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Tense standoff around Kerch Strait between Russia & Ukraine: How it developed

3 Ukrainian naval vessels breach Russian border near Crimea

The Duran

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Via RT…


The waters near the Crimean peninsula were the site of a tense standoff between Russian and Ukrainian ships that involved a chase, some gunfire, and fighter jets, followed by strong statements from Moscow and Kiev.

The Ukranian vessels were sailing between two Ukrainian ports: from Odessa in the Black Sea to Mariupol in the Azov Sea. The only waterway that connects these is the Kerch Strait between Crimea and mainland Russia. Kiev says it notified Moscow in advance that its navy ships would be sailing through the area. Moscow denies that it was given warning.

While both Russia and Ukraine have freedom of navigation in the Kerch Strait under a 2003 treaty, there are detailed technical rules on how vessels should pass through the narrow, complex waterway. All traffic in the area is controlled by the Crimean sea port of Kerch, and every ship should contact the facility, report her route and destination, and receive permission to sail through the Strait.

At around 7am Moscow time (4am GMT) on Sunday, two artillery boats and a tugboat belonging to the Ukrainian Navy crossed the Russian maritime border in the Black Sea and headed to the Kerch Strait.

These ships had not followed the procedure, said the Russian Federal Security Service responsible for maintaining order at the border.

The Russian officers repeatedly asked the Ukrainian vessels to leave Russia’s territorial waters, but they ignored those requests. The ships also entered waters that had been temporarily closed to navigation.

Meanwhile, around 11:30am Moscow time (08:30am GMT), two more Ukrainian vessels departed the Azov Sea port of Berdyansk and approached the Kerch Strait from the other side, but then turned back and returned to port.

A giant bulk freighter accompanied by several Russian military vessels blocked the only passage through the Kerch strait for security reasons. The Russian military also scrambled aircraft, while the situation remained tense. Videos from the site showed Russian Ka-52 gunships cruising under the Crimea Bridge. Later, they were joined by several Su-25 strike fighters.

Ukrainian vessels continued their journey despite warnings from the Russian authorities. The Ukrainian Navy said the military vessels were sailing from the port city of Odessa to the Azov port of Mariupol as part of a scheduled routine transfer and claimed that it warned the Russian authorities about the trip in advance.

The FSB denounced the actions of the Ukrainian vessels as “provocation.” A video released by Russian authorities shows the Ukrainian vessels maneuvering in close proximity to the Russian ones.

At midnight, the FSB released a statement, saying that Russian warships had to open fire after the three Ukrainian ships ignored “legal demands to stop” and continued “performing dangerous maneuvers.”

Three Ukrainian sailors were wounded and given medical assistance, while the ships were seized. The group of ships that were heading to the strait from the Azov Sea turned back to their port.

VIDEO of Ukrainian vessels in the port of Kerch:

Kiev uses “bandit methods” to achieve its goals, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, said following the incident near the Kerch Strait. Ukraine “first stages a provocation, then plays power games, and [eventually] accuses [another side] of aggression,” she continued.

Around midnight, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko instructed the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (NSDC) to convene for an emergency meeting proposing to impose martial law. The council has moved forward with the motion. The Verkhovna Rada, the Ukrainian parliament, will vote on whether to approve the decision in an extraordinary session on Monday.

Poroshenko stated that martial law will not mean immediate mobilization of troops and said that no offensive operations are being planned.

Russia, in turn, called for an extraordinary meeting of the UN Security Council, also scheduled for Monday. The agenda consists of a single item: “Maintenance of international peace and security.”

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Olivia KrothRobert McMasterSally SnyderCudwieser Recent comment authors
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Cudwieser
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Cudwieser

Haven’t the Ukraine threatened to dig a canal to separate the Crimea from Ukrainian territory? If so they’d better start digging. They’ve enough Azov lackies to do all they’re good for.

Sally Snyder
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Sally Snyder

As shown in this article, Russia’s intelligence network is creating a severe case of paranoia in the West:

https://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2018/11/russias-intelligence-network-and-how-it.html

It’s a good thing that neither the United Kingdom nor the United States would ever think of intelligence gathering on this sort of scale….as long as you can forget about the massive snooping programs of the Five Eyes member states of which both are card-carrying members.

Olivia Kroth, author and journalist
Member

Every country is entitled to its own intelligence network. The USA has CIA and FBI, the Russian Federation has GRU and FSB. Even such a ridiculous dwarf entity as modern-day Ukraine has its own: FSU!

Robert McMaster
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Robert McMaster

Here’s how this situation ‘developed’. Russia mistakenly allowed anything bigger than a rowboat to enter Azov from Ukrania. Conceeding that this amounts to over one half of their naval forces still, at least they could all be rounded up by the Peter the Great Naval Geese Squadron since nobody can stand up to furious geese with automatic pellet guns.

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Trump Has Gifted “No More Wars” Policy Position To Bernie Sanders (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 148.

Alex Christoforou

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RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou discuss how US President Donald Tump appears to have ceded his popular 2016 ‘no more wars’ campaign message and policy position to Bernie Sanders and any other US 2020 candidate willing to grad onto a non-interventionist approach to the upcoming Democrat primaries.

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“Is Bernie Stealing Trump’s ‘No More Wars’ Issue?” by Patrick J. Buchanan…


The center of gravity of U.S. politics is shifting toward the Trump position of 2016.

“The president has said that he does not want to see this country involved in endless wars… I agree with that,” Bernie Sanders told the Fox News audience at Monday’s town hall meeting in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Then turning and staring straight into the camera, Bernie added:

“Mr. President, tonight you have the opportunity to do something extraordinary: Sign that resolution. Saudi Arabia should not be determining the military or foreign policy of this country.”

Sanders was talking about a War Powers Act resolution that would have ended U.S. involvement in the five-year civil war in Yemen that has created one of the great humanitarian crises of our time, with thousands of dead children amidst an epidemic of cholera and a famine.

Supported by a united Democratic Party on the Hill, and an anti-interventionist faction of the GOP led by Sens. Rand Paul and Mike Lee of Utah, the War Powers resolution had passed both houses of Congress.

But 24 hours after Sanders urged him to sign it, Trump, heeding the hawks in his Cabinet and National Security Council, vetoed S.J.Res.7, calling it a “dangerous attempt to weaken my constitutional authorities.”

With sufficient Republican votes in both houses to sustain Trump’s veto, that should be the end of the matter.

It is not: Trump may have just ceded the peace issue in 2020 to the Democrats. If Sanders emerges as the nominee, we will have an election with a Democrat running on the “no-more-wars” theme Trump touted in 2016. And Trump will be left defending the bombing of Yemeni rebels and civilians by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia.

Does Trump really want to go into 2020 as a war party president?

Does he want to go into 2020 with Democrats denouncing “Trump’s endless wars” in the Middle East? Because that is where he is headed.

In 2008, John McCain, leading hawk in the Senate, was routed by a left-wing first-term senator from Illinois, Barack Obama, who had won his nomination by defeating the more hawkish Hillary Clinton, who had voted to authorize the war in Iraq.

In 2012, the Republican nominee Mitt Romney, who was far more hawkish than Obama on Russia, lost.

Yet, in 2016, Trump ran as a different kind of Republican, an opponent of the Iraq War and an anti-interventionist who wanted to get along with Russia’s Vladimir Putin and get out of these Middle East wars.

Looking closely at the front-running candidates for the Democratic nomination of 2020 — Joe Biden, Sanders, Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke, Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker — not one appears to be as hawkish as Trump has become.

Trump pulled us out of the nuclear deal with Iran negotiated by Secretary of State John Kerry and reimposed severe sanctions.

He declared Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization, to which Iran has responded by declaring U.S. Central Command a terrorist organization. Ominously, the IRGC and its trained Shiite militias in Iraq are in close proximity to U.S. troops.

Trump has recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, moved the U.S. Embassy there, closed the consulate that dealt with Palestinian affairs, cut off aid to the Palestinians, recognized Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights seized from Syria in 1967, and gone silent on Bibi Netanyahu’s threat to annex Jewish settlements on the West Bank.

Sanders, however, though he stands by Israel, is supporting a two-state solution and castigating the “right-wing” Netanyahu regime.

Trump has talked of pulling all U.S. troops out of Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet the troops are still there.

Though Trump came into office promising to get along with the Russians, he sent Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine and announced a pullout from Ronald Reagan’s 1987 INF treaty that outlawed all land-based intermediate-range nuclear missiles.

When Putin provocatively sent 100 Russian troops to Caracas — ostensibly to repair the S-400 anti-aircraft and anti-missile system that was damaged in recent blackouts — Trump, drawing a red line, ordered the Russians to “get out.”

Biden is expected to announce next week. If the stands he takes on Russia, China, Israel and the Middle East are more hawkish than the rest of the field, he will be challenged by the left wing of his party, and by Sanders, who voted “no” on the Iraq War that Biden supported.

The center of gravity of U.S. politics is shifting toward the Trump position of 2016. And the anti-interventionist wing of the GOP is growing.

And when added to the anti-interventionist and anti-war wing of the Democratic Party on the Hill, together, they are able, as on the Yemen War Powers resolution, to produce a new bipartisan majority.

Prediction: By the primaries of 2020, foreign policy will be front and center, and the Democratic Party will have captured the “no-more-wars” political high ground that Candidate Donald Trump occupied in 2016.

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Over 200 killed, hundreds injured in series of blasts at Sri Lankan hotels & churches

A series of bombings hit churches and hotels across Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, killing more than 200 people.

RT

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Via RT…


A series of eight explosions rocked Catholic churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka as Christians began Easter Sunday celebrations, with over 200 killed and hundreds injured, media reported, citing police.

The blasts started at around 8:45am local time at St. Anthony’s Church in Colombo and St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo, a Catholic-majority town outside of the capital. The Zion Church in Batticaloa on the eastern coast was also targeted. At around the same time, the Shangri-La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury five-star hotels were also hit, police confirmed.

Two more explosions happened later in the day, targeting two more locations in Colombo. All attacks appear to have been coordinated.

At least 207 people were killed, Reuters reported, citing police. More than 450 were injured in the attacks.

Alleged footage of the aftermath, shared on social media, showed chaos and large-scale destruction inside at least one of the churches.

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Mike Pompeo reveals true motto of CIA: ‘We lied, we cheated, we stole’ (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 147.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a look at a Texas A&M University speech, and subsequent interview, with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The former CIA Director admitted, ‘as an aside’ to the question asked, that the Intelligence agency he headed up before being appointed as the top US Diplomat had a motto “we lied, we cheated, we stole”…which, according to Pompeo, contained entire CIA training courses based on ‘lying, cheating and stealing.’

Pompeo finally speaks some truth.

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