US should pay compensation if Covid-19 claim confirmed : Russia
Dhaka July 07 2022 :
Inside Russia : Outside Russia : News Digest by the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Bangladesh on July 07 2022.
How Putin will participate in G20 summit will depend on state of global affairs — MFA
MOSCOW, July 6. /TASS/. Exactly how Russian President Vladimir Putin will take part in the G20 summit in November will depend on the situation in the world and the sanitary and epidemiological situation in Southeast Asia, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.
“Regarding the November G20 summit, an official invitation from Indonesian President Joko Widodo addressed to the Russian leader has been received. Jakarta was tentatively informed of President Vladimir Putin’s intention to take part. The format of participation is subject to clarification depending on the development of the situation in the world and taking into account the sanitary and epidemiological situation in Southeast Asia,” the ministry said in a statement.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will lead a Russian delegation at a face-to-face foreign ministers meeting of the G20 on the Indonesian island of Bali on July 7-8.
“Russia regards the G20 as the leading forum for international economic cooperation and as an effective mechanism for multilateral governance, on the basis of which well-considered decisions should be made in the interests of the whole world,” the statement said.
The ministry said the G20 was created to counter the global financial and economic crises, promote the inclusive achievement of sustainable development and economic growth, and in response to the growing role of large emerging markets in the world economy.
According to the statement, Moscow highly appreciates the activities of the current Indonesian chairmanship, impartiality in leadership, and a focus on practical results.
“We share the relevance of the priority issues declared by Jakarta: healthcare, energy security and digitalization. We are ready to make a significant contribution to making progress in all these areas by the time of the Bali summit on November 15-16 of this year. Indonesia’s course towards multilateralism, consideration of the interests of all participants in the group sets the right vector of work,” the ministry said.
Medvedev cites Bible to Russia’s critics
Those seeking to “judge” Russia might face the “wrath” of God, the country’s ex-president has cautioned
Russia’s former president, Dmitry Medvedev, has warned against any attempt to establish an international tribunal of sorts over the ongoing conflict between Moscow and Kiev. Those promoting such ideas have no moral right to do so, and might ultimately face the “wrath” of God should they persist in their desire to “judge” the country, he said on Wednesday in a social media post.
“Who’s been screaming that it is necessary to set up a court over Russia and involve supranational bodies for this? Who is this daredevil or idiot?” Medvedev wrote, saying that it’s never a good idea to threaten a major nuclear power like Russia that way.
“This high priest is known to everyone,” he added, referring to the US. “And he worked very hard to sow chaos and destruction all over the world under the guise of the notorious ‘true democracy’.”
Moreover, Washington doesn’t have the moral right to judge anyone, let alone Russia, given the lengthy record of its “bloody wars of destruction” throughout its whole history, he pointed out. The US has excelled in imposing “its will crudely and primitively, using money, spineless vassals, – called ‘allies’ for the sake of decency – and weapons of the highest quality,” he added.
What tribunal condemned the sea of blood shed by the US [in Vietnam] and in other places? Nobody! No supranational body was created for these purposes. But the number of victims of the criminal policy of the US today is comparable to the [number of] victims of the Hitler regime.
While the US has been “killing people with impunity,” it has never faced any “real condemnation” from the “international structures it funds,” he said, concluding his post with an apocalyptic warning.
The US and its worthless lapdogs must remember the words of the Scripture: ‘Judge not, that ye not be judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged’ (Mt. 7:1–2). ‘For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can withstand it?’(Rev. 6:17)
The talk about establishing an international tribunal of sorts over alleged ‘war crimes’ said to be committed by Russian troops in Ukraine intensified last week, when the matter was brought up during a UN security council meeting joined by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky via a video link. Zelensky accused Moscow of deliberately targeting civilians, and reiterated his call for Russia to be declared a “terrorist state” and expelled from both the council and the UN.
Zelensky’s calls were supported by Poland, Estonia, and the UK, yet no mechanism to dismiss a permanent member of the UNSC even exists, while Moscow holds veto power in it. Russia has denied any accusations of targeting civilians, instead accusing Kiev of using such tactics.
Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko has since admitted that Kiev’s main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and “create powerful armed forces.”
In February 2022, the Kremlin recognized the Donbass republics as independent states and demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked.
No decisions made on Kazakhstan joining sanctions on Russia — Kremlin
MOSCOW, July 6. /TASS/. There have been no decisions on Kazakhstan joining sanctions against Russia, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Wednesday.
According to him, the two countries maintain regular contact both at the highest level and at the level of governments. “So no such decisions have been made. On the contrary, there have been statements about determination to continue boosting our interaction, jointly respond to challenges coming from overseas and reduce the consequences of these unfriendly actions. This is what we are guided by,” the Russian presidential spokesman noted, when speaking about relations between Moscow and Nur-Sultan.
Peskov added that Kazakhstan “undoubtedly” remained a friendly country for Russia.
Russia’s Kommersant daily wrote earlier that a draft order regulating the implementation of restrictions on the delivery of certain goods to Russia had been published for public comment by the Kazakh Finance Ministry. According to the newspaper, the document says that the Kazakh authorities won’t certify electronic invoices for this kind of cargo.
Russia threatens retaliation for any threats from Sweden and Finland as NATO members
MOSCOW, July 6. /TASS/. Moscow will inevitably retaliate to any thwarts Sweden or Finland might pose upon their accession to NATO, a deputy spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry warned on Wednesday.
“While getting ready to join NATO, Helsinki and Stockholm should realize what consequences this could lead to. Russia would inevitably respond to any measures the [Nordic] countries could take in order to pose threats to it,” Alexey Zaitsev said at a news conference
The accession of Sweden and Finland to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization would be “a step closer to the escalation of political and military tensions in Europe” and would “aggravate things for the Baltic and Arctic regions,” the Russian diplomat cautioned.
“There be substantially less potential for peaceful cooperation that is much in demand in the [Nordic] region,” Zaitsev said. ‘It will be imperative” for Helsinki and Stockholm “to follow directives from NATO’s Brussels or – to be exact – from Washington.”
The diplomat said Washington used NATO’s summit in Madrid to show “who’s the boss”. He regretted that the two independent countries “that have made a substantial contribution to the development of key military security elements after the Cold War actually consented to sharing the same fate as NATO’s periphery near the frontlines, in fact, getting themselves dragged into someone else’s geopolitical game against Russia,” he concluded.
US should pay compensation if Covid-19 claim confirmed – Russia
Damage caused by Covid-19 to countries globally should be covered by Washington if the US bioresearch origin claim is confirmed, the Duma speaker says
The US may owe the world huge compensation for the damage caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker of the Russian State Duma, said on Wednesday. He cited remarks made by the chair of The Lancet commission on the disease, who suggested the SARS-CoV-2 virus may have originated from an American research program.
Speaking in Madrid last month, economist Jeffrey Sachs called the current situation “a mess” and blamed diminishing American leadership for it, identifying the pandemic as one of the US failures. He said he was convinced that the virus “came out of US lab biotechnology” as opposed to evolving naturally, citing his experience with the authoritative British medical magazine.
Volodin asserted that the US government would not comment on Sachs’ remarks because President Joe Biden is “afraid that the world will know the truth about the true culprit of the pandemic.”
He added that the suffering of millions of people who contracted the virus, including the many who passed away, and the economic crisis caused by the pandemic were the US’ responsibility. “The US must compensate the damage to all nations affected,” he demanded.
The Russian official added that the US should “stop and declassify” its “military bioweapons research,” referring to the chain of biolabs scattered across the world that receive funding from the Pentagon’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency. The US says they are used to detect emerging pathogens, but some countries, including Russia and China, believe they may be used for clandestine military research.
Sachs himself called his remark “provocative” and lamented that the theory “is not being investigated, not in the United States, not anywhere,” despite evidence that warrants such a probe. “They don’t want to look underneath the rug too much,” he said.
The theory that Covid-19 started as a leak from a Chinese lab in Wuhan was popularized by the US government under President Donald Trump, who stated that Beijing should pay compensation for its supposed guilt. The Chinese government and Trump’s political opponents at home angrily rejected the idea. Major US tech companies even suppressed the lab leak theory as “disinformation” on their online platforms.
The censorship was reversed under President Joe Biden’s administration, which accused Beijing of failing to subject its microbiology research to international scrutiny. The outbreak was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan, which hosts a top biosecurity lab that has extensive records of doing research funded by American grants.
The World Health Organization conducted a probe into the origins of Covid-19 and concluded last February that the virus most likely came from an animal host.
MAZ, Kamaz to cooperate, standardize components
MINSK. July 6 (Interfax) – Belarusian and Russian truck makers MAZ and Kamaz have agreed to develop industrial cooperation and plan to standardize components, the Belarusian Industry Ministry reported.
The ministry’s leadership is visiting the Russian city of Yekaterinburg, where it is participating in the Innoprom-2022 industrial exhibition.
The ministry officials held a working meeting with Kamaz CEO Sergei Kogogin that was also attended by Belarus’s ambassador to Russia, Vladimir Semashko.
“The parties discussed the state of affairs on issues concerning the development of industrial cooperation and prospective standardization of the MAZ and Kamaz component base, as well as confirmed their willingness to soon sign a detailed roadmap for implementation with a breakdown by periods and items,” the ministry said.
Kamaz, Russia’s largest manufacturer of 14-40 tonne trucks, was hit by sanctions by the European Union, UK, United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Switzerland after the start of the military operation in Ukraine. The sanctions lists of Australia, Canada and the UK also include Kamaz’s CEO. Kamaz’s principal shareholder with 47.1%, state company Rostec is also subject to UK and U.S. sanctions.
MAZ, or the Minsk Automobile Plant is one of the largest manufacturers of heavy trucks, as well as buses, trolleys and trailers in the CIS. MAZ’s main export market is Russia. The truck maker has been subject to EU sanctions since 2021.
Xi, Putin maintain close contacts to boost partnership between China, Russia — diplomat
BEIJING, July 6. /TASS/. Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin constantly maintain close contacts in order to bolster the Chinese-Russian comprehensive strategic partnership despite the pandemic, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Wednesday.
“After the pandemic began, the leaders of China and the Russian Federation continued to maintain close contacts in various formats,” he said at a briefing, responding to a request to comment on information that Xi Jinping allegedly refused to visit Moscow over the global spread of the coronavirus infection. “China and Russia will continue to interact at all levels for the sake of the uninterrupted development of Chinese-Russian comprehensive partnership relations,” he added.
According to the diplomat, Beijing and Moscow are successfully strengthening the bilateral relations. “China and Russia maintain effective dialogue in all the directions of bilateral cooperation,” he concluded.
Earlier, Japanese media outlets reported that Xi Jinping allegedly rejected Putin’s invitation to visit Russia over the coronavirus pandemic. It was noted that the invitation was made during the June 15 conversation of the two leaders. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov asserted that this information was not true.
Russia on the frontline of building a new world — Venezuelan top diplomat
MOSCOW, July 6. /TASS/. Russia is on the frontline of efforts to create a new world order and resist the expansion of NATO, Foreign Minister Carlos Faria has said.
“The US dominance is no longer an absolute one. A new world is being born, and Russia is on the frontline of this struggle. Today this is reflected in Russia’s special military operation to contain the expansion of NATO and counter its reckless policies that endanger Russia’s security and European peace by encouraging the neo-Nazi government in Kiev and its policy of genocide,” he said on Tuesday.
“Russia and its President Vladimir Putin are conducting this struggle in the name of humanity, against the terroristic and hostile alliance known as NATO,” Faria added.
In his words, Caracas favors a world of peace, security and cooperation that respects the right for self-determination.
“In order to achieve those goals, we will work together with the Russian Federation and all nations and governments that share those principles. It is an urgent matter and it must be resolved before the imperialistic aspirations of the United States put humanity in even greater danger,” the diplomat said.
Development of Relations With Russia is Priority for Vietnam, Foreign Minister Says
HANOI (Sputnik) – The progressive development of relations with Russia is a priority for Vietnam, Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son said.
“I want to assure you that Russia always remains the most important partner and the key priority in the policy of our state,” Bui Thanh Son said at a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
According to him, the development of ties between Russia and Vietnam and the decision to raise them to the level of strategic partnership is in the interests of both countries’ peoples.
“I am deeply convinced that the high level of political trust and long-term interest in the development of our relations will continue to grow,” the Vietnamese minister said.
For his part, Lavrov said Vietnam is Russia’s key partner within ASEAN and in other processes on the Eurasian continent.
Switzerland rebuffs Ukrainian demand for Russian assets
The Swiss president says a blanket confiscation of Russian funds would create a dangerous precedent
Switzerland has said that the Ukrainian proposal to confiscate billions worth of frozen Russian assets would create a dangerous precedent.
“You have to ensure the citizens are protected against the power of the state. This is what we call liberal democracies,” President Ignazio Cassis told reporters in Lugano on Tuesday while attending a conference aimed to bolster aid to Ukraine.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Shmygal earlier argued that Western governments should confiscate $300-$500 billion of frozen Russian assets and direct them toward Ukraine’s recovery from the conflict. The asset freezes were among the many sanctions imposed on Moscow after it sent troops into Ukraine in late February.
“We believe that the key source of recovery should be the confiscated assets of Russia and Russian oligarchs,” the Ukrainian PM said.
Cassis, however, stressed that the “right of property is a fundamental right,” and that “seriousness” is required in the discussion about Russian funds held by the West.
We have to accord the most important attention on the fundamental right of individuals, because now we can take a decision, which is perfect for the situation in Ukraine, but we create the possibility to take the same decision in many other possibilities and you give much more power to the states, away from the citizen.
Property rights are guaranteed under the Swiss constitution. Monika Roth, a law professor at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, told Swiss broadcaster SRF that the country does not have the necessary laws to enact a blanket confiscation of Russian funds and that Ukraine’s proposal would be difficult to implement.
“It would have to be proven that [each owner] has allowed the funds and assets to be used in support of [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s war,” she said.
British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, however, last week voiced her support in principle for the confiscation of Russian assets. “I certainly agree with the concept. We just need to get the specifics of it right.”
The Kremlin previously said that the confiscation of Russian assets abroad would be illegal, comparing it to “direct theft.”
US call to exclude Russia from all sports worldwide is politicized — Russian Embassy
WASHINGTON, July 6. /TASS/. A call made by the United States to bar Russia from all sports tournaments worldwide is politically motivated and is an example of unfair competition, the Russian Embassy in the United States said in a statement.
The US Department of State said in a statement on Tuesday that the United States and its partners had urged to suspend the membership of the national sports federations of Russia and Belarus within all international federations. According to the statement, such announcement was made in view of Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine.
“We have noted yet another Russophobic attack from the United States and its satellites, which do not leave attempts to limit Russian participation in sporting events,” according to the Russian Embassy’s statement on its FaceBook account (a social media site banned in Russia since it is owned by Meta Corporation deemed extremist by Russia’s authorities).
“This has been done on the far-fetched pretext of Russia allegedly violating international obligations and breaching human rights in the context of the special military operation in Ukraine,” the statement continued.
“We consider this step as politicized and aimed, as they say here, at ‘containing’ our country. At the same time, it is obvious that Ukraine is just an excuse. The persecution of Russian athletes began long before the current events. This is part of a ridiculous campaign to ‘cancel’ Russia,” according to the Russian Embassy.
“The actions of the ‘collective West’ are another example of unfair competition in order to deprive Russian athletes of the opportunity to compete on equal terms with rivals from other countries.”
“We emphasize that sport should remain out of politics. Using it as an instrument to exert pressure and settle scores directly violates the basic principles of the Olympic movement and is contrary to the spirit of competitiveness as well as healthy competition,” the Russian Embassy to the US added.
Tuesday’s statement from the US Department of State also suggested that “Individuals closely aligned to the Russian and Belarusian states, including but not limited to government officials, should be removed from positions of influence on international sport federations, such as boards and organizing committees.”
On February 28, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) issued recommendations to international sports federations to bar athletes from Russia and Belarus from taking part in international tournaments, referring to a special military operation in Ukraine.
Following the IOC recommendations in late February, the majority of global sports federations decided to bar athletes from Russia and Belarus from all international sports tournaments.
In late May, IOC President Thomas Bach stated that the world’s current situation was against the return of Russian athletes back to the international level of sports competitions.
Russia’s military operation
On February 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Moscow would recognize the sovereignty of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. Russia signed agreements on friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance with their leaders. Russia recognized the Donbass republics in accordance with the DPR and LPR constitutions within the boundaries of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions as of the beginning of 2014.
Russian President Putin said in a televised address on February 24 that in response to a request by the heads of the Donbass republics, he had decided to carry out a special military operation in Ukraine. The Russian leader stressed that Moscow had no plans of occupying Ukrainian territories, noting that the operation was aimed at the denazification and demilitarization of Ukraine.
Subsequently, the DPR and the LPR launched an operation to liberate their territories under Kiev’s control.
Lavrov slams Ukraine’s allegations of Russian army attacking Russian cities as lies
HANOI, July 6. /TASS/. Ukraine’s allegations that the Russian army attacks its own cities are lies, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Wednesday.
“In a word, they are lying. Facts are well-known, our Defense Ministry presents facts on a daily basis,” he pointed out in response to a TASS question at a press conference following talks with Vietnamese top diplomat Bui Thanh Son.
The Russian foreign minister also stressed that the West should recognize its responsibility for civilian deaths in Donbass and Ukraine. “Western countries certainly should recognize their responsibility, regardless of what [Ukrainian President Vladimir] Zelensky and his team say. The West should recognize its responsibility for the death of civilians especially in Donbass and other parts of Ukraine where the Kiev regime is using these weapons (provided by the West – TASS) against civilians as an intimidation tool. Generally speaking, it is state terrorism,” the Russian top diplomat emphasized.
The Russian Defense Ministry said earlier that the Ukrainian Armed Forces had targeted residential areas in the Russian cities of Belgorod and Kursk using Tochka-U missiles with cluster munitions and Tu-143 Reis unmanned aerial vehicles in the early hours of Sunday morning.
SPECIAL MILITARY OPERATION IN UKRAINE
West responsible for civilian deaths in Donbass and Ukraine – Moscow
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has accused Kiev of using Western weapons to conduct acts of “state terror”
The West should be aware of its responsibility for the deaths of civilians in both Donbass and Ukraine, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Wednesday.
During a press briefing in Vietnam, Lavrov was asked to comment on Kiev’s allegations that Russian forces are shelling cities in the Donbass to disrupt supplies of Western weapons to Ukraine.
“Well, in short, they lie,” the foreign minister said.
He added that the Russian Defense Ministry presents the real facts on a daily basis, and that the West should acknowledge its own responsibility, “no matter what [Ukrainian President Volodymyr] Zelensky and his team are saying.”
Since the launch of the military operation in Ukraine, Moscow has warned the US and its allies against “pumping up” Ukraine with weapons, saying it will only prolong the conflict and lead to serious long-term problems in the future.
Lavrov said the West “must be aware of its responsibility” for the deaths of civilians, as Kiev uses the weapons supplied from abroad as “a means of intimidation. This is state terror.”
Earlier this month, Ukrainian presidential adviser Mikhail Podoliak claimed that Russian forces are shelling their own cities near the Ukrainian border in order “to accuse Ukraine of shelling Russian cities and disrupt the supply of Western weapons.”
The Western countries providing Ukraine with weapons have made it clear that the arms should not be used to conduct attacks on Russian territory.
Since the launch of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, the sides have accused each other of targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure.
On Sunday, the Russian Defense Ministry said that Ukraine launched three Tochka-U ballistic missiles loaded with cluster munitions at the Russian city of Belgorod, killing four people.
Ukraine Crisis Highlights Concerns About Whether OPCW Still Has Any Global Relevance, Observers Say
The executive council of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) kicked off its hundredth session at The Hague on Tuesday. Last month, the global watchdog assured that it was “monitoring the situation” in Ukraine closely as far as the potential use of chemical weapons is concerned.
The OPCW’s lack of a coherent, objective and fair-minded response to recent crises centered around Syria and Russia demonstrates its politicization and domination by Western interests, and the longer the watchdog stays out of Ukraine, the better, former diplomats, geopolitical observers, and international legal experts have told Sputnik.
“In Ukraine, the OPCW has fortunately not been pressed into action. This, I suspect, is because the US is satisfied with the situation as it is, with no need for the US itself to be drawn in, as would no doubt be the case if a chemical attack was fabricated,” Peter Ford, Britain’s former ambassador to Syria, said.
The veteran diplomat, who warned the British government against the folly of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and stressed that the campaign by Western powers to topple the Syrian government in the 2010s could open a “Pandora’s box” of endless crises, said the Syria case demonstrated clearly that the OPCW is no longer an independent, impartial agency.
“The Syria crisis proved without a shadow of a doubt that the Western powers have bent the OPCW to their own will, destroying in the process the organization’s credibility, probably irretrievably. This is a tragedy for world peace,” Ford stressed, referring to documented OPCW efforts to censor and smear agency whistleblowers who revealed that the watchdog’s report on the April 2018 chemical attack in Douma, Syria, was doctored to implicate the Assad government.
Today is 4 years since Douma massacre. US claimed it was a chemical weapons attack & bombed Syria. OPCW found no evidence of CW, but its findings were doctored & censored. Also confirmed is that a hospital scene was staged.
Ongoing OPCW cover-up denies justice to Douma victims.
— Aaron Maté (@aaronjmate) April 7, 2022
In Ukraine, Ford fears, the international community can now only depend on “self-interested restraint on the part of the Pentagon in controlling its proxies rather than the deterrent power of a genuinely impartial international watchdog.”
Chemical Weapons Danger in Ukraine
Since the escalation of the crisis in Ukraine in February, Russia has sent the OPCW and its technical secretariat over two dozen notes warning of possible staged provocations by Ukrainian forces or radical nationalists involving chemical weapons. Last month, the agency assured the international community that it was “closely monitoring the situation in Ukraine” for chemical weapons use.
On Wednesday, the Russian military indicated that it had information regarding Kiev’s plans to stage a provocation in the Donetsk People’s Republic using chlorine gas to accuse Moscow of indiscriminate attacks targeting chemically hazardous objects.
Alessandro Bruno, a Toronto-based geopolitical analyst and political observer at Lombardi Letter, says that while the OPCW’s official mission and goals are “certainly worth pursuing,” the problem is the watchdog’s control by Western interests seeking to obfuscate the truth and objectivity in favor of politicized objectives.
“They seem to have targeted only specific sides in specific wars to suit specific aims, which typically are those of Western powers. There have been many efforts to manipulate these organizations by the dominant powers, particularly in the West,” Bruno said.
The scholar recalled instances of claims by the US and its allies about Russia’s use of chemical weapons, from the allegation that Russia poisoned pro-Western Ukrainian presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko in the mid-2000s, to the 2018 Novichok scandal in Britain, which “many thoughtful journalists have debunked,” to the Alexei Navalny “poisoning” saga of 2020, which doctors treating the opposition vlogger have debunked.
“Yet the accusations of chemical weapons that Russia used have persisted, even though they defied all logic. That’s the biggest issue with these organizations. They must be more neutral. Their headquarters must be in more neutral locations because the fact that many of these organizations operate from Western capitals makes them more prone to Western media misinformation,” Bruno said.
The geopolitical analyst still fears that the West could use the pretext of ‘Russian chemical weapons use’ in Ukraine “to get more directly involved in the conflict and potentially trigger a much wider physical war.”
“So far, I think, some of the powers came to understand that making an accusation like that in this conflict would be riskier than the accusations they made in Syria and Iraq, Navalny and Yushchenko and so on, that this would have much bigger implications, that this would blow back against the West,” Bruno stressed.
Tool of US Interests
Christopher C. Black, an international criminal and human rights lawyer with 20 years of experience covering war crimes and international relations, echoed Bruno’s sentiments about the OPCW’s noble stated aims and their stark contrast with the body’s actual history, which “shows that [the watchdog] acts to serve the interests of the United States and its NATO and other allies.”
“We saw strong evidence of this when the USA tried to get rid of the Director General Jose Bustani of Brazil in 2002, when the United States was preparing its invasion of Iraq and John Bolton went to The Hague and threatened his family if he did not resign,” Black recalled, pointing to Bustani’s 2018 interview with The Intercept in which the former OPCW chief detailed the threats made against his children living in the United States.
“We Know Where Your Kids Live” John Bolton threatened head of chemical weapons commission as part of effort launch war against Iraq https://t.co/p8uluxbWGH
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) April 2, 2018
“In August 2020, it was revealed through leaks from Austrian government sources that the OPCW and British claims that Novichok had been found in the blood of the Skripals allegedly poisoned in the UK were false, that in fact no such agent had been found in their blood at all. But the findings were suppressed and a false report issued to back the UK claims,” the lawyer added. “Similar results were seen regarding the alleged poisoning of Mr. Navalny. We can quickly understand what goes on behind the scenes at the OPCW,” Black said.
Black finds it unlikely that the chemical weapons watchdog will change “without a change in the balance of power in the world,” which is taking place, but whose effects on international organizations will be slow to appear.
In Ukraine, the lawyer fears, “We cannot expect any objective consideration of Kiev regime or NATO claims of Russia using chemical weapons in Ukraine for the reasons stated above, despite the fact that Russia has not used them, does not use them and will not use them. To the contrary, we have a situation in which Kiev and NATO forces keep making false claims while themselves preparing chemical weapons attacks to be staged as false flag attacks to be blamed on Russia and when Russia asks the OPCW to investigate this, Russia is met with silence,” he said.
How OPCW Can Regain Credibility
Dr. Alfred De Zayas, a lawyer, writer and former independent expert on international order with the United Nations, similarly doubts the OPCW’s ability to reform itself under current conditions, saying the agency “has long been instrumentalized to pursue the geopolitical interests of Western powers.”
The international legal expert is confident that agencies like the OPCW, the International Criminal Court and the Human Rights Council can regain their credibility by demonstrating impartiality. “This is possible if the BRICS countries become more vocal and more visible on the international scene. There is no reason why African, Asian and Latin American countries should dance to the tune of the ‘Washington consensus’,” De Zayas stressed.
In Ukraine, the OPCW’s assurance about “monitoring the situation” carries only a “purely propagandistic value,” and is “intended to charge and convict Russia even before there is any evidence of violations of the Chemical Weapons Convention,” the observer believes.
“If the OPCW investigates not only potential Russian war crimes, but also expands its investigation to potential chemical weapons violations and war crimes by Ukrainian forces and by foreign mercenaries, including US, UK, French, Georgian and others, then the OPCW might regain some credibility. That, however, would be ‘out of character’. It is not unlike the ICC, which in the eyes of many observers in the US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Switzerland – has lost its little credibility and will have no authority unless and until it indicts Western politicians and bureaucrats including Tony Blair, George W. Bush, Paul Wolfowitz, Victoria Nuland, Barack Obama (the king of the drones), Donald Trump, Nikolas Sarkozy, etc.,” De Zayas concluded.
Ukrainian Forces Fire HIMARS at City in Donetsk People’s Republic
By Ilya Tsukanov
The United States has committed at least eight M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) batteries to Ukraine. Russia and the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics have repeatedly warned Washington that Kiev could use these weapons systems against civilian targets.
Ukraine has fired HIMARS rocket artillery shells at the city of Snezhnoye in eastern Donetsk People’s Republic, DPR representatives with the Joint Center on Coordination and Control (JCCC) have indicated.
“According to military experts of the DPR JCCC, the enemy, situated in the area of the settlement of Konstantinovka, launched missiles from the M142 HIMARS Multiple Launch Rocket System supplied to the Ukrainian Armed Forces by NATO countries at the city of Snezhnoye,” the press service of the JCCC said in a statement Monday.
The JCCC was established in 2015 to monitor the ceasefire in Donbass to help implement the Minsk ceasefire agreements and ensure the safety of Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe observers in the war-torn region. The monitoring center has been semi-defunct since 2017, when Russian observers were pulled out due to changes in Ukrainian legislation making it difficult for them to carry out their monitoring duties. However, Ukrainian and Donbass observers have remained in place, with the latter documenting many of the Ukrainian side’s attacks against civilian settlements since the escalation of the Ukraine crisis in February.
Snezhnoye is a city of 46,000 situated in the eastern DPR, near the border with the Lugansk People’s Republic and Russia. The city suffered Ukrainian aerial bombardment in July 2014 during Kiev’s bid to crush local militias, which proclaimed independence in the aftermath of the US-backed coup in Kiev in February of that year.
The United States has committed eight HIMARS to Ukraine since this year’s escalation of the crisis, and is training Ukrainian troops to operate the medium-to-long-range strike systems in Germany and the United Kingdom. The system has an effective firing range of up to 84 km. Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov announced the arrival of the first HIMARS in Ukraine on June 23.
Russia and its Donbass allies have repeatedly warned the US and its allies against sending advanced weapons systems to Kiev, stressing there is a strong likelihood that these arms could end up on the international arms black market, and warning that Russian forces could conduct retaliatory strikes against “decision-making centers”, including those in Kiev, in the event of attacks inside Russia or targeting civilian areas.
Russia’s aerospace forces have also made Ukraine’s NATO-provided artillery and howitzer systems a top priority target, owing to their advanced capabilities and deadliness, but finding and destroying the platforms can be complicated by their high mobility and shoot-and-scoot tactics designed to avoid retaliatory fire.
Ukraine’s endemic corruption problems are suddenly forgotten as hungry Western investors smell ‘reconstruction’ profits
The flagship “Ukraine Reform Conference” is suddenly rebranded to suit current needs
The annual Ukraine Reform Conference has, since 2017, brought together Western officials and their local “civil society” foot soldiers to discuss ways that Ukraine can reduce its rampant corruption. But this year, before getting underway this week in Lugano, Switzerland, it underwent a name change to the Ukraine Recovery Conference.
Perhaps drawing attention to the existence of the country’s endemic corruption isn’t convenient for those looking to avoid heavy criminal penalties set up to explicitly prevent investment that fuels corruption?
Simply changing the marketing of the conference does nothing to alter the reality. If anything, it’s counterproductive for Ukraine itself and serves to enable and perpetuate serious systemic problems that prevent the country from progressing.
“The authorities are delaying the fulfillment of many important anti-corruption promises,” according to Andrey Borovik, executive director of the Ukraine office of Transparency International, an organization funded by Western governments and multinationals. As for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, “corruption just doesn’t seem to worry Mr. Zelensky much – at least when those implicated are close to him,” claimed Kyiv Independent (another Western funded outfit) editor Olga Rudenko in a guest piece for the New York Times in February, right before the Russian military operation started.
Not exactly the kind of guy you’d want overseeing massive investment projects, one would think.
These days, tackling corruption is taking a rhetorical backseat to the Western push to frame Ukraine as just your typical European country. “For the last two years, we have been discussing large European values, mostly a theoretical debate,” Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa has said. “Then, suddenly, we realised that those fundamental European values actually exist. And that they are threatened. And that Europeans are defending them. With their lives. In Ukraine.”
Despite acknowledging that Ukraine would have to enact “a number of important reforms,” EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that “Ukraine has clearly shown commitment to live up to European values and standards. And embarked, before the war, on its way towards the EU.” In reality, the only thing that has actually changed is that Western officials saw an opening to exploit current public sympathy, if not ignorance, to gain acceptance for an idea that normally would be a much tougher sell to the average EU citizen. That is, the notion that Ukraine would be a net benefit to the bloc rather than an Achilles heel rife with problems that has no business being included in a zone that allows for free movement of people and goods among member states.
EU leaders are leading their citizens straight into catastrophe in every imaginable sense through their knee-jerk handling of the conflict itself and now their push to turn the focus to reconstruction even as the bullets are still flying and the corruption rages. Western weapons supplied to Ukraine – and now apparently sold on dark-web marketplaces – are an example of the potentially deadly consequences of ineptitude. Meanwhile, the head of Interpol, Jurgen Stock, has warned EU nations in particular that “the wide availability of weapons during the current conflict will lead to the proliferation of illicit weapons in the post-conflict phase.”
Neglecting to place Ukraine’s corruption problem uncompromisingly front and center in order to better peddle the premature public narrative of the need for investment under the guise of ‘reconstruction’ represents a threat to the EU – and one that Western officials are only too happy to facilitate, apparently. One has to wonder why that is.
It’s hardly a secret that Western nations have historically leveraged foreign aid to gain economic and political footholds within other countries, either through state-backed programs, civil society funding, or corporate opportunities. But there’s also another catch. Current Western laws such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) in the US, the UK Bribery Act, or the Loi Sapin II in France all create an obligation for any entity or individual investing in foreign countries to ensure a corruption-free transaction. If Western investment in Ukrainian reconstruction ends up in the wrong hands, then board members, employees, and managers could all end up facing criminal charges with penalties of prison.
The prosecution of such cases tends to be highly selective, of course. How often do you hear of US entities being prosecuted for dealings in corruption-rife Nigeria, for example? You don’t. Because that is Washington’s stomping ground.
The American law has often been used as a tool of selective prosecution against European companies for competitive reasons. This is why other countries have created their own similar rules, largely in the interests of having the legal tools available to jump in to prosecute their own in order to short-circuit American pursuits of foreign competitors.
Western entities have an economic interest in portraying Ukraine as a safe place to invest. Otherwise, they’re easy pickings for the authorities of other foreign countries who might choose to use corrupt investment dealings in Ukraine as a means of taking a competitor off the playing field.
The first interest of such Western enterprises has always been to sideline Russia as a trading partner for Ukraine and then treat the country like the latest iteration of the Wild West. They aim to get taxpayers back home to fund the venture risk, all the while harboring plans to subsequently compete among themselves for any treasure they find – with the added competitive bonus for Washington of having also weakened the EU by isolating it from Russia. But to get the green light, and to convince the average taxpayer to accept funding the risk, everyone has to make the venture sound benevolent – hence the Marshall Plan comparisons – and reduce any references to corruption to a minor detail.
Palestinians Are Not on US Radar, Biden’s West Bank Trip Won’t Bring Breakthrough, Says Analyst
Shortly after his visit to Israel, US President Biden will head to Bethlehem, where he will meet Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian National Authority. After that, the American leader will head to Saudi Arabia to discuss a number of regional issues.
US President Joe Biden is expected in the Palestinian Authority later this month, where he will meet a number of senior officials, including the PNA’s president Mahmoud Abbas.
In recent months, officials in Ramallah have grown increasingly frustrated with the Biden administration, because of its inability to deliver promises made to the Palestinians during his pre-election campaign.
Palestinians had expected that Biden would open a consulate in East Jerusalem to compensate them for moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in 2018. That, however, didn’t happen, something that served to strengthen the Palestinians’ anger.
They also hoped he would renew the operation of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation’s office in Washington that was shut down under Donald Trump. And they anticipated that the new boss in DC would unlock much-needed funds to the Palestinians after their budget was significantly trimmed in 2018.
“In his visit, Joe Biden is not going to deal with the most acute issues that have been bothering the Palestinians,” says Hani Al Masri, a Ramallah-based political analyst. “They will not talk about freezing Israel’s settlement activity. Nor will they focus on Israel’s attacks on worshippers, or their arrests and assassinations. They will only speak about how to make sure Abbas survives and remains in his seat.”
Abbas has become increasingly unpopular with the general public in the Palestinian territories. According to a recent poll, conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, more than 70 percent of Palestinians would like Abbas to resign, and 84 percent believed his government was corrupt.
But so far as Washington is concerned, says Al Masri, it is vital Abbas remains in position as he adheres to the security cooperation with Israel and is opposed to Hamas and this is why Washington would like to see him stay put, the analyst argues.
However, there’s another reason Washington supports Abbas – America’s domestic policy and its national interests.
“Right now, there are many other issues that occupy decision makers in Washington ahead of their mid-terms in November. One of them is Ukraine. Another one is their struggle to replace Russian energy. A third is the Iranian nuclear file. They have no room for any Israeli-Palestinian peace process,” explains Al Masri.
Israel, for its part, doesn’t seem interested in a peace process either. Although Prime Minister Yair Lapid, during his first official trip to France, said he would be willing to meet Abbas, such a meeting has not been scheduled. For the next three months, the Jewish state’s interim PM will be busy with his pre-election campaign. A regulation of the conflict with the Palestinians will not be a priority for him.
Americans, Al Masri reckons, understand this and this is why they will not apply pressure to Israel preferring rather to retain the status quo. At the same time, those in Washington who want to present themselves as supporters of the Palestinians will ask officials in Jerusalem to make certain concessions.
Those are likely to include additional work permits to Gazans or removing some restrictions on worshippers, who pray at the Al Aqsa mosque in East Jerusalem. “Anything major is out of question,” Al Masri declares.
“At present, what we can expect is only small and rather insignificant steps. Biden’s trip will not bring a breakthrough. It is not in the interests of any side.”