Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Salisbury CW Attack / Syria / Iran / Russia Ad Hoc Update (83)


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

All the hub-bub about the press being lied to was smashed to pieces by this Ukrainian woman’s mother, from her Facebook posting. 

Just talked to my mom about western journalists complaining about what Ukraine did.

She said: “Ukraine’s Security Service works to protect Ukraine, not to please western journalists. I check their news as often as they report on daily casualties of Ukrainians killed by Russian invaders”. 😉

Nuff said. Mic drop.

</end editorial>



While  Russia’s propaganda machine focusses on Syria, Iran and Israel, and promotes an interview with Assad, the Babchenko story goes truly viral in the global media – how the Ukrainians outfaked the faker Russians. Most curious has been the barrage of criticism from Western Russia analysts and critics, essentially saying that Ukraine’s SBU let Russia off the hook for every future deception – no matter that Babchenko is still alive, and a Russian covert operative tasked with contracting out the hit on Babchenko, and smuggling into Ukraine “… 300 Kalashnikov assault rifles, hundreds of kilos worth of explosives, a significant number of cartridges and mortar shells, etc” is now in custody, being interrogated for whatever he knows. Babchenko himself was not amused with Western critics, posting an unprintable (in well mannered company) reply to his critics on Facebook (below, verbatim). UK tabloids evidently thought the Babchenko sting was hilarious, judging from the front page headlines, two papers actually playing on the 1960s Bond movie “You only live twice”, in which MI6 fakes the assassination of 007, to entrap SPECTRE. The question of whether the sting operation will do more damage than good will persist – yes the Russians have already used it to support their conspiracy theory over Salisbury. But will it really matter in an environment where Russia will always blameshift regardless, or as the Editorial Board of the NYT observes: “Whatever It Was, We Didn’t Do It”? What is more concerning about this whole debate is that too many people in the West appear to worry about what the Russian propaganda machine says – despite the fact that the Russians have zero credibility after four years of propounding alternate realities.

On MH17 the only notable development has been Malaysia, operator and owner of MH17, supporting the Russian narrative on the JIT. This is unlikely to be appreciated by other nations who suffered losses in the event. No Salisbury developments.

Syria remains very active in the media, mostly due to the Russian reversal on Iran in Syria. Lebanon objects to Israeli fighters flying over their territory. PM Netanyahu restates Israeli intent to engage Iran anywhere in Syria. Erdogan’s currency problems attract media attention.


Russia uses Arkady Babchenko case to cast doubt on Skripal poisonings
Moscow has branded the “resurrection” of Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko “propaganda” and claimed it casts doubt on other accusations made by the West.
Russia cries foul: Foreign Ministry says journalist’s faked death scheme was used to defame country | TheBlaze
On Tuesday, the BBC reported that Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko was found by his wife, shot several times in his back at the entrance of their apartment building in Kiev, Ukraine. He reportedly died in an ambulance on the way to the hospital. But on Wednesday, during a news conference where his colleagues and family were anxiously watching via television to hear the details of his murder — Babchenko strolled into the room to the dismay of the crowd.
Russian Journalist Rises From The Dead Following Ukrainian ‘Hoax’ – Sputnik International
Russian reporter Arkady Babchenko was pronounced dead by Ukrainian police on Tuesday before appearing at a news conference one day later.
No conclusive evidence Russia behind MH17 downing: Malaysia transport minister – Channel NewsAsia
KUALA LUMPUR: There is no conclusive evidence to confirm that Russia was responsible for the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, Malaysian transport minister Anthony Loke said on Wednesday (May 30). Investigators probing the 2014 downing of flight MH17 said last Thursday for the first time that the missile which brought down the plane over eastern Ukraine originated from a Russian military brigade. All 298 people onboard died. Speaking to Channel NewsAsia on Wednesday, Mr Loke said: “There is no conclusive evidence to point at Russia under the JIT (Joint Investigative Team) evidence.” Moscow has rejected JIT’s accusation, saying no such weapon had ever crossed the Russian-Ukrainian border and that it was an attempt to “discredit Russia in the eyes of the international community”. “But who’s responsible – you can’t just pinpoint at Russia,” said Mr Loke, when asked about the findings. “Of course we have to take into consideration diplomatic relations,” he said, adding that “any further actions will be based on conclusive evidence”. Advertisement Australia and the Netherlands, whose citizens were also onboard the plane, have informed Russia that they hold the country responsible under international law for its role in bringing down MH17.
MH17 Investigators Draw Conclusions Without Probe Formally Over – Russian Envoy – Sputnik International
VIENNA (Sputnik) – The Dutch-led investigators have made conclusions regarding the 2014 crash of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 despite the fact that the probe is not formally over, the claims of Russia’s responsibility for the tragedy are absurd, Russian Permanent Representative to the OSCE Alexander Lukashevich said on Thursday.
Israel, US’ Arab Allies Pushing for Washington-Tehran Confrontation – Scholar – Sputnik International
The US, Israel and Washington’s Arab allies are seeking to reshuffle the balance of power in the Middle Eastern region by weakening the Islamic Republic of Iran, Middle East scholar Oussama El-Mohtar told Sputnik, sharing his views on the possibility of an Iran-Israel war and Washington’s crackdown against Tehran on all fronts.
Israel in panic over losing their ‘dear’ ISIS & Al-Nusra terrorists in Syria – Assad — RT World News
Striking targets in Syria and threatening to assassinate the leader on the pretext of fighting Iranian influence is a sign that Israel is in “panic” after losing its “dear” terrorist assets, President Bashar Assad told RT.
‘We were close to direct conflict between Russia & US inside Syria’ – Bashar Assad — RT World News
Syrian President Bashar Assad says Moscow deterred the West from launching a devastating country-wide air strike last month, and believes that Damascus has nearly won the seven-year war, despite continued US “interference.”
TASS: Russian Politics & Diplomacy – Lavrov: Pullback of non-Syrian forces from border with Israel must be fast
The agreements stipulate that the zone of de-escalation is expected to consolidate stability and that all non-Syrian forces must be pulled out of that area, Lavrov said
Syria’s Assad: Improving air defenses to stop Israeli strikes, ready to confront U.S. troops – Syria – Haaretz.com
Syrian president denies Iranian troops are present in the war-torn country and says the U.S. must leave
Syria news: Russia and US were close to direct conflict – Assad claims | Daily Star
RUSSIA and the USA were on the brink of a “direct conflict” in the wake of a chemical attack in Syria, its President Bashar al-Assad has said.
Netanyahu vows to keep fighting Iran ‘anywhere in Syria’ — RT World News
Israel will strike Iranian targets anywhere in Syria, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, as his defense minister is to hold talks with Russia aimed at reducing tension in the region.
Netanyahu: We’ll Strike at Iran Anywhere in Syria – Sputnik International
Israel has continuously stated that it would never accept any Iranian military presence in Syria, whereas Tehran insists it only has military advisers in the Arab Republic.
Russian FM Lavrov: All Foreign Troops, Including Iran’s, Must Leave Syria | The Tower


Russia Declared Responsible For MH17 Downing | Aviation Week & Space Technology content from Aviation Week
The criminal investigation is closing in on the people responsible, says the Joint Investigation Team. Nearly four years after the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (MH17) over Eastern Ukraine, investigators have finally placed the blame directly on Russia. Australia and the Netherlands made a joint declaration on May 25 holding Russia accountable for the July 2014 tragedy that killed all 298 on board the Boeing 777 airliner. The two nations, home to most of the victims, are hoping that the stance—which has growing support from the international community—might encourage Moscow to come to the negotiating table and cooperate with the ongoing criminal investigation by the MH17 Joint Investigation Team (JIT).

Аркадий Бабченко Facebook
“from the mock murder of babchenko more harm than good” – Dear British Press! Why don’t you go fuck yourself, huh? If you want to help me, give me a British passport and protection. That’s when you’re gonna teach me how to save your family. Smart Fucking nerds.
Go f**k yourselves, smarta***s! Back-from-the-dead journalist lashes out at British criticism of staged death as Ukrainian authorities charge ‘hitman with plotting a terror attack’. Are these the hitmen sent to kill Putin critic Babchenko in Ukraine? | Daily Mail Online
Arkady Babchenko, 41, who helped the Ukrainian secret service fake his own death today told the British media to ‘go f*** themselves’ after several journalists said his stunt could harm credibility. Arkady Babchenko, 41, had been reported as shot dead in Ukraine on Tuesday Yesterday, the Russian journalist turned up alive at a news conference. Ukrainian secret service revealed they faked his death to catch would-be killers. Stunt criticised by British journalists, saying it undermines trust in the media. Babchenko hit back, saying; ‘Go f**k yourselves, smarta***s’ in Facebook post. Two Ukrainians paid by Russian secret service to kill journalist are detained. Secret service released video ‘showing them arresting one of the two hitmen’. Ukrainian media claims identikit drawing may show a ‘Chechen assassin’.
SBU head: Babchenko’s “assassin” also tasked with planting arms caches in central Ukraine | UNIAN
Head of the SBU Security Service of Ukraine Vasyl Hrytsak says a man, recruited by the Russian special services to organize the murder of Russian opposition journalist Arkadiy Babchenko, was supposed to illegally purchase weapons to plant arms caches in central Ukraine. The recruited man was set to illegally purchase weapons and ammunition at the expense of Russian intelligence. Head of the SBU Security Service of Ukraine Vasyl Hrytsak says a man, recruited by the Russian special services to organize the murder of Russian opposition journalist Arkadiy Babchenko, was supposed to illegally purchase weapons to plant arms caches in central Ukraine. “Russian intelligence set yet another task for Suspect G. Namely he was instructed to illegally purchase weapons and ammunition at the expense of Russian special services to create weapons caches in central Ukraine,” he told a briefing on May 30. It was about ordering 300 Kalashnikov assault rifles, hundreds of kilos worth of explosives, a significant number of cartridges and mortar shells, etc., Hrytsak added. “All this has been documented as part of our sting operation,” he said. With regard to the contract on Babchenko’s murder, the official noted that, Suspect G., besides handing over the money, “sent via a messenger [to a person he hired to do the job] a dossier on Babchenko.” “We will post on our website a copy of this dossier with blurred personal data,” the SBU head said. The dossier contains Babchenko’s personal data, as well as information on his bank cards, family members, and other personal data. The information was supposed to help the murderer search for Babchenko’s places of residence and his network of contacts in Ukraine. As UNIAN reported earlier, Arkady Babchenko, the Russian journalist who was reported to have been shot dead in Kyiv, turned up alive at a news conference in Ukraine on May 30. His staged “murder” turned out to be a sting operation by the SBU.
Anne Applebaum | Ukraine’s government just faked a journalist’s death. Will it be worth the cost?
The astonishing resurrection of a journalist should make us think about the limits of trickery
BBC Newsnight: Ukraine issued stark warning by Edward Lucas as threat from Russia looms | World | News | Express.co.uk
UKRAINE has been issued with a stark warning by a Russia expert Edward Lucas who claimed Kiev can only stage the death of someone under threat from Moscow once as continued threats from Vladimir Putin’s superstate loom.
Tom Rogan | The problem with Ukraine’s Arkady Babchenko assassination sting
But really, the SBU have played themselves. Although it would taken a little longer, the Ukrainians could have done this in a different way and thus avoided the melee they will now find themselves in. The SBU might, for example, have contacted the Russian foreign ministry to condemn Babchenko’s murder. They might also have had a senior official speak on his or her phone — in knowledge that the Russians were monitoring that phone — and declare that Babchenko has been found dead but that it would be kept secret. They might even have had Babchenko draw out the assassins by attending a publicly announced event or by sucking in the assassin’s surveillance team with the dangle that Babchenko was going to meet a Russian military spy who wished to defect to Ukraine (the Russians would have bitten at the prospect of killing a prospective traitor). All these tactics would have given the SBU a good chance of the desired outcome: capturing the suspects. Employing one of these tactics would also have avoided the Russians using this scenario as a deflection from Vladimir Putin’s other hits against journalists around the world, and prospective future targets of such hits like myself. I suspect that the SBU’s main motivation here was emotional: Its officers are likely frustrated by similar Russian mind games and wanted to give the Kremlin a taste of its own medicine. That emotion is understandable, but it has no place in an intelligence officer’s calculations. Because it risks just that which has now occurred: blowback.
Mark Galeotti | Back From the Dead: the Bizarre Story of Journalist Arkady Babchenko – Foreign Policy
By faking a journalist’s death and blaming it on Russia, Ukraine is fighting fire with fire — and setting its own house ablaze.
James Ball | Ukraine’s assassination hoax has played into Vladimir Putin’s hands
Russia now has the perfect distraction any time it stands accused of wrongdoing.
Anne Barker | Dissident journalist Arkady Babchenko’s staged assassination delivers propaganda bonanza to Moscow – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
Arkady Babchenko’s complicity in staging his own murder makes Russia’s involvement in future crimes harder to prove — and risks further eroding trust in journalists around the world.
By faking Babchenko’s murder, Ukraine has smeared itself | Sophie Pinkham | Opinion | The Guardian
This irresponsible stunt has severely undermined both Ukraine’s credibility and that of honest journalism, says Sophie Pinkham, author of Black Square: Adventures in Post-Soviet Ukraine
Ukraine will have to explain staging of Babchenko’s murder, – Belgian MFA Reynders – 112.international
Belgian Foreign Ministry stated that one cannot fight fake news with other fake news. The head of the Belgian Foreign Ministry, Didier Reynders said that Ukraine will have to explain the Ukrainian Security Service’s staging of the murder of the Russian journalist Arkadiy Babchenko. Reynders said this on TV5Monde. “Ukraine will have to explain the staging of the murder of a Russian journalist,” Didier Reynders said. Belgian Foreign Ministry added that one cannot fight fake news with other fake news. Arkadiy Babchenko, reported murdered yesterday in Kyiv, is alive. As a result of the special operation conducted by Ukrainian law enforcers, the killer who received the order to murder Arkadiy Babchenko and the organizer of the murder were detained. Only a very limited circle of people knew that the murder of Arkadiy Babchenko was staged.
Staging of Babchenko’s murder can disrupt confidence in SBU, government, – ex-Pentagon official Michael Carpenter – 112.international
According to him, the situation can be justified only by the fact it was the only way to save the life of a person. Michael Carpenter, the former official of the Pentagon and Senior Director of the Biden Center an Pennsylvania University claimed about the possible negative consequences of the staging of the murder of journalist Arkadiy Babchenko as Voice of America reported. ‘There will be the long-term consequences concerning the confidence in the SBU and the institutions of the government. People will hesitate from now on. Unfortunately, when the tragedy happens next time and journalist of the dissident will be killed, every person will stop and think whether it is true’, Carpenter said.
Diana Magnay | Arkady Babchenko has made journalists’ jobs harder
Relief is bittersweet when there’s the sense somewhere in there that you have been taken for a ride, writes Sky’s Diana Magnay.
Transcript: Arkady Babchenko’s Remarks After SBU Sting Operation
A partial transcript of Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko’s remarks at SBU headquarters in Kyiv on May 30. Ukrainian security officials said they had faked the death of the dissident Russian jour…
https://gdb.rferl.org/11EC30E0-53EA-48AE-8625-20E9A4FE7368_cx0_cy10_cw0_w1023_r1_s.jpg
Just 22 Tweets And Memes About The Russian Journalist Who Faked His Own Death
This is literally the only thing I care about today.
Newspaper headlines: ‘You only live twice’ – BBC News
Exiled Russian reporter Arkady Babchenko is pictured and his fake death plot likened to a James Bond film.
Arkady Babchenko: Russian journalist defends staged death – CNN
Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko hit back at critics of his staged murder, saying that the operation was carried out in response to a real threat to his life.
Editorial Board | Whatever It Was, We Didn’t Do It – The New York Times
Russia’s reflexive response to any charge of wrongdoing — from the downing of a Malaysian airliner to the poisoning of an exiled double agent — is, “Who, us?”
‘Murdered’ Russian Journalist Arkady Babchenko Is Alive, Explains Sting Operation to Lure Assassins – WSJ
A Russian journalist and Kremlin critic reported killed late Tuesday appeared alive and well Wednesday to describe his part in what Ukrainian officials called an operation to catch a would-be murderer.
Thursday briefing: My fake murder, by Russian journalist | World news | The Guardian
Arkady Babchenko turns up alive after assassination ‘sting’ … Germaine Greer says rape not always violent … and turn your kitchen scraps into a feast
The Photo That Fueled The Hoax: Behind The Gruesome Image Of Babchenko’s ‘Death’
Arkady Babchenko’s faked death was an elaborate operation to fool not only those allegedly plotting his killing, but also colleagues, friends, his wife, and possibly Russian intelligence. Key to that effort was a fake photo of a bloody corpse.
‘What About The Blood?’ Joy, Then Confusion, After Russian Journalist Turns Up Alive
Friends and neighbors of Arkady Babchenko were in deep mourning for him. Then authorities revealed the Russian journalist they said was murdered was, in fact, alive and well.
Anti-Kremlin journalist back from the dead as Ukraine admits set-up | ABS-CBN News
Ukraine sought to justify faking the death of an anti-Kremlin journalist who appeared alive and well at a press conference in Kiev less than 24 hours after he was ‘murdered’, citing an alleged Russian plot to kill him.
How this journalist used ‘fake news’ of his death to save his life
It’s the greatest fake news story of all time. Grieving reporters gathered in Ukraine on Wednesday evening for a press conference about an anti-Kremlin…
Poroshenko knew about the staging of Babchenko’s murder – 112.international
According to Ukraine’s President, nobody in the administration except him knew about the operation. President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko said that had known about the staging of the murder of journalist Arkadiy Babchenko. The president said this at the meeting with Babchenko broadcasted by 112 Ukraine TV channel. “I think that today, millions of people already celebrate your third birthday…You know, the heart is shrinking when you see, as at the TV channels, in the offices, and as I saw reaction today – I knew everything about it, but nobody else in the Administration knew about this,” the president said. It should be noted that the spokeswoman of the Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko Larysa Sargan knew about the special operation and apologized on Facebook for spreading misinformation.
Ukraine’s Foreign Minister did not know about staging of Babchenko’s murder – 112.international
Klimkin has emphasized that he does not refuse from the accusations against Russia.
Klimkin says was “not aware” of SBU sting operation while addressing UNSC May 29 | UNIAN
Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin says that, while speaking at a meeting of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on May 29, he was not aware of an ongoing sting operation by Ukrainian security services aimed to disclose a chain of command to hire a contract hitman tasked with murdering Russian journalist Arkadiy Babchenko. A message that Russia will keep destabilizing Ukraine is more than justified, Klimkin said.
‘Dead’ Russian Journalist Appears at News Conference in Ukraine – The New York Times
Ukraine says the death in Kiev of Arkady Babchenko was staged to thwart an assassination plot against him by Russia. It drew wide protests.
Journalist Arkady Babchenko’s ‘Murder’ Faked By Ukraine To Uncover Russian Plot
Ukrainian intelligence officials staged the reporter’s death as part of a special operation to catch the people trying to kill him.
What do we know about journalist Arkady Babchenko and the alleged plot to kill him? – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
The man whose death was faked in Kiev is one of Russia’s best-known war correspondents and fled Russia after sparking a backlash with a post on Facebook just over a year ago.
Arkady Babchenko, ‘murdered’ Russian journalist, appears on Ukrainian TV – CNN
A Russian journalist and critic of the Kremlin, reported to have been shot dead in Ukraine, showed up alive at a news conference on Wednesday to declare that his murder was faked by Ukrainian security services in an effort to foil an assassination plot against him.
Russian journalists are stunned to learn ‘murdered’ co-worker is alive
Emotional video posted by Radio Free Europe shows staffers at Ukrainian TV network ATV cheer, gasp and hug as they watch the stunning press conference where policed revealed the death of anti-Kremlin journalist Arkady Babchenko was staged.
Arkady Babchenko: Ukraine faked murder of journalist – BBC News
Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko, who was reportedly killed in Kiev on Tuesday, appears on TV.
Радіо Свобода on Twitter: “Реакція журналістів ATR 😍 Відео – Kateryna Lisunova… “
Затримання замовника “вбивства” російського журналіста Аркадія Бабченка – YouTube
Ukraine: Poroshenko meets Arkady Babchenko following staged murder revelation – YouTube
Ruptly Published on May 30, 2018 Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko met with Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko in Kiev on Wednesday, following the shocking revelation that Babchenko’s murder was staged. Poroshenko congratulated Babchenko on the successful operation of the staged murder. “I once again congratulate you, with a sincere heart, that this operation has been successful and we did not allow them to implement this scenario. I want to let you know once again that I instructed the Head of the SBU to provide you and your family with round-the-clock security. Because Moscow will not calm down,” Poroshenko said. At a press conference on Wednesday, Babchenko, who was reported shot dead on tuesday, revealed himself to be alive to shocked journalists in Kiev. He said he was told of an alleged Russian plot to kill him a month ago, and he agreed to work with Ukrainian security services on a counter-action. Babchenko stated that evidence of the crime is available, and that 40,000 dollars was allegedly placed on his life. He also stated that the photograph used to identify him existed solely in his passport, which lead him to believe the order came from Russia.
Ukraine Says It Faked The Death Of A Journalist Who Was Critical Of The Kremlin | TIME – YouTube
How a Russian journalist plotted his own ‘murder’ with Ukraine – YouTube
Ukraine faked journalist Arkady Babchenko’s death to protect him from Russia – YouTube
CBC News: The National Published on May 30, 2018 The Ukraine Security Service revealed it had faked journalist Arkady Babchenko’s death to protect him from a Russian assassination attempt. Babchenko, a Kremlin critic, was reported to have been shot dead in Ukraine yesterday, but today appeared alive at a news conference. Welcome to The National, the flagship nightly newscast of CBC News
‘Murdered’ Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko surprises everybody at press conference – YouTube
ABC News (Australia) Published on May 30, 2018 A Russian journalist supposedly shot dead in Ukraine has appeared alive at a news conference in an apparent attempt to expose Russian agents. Police said Arkady Babchenko, a critic of the President Vladimir Putin, was found by his wife covered in blood in their Kiev home on Tuesday (local time). The 41-year-old had reportedly been shot several times in the back and died in an ambulance on the way to hospital. But on Wednesday afternoon he was revealed at a news conference with the head of Ukraine’s security service to say his death had been faked in an elaborate plot to catch those trying to kill him.
‘Slain’ Russian journalist turns up alive at news conference – World News – 13 WTHR Indianapolis
To the gasps, whoops and applause of stunned colleagues, Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko walked into a news conference Wednesday, less than a day after police in the Ukrainian capital said he had been assassinated.
Babchenko Alive: Murder of Russian journalist faked by Ukraine – YouTube
TRT World Published on May 30, 2018 Ukraine is being criticised for faking the death of a Russian journalist. Arkady Babchenko was reportedly killed on Wednesday but later appeared alive and well at a news conference. Reagan Des Vignes reports.
BREAKING NEWS: ‘Murdered’ Russia journalist is alive – BBC News – YouTube
BBC News Published on May 30, 2018 Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko, widely reported to have been assassinated in Kiev on Tuesday, is alive and well. Mr Babchenko appeared at a press conference on Ukrainian television on Wednesday. The head of Ukraine’s security services, Vasyl Hrytsak, said at the press conference that the ‘murder’ had been staged to expose Russian agents. Mr Babchenko’s wife had earlier said he’d been shot in the back as he left their apartment in the city.
‘Murdered’ journalist Arkady Babchenko’s 24 hour comeback – YouTube
Moscow Times: Babchenko’s Death and Russia’s Dark Power (Op-ed) – To Inform is to Influence
Mark Galeotti in The Moscow Times. </end editorial> Babchenko’s Death and Russia’s Dark Power (Op-ed) May 30 2018 – 16:05 BY MARK GALEOTTI  @MarkGaleotti Russia has adopted a policy of blessing freelance murders carried out in its name. Another dead critic of the Kremlin. Another round of knee-jerk accusations and denials. Another funeral. Does the Putin…
Journalist who faked death had come to Israel after fleeing Russia | The Times of Israel
Arkady Babchenko, whose maternal grandmother is Jewish, came to Tel Aviv after being forced to leave Prague over visa issues; praised country for its openness before moving to Kiev
How ex-soldier Arkady Babchenko became an enemy of the Kremlin | World news | The Guardian
Former soldier’s criticism of wars in Georgia and Ukraine made him an obvious target


Lavrov, Pompeo Discuss ‘Issues, Concerns’ About U.S.-Russian Relations
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have spoken by telephone for the first time since Pompeo was sworn into office on April 26.
Israeli official flies to Russia amid reports of deal on Iran’s role in Syria
Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman was in Russia on Wednesday amid reports the two countries were finalizing a deal on Iran’s role in Syria.
Is Israel driving a wedge between Russia and Iran? – BBC News
All three have major interests in Syria and their recent moves could be shifting regional dynamics.
World War 3: Benjamin Netanyahu ready to HIT Iran anywhere in Syria | World | News | Express.co.uk
ISRAEL’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, made a chilling announcement on Wednesday claiming his country’s forces will hit Iran anywhere in Syria, as tensions between the two countries continue to run high.
Syrian President warns ‘Americans should leave’ his country now | Daily Mail Online
Responding to U.S. President Donald Trump’s description of him as ‘Animal Assad’, the Syrian dictator told pro-Putin news channel Russia Today: ‘What you say is what you are’.
‘Psychological War’: Photo of Israeli Jet Over Beirut Draws Lebanese Anger
“Israel is flaunting its power, and showing to all its high military superiority.”
Israel criticised for sharing picture of new F-35 stealth jet flying over Beirut, flouting international law | The Independent
A photo of a state-of-the-art Israeli F-35 stealth fighter jet flying over the Lebanese capital of Beirut in broad daylight has sparked criticism over the blatant “flaunting of Israeli power”.  General Mouawad Tannous, a former Lebanese military intelligence officer and former defence attache with the Lebanese embassy in Washington DC, said he thought the release of the photo was part of a game of psychological warfare.
Developing: Israeli warplane reportedly flying along Syrian-Lebanese border
BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:40 P.M.) – At approximately 11:30 P.M. (Damascus Time), an Israeli warplane was allegedly spotted flying along the Syrian border with Lebanon, a local source reported. According to the source, the Israeli warplane entered Lebanese airspace from northern Galilee and made its way towards the Beqa’a
In the Middle East, Putin has a lot to thank Trump for right now | The Independent
Vladimir Putin will have paid very close attention to the location of the Syrian artillery battery where four Russian soldiers lost their lives at the weekend. The desert around Deir ez-Zour remains a dangerous place – politically as well as physically – in which the Americans and Russians play an extremely risky game of war.
Russia Brokers Deal Keeping Iran Out of Region Bordering With Israel – Breaking Israel News | Latest News. Biblical Perspective.
Assad May Limit Iran’s Access to Syria’s South to Restore Territorial Integrity – Sputnik International
MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Syrian President Bashar Assad may be ready to compromise Tehran’s regional ambitions and limit operations in some parts of Syria after recognizing that Iran’s presence complicates an offensive of the Syrian army in the country’s south, Yakov Kedmi, a former high-ranking Israeli intelligence official, told Sputnik on Wednesday.
Israel aims to get Russia to agree to clearing Syrian border of Iranians
Defense Minister Liebermans trip to Russia intended to reach security understandings to return control of border area to Syrian army, without the presence of Iran, Hezbollah forces; while Russia iterated support for notion, PMO stresses Iran should pull out all of Syrian territory.
Russia: All non-Syrian forces should leave Israel-Syria border ASAP – Syria – Haaretz.com
Russia’s position has been changing since Israel’s attack on Iranian positions in Syria in early May
U.S. Condemns Syria’s Decision To Recognize Breakaway Georgian Regions
The United States has condemned Syria’s decision to recognize the breakaway Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent countries.
Syria Is Now In Charge of the UN’s Disarmament Efforts. Really. – Defense One
The U.S. says the Assad regime’s repeated use of chemical weapons on civilians should disqualify it from the post.
Turkish Currency Slide Poses a Political Challenge to Erdogan – WSJ
A month ahead of elections, the fast-weakening lira has left some voters questioning whether President Recep Tayyip Erdogan knows the way to economic prosperity.
Can Turkey’s Economic Turmoil Derail Erdogan’s Reelection? – WSJ
With Turkish elections less than a month away, the economic prosperity that has bolstered voter support for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is now under threat.
Europe banks ALERT: Turkey on brink of COLLAPSE as Lira PLUMMETS sparking Eurozone crisis | World | News | Express.co.uk
EUROPEAN banks fear the dramatic crash of the Turkish lira could spark a crisis reminiscent of the one that hit Wall Street financial institutions 20 years ago.
Turkish Lira Extends Its World Beating Advance to a Third Day – Bloomberg
The lira climbed the most among major global peers for a third straight day, buoyed by the dollar’s decline and optimism over the central bank’s readiness to shore up the currency.
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