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Poroshenko’s Kerch Strait stunt aims at derailing Trump – Putin G20 meeting (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 27.

Alex Christoforou

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Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko warned of the threat of “full-scale war”, claiming that Russia had sharply increased its military presence on its border with Ukraine.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a quick look at Poroshenko’s claims of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, and how the recent Kerch Strait tensions will feed nicely into the neocon war agenda, derailing any rapprochement between Trump and Putin during the G20 summit.

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Via Zerohedge…

President Petro Poroshenko said during a Tuesday Ukrainian television interview that the threat of “full-scale war” with Russia could be imminent as tensions rise following the Russia-Ukraine incident near the Kerch Strait on Sunday.

Poroshenko condemned what he described as a rapidly increased Russian military presence on the border with Ukraine, saying, “The number of [Russian] tanks at bases located along our border has tripled,” according to the AFP.

The Ukrainian president added that “the number of units that have been deployed along our border – what’s more, along its full length – has grown dramatically.” He ultimately concluded that the military buildup meant that the country is “under threat of full-scale war with Russia.”

While Poroshenko didn’t cite specific Russian troop numbers he claimed that intelligence reports pointed to Moscow tripling its forces along the border since the annexation of Crimea in 2014. Referencing media reports about planned Russian military exercises, he argued that “talks about possible drills do not justify these increases.”

“I don’t want anyone to think this is fun and games,” he added. Despite his sarcasm, it’s doubtful that anyone sees the dramatically escalating events in the Black Sea as anything less than intensely dangerous and carrying the potential for outbreak of war.

On Tuesday Britain announced it is dispatching the HMS Echo, a UK Royal Navy survey vessel and monitoring ship to the Black Sea, following Britain’s leaders condemning what it described as Russian aggressive actions in seizing Ukrainian ships and their crew off the coast of Crimea, which the Russian Navy described as “maneuvering dangerously”. A Ministry of Defence statement said the reconnaissance ship would “demonstrate the UK’s support to ensuring freedom of navigation”.

But crucially there are already calls by former commander of the Royal Navy, Admiral Lord West, to send a much more powerful and capable Type 45 destroyer, or guided missile warship, into the Black Sea amid escalating tensions.

There’s concern that should the situation escalate between Russia and Ukraine, the Royal Navy would need more serious military hardware in the vicinity.

During Tuesday’s interview Ukrainian President Poroshenko also addressed his deeply controversial introduction of martial law in Ukraine. He said, according a translation by AFP:

“If Russia doesn’t carry out an invasion in the area of the Joint Forces Operation and the illegally-annexed Crimea,” the law would not bring restrictions on the rights and freedoms of citizens.

Thus it appears Poroshenko is justifying the imposition of martial law based on the mere possibility of a future war with Russia, though he’d previously claimed “martial law doesn’t mean war” upon first making the announcement.

Poroshenko’s plan to impose martial law had been announced and approved Monday, and during his address on national television, the president said it will begin at 9 am local time on Nov. 28 and continue at least until late January. Ukrainians are expected to vote in a presidential election in March.

As we observed previously, while European officials have urged both sides to exercise restraint, the incident shows just how easily Russia and the West could be drawn into a military conflict over Ukraine.

Though it appears for now that a shooting war has been averted, the mobilization of Ukrainian troops on its border with Russia certainly doesn’t bode well for peace. The incident has sent the Russian ruble sliding against the dollar, as the sanction fears join concerns about the recent dramatic slump in global oil prices.

Meanwhile a Ukraine security chief has admitted that intel agents were on board Ukrainian Navy ships during the Kerch standoff. Via RT…

Ukrainian Navy ships which entered Russian waters off Crimea’s shores had counterintelligence officers on board, Kiev’s security service confirmed.

Vasily Gritsak, head of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), confirmed that counterintelligence officers were on the ships which entered Russian waters in the Kerch Strait on Sunday.

The agents were routinely providing “counterintelligence support to the Ukrainian Navy unit,” an SBU statement reads.

Counterintelligence officers are usually embedded with the military and deployed to the frontline, the agency said, adding, “it will always remain so.”

Gritsak accused Russia of using excessive force against Ukrainian vessels. Citing some “confirmed intelligence,” the statement alleged that a Russian aircraft had fired two missiles at the Ukrainian vessels during the standoff, leaving one SBU officer “seriously wounded.”

It comes after the FSB said there were two Ukrainian operatives on board who coordinated the “provocation” in the Kerch Strait. Russia’s security agency also filmed three men, identified as an SBU counterintelligence agent, a Navy officer and a sailor.

Speaking on camera, they said the crews deliberately ignored orders to stop after the ships entered Russia’s territorial waters. There were small arms on board the ships as well as machine guns with ammunition, according to service members.

The FSB has also asserted that the provocative mid-sea encounter was in fact ordered by the Ukrainian government. Top Russian officials had previously voiced similar statements, accusing Kiev of trying to win sympathies in the West, put pressure on Russia and help President Petro Poroshenko cement power.

Kiev responded conspicuously fast to the Kerch Strait incident, with Poroshenko announcing that a period of martial law would be imposed. The Ukrainian military was also put on combat alert following the naval standoff.

Some observers, however, noted the timing of the event as it came ahead of the Trump-Putin meeting at the G20 summit and the start of presidential campaign in Ukraine.

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Olivia KrothA.F.VethShaun RameweManintheMoonStop Bush and Clinton Recent comment authors
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Shaun Ramewe
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Shaun Ramewe

If I was Putin I would be happy about that!!

Olivia Kroth, author and journalist
Member

In Paris, Trump did not even bother to greet Poroshenko, while greeting President Putin in a very friendly way. Trump dislikes Poroshenko and does not really take him seriously. His antics look desperate and childish.

A.F.Veth
Guest
A.F.Veth

Putin downed mH17, you smiled!

Stop Bush and Clinton
Guest

Poroshenko is just following his orders, given to him by the CIA. He wouldn’t be stupid enough to attack Russia by himself.

Olivia Kroth, author and journalist
Member

Poroshenko is “derailing” himself and nobody else.

ManintheMoon
Guest
ManintheMoon

I fear you’re wrong on this, Olivia, see my comment above. My gut feeling is that Poroshenko knows what he’s about and that’s just looting as much out of his supposed countrymen as he possibly can before some other crook is passed the baton. It is all backfiring on Ukraine and indeed the US but that’s irrelevant to these maniacs who could end up incinerating us all.

ManintheMoon
Guest
ManintheMoon

It now seems that Poroshenko has achived his (or more likely his sponsors’) aim of derailing the Putin- Trump meeting. I feel this is a much more serious matter than Alexander gives credit for. Poroshenko, as we know, is a gangster oligarch placed in charge of a failed state. The fact that he is in a position to prevent a rapprochement between the two greatest nuclear powers, is more than a cause for concern. I don’t believe this has anything to do with his coming Presidential election – he knows perfectly well that he hasn’t a cat in hell’s chance… Read more »

Shaun Ramewe
Guest
Shaun Ramewe

If Swamp-Chump cancels because of this charade then it proves again that he is sneakily working for the NeoCon Deep-State.

A.F.Veth
Guest
A.F.Veth

He canceled, thanks God

Olivia Kroth, author and journalist
Member

Why is the Duran paying so much attention to this Ukraine freak? Half the amount of articles about that ridiculous failed state would suffice. We can all live on without paying attention to them.

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Peace on Korean Peninsula within reach, if only Trump can remove Pompeo & Bolton (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 152.

Alex Christoforou

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RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou discuss the results of the Putin-Kim summit in Vladivostok, Russia, aimed at boosting bilateral ties between the two neighboring countries, as well as working to contribute to a final peace settlement on the Korean peninsula.

Putin’s meeting with Kim may prove to be a pivotal diplomatic moment, as North Korea continues to work towards normalizing ties with the U.S. amidst ongoing denuclearization talks with the Trump White House.

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Via the BBC…

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said North Korean leader Kim Jong-un needs international security guarantees if he is to end his nuclear programme.

Such guarantees would need to be offered within a multinational framework, he added, following talks near Vladivostok in Russia’s far east.

Mr Kim praised the summit as a “very meaningful one-on-one exchange”.

Mr Putin said North Korea’s leader was “fairly open” and had “talked freely on all issues that were on the agenda”.

The meeting followed the breakdown of talks between the US and North Korea in February, when Mr Kim met US President Donald Trump in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi.

Those talks reportedly stalled over North Korea’s demand for full economic sanctions relief in return for some denuclearisation commitments – a deal the US was not willing to make.

Speaking after the talks on Thursday, Mr Putin said he wanted to see full denuclearisation on the Korean peninsula.

But he said this could only be achieved through respect for international law.

“We need to restore the power of international law, to return to a state where international law, not the law of the strongest, determines the situation in the world,” he said.

Mr Kim greeted Russian officials warmly when he arrived in Russia on Wednesday.

The North Korean leader was entertained by a brass band in Vladivostok before he got inside a car flanked by bodyguards, who – in now familiar scenes – jogged alongside the vehicle as it departed.

What do we know about the summit?

According to the Russian presidential spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin believes the six-party talks on North Korea, which are currently stalled, are the only efficient way of addressing the issue of nuclear weapons on the peninsula.

Those talks, which began in 2003, involve the two Koreas as well as China, Japan, Russia and the US.

“There are no other efficient international mechanisms at the moment,” Mr Peskov told reporters on Wednesday.

“But, on the other hand, efforts are being made by other countries. Here all efforts merit support as long as they really aim at de-nuclearisation and resolving the problem of the two Koreas.”

What do both sides want?

This visit is being widely viewed as an opportunity for North Korea to show it has powerful allies following the breakdown of the talks with the US in February.

The country has blamed US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for the collapse of the Hanoi summit. Earlier this month North Korea demanded that Mr Pompeo be removed from nuclear talks, accusing him of “talking nonsense” and asking for someone “more careful” to replace him.

The summit is also an opportunity for Pyongyang to show that its economic future does not depend solely on the US. Mr Kim may try to put pressure on Moscow to ease sanctions.

Analysts say the summit is an opportunity for Russia to show that it is an important player on the Korean peninsula.

President Putin has been eager to meet the North Korean leader for quite some time. Yet amid the two Trump-Kim summits, the Kremlin has been somewhat sidelined.

Russia, like the US and China, is uncomfortable with North Korea being a nuclear state.

How close are Russia and North Korea?

During the Cold War, the Soviet Union (of which Russia is the main successor state) maintained close military and trade links with its communist ally, North Korea, for ideological and strategic reasons.

After the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, trade links with post-communist Russia shrank and North Korea leaned towards China as its main ally.

Under President Putin, Russia recovered economically and in 2014 he wrote off most of North Korea’s Soviet-era debt in a major goodwill gesture.

While it is arguable how much leverage Russia has with the North today, the communist state still regards it as one of the least hostile foreign powers.

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Putin meets Kim for the first time (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 151.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a look at the historic meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in the city of Vladivostok in the Russian Far East.

The meeting marks the first ever summit between the two leaders.

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Via RT…

Leaders of Russia and North Korea sat down for a historic summit in Vladivostok, expressing hope it will revive the peace process in the Korean Peninsula and talks on normalizing relations with the US.

The summit on Russky Island, just off Vladivostok, started a little late because President Vladimir Putin’s flight was delayed. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had made the trip by train, arriving on Wednesday.

In brief public remarks before the talks, the two leaders expressed hope the summit will help move forward the reconciliation process in the Korean Peninsula. Putin welcomed Kim’s contributions to “normalizing relations” with the US and opening a dialogue with South Korea.

Kim said he hoped the Vladivostok summit would be a “milestone” in the talks about denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, but also build upon “traditionally friendly ties” between Russia and North Korea.

The North Korean leader also made a point of thanking Putin for flying all the way to Vladivostok for the meeting. The Far East Russian city is only 129 kilometers from the border with North Korea.

The historic summit takes place less than two months after Kim’s second summit with US President Donald Trump in Hanoi fell apart without a breakthrough on denuclearization. The US rejected North Korea’s request for partial sanctions relief in return for moves to dismantle nuclear and missile programs; Washington insists on full disarmament before any sanctions are removed.

Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is the main subject of the Kim-Putin summit, but there will also be talks about bilateral relations, trade, and humanitarian aid. The first one-on-one meeting is scheduled to last about an hour, followed by further consultations involving other government officials.

Following the summit, Putin is scheduled to visit China.

 

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Kim And Putin: Changing The State Of The Board In Korea

The future of Korea could be decided by these two men today.

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Authored by Tom Luongo:


Today is a big day for Korea. The first face-to-face summit of Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un takes place.

At the same time the 2nd annual Belt and Road Forum kicks off in Beijing.

This meeting between Putin and Kim has been in the works for a while but rumors of it only surfaced last week. But don’t let the idea that this was put together at the last minute fool you.

It wasn’t.

The future of Korea could be decided by these two men today.

I know that sounds bold. But hear me out.

And while no one seems to think this meeting is important or that anything of substance will come from it I do. It is exactly the kind of surprise that Putin loves to spring on the world without notice and by doing so change the board state of geopolitics.

  • Russia’s entrance into Syria in 2015, two days after Putin’s historic speech at the U.N. General Assembly
  • 2018’s State of the Union address where he announced hypersonic missiles, embarrassing the U.S. Militiary-Industrial Complex which accelerated the Bolton Doctrine of subjugating the world
  • Flying 2 TU-160 nuclear-armed bombers to Venezuela, creating panic in D.C. leading to the ham-fisted regime change operations there.
  • Nationalization of Yukos.
  • The operation to secure Crimea from U.S. invasion by marines aboard the U.S.S Donald Cook during the Ukrainian uprising against Viktor Yanukovich.

Both Putin and Chinese Premier Xi Jinping are angry at the breakdown of the talks in Hanoi back in February. It was clear that everyone expected that meeting to be a rubber stamp on a deal already agreed to by all parties involved.

In fact the two meetings between Kim and Trump were only possible because Trump convinced them of his sincerity to resolve the ‘denuclearization’ of North Korea which would clear a path to rapid reunification.

It’s why they went along with the U.S.’s increased sanctions on North Korea as administered through the U.N. in 2017.

That John Bolton and Mike Pompeo destroyed those talks and Trump was unwilling or unable (who cares at this point, frankly, useless piece of crap that he is) to stop them embarrassed and betrayed them.

They are now done with Trump.

He’ll get nothing from either of them or Kim until Trump can prove he’s in charge of his administration, which he, clearly, is not.

And they will be moving forward with their own agenda for security and Asian economic integration. So I don’t think the timing of this meeting with that of the Belt and Road Forum is an accident.

And that means moving forward on solving the Korea problem without Trump.

It is clear from the rhetoric of Putin’s top diplomat, the irreplaceable Sergei Lavrov, that Russia’s patience is over. They are no longer interested in what Trump wants and they will now treat the U.S. as a threat, having upped their military stance towards the U.S. to that of “Threat.”

If Bolton wants anything from Russia at this point he best be prepared to start a war or piss off.

This is also why Russia took the gloves off with Ukraine in the run up to the Presidential elections, cutting off energy and machinery exports with Ukraine.

To put paid Putin’s growing impatience with U.S. policies, he just issued the order to allow residents of Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics to apply for Russian passports.

This will send Bolton into apoplexy. Angela Merkel of Germany will be none too pleased either. Putin is now playing hardball after years of unfailing politeness.

It’s also why Lavrov finalized arms and port deals all over the Middle East in recent weeks, including those with Lebanon, Egypt, Turkey and India.

Bolton, Pompeo and Pence are ideologues. Trump is a typical Baby Boomer, who lives in a bubble of his own design and believes in an America that never existed.

None of them truly understand the fires they are stoking and simply believe in the Manifest Destiny of the U.S. to rule the world over a dim and barbaric world.

Putin, Xi, Rouhani in Iran and Kim in North Korea are pragmatic men. They understand the realities they live in. This is why I see Putin willing tomorrow to sit down with Kim and flaunt the U.N. sanctions and begin the investment process into North Korea that should have begun last year.

Putin would not be making these moves if he didn’t feel that Bolton was all bark and no bite when it came to actual war with Russia. He also knows that Germany needs him more than he needs Germany so despite the feet-dragging and rhetoric Nordstream 2 will go forward.

Trade is expanding between them despite the continued sanctions.

Putin may be willing to cut a deal with President-elect Zelensky on gas transit later in the year but only if the shelling of the LPR and DPR stops and he guarantees no more incidents in the Sea of Azov. This would also mollify Merkel a bit and make it easier for her politically to get Nordstream 2 over the finish line.

There are moments in history when people go too far. Bolton and Pompeo went too far in Hanoi. He will pay the price now. Putin and Kim will likely agree to something in Vladivostok that no one is expecting and won’t look like much at first.

But the reality is this summit itself marks a turning point in this story that will end with the U.S. being, in Trump’s transactional parlance, a “price taker” since it has so thoroughly failed at being a “price maker.”

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