Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Salisbury CW Attack / Syrian CW Attack (42)


Take a look at this fairly high-resolution picture of the Barzah chemical weapons research and development facility. 

I’m not an IMINT expert, but in direct contrast to typical Russian and Syrian bombings, they’ll take out entire city blocks to get one building. Not here, this is surgical. Surgical with 1,000 and 2,000-pound bombs?  Wow. 

 

Before and after – Barzah chemical weapons research and development facility

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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Russian propaganda campaign continues on both Salisbury and Syria fronts – Lavrov being used to propagate the truly bizarre, suggesting a reaction to the progressive loss of traction. Some very odd comments by Colonel-General Sergei Rudskoi, defacto contradicted by Russia now discussing the freebie supply to Syria of “S-300PM1/2 [SA-20A/B] and S-300PS [SA-10B] air defence systems” – these late Soviet and very capable Patriot-lookalikes form the backbone of China’s air defence system, the newest SA-20B has many common components with the latest S-400 [SA-21]. Multiple reports on Putin’s little helpers in the West – the US alt-Right members buying in to Russian propaganda should be subject to the FARA. Russian journalist who broke the Euphrates “turkey shoot” debacle story suffers an unexplained fatal accident. Excellent observations by Popkov, Akopov, and especially Pavlova on the emulation of Stalin’s foreign policy, and Inozemtsev on the mad belief amongst Russian elites that a nuclear war will not result in MAD.

Three reports on Salisbury but no major developments.

A deluge of reports on the Syrian strikes. Backfill on decision process. Notable comments by VP Pence, Amb Haley states more sanctions are imminent for supporting the Assad regime, some very cutting remarks by Pres Macron. BGen Zaher al-Sakat, former CW commander of Syria’s 5th Division, comments on the limited impact of the strikes. More BDA stills. A multiplicity of OpEds and other background reports.


Moscow accuses chemical watchdog of “manipulating” probe in to Skripal poisoning – Axios

Earlier this month, the OPCW rejected Russia’s proposal for a joint investigation into the poisoning.

i24NEWS – Moscow accuses OPCW of manipulating Skripal probe

The UK accused Russia of spying on former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia for five years

Skripals ‘poisoned by British toxin’ | News | The Times

The Russian foreign minister has said that Sergei Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with a non-lethal chemical produced in Britain and the US. Sergey Lavrov said that Russia had been passed information from a laboratory in Spiez, Switzerland, suggesting that the Russian former spy and his daughter, Yulia, were attacked not with novichok but with BZ, which was never made in Russia or the Soviet Union. “This formulation was in the inventory of the United States, Britain and other Nato states,” Mr Lavrov said. The Porton Down defence research laboratory has said that the Skripals were poisoned in Salisbury with a novichok nerve agent, a claim supported last week by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). Mr Lavrov said in a…

Russia says Western-made nerve agent poisoned spy – NY Daily News

The OPCW’s report confirmed British findings that the Skripals were poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent.

Salisbury attack: Russia claims Skripals were poisoned using toxin possessed by UK and US | The Independent

Russia’s foreign minister has claimed Sergei and Yulia Skripal were not poisoned by nerve agent novichok, but a separate chemical possessed by the UK and US. Sergei Lavrov said Moscow had received information from a laboratory in Spiez, Switzerland suggesting the Russian double agent and his daughter were exposed to a non-lethal substance known as BZ.

Skripal and Yulia were poisoned by non-lethal toxin made in Britain, Russian foreign minister claims | Daily Mail Online

The Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, claims former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, were poisoned by a non-lethal chemical made in Britain and the US. Russian foreign claims Skripal and Yulia were poisoned by chemical made in UK Sergey Lavrov says pair were not attacked with novichock but instead with BZ ‘This formulation was in the inventory of the US and Britain,’ Mr Lavrov said

Toxin used in Salisbury poisoning was not Russian made, Lavrov cites Swiss Lab report | Business Standard News

Read more about Toxin used in Salisbury poisoning was not Russian made, Lavrov cites Swiss Lab report on Business Standard. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov claimed on Saturday that the toxin used to poison former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, was BZ toxin, as confirmed by a Swiss laboratory.”Based on the results of the examination, traces of

Russia′s Sergey Lavrov claims Sergei Skripal was poisoned with Western BZ nerve agent | News | DW | 14.04.2018

Russia has claimed the OPCW buried results from a Swiss lab probing the Skripal case that found a Western-developed nerve agent. It is the latest in a series of claims by Russia as it denies involvement in the poisoning.

Swiss laboratory confirms Skripals were poisoned with Novichok gas

The project is oriented towards the revelation of corrupted officials, organized crime representatives, who are tied to the law enforcement and ruling establishments.

Poisoning Skripal: Swiss laboratory responded to Lavrov’s statement

No sooner had the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) announced its findings in the Skripal poisoning case; Russian media launched a veritable avalanche of fakes in the matter. What was then the USSR and what is now Russian Federation, have never worked on this type of substance. While in the laboratory Spiez stressed that to officially comment on Lavrov’s statement can only OPCW. The laboratory did not immediately respond to the claims, which came late Saturday afternoon. However, the United Nations chemical watchdog limited itself only to confirming the formula of the substance used to poison the Skripals in its final report without mentioning anything about the other facts presented in the Swiss document, the Russian foreign minister added. However, Lavrov’s criticism of the results of the OPCW investigation represents a new angle of attack.

Fake: Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons Unable to Establish Origin of Nerve Agent in Skripal Poisoning

Struggle against fake information about events in Ukraine

TASS: Russian Politics & Diplomacy – US new sanctions to punish Russia for mere fact of its presence on global arena — diplomat

«This is exactly how they worded these sanctions: for Russia’s role in international affairs,» the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman stressed

Russia is threatening to supply long-range air defence systems to Syria – Defence Blog

Russia stated the possibility of long-range air defence systems supplied for the Syrian Arab Armed Forces. Moscow may consider supplying S-300 surface to-air missile systems to Syria and “other countries”, Colonel-General Sergei Rudskoi told a televised briefing on Saturday. Russia had “refused” supplying those missiles to Syria a few years ago, he added, “taking into account the pressing request of some of our Western partners”. According to source in Russia’s Defence Ministry, Russia would deliver S-300PM1/2 and S-300PS air defence systems to Syria free of charge. To date, Syrian Arab Armed Forces have ageing S-125, S-200, Kvadrat and upgraded Buk., Pechora and new Pantsir air defence systems. The most up-to-date system that Moscow has supplied to the Syrian regime is the short range Pantsir S-1, which has shot down drones and missiles that have flown over Syria. But only the advanced S-300 would be a major upgrade to Syrian air defenses and pose a threat to the USA and Israeli fighter jets and cruise missiles as the long-range missile defense system can track objects like aircraft and ballistic missiles over a range of 300 kilometers. The S-300 system was developed to defend against aircraft and cruise missiles for the Soviet Air Defence Forces. Subsequent variations were developed to intercept ballistic missiles. The S-300 system was first deployed by the Soviet Union in 1979, designed for the air defence of large industrial and administrative facilities, military bases and control of airspace against enemy strike aircraft.

Putin warns ‘chaos’ will ensue if West strikes Syria again | Fox News

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Sunday western powers that further attacks in Syria will bring “chaos” in international relations.

UAWire – Assad: Repairing airstrike damage will cost Syria $400 billion

In order to restore the infrastructure in Syria that was destroyed in the airstrike by the US, Britain and France, Syria will need $400 billion and up to 15 years, as stated by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in a meeting with Russian MPs, Russian news agency Interfax reports. “President Assad said that nearly $400 billion will be required to restore the infrastructure of the Syrian Arab Republic, and this will take, according to his estimates, 10 to 15 years,” said Dmitry Sablin, coordinator of the State Duma’s contact group with Syrian parliament, at the end of the meeting. Sablin claims that Assad also said that the coalition’s airstrikes “helped the Syrian people to stop fearing NATO countries”. “He [Assad] drew attention to the fact that Syria continues its independent and sovereign development, despite the agenda imposed by the west,” Sablin added.

The US and Israel continue to attack targets in Syria | NG.ru

The West is imposing a Yugoslav script on Damascus and Moscow. In Russia and the United States, the effectiveness of Saturday missile strikes on the Syrian Arab Republic (SAR) is assessed in different ways. Despite the statements of the Russian General Staff about the low results of the defeat of targets (only one out of every three missiles was not intercepted by Syrian air defense), Washington and their allies insist on absolute success. As US Secretary of Defense James Mattis said, the blow was designed to destroy the centers for the development and production of chemical weapons.These goals, according to the head of the Pentagon, are achieved. But both Damascus and Moscow declare that there is no chemical weapons (CW) in Syria. Why then did the United States, Britain and France deal a blow to the UAR? As it turns out, the coalition bombed not so much the infrastructure allegedly connected with the CW, as many military airfields. And she tried to bomb thoroughly. From the speech of the chief of the Main Operations Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, Colonel-General Sergei Rudsky, it follows that over 70 cruise missiles were fired at the airfields and only 30 missiles were sent to the site where chemical weapons are being developed, according to the United States. A representative of the Pentagon said yesterday that they all hit the target. And the Syrian air defense did not bring down any of these missiles. Such assessments can be considered as an element of information struggle. But after the simultaneous, unparalleled in the world of air and sea strikes more than a hundred cruise missiles, there were no dead (Damascus only reports six wounded civilians). And the damage from the attack on the “military-chemical”, airfield and other infrastructure, judging by the objective data, was miserable. Corresponding member of the Academy of Military Sciences Colonel Eduard Rodyukov is sure that “first of all, the American coalition set military and political tasks to demonstrate its power and capabilities of” smart “missiles, which US President Donald Trump spoke about.” The expert also believes that a powerful blow to Syria has been inflicted to intimidate not so much the regime of Bashar Assad as much as Iran and Russia. At the same time, in his opinion, “such strikes can be repeated to exhaust the forces of Assad and the Russian group in this country. Such tactics they already used during the Yugoslav conflict. ” The findings of General Rudsky confirm this conclusion. On Saturday, he said that under the far-fetched pretext of fighting against CW, the coalition forces sought to destroy important military facilities of Syria. But they miscalculated. When struck at four Syrian airfields, enemy missiles were destroyed. And when you hit two others, there is no damage. The general drew attention to the fact that as a result of missile attacks “objects allegedly related to the so-called Damascus military chemical program are partially destroyed. At the same time, they have not been used for a long time, there were no people and equipment on them. ” This information was based on data of objective control, other information from witnesses of the results of coalition attacks in the UAR was not received.

Russian Stealth Hunters Reportedly Chased UK Sub Ahead of Syria Strikes – Sputnik International

Russia’s stealth Kilo-class attack submarines operate extremely quietly and are nicknamed “Black Holes” by Western military experts.

Russia’s ambassador to Washington, Anatoly Antonov, said that the US, British and French strikes will not be left without consequences – 112.international

Russia’s ambassador to Washington, Anatoly Antonov, said that the US, British and French strikes will not be left without consequences. Russia’s ambassador to Washington, Anatoly Antonov, said that the US, British and French airstrikes will not be left without consequences. This is written in his statement, published on the facebook page of the embassy. “The worst fears were justified: our warnings were ignored, a script prepared in advance is being put into practice, and again we are threatened. We warned that such actions will not remain without consequences,” the report said. According to Antonov, all responsibility for this lies on Washington, London and Paris. “The insult of the Russian president is unacceptable: the US – the owner of the largest arsenal of chemical weapons – has no moral right to blame other countries,” the diplomat concluded.

Political adviser to Syria’s Assad: Major victory over western missiles – Middle East – Jerusalem Post

“There are two things that the West and the Zionists want. One is that there be no unity in the [Arab] nation. The other is that [the Arab nation] not arm itself with science and knowledge.”

In Third World War Now Going On, ‘Russia has No Allies,’ Venediktov Says – To Inform is to Influence

I thought this piece important enough to break out of the latest compilation.  Paul Goble’s claims seem to echo mine. We are in an information and influence war of Russia vs. the West.  </end editorial> Saturday, April 14, 2018 Paul Goble Staunton, April 14 – A third world war has been going on since at…

Russian General’s Claim of 71 Missiles Downed Countered by Experts, Evidence – To Inform is to Influence

“Syria’s air defense system, based on the Soviet-manufactured air defense systems, has successfully repulsed the strikes from aviation and naval means of destruction. 71 cruise missiles have been intercepted, using Syrian air defense systems S-125, S-200, Buk, Kvadrat and Osa.” Colonel-General Sergei Rudskoy, Chief of staff of Russian defense ministry Source: Russian Defense Ministry, April…

Trump allies are helping Russia spread lies about brutality in Syria

When the Pentagon warned that a Russian disinformation campaign was underway, they forgot to mention that allies of the president were spreading it. The Russian propaganda machine is hard at work in the aftermath of the airstrikes on Syria, pushing disinformation about the chemical attacks and accusing the U.S. of wanting to start another world war. As a supporter of the Syrian regime, Russia has a vested interest in coming to the aid of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, whether that means providing military support or launching an information war to undermine critics of the regime. But Russia isn’t acting alone.

UK academics accused of ‘spreading pro-Assad conspiracy theories’ CONDEMN Syria airstrikes | UK | News | Express.co.uk

BRITISH academics who were accused of being “apologists for Assad” after questioning the validity of a video reportedly depicting the chemical weapons attack in Douma have condemned the US-led airstrikes against the Assad regime.

German President Worried About West-Russia ‘Alienation,’ Calls For Dialogue

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has voiced concern over the growing “alienation” between Russia and the West and called for renewed diplomatic efforts to mend the damaged ties.

ON TARGET: Near victory, why would Assad be so stupid? | The Chronicle Herald

On Saturday, April 7, I awoke to catch a breaking story on CTV’s news channel. It was being reported that a chemical weapons attack had been carried out in a rebel held town in Syria.

Maxim Trudolyubov |Opinion | A Guide to Getting Along in Putin’s Russia – The New York Times

What value system is at the core of Putin’s rule: Nationalism? Irredentism? Isolationism? Not any of those. Ad hoc strategies for survival come first.

UAWire – First journalist to report on Wagner mercenary deaths in Syria dies in Russia

In the Russian city of Yekaterinburg, New Day News journalist Maxim Borodin apparently fell out of the window of his fifth-floor apartment. He was found unconscious and taken to the local hospital, where he later passed away. Polina Rumyantseva, chief editor of New Day News, considers it possible that the journalist’s death was neither accidental nor suicide. “In order to understand what happened, we need to gain access to the apartment, and we are working on this. If there are any signs of crime, we will inform everyone,” she said. Rumyantseva claims that Borodin would have had no reason to commit suicide. Maxim Borodin was one of the journalists who reported on the death of Wagner Group mercenaries in Syria after the airstrike by the international coalition.

Russian journalist who wrote about Wagner mercenaries dies under suspicious circumstances | UNIAN

Maksim Borodin, a journalist for the online news site Novy Den in the Urals city of Yekaterinburg was brought to a local hospital after falling from the fifth floor on April 12, and did not regain consciousness before dying today, April 15, Novy Den reported. He was previously attacked in the fall of 2017 when he gave an interview to TV Rain about the controversial film Matilda about Tsar Nicholas’ Polish mistress.

Russian Investigative Reporter Dies After Fall From Window; Editor Rejects Suicide

Russian investigative journalist Maksim Borodin of Yekaterinburg has died of injuries sustained on April 12 when he fell from the window of his fifth-floor apartment.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Moscow Protected Asad Regime with ‘Russian Human Shield,’ Popkov Says

Paul Goble Staunton, April 15 – Moscow significantly reduced the effectiveness of Western airstrikes in Syria by employing Russian forces there “play the role of ‘a living shield’” for the Asad regime, Roman Popkov says, confident that the West would not risk killing Russians and thus inserting Russian personnel at potential target points. International law, the opposition commentator says, typically defines a human shield as “the conscious use by one side of a conflict of the civilian population for defense against attack.” But in the Syrian case, the human shield is made up of Russian military personnel (mbk.sobchakprotivvseh.ru/suzhet/rossijskie-voennye-vypo/). The presence of Russian forces in Syria has always forced the US to be extremely careful in its targeting so that no Russians will be killed. That was the case in April 2017 and it is the case now. “The American command cannot but inform in advance Russian colleagues” about its plans, otherwise the risk of the loss of Russian personnel would be “extremely great.” This also means that the Americans are forced to “limit the extent of the operation,” Popkov continues; and Syrian officials are well aware that there are places where the Americans won’t attack – Russian bases – or where Russians as human shields can be organized – almost anywhere else. This new Russian tactic, however, doesn’t solve Moscow’s problems in Syria. It can’t ensure Asad’s recovery of control over much of the territory of his country. It can’t prevent Iranian atrocities, for which it will eventually be blamed. And it can’t end the civil war even in areas Damascus nominally “controls.” But human shields can help the Asad regime survive. Nonetheless, this tactic is inevitably a short-term one, Popkov suggests. “Russia is on the side of a rapidly bankrupted regime in Syria, one hated by a large part of the nation, and controlled with the help of terror and a scorched earth policy. On its side, together with Russia, is fundamentalist Iran which dreams of pushing neighboring Israel into the sea.” Standing against the Asad regime, Popkov continues, are Israel and the coalition of Western countries. Israeli, American, English and French rockets will continue to come down dangerously close to Russian soldiers,” something that means the ability to avoid disaster will at some point be compromised. “That Russia continues to stay in Syria to struggle against terrorism and not to save a dictatorial regime,” Pokov concludes, “is now something that perhaps only the president of Venezuela believes.”

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Western Attack Hasn’t Changed Situation in Syria or Harmed Moscow Despite Russian Public Reaction, Akopov Says

Paul Goble Staunton, April 15 – The Western attack on Syria hasn’t changed the likely outcome of the conflict there, Bashar Asad’s alliances with Russia and Iran, or Vladimir Putin’s view of Donald Trump, Petr Akopov says; but it has already led to a transformation of Russian public opinion in adequate ways that could have dangerous consequences. That the limited attack has not change the situation on the ground or Iranian and Russian support for Asad is obvious, the Moscow commentator writes in Vzglyad; and it is also obvious that Putin understands perfectly well that Trump acted to look tough and distract attention from his personal problems at home (vz.ru/politics/2018/4/14/917735.html). But if Putin understands that what has just happened is “an imitation conflict,” it is far from clear that Russian public opinion views things in the same way, Akopov says. Russians are asking why the Kremlin hasn’t responded to what many of them see as an attack on Moscow’s status as a global power. “It is surprising,” he says, that “people do not see or do not want to see the obvious.” First of all, Moscow’s talk about international law is “simply an element of a geopolitical game … Russia isn’t relying on it: it is defending its national interests by all available means. It is strange not to notice this.” Second, “this strike did not inflict any harm on the positions of Russia in the world.” Three years ago, the West was talking about ousting Asad and excluding Russia from the Middle East; now, the positions of Asad and Moscow are much stronger, “and the position of the US not only in the Middle East but in the world as a whole has significantly weakened.” And therefore, third, Russians who compare the attack on Syria with some kind of strike against Russia “are not simply being “stupid” but “laughable.” According to Akopov, “we are winning the Syrian war,” and the Americans are limiting their targets to ones in which Russians will not be harmed. Why should Moscow do anything but criticize in response? The current Russian-American conflict in Syria isn’t at all close with the past conflicts Russians often compare it to. It isn’t like Vietnam in that Russia in Syria openly declares its presence and has made it clear that no lethal attacks against its forces there will be tolerated, something the Americans have been compelled to respect. And it isn’t like Yugoslavia in the spring of 1999 when the Americans did whatever they wanted. Indeed, if one compares that situation with the one now, it is obvious “how the world and everything in it connected with Russia has changed over these years,” Akopov continues, although there is one aspect of this comparison worthy of note. “The present US strike in Syria bears just the same symbolic and hopeless character as did the taking under [Russian] control of the airport of Kosovo’s capital because neither the one nor the other can change the course of history. In 1999, Russia couldn’t defend Serbia from NATO rockets and bombs.” But now, “in 2018, the US cannot do anything to inflict harm on Syria and our positions both in that country and in the Middle East more generally,” not to speak of Russia itself. Putin understands that very well, Akopov suggests; it is important that the Russian people do as well lest in misreading the situation, they give the US a victory it doesn’t deserve.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: West has No Strategy for Dealing with Russia Beyond Hope for Regime Change, Pavlova Says

Paul Goble Staunton, April 15 – Russia has come out of the latest Western airstrikes against Syria a winner, Irina Pavlova says, because it has a strategy to deal with the West, a strategy based on the Stalinist model from the 1930s and because “the West does not have one regarding Russia” except for vague hopes that somehow Vladimir Putin will soon exit the scene. The US-based Russian historian says that this lack of a strategy is reflected in the recent remarks of President Donald Trump but that his ideas are the product of the almost complete failure to take seriously the nature of the Russian regime or come up with real ideas on how to respond (ivpavlova.blogspot.com/2018/04/mission-accomplished.html). As a result, Pavlova continues, “we observe from [Trump’s] side chaotic actions in the form of harsh rhetoric, sanctions against particular oligarchs and threats to expand them, something which only unites the population of Russia around the powers in the Kremlin” and does nothing to change Putin’s policies in a positive direction. If the West doesn’t have a strategy, Moscow very much does. It is “the great power approach of the Stalinist type” which today, in the wake of the attacks on Syrian chemical weapons sites, allows it to “occupy again the position of moral superiority” despite all that Russia has done. Thus, “the Kremlin today is positioning itself as a consistent fighter for peace and collective security even while it is secretly and quite skillfully undermining these things.” Such “a double game” was characteristic of Stalin’s policies in the 1930s up to the point when it was expelled from the League of Nations for its invasion of Finland. Now, in a direction “continuation of this very same tradition, Putin, responding to the attack of the Western powers, describes it as aggression and accuses these countries of destructive actions against the entire system of international relations” just as in Yugoslavia, Iraq, and Libya. No one in Washington may want to admit this, but as a result, Putin like Stalin before him is picking up support instead of further isolating himself because of his own criminal actions. Only if the West recognizes what it is really up against in Moscow is there any chance that it will come up with a strategy to address it, Pavlova suggests.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Kremlin Elite Views Even Nuclear War as Computer Game, Inozemtsev Says

Paul Goble Staunton, April 15 – Unlike in Soviet times, the current denizens of the Kremlin have neither direct personal experience with war nor a set of goals they are pursuing that any war would make impossible to achieve, Vladislav Inozemtsev says. Instead, they view even nuclear war as “a computer game” that they can take part in and possibly “win.” No one in Soviet times would ever have said that “we can repeat” a war, the Russian analyst says. “Such a slogan was impossible in the USSR.” But now even Vladimir Putin has said this and he is not constrained by that kind of experience or by allies who insist on moderation (dsnews.ua/world/inozemtsev-putin-mozhet-pogibnut-v-ogne-yadernoy-voyny-12042018220000). Instead, Russia’s few allies are today what they have been in the past, only those whom Moscow could intimidate or take care of; and “today, there are only those which we have,” a microscopically small number even compared with Soviet times. As a result, the positive consequences of coalition building are lacking. That makes the current situation more dangerous than it should have been, Inozemtsev continues. “The problems of Syria are relatively local; and if relations between Russia and the US were more or less normal, the West wouldn’t care all that much about Moscow’s intervention on behalf of Asad. But relations between Russia and the West are anything but good, and the recent fight against ISIS divided rather than united the two “for a number of reasons. Russia found bad allies, it ‘is leading’ Turkey away from the west, and finally Asad is ever more often viewed as a military criminal which he is.” Putin got involved in Syria in 2015 to try to “’force the West to dialogue’ but he wasn’t able to do that.” Instead, he offended rather than compelled, and “now the conflict has no good resolution, Syria is on the way to disintegration, and relations between Russia and the West will only continue to deteriorate at least for a long time to come. Over the coming months, “Russia will lose and be forced to leave. Asad will be killed, and the country will fall apart into separate units and become the same kind of problem zone as Iraq has been,” the Russian commentator says. What is especially dismaying is that Russia’s advance did not reflect its national interests but rather was “for Putin only a means of supporting his personal power in order that he could continue to rob the country. He doesn’t really want nuclear war or his own death in such a conflict.” According to Inozemtsev, “Putin acts within the paradigm of someone who has been ‘offended’ largely because the West didn’t take him in as partner two decades ago. Had the West done that at the time, he continues, it is “completely possible that Putin would long ago have lived in Sardinia next to Berlusconi and there would be peace in Ukraine.” But because he is offended, he wants to take revenge and to try to force others to live by his rules. At home, he is able to do this; but abroad, he faces countries far stronger than his own. But because he lives in a parallel universe of his own design, he seldom can cope adequately with either domestic or foreign policy challenges. Domestically, the next few years are going to feature “a very hysterical policy which will not bring desired results in any direction.” Putin doesn’t like to work under pressure and so he is more likely to give the impression that everything is as he wants it than to actually do anything that will improve matters. “Inside the country, expectations in the economic sphere are extremely low,” Inozemtsev says. “No one hopes for improvement in the standard of living.” Instead, the main thing is that people do not want their impoverishment and the prices they must pay to increase at an increasing rate. In foreign affairs, the Russian analyst says, “the population believes that the West is almost carrying out a war with Russia now and therefore for the support of his popularity it is sufficient for the president to demonstrate that no one is fighting with Russia.” In that sphere too, “real problems will be ignored as much as possible.”

Boris Johnson defends remarks on Russian role in novichok case | Politics | The Guardian

UK foreign secretary tries to clarify apparent claim that Russia was behind nerve agent attack

Yulia Skripal ‘deleted online family photos’ claims her best friend | Daily Mail Online

Yulia Skripal, 33, the daughter of ex-spy Sergei Skripal, 66, has only just been released from hospital after being found critically ill alongside him on a bench in Salisbury, Wiltshire, on March 4. Yulia Skripal, 33, has only just been released from hospital after poison plot. Best friend Irina Petrova said Miss Skripal usually said when she went abroad. Said Miss Skripal didn’t tell her when mother or brother died in family tragedies. Claimed her boyfriend works night shifts for ‘special government organisation’.

Bleak British weather ‘saved the lives of Sergei Skripal and his daughter’ claims scientist who brands assassin an ‘idiot’ – Mirror Online

Vil Mirzayanov, who helped develop deadly nerve agent Novichok, said it works best in dry conditions

Pentagon presented Trump with plan to take out Russian air defenses in Syria, report says | Fox News

Although the recent Syrian airstrikes were double the size of last year’s strikes on an airfield, President Trump reportedly selected one of the more restrained proposals designed by the Pentagon. Although the recent Syrian airstrikes were double the size of last year’s, President Trump reportedly selected one of the more restrained proposals designed by the Pentagon. The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed sources, reported that Trump was presented with a wide array of options. There were intense discussions on the best approach after Defense Secretary Jim Mattis presented the three military options, the report said. Trump chose a restrained response. The paper reported that the most expansive proposal included airstrikes on Russian air defense capabilities in Syria. The attack would have been three times the size of the operation carried out—which included 100 advanced missiles launched at three targets. Trump reportedly wanted his team to consider the strikes on Iranian and Russian targets, but Mattis resisted. Mattis reportedly warned of a possible Russian and Iranian response.

Trump Doubles Down on ‘Mission Accomplished’ – WSJ

President Donald Trump’s use of the phrase “Mission Accomplished” in the wake of airstrikes in Syria sparked further debate about American policy in that country and Mr. Trump’s performance as commander-in-chief.

After Syria strikes, Trump right to declare ‘mission accomplished’ | TheHill

“We need to wean our military from decades of playing cowboys and Indians in the Middle East and focus on the free world’s biggest threat: China.”

Mike Pence: Further use of chemical weapons in Syria will mean a “price to pay” – media | UNIAN

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence says that further use of chemical weapons by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his allies, including Russia, in Syria will mean a “price to pay” — military action. “Our message to Russia is, you’re on the wrong side of history,” Pence, who is in Peru in U.S. President Donald Trump’s place this weekend, told reporters. “It’s time for Russia to get the message that President Trump delivered last night. That you’re known by the company you keep.” Pence made the remarks after a reporter commented that U.S.-Russia relations have seemed to sour over the last week in particular, as the U.S. accuses Syrian President Bashar Assad of being behind a deadly chemical weapons attack against civilians last weekend in Douma, CBS News said. Trump, too, has called out Russia, and its president, Vladimir Putin, by name, in the last week. Pence said Iran also is partly to blame in Syria. “Russia and Iran are on the wrong side of history,” Pence added.

Russia facing new U.S. sanctions for support of Assad regime – Russian media | UNIAN

The United States has warned the Russian authorities that new sanctions are in the pipeline for the support of the regime of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. United States Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman sent a respective letter to Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The United States has warned the Russian authorities that new sanctions are in the pipeline for the support of the regime of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. United States Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman sent a respective letter to Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Russian daily newspaper Kommersant reported. “This time it is just ‘for the support’ of Syrian President Bashar Assad. U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly named Bashar Assad ‘an animal,’ guilty of organizing chemical attacks on his own population,” the newspaper said. In this regard, it said that the first part of the letter “refers to the motives behind the military operation carried out by the Americans and their allies against Syria.” “The United States thinks the Syrian authorities are guilty of using chemical weapons against their own population, and the international community is obliged to take steps to stop Bashar Assad,” the newspaper said. “In the second part of his letter, Jon Huntsman notifies Moscow that Washington intends to roll out new sanctions against it ‘for the support of the Syrian regime,'” the newspaper added.

Nikki Haley says Russia will face new sanctions over Syria

Syria paid a price for chemical weapons with a strike. Now Russia will pay an economic price for supporting Assad, U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley said.

U.S. To Hit Russia With Sanctions Over Support For Assad

The United States plans to announce new targeted sanctions against Russia over Moscow’s support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

U.S. Eyes Russia Sanctions for Syria as U.K. Sees One-Time Blow – Bloomberg

Fresh sanctions will be imposed on Russia related to Syria’s reported use of chemical weapons as the U.S. and U.K. assess the fallout and next steps after Friday night’s strike on the Middle Eastern country, the top U.S. diplomat to the United Nations said.

Trump to Impose New Sanctions on Russia Over Support for Syria – The New York Times

Nikki Haley, the ambassador to the United Nations, said Russian companies that have supported Syria’s chemical weapons will be targeted on Monday.

After Syria strikes, Britain’s May to face critical parliament

British Prime Minister Theresa May will face criticism on Monday for bypassing parliament to join weekend air strikes against Syria, with some lawmakers calling for a potentially damaging vote on her future strategy.

Air strikes on Syria will not change course of war – Johnson – SWI swissinfo.ch

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The air strikes carried out by the United States, France and Britain on Syria will not change the course of the war, Foreign …

Macron: Russia Complicit In Syrian CW Attack – To Inform is to Influence

News from French TV from a trusted source, Macron is being interviewed right now on French TV. He just accused Moscow of being “complicit” (quote) with Assad’s chemical attack because Russia blocked the implementation of resolution 2118. A major world leader accusing Russia of being complicit is a major step in denouncing Russia on the world’s…

Macron: I’ve persuaded Trump to stay in Syria | News | The Times

Donald Trump will keep US forces in Syria “long term” after being persuaded to do so by President Macron, the French leader said last night. Mr. Macron claimed credit for swaying the views of the US president, who had said this month that he wanted to pull American troops out of the country, where abo…

UAWire – France: Russia neglects its obligations to UN

France accused Russia of neglecting its obligations to the UN, both in 2013 with respect to its guarantee to destroy all chemical weapons in Syria, and now, by attempting to accuse the US, France and Britain of violating the UN Charter. A statement to this effect was made by François Delattre, France’s Permanent Representative to the UN, during an extraordinary UN session, Ukrinform reports. “The Security Council was unable to meet its obligations due to the systematic vetoes used by Russia. Such use of the right to veto in the Security Council is evidence that Russia neglected its obligations in 2013 to guarantee the destruction of the chemical weapons arsenal in Syria,” he emphasized. “The blocking of the Security Council amidst the mass atrocities in Syria is a dangerous trap which the international community needs to find a way out of. After Assad’s chemical attacks, we can no longer be silent, we cannot facilitate the widespread distribution of chemical weapons. This is a threat not only to the Syrian people, but also to our collective safety,” Delattre observed. Earlier Russia vetoed the US’s draft resolution in the UN to create a new mechanism for investigating the chemical attacks in Syria. As reported, the UN Security Council rejected the resolution proposed by Russia to condemn the strike made by the US, Britain and France against Syria.

German foreign minister criticizes Russia for its activities in the world and in relation to Ukraine – 16.04.2018 11:57 — Ukrinform News

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Sunday, April 15, criticized Russia for its activities beyond its borders.

German minister tells Russia its behavior must change | UNIAN

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Sunday criticised Russia for a series of activities beyond its borders, blaming it for a cyber attack on his own ministry, and said Moscow must change its ways. Maas, a Social Democrat who has adopted a tougher stance on Russia than his predecessors from the same party, said that Moscow had been an increasingly “difficult partner.”

UAWire – Belarus condemns coalition missile strikes on Syria

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus has released a statement in which it “vigorously condemned” missile strikes made on the territory of …

Airstrikes ‘hit parts but not the heart’ of arsenal, says Syria’s former chemical weapons chief

Western air strikes have done little to degrade President Assad’s arsenal and his regime still has the capabilities of inflicting major damage, Syria’s former chemical weapons chief has told the Telegraph. Brigadier-General Zaher al-Sakat, who served as head of chemical warfare in the powerful 5th Division of the military until he defected in 2013, said the most strategic sites were not hit in Saturday’s strikes. The Pentagon had said that it believed the raids “attacked the heart of the Syrian chemical weapons program,” significantly hampering the government’s ability to use such weapons again. But the extent of the damage was questioned on Sunday by Gen Sakat, as well as other defectors from…

Satellite Images Show Syria Site Before and After Airstrike | Time

Satellite images show the destruction caused by coalition airstrikes on a chemical facility in Syria

This is what missile attack did to Syria’s chemical weapons programme | Metro News

Before and after pictures show facilities in Syria following the US, British and French missile airstrike to stop Assad creating chemical weapons.

Assad’s three children vacation in famed youth camp Artek in Russian-occupied Crimea | UNIAN

Three children of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have vacationed in the famed ex-Soviet youth camp Artek in Russian-occupied Crimea. It was Russian Duma member Dmitry Sablin who first revealed information about the vacation of Assad’s children in Artek in 2017.

SYRIA’S WAR Why Russia did not respond to the US strikes on Syria – To Inform is to Influence

Despite its hostile rhetoric, Russia has taken care to avoid confrontation on the ground in Syria. by Leonid Issaev After a week of rhetorical escalation between the US and Russia – much of it conducted on Twitter – missile strikes on Syria were finally carried out on Saturday. US, UK and French forces launched attacks on three…

Russia’s aggression in Ukraine impedes its dialogue with democracies, – Duda – 112.international

According to the President of Poland, honest states should prevent innocent people to be murdered by the chemical weapon. Andrzej Duda, the President of Poland, stated that the dialogue between the democracies and Russia is obstructed due to the fact that Russia acts like aggressor in Ukraine. As Polskie Radio informed, Duda said that Poland was warned about a coming airstrike in Syria. He called it a necessary airstrike. According to the President of Poland, honest states should prevent innocent people to be murdered by the chemical weapon. He stated that Poland is constantly contacting its NATO allies. At the same time, the dialogue with Russia is obstructed due to Russia’s aggressive actions in Ukraine. “There is always a chance to negotiate if, first of all, one wants a dialogue and, second of all, one does not create a dangerous situation and does not act like an aggressor. Unfortunately, Russia is occupying Crimea, de-facto, the part of Ukraine and this is a problem in terms of Russia’s relations with every democracy, which views the world honestly, the world that surrounds us and requires security,” Duda said. The communique of the Foreign Ministry says that Poland will continue working on the international stage towards the elimination of the chemical weapon.

Syria Strikes Lock U.S. and Russia Into New Era of Animosity – Bloomberg

‘What kind of cooperation can there be?’ Russian analyst asks. White House says relations can improve if Russia take steps.

Trump’s Syria strike achieves goal of loudly, publicly spanking Assad regime — but nothing else | Business Insider

President Donald Trump rallied US allies for a trilateral strike on chemical weapons sites in Syria, and it looks to have achieved its goal. Syria has deep, horrific problems beyond chemical weapons use, and the Pentagon admits it didn’t even take out all its chemical weapons. Instead, the strike was a public spanking for the Assad regime, which won’t change anything on the battlefield or make life better for most Syrians. Viewed narrowly as an attempt by the allies to punish Syria’s government, it was a roaring success.

Syrians in Chicago react to U.S. bombings: ‘Just a slap on the wrist’ – Chicago Tribune

Syrians in Chicago react to news of the U.S.-led allied missile attack on the country’s chemical weapons program.

Could Russia and America Accidently Go to War in Syria? | The National Interest Blog

A recent incident points out the potential challenges from the “fog of war”.

Pentagon Declares Strike Successful. Here’s A Look at What Went Into It – Defense One

U.S., French, and British planes and ships used a wide variety of precision weapons to hit Syrian chemical weapons facilities. Some saw their first day …

The Strike May Have Hurt More than It Helped – Defense One

Far from instilling fear in Assad, it may merely have created a short-term munitions shortage.

Further strikes on Syria unlikely – but Trump is always the wild card

The US, France and Britain launching air strikes this weekend on Syria in retalition for an alleged gas attack by the Assad regime – but niether side is likely to up the ante soon.

Gas Has Been Used 86 Times in the Syrian War As a Weapon | Al Bawaba

&nbsp;The most recent gas attack in Syria is among a long list of chemical weapons usage in the warThe Human Rights Watch found 85 cases of verified chemical weapons attacks before the on in

Why the Syrian regime has been targeting civilian infrastructure – The Washington Post

It’s not just a humanitarian disaster. It’s a calculated political move to keep rebels from governing.

UAWire – Israel considers attack on Syria an ‘important signal’ to Iran and Hezbollah

The Reuters news agency quotes the Israeli government as saying that missile strikes against targets in Syria have become an &quot;important signal&quot; …

U.S. Mission In Syria ‘Has Not Changed,’ Troops To Return

The White House said the U.S. mission in Syria has not changed, reiterating that President Donald Trump wants American troops home “as quickly as possible.”

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