Information Warfare · Russia

Russia / New Administration Media Ad Hoc – 6 April 2017

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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The Syrian CW attack is dominating MSM traffic, even displacing the long-running coverage of Russian election interference. Autopsies conducted in Turkey confirm it was a CW attack. Whitmore sums it up best: “Putin has supported, propped up, and defended Assad. He owns him. Assad now is Putin’s creature. And that makes Putin’s regime an accomplice to war crimes.”

Why a CW attack and why now? It fits the past pattern of Russia escalating whenever the opposing side makes a concession, which appears to be cultural as it has been observed many times over in disputes, and was played repeatedly in 2014-2015 during the Donbass war’s most intensive phase. Show weakness, Russia escalates. The“weakness” was likely the US observation just prior to the attack that the US no longer sought the removal of Assad. Some MSM have framed this as a specific test of POTUS, but everything the regime has done since the election fits the label of escalation and testing. Several have commented on this being proof that Russia did not honor its agreement with Obama to remove Assad’s CW stockpile, and evidently, this is so. In hindsight, this proves the Obama Administration blundered in trusting the Russians and should have backed the European plan to do another OOD/OUP as in Libya.

This was a ready made  “off ramp” for Putin to bug out of Syria by declaring this to be a betrayal by the Assad regime, who undertook to hand over all CW stocks to Russia, but evidently, Putin’s understanding of the situation is very different to that of outside observers. In the domestic propaganda context, it is another opportunity to show how the West has ganged up on Russia and is maligning it for the sins of Western proxies. That imperative was clearly much stronger than the option of saving face and shedding a political and resource millstone around Russia’s neck. Putin evidently regards thumbing his nose at the West and using the attack for domestic propaganda to be much more valuable than an outcome that extricates Russia from an enormous mess of its own creation.

Just short of a dozen interesting reports and essays on propaganda and fake news, the most interesting of which is the introduction of S.625  – Foreign Agents Registration Modernization and Enforcement Act 115th Congress by Sen. Shaheen.

Ukraine MSM dominated by discussion of future arms exports from Canada to Ukraine, and the EU after three years of haggling agreeing to visa-free travel for Ukrainians in the EU. Ukrainian public broadcaster slams EBU over Eurovision threats. Excellent UATV explainer on Russia’s Tsarist / Soviet / Putinist production of historical myths about Crimea, and an excellent essay by Engström on Russia’s revival of the Tsarist era doctrine of Russia as the successor state to the Byzantine Empire of Constantinople, and the inheritor of the true seat of Roman Christendom. Never let the historical record get in the way of good propaganda. Donbass bombardment slightly reduced against previous days.

More OpEds and analyses on the POTUS / Xi Jinping meeting, while street protests continue in Serbia.

Domestic Russian debate continues, with Rice the current focus, while Russian business community launches a charm offensive in DC.

The Daily Vertical: A Blunder And A Crime (Transcript)

They thought it would be quick and dirty. They thought it would be easy. They thought they’d have the support of the local population. And they thought they could pull it off with plausible deniability. But they were wrong on all counts. Three years ago today, Russia’s effort to dismember a country began in earnest when Kremlin-backed mobs and militias stormed and occupied government buildings in Donetsk, Luhansk, and other eastern Ukrainian cities. Three years ago today, Russia’s war in the Donbas began. And as a result, nearly 10,000 people are dead, approximately 23,000 are wounded, and almost 1.8 million are displaced. WATCH Today’s Daily Vertical Russia’s invasion of eastern Ukraine was a colossal miscalculation. The Kremlin believed that language and ethnicity translated into political loyalty. Vladimir Putin’s regime thought Ukraine’s Russophone was automatically pro-Moscow; that not just Donetsk and Luhansk, but Kharkiv, Odesa, and Mariupol as well would fall like dominoes. They were dreaming about Novorossia and a new Russian Empire. And they thought it would be as smooth and as easy as Crimea. It was a mistake and a crime driven by hubris. And it was a mistake and a crime that Ukraine is still paying the price for. Three years after Russia’s invasion of eastern Ukraine, the Kremlin is desperately trying to change the subject. And we shouldn’t let them.

US president does consider Moscow to be a problem, Ambassador to UN Haley says

06.04.17 15:15 – US president does consider Moscow to be a problem, Ambassador to UN Haley says U.S. President Donald Trump does consider Russia a problem. View news.

Senators urge Tillerson to meet with activists in Russia | Reuters

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson should meet with “democratically-minded” activists in Russia as well as government officials during his visit there later this month, two senators urged him in a letter released on Wednesday.

Russia hopes Tillerson’s visit will lead to improved ties

Russia voiced hope Wednesday that U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s planned visit next week will help improve relations between the former Cold War foes.

Tillerson Sets First Visit To Moscow For April 12

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will visit Moscow on April 12 for talks with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov. Russia&rsquo;s Foreign Ministry and the State Department announced th…

Tillerson to discuss situation in Donbas, Minsk deal implementation during Russia visit

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will travel to Russia April 12 to discuss the situation in Donbas and the implementation of Minsk Agreements, the State Department reported on its website. News 05 April from UNIAN.

Navy Officials Overshared Sensitive Info On Navy Readiness: Stackley « Breaking Defense – Defense industry news, analysis and commentary

NATIONAL HARBOR: In their desperation to convince Congress that budget gridlock hurts military readiness, Navy officials made public some information that they shouldn’t have, Acting Secretary Sean Stackley told reporters here today. It’s this oversharing of readiness data, along with overly detailed talk about future capabilities, that prompted the Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. John Richardson, to issue a March 1 memorandum (below) urging all naval personnel “to ensure we are not giving away our competitive edge by sharing too much information publicly.” Public Communication Guidance Signed by BreakingDefense on Scribd Many of my fellow reporters here at the Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space conference said they’d felt a chilling effect from the CNO’s memo. I myself saw three admirals cite the need to say less in public. And, unlike in past years, the CNO himself didn’t address the conference in any public forum. (Richardson’s consumed with prep for today’s congressional hearing on the danger of a full-year Continuing Resolution, Stackley said). So naturally the new policy came up when Stackley sat down with us this afternoon. His response is worth quoting at length. “We’re having a dialogue with Congress, trying to get Congress to understand the impacts associated with Continuing Resolutions, the shape that our budget is in, and the impacts that has on things like fleet readiness,” Stackley said. “And in doing that… what had been happening is, people were leaning further and further into talking about details associated with readiness — hey, that’s classified. We don’t promulgate that information.” “We can share that information with the Congress behind closed doors, but we don’t want to share that information with our competitors,” Stackley continued, “so there has been a pullback in terms of how much detail we put out regarding materiel readiness.” Stackley’s staff clarified to me afterwards that he was not accusing anyone of improperly disclosing classified information. That’s a relief. But a central point of the CNO’s memo, and of Stackley’s comment, was that even unclassified data can be damaging if disclosed. “Sharing information about future operations and capabilities, even at the unclassified level, makes it easier for potential adversaries to gain an advantage,” Richardson writes. “Scrutinize information and protect it. Avoid events that are primarily for marketing….” “China’s watching everything that we do, and we want to be very measured about what we put out in open, public forums,” Stackley said. “Are we in fact sharing information that creates vulnerabilities, crosses the line in terms of security?” “I’ve read pieces myself, I’ve seen things in the literature (that made me think), ‘what the heck is this doing in the press?’” Stackley said. “These are our secrets, and we don’t need them to know exactly what we’re doing, how we’re doing it.” “We do have a responsibility to share information with the public, (but) we need to be more measured about the information we’re pushing out in the public domain,” Stackley said. “There’s some recalibration going on, rightfully so. We have a very aggressive competitor out there.”

S.625 – Foreign Agents Registration Modernization and Enforcement Act – To Inform is to Influence

S.625 – Foreign Agents Registration Modernization and Enforcement Act 115th Congress (2017-2018)  BILL Sponsor: Sen. Shaheen, Jeanne [D-NH] (Introduced 03/14/2017) Committees: Senate – Foreign Relations Latest Action: 03/14/2017 Read twice and referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations.  (All Actions) Tracker: This bill has the status Introduced Here are the steps for Status of Legislation: Introduced Passed…

US Senate bill targets RT & Sputnik as ‘propaganda’ – To Inform is to Influence

Here RT defends itself.  RT is Russian propaganda. </end editorial> US Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire) claims RT and Sputnik are “designed to undermine our democracy” and even compared them to Nazi propaganda while promoting her bill, a reaction to alleged Russian hacking of the 2016 election. Read more US senator wants to probe RT…

‘Propaganda empire’: Senator Shaheen talks bill to take on RT – YouTube

US Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D, New Hampshire) took the Senate floor to talk about her bill which would force the Department of Justice to investigate RT Ameri…

POLITICO Brussels Playbook Plus: Russian disinformation — Gaffes and laughs — Czech mates – To Inform is to Influence

By RYAN HEATH, HARRY COOPER AND QUENTIN ARIÈS 3/25/17, 4:27 AM CET EUROPEAN POLITICS OF RUSSIAN DISINFORMATION: Federica Mogherini’s squad working to counter Russian disinformation and propaganda — known as the East StratCom team — has a problem. Unfortunately for Mogherini, it’s her. Activists, analysts, national foreign ministries and political opponents in the European People’s…

How Russian Propaganda Becomes Even Nastier in Baltic News – Re:Baltica

Fake names and miserable wages: what it’s like to work in the Kremlin-friendly local Russian language newspaper. Published in Latvia, Segodnya newspaper claims to be the only Russian-language daily in the European Union. I met one of the newspaper’s journalists Yelena Slyusareva three years ago on a trip to Sweden, sponsored by the Swedish embassy. As part of the trip the group of journalists went to interview the Swedish royal couple. Yelena’s English was poor, so interpreted for her from English to Russian. We got on alright. While we were in Sweden, a controversial referendum on joining Russia was held in Crimea. Much like many issues involving Russia and Russians in the Baltic state of Latvia, the news coverage of this event in the Latvian-language press was vastly different from their local Russian-language counterparts. Latvians worried about the Russian aggression and did not hide their concerns that the Baltics may be the next in line Putin’s Russia may wish to “liberate”. For Segodnya, the annexation of Crimea was a happy reunification. Yelena defended her newspaper: her colleagues really believed in what they wrote, she’d say. There was a plurality of opinions because her boss allowed her to pen an op-ed condemning Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. Yelena also criticized Latvia’s Russian population, who refused thinking with “their own heads,” surrendered “their power to the Russian television” and “closed their eyes as though they didn’t understand what was happening.”

PSSI | Russia’s Influence Activities in CEE

The project has been primarily designed as a response to Kremlin’s growing appetite for interference into domestic affairs of European states. It will analyze and raise awareness of Russia’s influence activities to disrupt democratic transitions in Central Europe and undermine European unity. Together with partners from the Visegrad countries PSSI will conduct an in-depth country monitoring and examine the variety of influence measures being leveraged by Russia. The research will build a better understanding of the Kremlin’s regional ploys and compare the different approaches it uses for the Central European countries, especially regarding country-specific strategies. It will focus on three discrete but related areas: economic and financial tools, including asset purchases and acquisitions by Kremlin affiliated businesses, that foster trade and energy dependencies; political and cultural tools, including the activities of Russian Centers of Science and Culture, as well as financial support for local NGOs, political parties, and other pro-Kremlin groups; and disinformation tools, including support for illiberal outlets and coordinated online trolling activities, but analyzed within the broader context of other influence activities. This project is supported by the National Endowment for Democracy. It will be realized between September 2016 and September 2017.

Russia spread fake news during Dutch election: report – POLITICO

The Netherlands’ intelligence service says ‘Russia is not afraid of using Cold War methods to obtain political influence.’

How do you stop fake news? In Germany, with a law. – The Washington Post

Germany may become a test case in how to stop fake news.

IO Qualification: “He Or She Gets It” – To Inform is to Influence

I’m feeling good. A very respected colleague, in a very respectable position of importance, just wrote to me saying, ‘You’re the only one who got my Facebook post!’ The subject was information warfare, what it is, what it is not, and so on. We had a conversation, yesterday, about Information Operations, Information Warfare, Influence Operations,…

U.S. Deports Russian In 2015 Spy Case That Continues To Reverberate

WASHINGTON –&nbsp;U.S. authorities have deported a man convicted of working as an unregistered Russian government agent, in a case that has shed light on Russian intelligence operations in the Unite…

Kazakh-Born Man Asks For Release Pending Trial In Russian Hacking Case

A Kazakh-born man accused of working with Russian intelligence officials to hack over a half-billion Yahoo e-mail accounts has asked a Canadian court&nbsp;to release him on bail. But prosecutor…

Opening of the arms market will become the next step in the defence cooperation between Canada and Ukraine, Canada Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan | Міністерство оборони України

“The Canada-Ukraine relations are unique. Signing of defence cooperation arrangement will allow us to have much more detailed and substantive discussions on various topics. Therefore, the next step will be to include Ukraine in the Automatic Firearms Country Control List,” Sajjan said. However, the Canadian National Defence Minister did not mention when Ukraine would be able to buy Canadian weapons. “We always try to move forward as quickly as possible. We have worked closely to agree on the defence agreement and will continue to cooperate,” minister Sajjan said. He added that the signing of the defence agreement was “a very important step before getting to the Automatic Control List.” Note: The Automatic Firearms Country Control List defines the countries, which Canada allows its domestic producers to supply weapons to. Currently, there are 35 countries on the list.

Canada intends to greenlight arms exports to Ukraine – 05.04.2017 11:35 — Ukrinform News

05.04.2017 11:35. Opening of the arms market will become the next step in the defense cooperation between Canada and Ukraine.

Canada Considers Sending Lethal Weapons to Ukraine – YouTube

Canada may soon be exporting weapons to Ukraine. That’s according to the country’s Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan. He says the recent signing of a bilateral …

Defence deal could open the door to weapons sales to Ukraine – Politics – CBC News

The Trudeau government has signed a defence co-operation agreement with Ukraine, a seemingly mundane bit of statecraft that could have far-reaching implications for the eastern European country’s bid to buy Canadian-made weapons.

Defense deal with Canada could open door to weapons sales to Ukraine

The bilateral defense cooperation deal, signed this week by Canadian Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan and his Ukrainian counterpart Stepan&nbsp;Poltorak, increases mutual co-operation in the areas of defense policy, education, defense research and development, as well as production, CBC reports. News 05 April from UNIAN.

Europe’s security in next decade depends on Ukraine, Estonia’s PM says

06.04.17 14:44 – Europe’s security in next decade depends on Ukraine, Estonia’s PM says Entire security architecture of Europe in the next decade depends on Ukraine’s future. View news.

European Parliament votes for visa liberalization for Ukraine

The European Parliament (EP) has upheld the European Commission's decision to grant Ukraine a visa-free regime, according to an UNIAN correspondent. News 06 April from UNIAN.

EP voted in favor of visa-free travel for Ukrainians, – Rada speaker Parubii

06.04.17 13:42 – EP voted in favor of visa-free travel for Ukrainians, – Rada speaker Parubii 521 MEPs supported granting Ukrainian citizens the right to travel to EU without visas. View news.

Poroshenko in Denmark: Russia undermines peace process in Donbas

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has met with Speaker of the Folketing Pia Kj&aelig;rsgaard and deputies of the Danish Parliament as part of his official visit to the Kingdom of Denmark to discuss the situation in Donbas, according to the president's press service. News 05 April from UNIAN.

Poroshenko urges Russia to stop killing Ukrainian citizens and take back troops

05.04.17 23:36 – Poroshenko urges Russia to stop killing Ukrainian citizens and take back troops President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko has called on Russia to stop killing Ukrainian citizens and remove its military from the occupied Donbas. View news.

Spoiling Ukrainian-Polish relations: next phase in Kremlin’s hybrid war -Euromaidan Press |

It’s 6 April 2017 in Ukraine, a few days after the Polish consulates were reopened following a weekly pause after the Consulate General in Lutsk was hit in a grenade attack. This was the latest episode in a series of inflammatory events with a clear purpose to exascerbate tensions between the neighboring countries. Despite Poland and Ukraine sharing mutual enmity in the past, after the dissolution of the USSR they established close relations, with Poland being Ukraine’s main advocate in the EU. Recently, tensions between the two countries had been growing: cemeteries related to World War II events were being desecrated, and monuments defaced on both sides of the border. The period of World War II is an especially sensitive one: Ukraine’s searches for new national symbols while being attacked by Russia have led to a veneration of the WW-II Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), guerilla fighters that, following a brief period of collaboration with Nazi Germany, fought against Germany, the Red Army, and Poland. Poland remembers them mainly by a series of slaughters and ethnic cleansings of 1943-1944 in Ukraine’s northwestern region called called Volyn slaughter in Polish and Volyn tragedy in Ukrainian. Despite historians setting up initiatives to jointly search for historical truth, the topic of UPA remains a permanent source of hostility between the two nations. Poland’s recent adoption of a resolution proclaiming the Volyn massacre as “genocide” has added fuel to the fire.

Russian Myths About Crimea | Making History – YouTube

In late February – early March 2014, the Russian Armed Forces captured the Crimean peninsula and, in violation of all international norms, Russia turned the …

Maria Engström | The New Russian Renaissance | Intersection

Why the Kremlin is fascinated by classical antiquity

Crimea annexation, Donbas aggression are signs of Russian provincialism, – Poroshenko

06.04.17 14:33 – The president stressed that modern Ukraine is based on strong civil society, while Russia is oppressing its own civil society. As reported by Censor.NET citing 112 Ukraine, this was announced by President Petro Poroshenko during Kyiv Security Forum.”Russia is searching for future in its imperialistic past. In the past that saw no freedom, no human dignity, no rule of law. In the past where people were suppressed, where expansion thrived. They practiced it in the past, they practice it now. Both the illegal annexation of the Crimean peninsula and the aggression in the Donbas are signs of Russian provincialism, targeting the key principles of order, stability, and prosperity. Modern Ukraine is based on its strong civil society, while Russia is oppressing its civil society,” Poroshenko said.

Russian ‘law enforcers’ run manhunt at Simferopol’s central market, detain journalist and human rights activist, – lawyer Kurbedinov

06.04.17 14:01 – Russian ‘law enforcers’ run manhunt at Simferopol’s central market, detain journalist and human rights activist, – lawyer Kurbedinov The law enforcement officers are apprehending people at the central market of Simferopol in occupied Crimea. View news.

Ukrainian public broadcaster urges Eurovision to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty -Euromaidan Press |

Members of the Supervisory Board of Ukraine’s public broadcaster (UA:PBC) have appealed to the head of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and its director Ingrid Deltenre to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty, refrain from turning the EBU into an instrument of external political manipulations, and not interfere in the normal process of carrying out the Eurovision song contest, both this year and the next one. The text of the appeal is published on Detektor Media. This appeal is an answer to the letter by EBU director Ingrid Deltenre to Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman sent on 23 March, after Ukraine made the decision to deny entry to Russia’s contestant Yulia Samoilova after it was learnt that the musician performed at a concert in occupied Crimea, entering the territory by breaking Ukrainian law. It notifies Groysman that several Eurovision members are considering withdrawal, that Ukraine might be excluded from further Eurovision events, that Ukraine should find a solution to allow Samoilova to participate under the same conditions as the other 42 delegations, and that they were not aware of any information that Samoilova poses a security threat the Ukraine.

The Coming Crackdown on Ukraine’s Anticorruption Crusaders

President Petro Poroshenko’s new restrictions on anticorruption groups are appalling and threaten to reverse much of the progress Ukraine has made since the Euromaidan. Some analysts who defend the new law have got the details all wrong. Others have sounded the alarm, but the fine points of the regulations remain murky. On March 27, Poroshenko signed an amendment that makes anticorruption activists subject to the same asset declarations as politicians and public officials. Asset disclosure for public officials is a common international anticorruption practice. The logic is simple: public officials wield state power and are paid by taxpayers from the state budget; therefore taxpayers should have oversight over their earnings and spending. In Ukraine, the new amendment contradicts this logic; it enables the authorities to control the assets of activists, who serve as government watchdogs.

Ukraine’s chief banker Gontareva announces resignation, NBU says she’s at work

Governor of the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) Valeria Gontareva has announced her resignation, according to TV Channel 112 Ukraine, while the NBU has said she continues performing her duties. News 06 April from UNIAN.

Ukrainian President Appoints Gaidar As Adviser

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has appointed Maria Gaidar, a former politician and activist in Russia, as an adviser. Poroshenko’s March 28 decree on Gaidar’s appointment was poste…

Why Russia does not want peace in the Donbas -Euromaidan Press |

Russia is not interested in a truce in the Donbas. Constant shelling and the death of Ukrainian soldiers and civilians is an important part of Putin’s plan for the destabilization of Ukraine.

Russia trying to break all Donbas-Ukraine ties, destroy Minsk deal – Poroshenko

The Russian Federation intends to sever links between Donbas and the rest of Ukraine and effectively&nbsp;destroy&nbsp;Minsk agreements, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said at a joint press conference with Prime Minister of Denmark Lars Lokke Rasmussen, an UNIAN correspondent reports. News 05 April from UNIAN.

Red Cross Barred From Russian-Controlled Donbass Prisons – To Inform is to Influence

Ukraine’s Ambassador to Austria, Olexander Scherba‏:  #Russia’s proxies in #Donetsk and #Luhansk continue barring International Red Cross from visiting local prisons. They have LOTS to hide. Corroboration: Militants deny access for OSCE official to prisons with hostages in Donbas – Ukraine envoy Russia not to allow ICRC mission to Ukraine’s prisoners in Donbas Sputnik blames Ukraine: Kiev,…

Ukraine reports 2 WIA’s amid 29 enemy attacks in last day

Russia's hybrid military forces attacked Ukrainian army positions in Donbas 29 times in the past 24 hours with two Ukrainian soldiers reported as wounded in action (WIA), according to the press service of the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) Headquarters.&nbsp; News 06 April from UNIAN.

Russian mercenary, former actor Ismanov killed in Mariupol area. PHOTOS+VIDEO

06.04.17 09:02 – Russian mercenary, former actor Ismanov killed in Mariupol area. PHOTOS+VIDEO Ill-known Russian terrorist Erkin Ismanov (call sign Kedr) who arrived in the Donbas from Moscow in 2014 and joined militants of the so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic” (aka “DPR”) was eliminated in a clash with the Ukrainian military on… View photo news.

OSCE SMM reports shots fired near its mini UAV in occupied Luhansk

The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine has reported small-arms shots near its mini unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in the Russian-occupied city of Luhansk. News 06 April from UNIAN.

Ukraine’s Donetsk Airport ‘Cyborgs’ Story on Film – YouTube

2 years have passed since the siege of the Donetsk airport. A new film, “Cyborgs”, seeks to immortalize the heroism of the Ukrainian defenders. _ Follow UATV…

Activists plant 180 cedars in Dnipro City in memory of fallen Ukrainian soldiers. PHOTOS

06.04.17 11:17 – Activists plant 180 cedars in Dnipro City in memory of fallen Ukrainian soldiers. PHOTOS 180 cedars have been planted along the Memorial Alley outside the Dnipropetrovsk Regional State Administration building in Dnipro City. View photo news.

Representatives of US Embassy to Ukraine visit National Air Force University | Міністерство оборони України

Representatives of US Embassy to Ukraine visited Kharkiv Ivan Kozhedub National Air Force University. They held talks with top officials of the University and discussed the prospects of bilateral cooperation. Major General Andriy Alimpiyev, Commandant of the University, told the educational establishment history and spoke about innovations implemented in the University. US officers also toured the infrastructure and observed the training process of future pilots. The parties also focused on discussions of realization of academic staff exchange program, military specialists experience sharing.

The Morning Vertical, April 6, 2017

ON MY MIND This week’s devastating chemical weapons attack in Syria not only reminded us yet again of Bashar al-Assad’s brutality, it also exposed the cynicism and dishonesty at the heart of Russia’s foreign policy. Russia proposed and brokered an agreement in 2013 to place Syria’s chemical weapons under international control. That agreement helped prevent U.S.-and-French-led international military action against Assad in response to the August 2013 Ghouta chemical-weapons attack. Russia’s intervention in Syria’s civil war in 2015 likely saved Assad from almost certain defeat. Moscow has insisted that that any peace settlement in Syria keep Assad in power. And against the preponderance of evidence, Vladimir Putin’s regime continues to insist that Assad was not responsible for this week’s attack. Putin has supported, propped up, and defended Assad. He owns him. Assad now is Putin’s creature. And that makes Putin’s regime an accomplice to war crimes.

Autopsy shows chemical weapons used in Syria

Russia says Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is not to blame for a gas attack in Syria that killed 73 people

Syria: Chemical weapons were used in deadly attack, autopsy finds | London Evening Standard

Chemical weapons were used in a deadly attack in northern Syria which killed dozens of civilians, Turkey has confirmed. On Thursday the Turkish justice minister said autopsy results on the victims of the attack in Syria’s Idlib province found chemical weapons had been used. It is now thought more than 80 people were killed in the tragedy, with victims experiencing horrific symptoms similar to nerve gas. Thirty-two victims of Tuesday’s attack have been brought to Turkey and three have subsequently died.

Russia Challenges Donald Trump on Syria and Bashar Assad |

A Russian ministry spokeswoman questioned what the U.S.’s strategy on Syria was after President Trump criticised a suspected chemical attack

Russia Rejects Draft UN Resolution On Apparent Syria Chemical Attack

Russia has supported the Syrian government’s denials amid international outrage over a suspected chemical-weapons attack on a rebel-held town in Syria, as the UN Security Council prepares to hold emergency talks over the incident.

Russia Rejects Trump Administration’s U.N. Bid To Condemn Syrian Chemical Weapons Attack | Foreign Policy

Russia Rejects Trump Administration’s U.N. Bid To Condemn Syrian Chemical Weapons Attack « | Foreign Policy | the Global Magazine of News and Ideas

On Syria, U.S. warns when U.N. fails, states ‘compelled to act’ | Reuters

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley warned on Wednesday during a U.N. Security Council meeting that countries could be “compelled to act” individually if the world body does not take collective action after a deadly poison gas attack in Syria.

Donald Trump Calls Syria Chemical Attack An ‘Affront To Humanity’ « CBS New York

Trump made the comments at the start of a joint news conference with Jordanian King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein at the White House on Wednesday.

Trump’s View of Syria and Assad Altered After ‘Unacceptable’ Chemical Attack – The New York Times

Mr. Trump declined to elaborate what he would do to respond to the attacks during a joint news conference with King Abdullah of Jordan in the Rose Garden.

Trump: ‘I now have responsibility’ when it comes to Syria –

President Trump left the door open to new action in Syria in his first on-camera comments in response to a deadly suspected chemical attack in the Middle East.

The Latest: Germany welcomes Trump criticism of Assad – The Washington Post

The Latest on the suspected chemical attack in Syria (all times local):

At U.N., Trump administration assails Russia for protecting Assad – The Washington Post

Western allies called on nation to support a resolution condemning the Syrian government after a chemical weapons attack.

Trump and his ‘America First’ philosophy face first moral quandary in Syria – The Washington Post

A tumultuous week in Syria and North Korea leaves Trump feeling the weight of his office.

Syria chemical ‘attack’: Russia faces fury at UN Security Council – BBC News

Russia clashes with other world powers at the UN Security Council over the deaths in Syria.

Trump & Syria — Bashar Assad’s ISIS Fight May Be Reason Trump Is Cautious | National Review

A change in U.S. policy to oppose the Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad is not “silly” — it may be the only way to beat ISIS.

ISIS slaughters 33 young men in Syria with ‘sharp tools’ | Fox News

Islamic State killers used “sharp tools” to murder 33 people in Syria on Wednesday before dumping the bodies into a mass grave “filled with blood,” a human rights group said.

GOP senator: Defeating ISIS is first step in Syria | TheHill

“We need to defeat ISIS,” Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said.

Tillerson Urges Russia To Rethink Ties With Assad After ‘Horrific’ Attack

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has called on Russia to rethink its relationship with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad following an apparent chemical attack that the United States blames o…

U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley Takes On Russia – To Inform is to Influence

At an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council, Nikki Haley took Russia to task over a suspected chemical attack in Syria. Veuer’s Nick Cardona (@nickcardona93) has that story.

The Holes in Russia’s Account of the Syria Chemical Attack – The New York Times

The available evidence contradicts much of what the Russian government has said about a toxic attack that killed more than 100 people.

Trump, Jordan leader meet amid pressure to respond on Syria chemical attack | Fox News

President Trump on Wednesday is hosting Jordan’s King Abdullah II, with the question of how world leaders will respond to the deadly chemical attack in Syria likely to surge to the top of the agenda.

GOP Rep: ‘I’m ashamed’ of our government’s inaction on Syria – TheBlaze

Our Syria policy has been a failure for years

We won’t ever have a Chilcot-style inquiry into our non-intervention. Perhaps we should.

Survivors of Syria Gas Attack Recount ‘a Cruel Scene’ – The New York Times

Witnesses to the chemical attack who were taken to a hospital in Reyhanli, Turkey, described traumatic scenes at the site of the bombing.

Russia’s Charm Offensive in North Africa | Foreign Affairs

With the world’s attention focused on the question of Russian influence in the United States and the European Union, the Kremlin is quietly making inroads in another region critical to both the United States and Europe: the five North African states of the southern Mediterranean shore.

Thousands of Serbs protest against big election win for PM Vucic | Reuters

Thousands of protesters, mainly students, rallied for the third straight night in Belgrade on Wednesday to protest against the overwhelming victory of Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic in a weekend presidential election.

Thousands of Serbs continue protests against big election win for PM Vucic

Thousands of protesters, mainly students, rallied for the third straight night in Belgrade on Wednesday to protest against the overwhelming victory of Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic in a weekend presidential election, according to Reuters. News 06 April from UNIAN.

Donald Trump warns China the US is ready to tackle North Korea

FT exclusive: President says he is prepared to act unilaterally

China’s Xi has one big message for Donald Trump

Chinese President Xi Jinping will likely bring a message to President Donald Trump: don’t blame China for your problems.

Trump meeting with Xi keeps market moves in check – The Washington Post

Global stocks traded in narrow ranges Thursday, as investors nervously awaited the first meeting between President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, a day after minutes to the last meeting of the U.S. Federal Reserve showed policymakers discussing how to unwind crisis-era policy measures.

Brazil’s New Problem With Blackness | Foreign Policy

Brazil’s New Problem With Blackness « | Foreign Policy | the Global Magazine of News and Ideas

Descendants Of Alexander The Great’s Soldiers Gain Pakistan Court Victory

About 4,000 people considered to be descendants of Greek warrior Alexander the Great's soldiers have won the right in Pakistan to be counted as a separate ethnic and religious community. …

Putin Loyalists Are Invading Washington – Bloomberg

President Donald Trump’s fans in Moscow are fanning out across Washington, determined to salvage the rapprochement he promised despite a widening barrage of probes into the billionaire’s ties to Russia.

The Trump-Russia allegations sound incriminating. But would any of them be illegal? – Vox

There are three main sets of laws that Trump’s associates could possibly be charged for violating.

Democratic Lawmakers Push To Keep White House From Altering Russia Policy

WASHINGTON — Two Democratic lawmakers are pushing a new measure to keep U.S. President Donald Trump from altering current U.S. policy toward Russia until an ongoing FBI investigation is completed. …

Trump tells newspaper Obama aide might have broken the law

President Donald Trump on Wednesday said his predecessor’s national security adviser might have committed a crime when she asked government analysts to disclose the names of Trump associates documented in intelligence reports.

Paul calls on Rice to testify after reports of unmasking, asks if she was ordered by Obama | Fox News

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said Monday that President Obama’s former national security adviser Susan Rice should testify on new reports that she sought to “unmask” the names of President Trump’s transition officials caught up in surveillance.

In Reversal, Trump Banishes Bannon from National Security Council | Foreign Policy

In Reversal, Trump Banishes Bannon from National Security Council « | Foreign Policy | the Global Magazine of News and Ideas