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Bridge connecting mainland Russia to Crimea hours away from opening

The bridge will join mainland Russia, to Russian Crimea, which was previously connected by land only with Ukraine

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The Crimean Bridge, which will finally join mainland Russia from Krasnodarsky Krai, to the Kerch region of Crimea is about to be finished. The bridge spans the Kerch Strait, not far from the beautiful pink salt lakes.

According to RT:

Construction of the bridge, the longest in Russia with a span of 19 kilometers, has been carried out since February 2016, and it is opening for cars more than half a year ahead of schedule.

The bridge capacity is 40,000 cars and 47 pairs of trains per day, 14 million passengers and 13 million tons of cargo per year. The railway section is scheduled to open in early 2019, the bridge will be opened for trucks starting from October of this year.

RT also notes that:

“Each pillar of the bridge needs about 400 tons of metal structures, which means that all pillars need as much iron as 32 Eiffel towers. The bridge’s piles are installed at least 90 meters under water.”

In 2014, the people of Crimea exercised their right to self-determination, and voted to rejoin Russia, which Ukraine too, was once a part of. This was heavily motivated by the events in Ukraine, after the Maidan coup. The people of Crimea saw the dangerous rise of Nazism in the Ukraine, such as when innocent people were burned alive in Odessa, by neo-Nazis. We covered this extensively in this article, which is highly recommended for those that wish to understand what happened, and what was one of the many motivations for the Crimean return to Russia.

A Brief History of Crimea and Russia

It is worth saying that Crimeans did not betray Ukraine, nor their homeland, as all of Ukraine was once a key part of Russia. Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus are descended from Kievan Rus’, the first East Slavic state. Russia is the largest successor of Kievan Rus’, so if anything, Crimeans simply returned to their own people – Russians – while brother Ukrainians were tearing each other apart.

The three peoples were divided after the Mongol invasion of 1240, into feudal principalities, and much of Ukraine fell under the control of Lithuania and Poland after 1360.

Crimea and southern Ukraine, however, were part of the Wild Fields, where Tatars ruled, and Crimea was once the capital of a Tatar Khanate, and before that, a Greek city.

By 1654, Cossacks of Hetman Bogdan Khmelnitsky lead a successful uprising against Poland, and reunited Ukraine with Russia.

These Cossacks mostly lived in what has been called in varying times, Hetmanshina, or the area around the Dnipro River, from as far north as Kiev, down to their fortress in Zhaporozhia, meaning “Beyond the Rapids (of the Dnipro). Many fled from Polish rule to these “Wild Fields Beyond the Rapids”, leaving Little Russia, and going into a new land, not unlike the American or Canadian frontier.

Traditional Little Russia in yellow, note how it excludes southern Ukraine and Crimea (New Russia), as well as Western Ukraine (Galicia and Volyn)

The area around Kiev, Poltava, and Chernigov, however, was the former heartland of Rus’. It was located south of the heartland of the Russian Empire, but north of the Wild Fields. It was called Little Russia, and the people, Little Russians. The term Ukraine, originally simply meaning borderland, was popularized by the Austro-Hungarian Empire as a means of dividing the Rus’ people, however, generally speaking, Little Russian=Ukrainian.

After the reunification of Little Russia, the Cossacks would help the Russian Empire liberate all of modern-day southern Ukraine, from Turkish and Tatar forces. The Cossacks (Little Russians) settled this new land, together with standard Russians. They called the land in the Wild Fields “New Russia” – Novorossia, to distinguish it from Little Russia, and because it was a newly liberated Russian land, not strongly connected to Old Rus’, or Little Russia.

It was in New Russia, that the major cities were built by Empress Catherine the Great, including Odessa, Mikolaiv, (New) Kherson, and the Crimean cities of Sevastopol (built beside ancient Greek Old Kherson) and Simferopol.

As a result of the fact, that New Russia was previously occupied by the Turkic forces, and had no major Slavic cities prior to the Great Russian liberation, the area was settled by many Russians coming directly from Russia, as opposed to Little Russians (Ukrainians) who had developed their own sub-culture to the north and west.

This is not to say Ukrainian people never lived in New Russia, but the area has always had a strong Ethnic Russian presence. This is reflected by the linguistic and ethnic divide in Ukraine; South-Eastern Ukraine is very Russian. While Ukrainians themselves, can be considered a sub-ethnos of the broader Rus’ people, the inhabitants of New Russia are more directly, and recently tied to modern Russia, than other parts of Ukraine.

While Little Russia was developing a slightly different local culture, like that between Sicily and Italy, New Russia was immediately settled by standard Russians, who spoke the standard Russian language.

Crimea especially, is extremely Russian, as the peninsula was given to Soviet Ukraine by Khruschyov in 1954, though it’s worth noting that all Ukraine save for the west, was part of Russia as 37 years prior to that. Still, Crimea was closer to Russia, than to Ukraine in almost every way, save for physical connection.

It is hard to speak of Ukraine as a nation, it is rather a combination of different historical lands

The peninsula is only joined by land via Ukraine, and since the Crisis, travel could be difficult. The Ukrainian SBY in neighboring Kherson, even put up billboards saying they would “cure” people of Russophilia.

Crimeans were, therefore, after their vote to join Russia, cut off from rest of mainland Russia, and forced to travel directly to their own country by boat or plain. With this new bridge, a permanent physical bond will join the Crimean peninsula to the Russian Federation, just as the people were always joined in their hearts.

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Peter Strzok testifies, reveals partisan warfare (VIDEO)

Partisan bickering main event as FBI Agent Peter Strzok is used as the pawn to prove legitimacy of RussiaGate investigation

Seraphim Hanisch

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Peter Strzok appeared before the House Judiciary Committee to testify about his part in regards to the improper handling of the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation and Robert Mueller’s RussiaGate investigation. The hearing was so contentious and partisan that it stalled at this point for quite a while.

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The Republicans went one way with this, and the Democrats went the other. All the while, Agent Strzok sat there as all this happened. Representative Bob Goodlatte was furious with the situation, as one can see.

Vox News reported on this as well, calling the event a “ridiculous circus.” 

FBI agent Peter Strzok’s testimony before Congress on Thursday collapsed into a full-on partisan circus, with Republican and Democratic members shouting at each other, House Judiciary Chair Bob Goodlatte threatening to hold Strzok in contempt, and Democrats staging an over-the-top political stunt…

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Strzok exchanged a series of text messages with Lisa Page, an FBI lawyer with whom he was having an affair, that were critical of Trump. In one particularly controversial exchange, Page texted Strzok that she was worried Trump might win. “No. No, he won’t. We’ll stop it,” Strzok reassured her.

Trump and many of his Republican allies have seized on these text messages as proof of anti-Trump bias in the FBI and to discredit the Mueller probe — the investigation Trump calls a “Rigged Witch Hunt.”

His appearance before a joint session of the House Judiciary and House Oversight Committees on Thursday was the first time he had publicly testified before Congress since the revelations about his texts.

It was bound to be a contentious hearing — and so far, it has been.

Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings (MD), the ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, immediately accused Reps. Goodlatte and Trey Gowdy (R-SC), the chair of the House Oversight Committee, of deliberately trying to interfere with the special counsel investigation after Mueller obtained five guilty pleas from people associated with the Trump campaign in recent months.

And Cummings brought along some pretty spectacular signs to make the point.

As he spoke, Democratic staffers held huge signs with the names and photos of the five people affiliated with the Trump campaign who have already pleaded guilty in the Mueller probe: former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates, former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos, London lawyer Alexander van der Zwaan, and Richard Pinedo, a California man who committed identity theft as part of the Russian election interference campaign.

Republicans first objected to the sign-holding, but seemed to back off when Democrats asked them to cite which rules the signs violated. The signs stayed up as Cummings listed what Flynn et al had pleaded guilty to and slammed Republicans for interfering with the advancement of the Trump-Russia probe.

As the hearing continued, lawmakers fought over what kinds of questions Strzok should be obligated to answer.

Gowdy’s very first question for Strzok — about how many witnesses he had interviewed in the opening days of Russia probesparked a huge debate. Strzok responded that he was not permitted to answer the question based on instructions from the FBI. Then Goodlatte threatened to hold Strzok in contempt for not answering the question.

“Mr. Strzok, you are under subpoena and are required to answer the question,” Goodlatte said.

Democratic lawmakers interrupted Goodlatte and objected loudly in defense of Strzok.

“This demand puts Mr. Strzok in an impossible position,” Jerry Nadler, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, responded. “If we have a problem with this policy we should take it up with the FBI, not badger Mr. Strzok.”

Strzok then asked to speak to the FBI general counsel before answering the question.

When Goodlatte responded that Strzok could only consult “with your own counsel,” that set off another testy exchange. Per CNN:

At one point, Strzok suggested that his removal from the special counsel’s Russia investigation was driven by optics. “It is not my understanding that he kicked me off because of any bias … it was done based on the appearance,” Strzok said, adding that he “didn’t appreciate” the way Gowdy was framing the issue.

Gowdy replied, “I don’t give a damn what you appreciate, Agent Strzok.”

“I don’t appreciate having an FBI agent with an unprecedented level of animus working on two major investigations during 2016,” Gowdy added.

The stakes are high here, which may explain the tense nature of the hearing. If Strzok’s defense of his past actions is received well by the public, he could potentially deal a serious blow to the power of right-wing narratives about FBI corruption.

But if he comes off looking bad it will do damage to the credibility of the Mueller probe — and Mueller’s ability to investigate the full extent of Trumpworld’s relationship with Russia.

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COLLUSION: Peter Strzok reveals THREE different versions of the ‘Trump Dossier’

FBI Special agent caught hiding fact of multiple versions of dossier during questioning by House Judiciary Committee

Seraphim Hanisch

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The salacious “Trump Dossier” that was spread as an amazing example of “fake news” being treated as real, received a further blow to its own credibility by none other than FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok on Thursday in the House Judiciary Committee hearing. Fox News notes that Mr. Strzok indicated that there was not one dossier, but three variations of this document – one held by Senator John McCain, a second by Mother Jones writer David Corn, and Fusion GPS owner Glenn Simpson.

Fox goes on to say:

Rudy Giuliani on Thursday slammed the “totally phony” Russia probe after anti-Trump FBI agent Peter Strzok refused to identify the individuals who apparently handed the bureau three different copies of the salacious Trump dossier.

“Isn’t that called collusion or conspiracy to gin up a totally inappropriate, totally illegally wire based on national security? And doesn’t it taint the entire Russian probe?” Giuliani told Fox News’ Laura Ingraham on “The Ingraham Angle.”

“That’s a disgrace, [Special Counsel Robert] Mueller should be ashamed of himself. Those Democrats trying to protect that liar, Strzok, should be ashamed of themselves. And every FBI agent I know wants to see this guy drummed out of the bureau,” he said.

Giuliani said the dossier led to fake news and the “national intelligence wiretap” of the Trump campaign officials.

“So how much of it is infecting the investigation today? We may never know, which is why I think the investigation is totally phony,” he added.

The inquiry into the dossier occurred during a fiery exchange earlier between Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and Strzok, who appeared before a joint House committee about his role in the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Jordan pressed Strzok about an email he sent to his colleagues, including FBI lawyer Lisa Page with whom he had an extramarital affair, indicating that he has seen different versions of the infamous Trump dossier from three different sources.

Jordan said he had the email the he sent to Page and several others with the subject: “BuzzFeed is about to accomplish the dossier.”

“It says this, ‘Comparing now the set is only identical to what (Sen. John) McCain had, parentheses, it has differences from what was given to us by (Mother Jones’ David) Corn and (Fusion GPS founder Glenn) Simpson.’ Did you write all that?” Jordan asked.

Strzok refused to answer and declined to confirm whether there were three copies of the dossier the FBI had its hands on, saying he can’t answer under the directive of the bureau.

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Trump THREATENS to pull US out of NATO – Germans in favor?

Answering quesitons at a press conference during the second day of the NATO summit in Brussels, US President Donald Trump said he “thinks” he can pull the US out altogether from the military alliance without US Congressional approval.

Vladimir Rodzianko

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US President Donald Trump in Brussels for a two-day NATO summit.

US President Donald Trump threatened to break with NATO and conduct American security unilaterally if the allies did not immediately increase their military spending targets, according to NATO officials and diplomats.

One NATO official said Trump wants a plan from alliance members by January on how to reach the spending target.

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The US president made the statement when asked if he had threatened to pull out of the historically anti-Russia alliance, and whether he thought he could do so without first consulting Congress.

Trump ignored the first question, but on the second question, he said, “I think I can.”

According to Politico, Trump warned his allies behind closed doors that they would need to radically increase defense spending or the US “will do our own thing.” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg then reportedly shifted the meeting to an allies-only emergency session, requiring European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to leave the room.

WATCH: Trump CRUSHES NATO Secretary General with massive truth bomb rant

As Trump threatens to pull out of the military alliance,  a new poll shows that Germans would actually be in favor of an American troop withdrawal from their country, which has been present since the end of the Second World War.

Via The Independent:

The finding comes on the first day of a NATO summit in which the US president is urging Europe to spend more on defence if it wants to continue to receive American military protection.

But far from being seen as a threat, a YouGov poll for the dpa news agency found that more Germans would welcome the departure of the 35,000-strong American force than would oppose it.

42 per cent said they supported withdrawal while just 37 per cent wanted the soldiers to stay, with 21 per cent undecided.

Last month the US media reported that the US government was in the process of assessing the cost of keeping troops in Germany ahead of a possible withdrawal, citing Pentagon sources.

But the policy of actually pulling out of the country has not actually reached the negotiating table in his week’s Brussels summit and is not expected to be discussed as a possibility – for now.

The cause of US withdrawal enjoys significant support from across the political spectrum in Germany but is particularly strong with the supporters of certain parties.

Voters for the left-wing Die Linke are particularly in favour of withdrawal, with 67 per cent backing it, as are supporters of the far-right AfD, on 55 per cent. Greens also back withdrawal by 48 per cent.

Less supportive of withdrawal are voters for the centre-right CDU, at 35 per cent, the SPD at 42 per cent, and the FDP at 37 per cent.

The same poll also found significant opposition to militarism in general in the country. Just 15 per cent of all Germans agree with Angela Merkel that the country should increase its military spending to 2 per cent of GDP by 2024, with 36 per cent saying the country’s already spends too much on its military.

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