Sunday, October 23, 2016

American vigilante hacker sends Russia a warning - CNN

October 23, 2016 (CNN) The man hacked Russia's MFA website leaving the message "Stop attacking Americans" An American vigilante hacker, who calls himself "The Jester", has defaced the website of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in retaliation for attacks on American targets. On Friday night, the Jester gained access to the Russian government ministry's website. And he left a message: "Stop attacking Americans".

"Comrades! We interrupt regular scheduled Russian Foreign Affairs Website programming to bring you the following important message," he wrote. "Knock it off. You may be able to push around nations around you, but this is America. Nobody is impressed". is the official website of the Russian agency that is in charge of maintaining that country's international diplomacy - equivalent to the U.S. Department of State. His hacking of the website included this gag: "Visitors are subjected to the ear-piercing sound of an American civil alert message, that shrieking dial tone that accompanies emergency weather broadcasts".
The full article:

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Epicenter of Russian aggression shifted in Mariupol direction over last two weeks

October 22, 2016 Nowadays it is obviously for an average Ukrainian citizen that Russia has only one fully acceptable way to connect continental Russia and newly annexed Crimea peninsula. The matter is that neither new bridge nor train or car ferries meet Russia’s requirements. The only thing that can meet their imperial aspirations is to cut by heavy artillery a land corridor from Russia to Crimea. To do that they have to take the city of Mariupol first. So you can read the following brief information just from this point of view.

The Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (NSDC) Oleksandr Turchynov left for Mariupol sector due to a significant escalation of hostilities recorded primarily in this area of the anti-terrorist operation (ATO) zone in the past two weeks. He held a meeting with the ATO generalship there.

According to Turchynov, more than 3,000 projectiles hit the Ukrainian troops' positions in the Mariupol sector over the last week alone, Censor.NET reports citing the NSDC press service. The NSDC secretary visited the areas of the fiercest enemy strikes on positions of the Ukrainian military at the forward defense line including the outskirts of Kominternove, Lebedynske, and Vodiane - the epicenter of the recent enemy artillery strikes. The recent developments at the frontline and measures to efficiently counter provocations of the Russian terrorist forces were discussed at the meeting. The NSDC secretary inspected procurement and the staff's preparedness to carry out combat missions in winter.

Friday, October 21, 2016

As New Ukraine Talks Begin, What Is the State of Europe’s Only Active War?

October 21, 2016 (The New York Times) With soldiers dying daily in Ukraine, the site of the only active war in Europe, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany hosted a meeting on Wednesday to see whether President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia was willing to cut a deal to end the conflict while he also faces pressure from the West over Moscow’s role in Syria.
Mr. Putin and Ms. Merkel met with President François Hollande of France and President Petro O. Poroshenko of Ukraine to talk about the fighting as the Ukraine crisis returns to the diplomatic agenda and the leaders try to restart a cease-fire.
Separately, Mr. Putin, who is often in the eye of the storm on international crises, met with Ms. Merkel and Mr. Hollande to discuss the civil war in Syria, where the Russian Air Force is backing the government.

Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany greeted President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia as he arrived for a Ukraine summit meeting in front of the German Federal Chancellery in Berlin on Wednesday. Fhoto by Klaus-Dietmar Gabbert/European Pressphoto Agency
At a news conference late Wednesday, Ms. Merkel said that, as predicted, “no miracles were achieved.But, she added, the value of meeting face to face was clear and that “it is urgently necessary” that high-level meetings continue as the foreign ministers of all four countries work on a new “road map” to resolve the conflict.

Residents left a damaged building in Horlivka, Ukraine, in August after the city was shelled. Photo by Alexander Ermochenko/European Pressphoto Agency
From her comments after the meetings and those by Mr. Hollande and Mr. Poroshenko, it seemed that the road map amounted a new timetable for putting into effect the agreement reached in Minsk, Belarus, in 2015 but never fully observed.
The full article is available at:

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Ukraine crisis: 'No miracles' at Berlin talks

October 20, 2016 (BBC News Europe) German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said talks with Russian, Ukrainian and French leaders about a stalled Ukraine peace deal "didn't achieve miracles". All sides have agreed to draw up a roadmap by the end of November on how to implement the Minsk peace deal. Mrs Merkel, Russian President Vladimir Putin and French President Francois Hollande also discussed Syria.

The German leader said she and Mr Hollande had a "difficult conversation" with Mr Putin. Both condemned Syrian and Russian air strikes on Aleppo. The Ukraine discussions took place against a backdrop of tensions elevated by Russia's military backing for the Syrian regime - and a bombing campaign in Aleppo which the European Union has warned could amount to war crimes.
Among protesters gathering outside the summit, Mr Putin attracts ire for Russia's role both in Ukraine and in Syria
A blizzard of telephone diplomacy over the past week - when Mr Putin postponed a visit to France over a row about Syria - is said to have resulted in Wednesday night's meeting, which attracted several protest groups outside.
The carnage in Aleppo - highlighted by protesters in Berlin - has heightened tensions
The 2015 Minsk agreement eased fighting between Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed rebels in the east of the country, but violence frequently flares along a demarcation line. Speaking after the Berlin talks, President Poroshenko said all sides had agreed that a road map would be drawn by the end of November on how to implement the 2015 agreement and also protocols reached in 2014. He also said Russia had agreed with a proposal to allow the deployment of an armed police mission from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe. President Putin has made no official comments on the issue.
Ukraine, Western leaders and Nato say there is clear evidence that Russia has supplied the rebels with heavy weapons and regular troops. Russia denies that, but it is hostile to the Kiev government and openly supports the rebel cause. The full article is available at:

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Russia is telling people to prepare for war - ABC News

October 16, 2016 (REUTERS) With tensions between Russia and the United States at their highest since the Cold War, there have been alarming signs coming out of Moscow that suggest the country is ready for war, according to ABC News. Almost no one believes the Kremlin is actually preparing for a military conflict with the United States. Most analysts instead see it as a show, intended to boost support at home and to deter Western countries from intervening militarily in Syria, ABC News wrote. However, there are some unsettling things Russia has done to give the impression that war is looming, the report said. As the confrontation between the United and Russia has worsened over Syria, and amid speculation Washington might launch air strikes against Syrian government forces, Russian state-controlled media has gone into high gear, asking Russians whether they are prepared for nuclear war.
"If that should one day happen, each of you must know where the nearest bomb shelter is," a report on the state-controlled network, NTV, noted, before taking viewers on a tour of a nuclear bunker in Moscow. State outlets, already solidly anti-American in their coverage, have unleashed themselves further, indulging in bitter denunciations of America duplicity, bombastic promises of merciless defenses and freely bandying the nuclear card, it is noted.
This month Russia held a large-scale civil defense drill across the country, meant to prepare people for disasters, among them nuclear catastrophe. The drill, which Russian authorities claimed affected 40 million people, and particularly the way it was presented on state television, resembled Soviet-era exercises, with scenes of schoolchildren flooding out in evacuations and being taught to hurriedly pull on gas masks. Further, Russia's defense ministry has announced how the country would function in time of war, clarifying which government bodies would take command.
The maneuvers took on harder forms as well. This week, Russia deployed nuclear-capable missiles to Kaliningrad, its northern European enclave between Poland and Lithuania that put the weapons within striking distance of Western capitals. Moscow has threatened before to deploy the Iskander-M missiles to Kaliningrad, in response, it says, to the establishment of the U.S. anti-missile shield being erected in Eastern Europe. But this week's deployment came sooner than expected, with analysts suggesting that indicated the Kremlin wanted to play it as part of the broader saber-rattling display in the confrontation around Syria, ABC News writes.
Russia also conducted a series of intercontinental ballistic missile tests this week, launching three missiles in a single day. Most Russians don’t take the war talk seriously, laughing off the idea on the street. Most take a more realistic view of whether there's actually need to find a bomb-shelter. A photo being shared on social media showed an apartment block in suburban Moscow where pranksters or enterprising fraudsters had posted a flier asking residents to donate cash to build a neighborhood bomb shelter, according to the report. Read the full article at:

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Ukraine announces 'Normandy Format' meeting in Berlin on October 19

October 18, 2016 (UNIAN) Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has agreed to a so-called "Normandy Format" meeting in Berlin on October 19, bringing together Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine for talks on the separatist conflict in eastern Ukraine, a statement said on Tuesday, Reuters reported. Fighting between Ukrainian troops and Russian-backed rebels has killed more than 9,600 since 2014, despite a ceasefire agreed in the Belarussian capital Minsk, as reported by Reuters. Poroshenko agreed to the talks during a phone call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande, the statement said. "The heads of states agreed to have a Normandy Four meeting in Berlin on October 19 in order to put pressure on Russia to fulfill security package of Minsk agreements," it said.

As UNIAN reported earlier, Russian president's press secretary Dmitry Peskov said on Monday that Russia was still committed to the Minsk agreements on the Ukrainian settlement but there was little chance for a meeting between the Normandy Four leaders on October 19.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Russia, US move past Cold War to unpredictable confrontation

October 16, 2016 (CNN) Washington (CNN)It's not a new Cold War. It's not even a deep chill. It's an outright conflict.
US-Russia relations have deteriorated sharply amid a barrage of accusations and disagreements, raising the stakes on issues ranging from the countries' competing military operations in Syria, disputes over Eastern European independence and escalating cyber breaches. "This is a conflict, there should be no doubt," said Matthew Rojansky, director of the Kennan Institute at the Wilson Center, on the US-Russia confrontation.
Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with his President Barack Obama on the sidelines of the G20 Leaders Summit in Hangzhou on September 5, 2016.
 On Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the US was considering a "range" of "proportional" responses to alleged Russian hacking of US political groups. Washington publicly accused the Kremlin of cyberattacks on election systems and the democracy itself last Friday. That came after talks on a Syria ceasefire broke down as US officials suggested Russia be investigated for war crimes in the besieged city of Aleppo. Moscow has steadfastly denied that it's meddling in the US presidential election. In an interview this week with CNN's Christiane Amanpour, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said it was a baseless accusation.
"It's flattering, of course, to get this kind of attention -- for a regional power, as President Obama called us some time ago ... We have not seen a single fact, a single proof," Lavrov said.
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has pointed to the hacks as evidence that Russia favors her GOP opponent, Donald Trump. Appearing at an investment forum in Moscow on Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin dismissed that charge.
"There was a whole hysteria about that being of interest to Russia, but there is nothing within the interest of Russia," Putin said.
"The whole hysteria is aimed at making the American forget about the manipulation of public opinion," he added. "No one is talking about that, everyone wants to know who did that, what is important is what is inside and what that information is about."
Meanwhile, Moscow abruptly left a nuclear security pact, citing US aggression, and moved nuclear-capable Iskandar missiles to the edge of NATO territory in Europe. Its officials have openly raised the possible use of nuclear weapons. And that's just the highlight reel. The friction between Moscow and Washington -- by many assessments at its highest level since the fall of the Berlin Wall -- led Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union, to make a plea Monday for dialogue and de-escalation.
"I think the world has reached a dangerous point," Gorbachev warned, according to Agence France Presse. "This needs to stop. We need to renew dialogue," Gorbachev said, commenting on the US decision to call off Syria talks. "Indeed, it's not a Cold War," said Igor Zevelev, former director of the MacArthur Foundation's Russia office. "It's a much more dangerous and unpredictable situation." The full article is available at: