Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.
Russia/Putin folded on blaming Israel, outright, for the downing of their plane in Syria. “Tragic accidental circumstance” are to blame. In all actuality, and it makes perfect sense, for a Syrian commander to be convinced that since Israel was bombing another part of Syria, another unexplained plane within range of their S-200 ADA system just had to be Israeli, yes? Uh, no. That is why your training and checklists are so important. Kudos to President Putin for accepting that point quickly.
The Vozhd backpedals on the Russian MoD blameshifting exercise targeting Israel – nevertheless, the damage has already been done, as the reports of Russia blaming Israel for Syrian incompetence rival in number, if not exceed the original reports covering the loss of the VKS aircraft (multiple reports at the bottom of this page). The propaganda machine is, of course, running at full speed on every other thread of disinformation it is propagating. The suspected poisoning of Verzilov, recovering in a German hospital, has produced much anger in Canada, as he has Canadian citizenship and family in Canada. Meduza report that the day he fell ill, he was to receive an investigative report on the murder of the Russian journalists in the CAR. The latest MH17 stunt has not sold at all. Swiss Federal Attorney’s Office is investigating Russian cyber attacks. Multiple reports of interest dealing with Russia.
No updates on the incident in Salisbury involving the possible poisoning of two diners reported to be Russian, UK media report extensive toxicology testing is being conducted, and that the man involved is in a ‘critical condition’.
In Syria, the Vozhd and Erdoğan negotiate an arrangement to declare Idlib a buffer zone, the terms of the agreement remain unclear. Update on Iran.
The Real Russia. Today.
BEIRUT — Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday described the downing of a Russian plane in Syria as the result of “tragic chance events,” appearing to dial back a rare flare-up in tensions with Israel. Fifteen Russian service personnel were killed late Monday after Syrian air defenses hit their reconnaissance plane. Russia’s Defense Ministry had initially claimed that the crash was indirectly the fault of Israel, saying that the Israeli military had not given adequate warning to the Russian aircraft and that Israeli pilots had used the plane as cover while they attacked Syrian targets. But Putin, speaking in Moscow on Tuesday, played down claims of Israeli culpability. “It looks most likely in this case that it was a chain of tragic chance events, because an Israeli aircraft did not shoot down our aircraft. But, without any doubt, we need to seriously get to the bottom of what happened,” he said.
At the press conference with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban , Russian President Vladimir Putin called the downing of the IL-20 aircraft of the Russian Air Force in Syria “a chain of tragic circumstances” Putin asked not to compare the incident with the destruction Russian Su-24 fighter in 2015 by the Turkish military. “When people die, especially in such tragic circumstances, it is always a disaster, a disaster for us all, for the country and for our close comrades who are dead. In this connection, of course, I offer my condolences to the relatives of the deceased, “Putin said at a final press conference with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Also, Putin promised to strengthen the security of the Russian military in Syria, so that “it is noticeable by everyone”. “Regarding our response, we will direct our effort towards protection of our servicemen, our facilities in the Syrian Arab Republic. The steps will be such that everyone will notice, ” the Russian president said.
11 Sep 2018 Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday said a “chain of tragic accidental circumstances” led to the downing by Syria of a Russian warplane with 15 people on board, dismissing accusations from his own Defence Ministry that it was Israel’s fault. “It rather looks like a chain of tragic accidental circumstances,” he told reporters. [File photo of a Russian IL-20M aircraft. Photo: AFP] Earlier the ministry blamed Israel and warned of reprisals. But Putin backed away from the statement. “An Israeli jet did not shoot down our plane,” he said. “No doubt we should seriously look into this [incident].” He expressed condolences to the families of the victims, calling the accident a “tragedy for us all”. The Defence Ministry said the IL-20 reconnaissance aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft batteries belonging to Moscow’s ally, Syria. But it held Israel responsible because Israeli fighters were attacking Syrian targets and had only given Moscow a minute’s warning, putting the Russian aircraft in danger of being caught in the crossfire. [An Israeli F-16I jet. File photo: AFP] “We view the actions of the Israeli military as hostile,” Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov told Russian state television. “As a result of the irresponsible actions of the Israeli military, 15 Russian service personnel perished.” The Israeli military blamed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for the deaths. “Israel expresses sorrow for the deaths of the aircrew members of the Russian plane that was downed … due to Syrian anti-aircraft fire,” a military statement said in Israel’s first reaction to the incident. “Israel holds the Assad regime, whose military shot down the Russian plane, fully responsible for this incident. Israel also holds Iran and the Hezbollah terror organisation accountable for this unfortunate incident.”
The Russian defense minister says Israeli F-16s delivered strikes on Syria using the Russian Il-20 recon plane as cover
The Russian military says an Israeli raid on Syria triggered a chain of events that led to its Il-20 plane being shot down by a Syrian S-200 surface-to-air missile. Moscow reserves the right to respond accordingly.
Moscow and Tel Aviv have long enjoyed fairly good ties despite the turmoil in the Middle East but these relations are at risk as Russia blames Israel for the downing of its warplane off the Syrian coast and the death of its crew.
Russia in RSA 🇷🇺 on Twitter: “Russian Defence Ministry: Russian Ilyushin Il-20 plane was downed by Syrian Air Defence missile after Israeli F-16 pilots used it as cover thus setting it up to be targeted by AA defence. Such actions can only be classified as a deliberate provocation https://t.co/qBcqPz2en6… https://t.co/qeMlNWsHWV”
The Telegraph Published on Sep 18, 2018 Russia has blamed Israel for a friendly-fire attack by Syrian forces on a Russian reconnaissance plane which left 15 of its servicemen dead, vowing retaliation for the “deliberate provocation”. Russian military said that Israeli F-16 pilots were using the Ilyushin Il-20 turboprop aircraft as cover while carrying out strikes against targets in Syria’s Latakia province and put it in the line of fire from Syrian missiles. Israel denied it was its intention to provoke Syria into firing at the allied Russian plane.
The place of the crash is 27 kilometers west of Baniyas in Latakia
By launching cruise missiles, the French Navy’s frigate only complicated the situation in that part of the Mediterranean Sea, says expert
An unnamed retired agent doubts the two Russian suspects – using the aliases Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Bochirov – are plausible as killers
Two people (one of whom at least was thought to be Russian), become ill and are rushed to hospital after dining at a faux- Italian restaurant chain on a Sunday in the cathedral city of Salisbury in the UK, with their symptoms consistent with novichok poisoning.
The Real Russia. Today.
Pyotr Verzilov is now able to see and move his limbs, an encouraging development in a terrifying ordeal
If the Kremlin actively interferes with Canadian attempts to find out what happened, and especially if evidence emerges that Pyotr Verzilov was poisoned, Russia must face consequences
German doctors at the Berlin hospital where Russian activist Pyotr Verzilov is being treated say he was likely poisoned.
On September 17, the Russian Defense Ministry presented more claims that it wasn’t responsible for supplying the weapon that destroyed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine in 2014. Based on “declassified archives,” Russian officials once again said the missile that downed the plane was fired from territory controlled by the Ukrainian military. The Defense Ministry also played an excerpt from an audio tape where a man identified as a colonel in the Ukrainian army discusses bringing down “another Malaysian Boeing.”
The Russian military has made a new claim about the downing of a passenger jet over the war zone in eastern Ukraine in 2014, asserting that the missile that brought Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 down was sent to Soviet Ukraine after it was made in 1986 and never returned to Russia.
New claims by Russia about the shooting down of a Malaysian airliner over Ukraine in 2014 have been met with widespread skepticism.
A joint investigation team (JIT) made of representatives of Ukraine, the Netherlands, Malaysia, Australia and Belgium who are probing into the downing of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane over Donbas in 2014 (flight MH17) says it would like to obtain documents from the Russian Federation on new “evidence.” A May conference has resulted in several serious and useful leads that are under investigation at the moment.
The government of the Netherlands said it trusted the results of an investigation by the international Joint Investigation Team, which found evidence of Russia’s fault, reports Radio Liberty. According to the statement of the Netherlands’ government, they “took notice of the message in relation to the press conference of the Russian Defense Ministry.” “The Netherlands fully trusts the findings and conclusions of the Joint Investigative Team (JIT). The JIT investigation has the highest support of the international community, and the government has firmly decided to cooperate fully with the criminal investigation conducted by all the involved countries in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 2166,” the statement said. Meanwhile, Russian General Prosecutor’s Office stated that on September 17 it had handed over to the representative of the Netherlands the materials on legal assistance in the case of downing of the MH17 flight.
Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchynov has said Russia’s Defense Ministry has made up and presented another fake story on MH17, a Malaysia Airlines Boeing shot down over Russian-occupied Donbas in July 2014. Such fake stories are designed to cover up the real criminals.
Eliot Higgins, the founder of the open-source investigation website Bellingcat, says Russian defense officials have misinterpreted shadows and objects in an attempt to show there was a problem with lighting in videos produced by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) probing into the downing of flight MH17 over Donbas in 2014. There is also satellite imagery of the Russian Buk convoy to serve as additional evidence.
The Swiss Federal Attorney’s Office is conducting an investigation into the criminal case of two Russian citizens suspected of involvement in the cyber attack at the European headquarters of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in Lausanne. On Monday, September 17, in Bern, the prosecutor’s office representatives said that the case on espionage for political purposes was initiated as early as March 2017, reports Deutsche Welle. The office also accuses Russians of trying to obtain data from the laboratory of radiological and chemical-bacteriological analysis in the Swiss city of Spiez. Among other things, the laboratory helps to investigate chemical attacks in Syria and poisoning of Sergey and Julia Skripal in the British Salisbury. The Swiss Federal Intelligence Service previously confirmed the cyber attacks did happen, noting that criminals did not achieve their goals. After the arrests in spring 2018 in The Hague, the government deported Russian spies to the Russian Federation. The detention of these secret agents was the result of a joint operation between the special services of the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. However, it remains unclear why Russians were released and not brought to trial in the Netherlands.
More than a quarter of the Russian diplomatic staff in Switzerland works for the foreign intelligence services of the Russian Federation, writes the newspaper Tages-Anzeiger after analyzing the Swiss government’s report. Back in March, the Bundesrat of Germany published a report on national security, which stated that “in relation to one country there is a suspicion that more than a quarter of the diplomatic personnel works for the special services.” The Bundesrat report did not mention the specific country. However, comparing their own investigations with the data of the report, Tages-Anzeiger concluded that this country is Russia. According to the newspaper, currently, in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Switzerland, 83 accredited Russian diplomatic mission employees work in the Russian Embassy in Bern and consulates in Geneva, Lausanne and Zurich. Among them, there are 37 diplomats, including 2 women and 30 family members of the Russian diplomatic corps representatives. Officially, the Russian military attaché, Colonel Alexander Provotorov and two of his deputies deal with the tasks related to intelligence, but many more Russian diplomatic employees are unofficially engaged in intelligence activity. The newspaper writes that reinforcements are arriving in Switzerland for the particularly delicate operations. Such reinforcement, according to Tages-Anzeiger, could have been Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov. In an interview with RT TV, in addition to their trip to Salisbury, they also told about the visit to Switzerland, in they own words for touristic, but mainly for work purposes. Russia rejected these accusations.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has been in power for almost two decades and will stay for at least six years more. His leadership, however, has been so damaging for his nation and the world that many wonder: When will Putin’s era end and what is the future of Russia after Putin? Three experts knowledgeable with how Putin’s regime works discussed what may happen after his term is over at a panel at the annual Yalta European Strategy conference in Kyiv on Sept. 15. By law, Putin’s third term is supposed to end in 2024. However, this doesn’t guarantee he will step down when the time comes, said Andrey Illarionov, a former senior economic adviser to Putin, who turned into his critic. “The dates are irrelevant,” he said. “What matters in Russian political world is a will. Personal safety doesn’t exist outside of political power which means that Putin can’t leave his post. He will continue for as long as he is physically capable.” The U.S. ambassador to Russia from the Obama administration (2011-2014) Michael McFaul opined that if Putin extends his powers after 2024, it would be under pressure from his close circle whose wealth and prosperity are guaranteed by his power. Another U.S. diplomat who led the Moscow embassy in 2014-2017 and a former ambassador to Ukraine, John Tefft, suggested that Putin could follow the example of Boris Yeltsin: Pick a young successor and try to set up a system for him. But what if an unexpected occurrence removes Putin from the president’s seat? All three panelists agreed it was hard to predict who could step up. Illarionov described Russia as a tough authoritarian regime with low ranks on democracy, human rights, and rule of law. Today’s Kremlin state propaganda is more efficient than in Communist times, and the main instrument of control is a selective terror.
Unless the Russian President makes real changes within the country, his approval rating will continue to slide
Putin says his country is impervious to threats from the West. But new U.S. sanctions aim to upend that claim. Washington’s new mood: “Punish Russia as hard as possible.”
To no one’s surprise, Russia is the main suspect in the mysterious attacks on U.S. diplomatic personnel in Cuba. Since 2016, 26 people at our embassy in Havana have experienced sudden and severe cognitive difficulties, and intelligence officials believe it’s due to attacks engineered by agents of the Russian government. The source is thought to be pulses of microwaves or some similar electromagnetic weapon. A related attack affected one U.S. worker in China. Russian involvement fits with what we know about the quiet malignity of the country’s foreign intelligence activities—notably its use of radiation poisoning to murder Alexander Litvinenko in 2006 in London and its (mercifully) unsuccessful use of nerve agents against Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury, England, in 2018.
A computer-game publisher in the Siberian city of Barnaul is concerned about recent prosecutions on extremism charges of people who posted or liked memes on social media. They are fighting back, on…
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange reportedly made an attempt to obtain a Russian visa in 2010.
Wires obtained hint at WikiLeaks chief’s early relationship with Moscow.
A major incident was declared yesterday when the man, who is believed to be Russian, and a woman in her 30s became unwell at a Prezzo restaurant in Salisbury, Wiltshire.
TESTS to identify what caused a couple to fall ill at a restaurant in Salisbury are “ongoing” after Novichok was ruled out, police have today revealed.
The evacuation of a Salisbury pizzeria after a couple mysteriously collapsed will hit the city hard in its recovery from the nerve agent attack, its council leader said on Monday.
Police closed streets in Salisbury and an Italian restaurant last night as a "precautionary measure" after two people were taken ill amid heightened tensions in the wake of the Novichok poisonings.
Concerns mounted after two people became ill at a restaurant in Salisbury.
Our enquiries into the circumstances surrounding two people falling ill in Salisbury last night are ongoing.
After two people fell ill in a restaurant, residents say the ensuing ‘carnage’ shows the city is still not back to normal
Drones are to be used in the aftermath of Salisbury-style chemical weapons attacks to keep the emergency services safe from contamination.
ONE of Britain’s most respected think tanks has thwarted more than 2,400 attempts by Russian GRU officers to hack into its main website and email communications belonging to its chief Russia expert. The Henry Jackson Society, known for its scepticism towards Vladimir Putin, fended off the attacks over the last six months emanating from a Turkish server farm with links to the Russian intelligence agency.
Material about possible links between British spy agencies and a Russian businessman who died in mysterious circumstances in Britain nearly six years ago will remain secret, a judge has ruled.
Vladimir Putin is a master manipulator. In turn, any diplomatic arrangement he agrees to which appears to weaken his interests should be scrutinized. He is up to something.
Tehran, Damascus, and Syrian opposition groups have welcomed an agreement between Russia and Turkey to avert an assault on Syria’s last major rebel stronghold in the northwestern province of Idlib.
The announcement by Russia and Turkey about Idlib Province appeared to forestall what had been widely feared as a brutal offensive by Syrian forces.
Russian President Vladimir Putin says demilitarized zone will come into force by October 15; leaders agree to force out heavy weapons and ‘radically minded’ rebels
Russia’s defence minister says the buffer zone means there will be no military offensive on Idlib.
Russia will not hold a military operation in Syria’s Idlib province, home to 3 million people, which the Kremlin called a “nest of terrorists” earlier in September. The decision to call off the Russian Aerospace Forces’ offensive was announced by Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu on Monday. The Russian aircraft had been bombing the region to clear the way for Assad’s troops since September 4. Following negotiations between Russian and Turkish presidents Vladimir Putin and Recep Erdogan in Sochi, Shoygu announced that the end of the operation would be coordinated with Damascus in the next few hours. US President Donald Trump had called the operation “a serious mistake” which would lead to a “humanitarian catastrophe”. During the negotiations, Putin and Erdogan agreed on a de facto ceasefire between government and rebel forces: by October 15, a de-militarized zone will be established between the two armies. The zone will have a width of 15-20 kilometers, and must be cleared of all heavy weaponry and radical militants, including the Al-Nusra Front. After Russia started its airstrikes on Idlib, Turkey ramped up its arms shipments to the Syrian rebels, in order to help them repel the offensive expected from Damascus and its Russian and Iranian allies. Since Turkey shares a border with Idlib, it is concerned that a major offensive in the region would drive vast numbers of refugees into Turkey.
The United States can still make a difference in Syria. But it will have to make a deal with the devil.
Syrian air defenses are reportedly engaging missiles over the west coast city of Latakia.
140 Iranian fighters died in Israeli attacks on Syria over the past five months, newly released report claims
Syrian air defenses intercept several Israeli missiles, Syrian army source tells state media
NATO warships from the second Standing NATO Maritime Group are currently patrolling the area of the Eastern Mediterranean, reported Interfax …
In a rare admission, Israel has broken its “no-comment” policy on air strikes to confirm that it has carried out over 200 attacks against Iranian targets in Syria over the last two years. In addition to those attacks, a new report claims that Israel has secretly armed and funded at least 12 Syrian rebel groups in southern Syria since 2013. Israel reportedly stopped its transfer of weapons and money in July, after the Bashar al-Assad regime regained control of the Syrian side of the Golan Heights.
US and Iranian energy officials have traded blows at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) over plans to reimpose tough sanctions against oil exports from the Islamic Republic – with Tehran claiming the “reckless act” could trigger a war.
Top energy officials from the U.S. and Iran clashed on Monday with warnings that international peace is at risk as America’s sanctions noose tightens on the Islamic Republic.
This is a fairly good cheat sheet to identify Russian troll activity. One word of caution, however. Treat “absolutes” with caution. Whenever I see “always” and “never”, I cringe. If they are not predicated with “almost”, then the editor did not do a good job. Example, “All tweets are hyperpartisan, and deal with politics.” This…
Is it a crime to meet with Iranian officials? It may well be.
Russian state television says Defense Ministry Sergei Shoigu in a phone call to his Israeli counterpart has said Israel is responsible for the shooting down of a Russian military aircraft over Syria.
Israel ‘expresses regret’ over incident in which Syria accidentally downed a Russian aircraft, killing all 15 on board
The Russian Ministry of Defence has blamed Israel for the downing of a Russian spy plane by Syrian antiaircraft artillery in the Mediterranean.
Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu called his Israeli counterpart, Avigdor Lieberman, later on Tuesday to say that Israel is “fully to blame” for the deaths, the ministry said.
The Kremlin is blaming Israel for the downing of one of its military planes near Syria late Monday.
Russia said Syrian forces mistakenly downed the reconnaissance plane with an air-defence missile as they attempted to fight off an attack by Israeli planes
Russia’s military on Tuesday said one of its aircraft with 15 people on board was shot down by Syrian government missiles and blamed the Israeli Air Force for pushing its Il-20 jet into the line of fire of Syrian missiles.
Russia’s Defense Ministry confirms that Syrian air defenses inadvertently shot down a Russian Il-20 electronic reconnaissance aircraft over the eastern Mediterranean Sea, killing 15 on board. “On September 17, at about 11:00 pm Moscow time, the connection with the crew of the Russian Il-20 aircraft was lost over the Mediterranean Sea when the plane was returning to the airbase of Khmeimim, 35 kilometers from the coast of Syria,” the official said. The ministry specified that “the mark of Il-20 went off the radars disappeared during the attack of four Israeli F-16 aircraft on Syrian targets in the province of Latakia.” The military said the plane disappeared as four Israeli fighter jets were attacking targets in the area. The Russian Ministry of Defence blamed the Israeli Air Force for pushing the Russian aircraft into the line of fire of Syrian missiles. “The Russian plane was shot down as a result of the fact that Israeli pilots pushing the Russian aircraft into the line of fire of the S-200 missile of the Syrian air defense system,” said in the statement of Russia’s Defense Ministry.
Russia has blamed Israel for air strikes in Syria in the past.
Expressing regret, Israel says responsibility of incident falls squarely with Syria as well as Iran and Hezbollah.
Moscow holds Israel fully responsible after Israeli pilots reportedly used Russian plane as cover from Syrian missiles