry of Economy and Foreign Trade concerning possible collaboration. He said that he could not disclose any details of the negotiations due to sanctions.

A delegation of members of the Russian government of Crimea arrived in Syria on October 15. They plan to sign an agreement on trade, economic, scientific and humanitarian cooperation between Crimea and the Syrian province of Latakia.

The Russia-controlled company Crimean Sea Ports announced that it will start to ship coal, wheat and construction materials to Syria by the end of the year.

International organizations have condemned Russia’s occupation and annexation of Crimea as illegal. Western countries have imposed a range of sanctions on Russia in response. Russia denies that it is occupying the peninsula, instead calling it a “restoration of historic justice”. The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine has officially declared February 20, 2014, as the start of Russia’s temporary occupation of Crimea and Sevastopol.

Russian missile systems in Crimea put on alert
Published: Tue, 16 Oct 2018 13:00:02 GMT

Soldiers from the coastal missile and artillery brigade of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet have been put on alert in order to take part in tactical exercises, the Russian Defense Ministry reported on October 15.

Divisions of Bastion and Bal mobile coastal anti-ship systems and Utes coastal missile systems were given practical tasks to complete as part of the combat training plan.

“During the drills, missile division crews will carry out a set of combat training tasks, including deploying and using the systems, preparation to fire, changing firing positions and marching, as well as meeting equipment standards and camouflaging firing positions,” the report states.

The drills will continue until the end of the week.

The day before, divisions of the Black Sea Fleet marines landed on stretches of the coast from large Orsk and Azov landing ships, under the cover of Southern Military District army aircraft.

After the annexation of Crimea in 2014, Russia has been conducting regular military exercises on the peninsula. The General Staff of Ukraine considers such actions illegal.


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