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An inside look at post-coup Ukraine

The bleak state of post-coup Ukraine offers little but war, terrorism, lawlessness and extreme poverty.

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The colossal chaos, economic depression, and everyday violence that is now part of daily life in Ukraine have defied the expectations of even some of the most hardened critics of the regime which came to power during the Kiev coup of February 2014.

Journalists killed and kidnapped:

Two days ago, the Russian journalist Anna Kurbatova who works for Russia’s prestigious Channel One was kidnapped in the streets of Kiev by assailants later exposed as working for the Kiev regime’s security service, the SBU.

She was detained without being allowed to contact anyone before being deported to the Russian border.

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has described the egregious incident in the following way,

“We were shocked by the Kiev regime’s actions against Russian journalists. Qualifying this as something other than a new abduction of a Russian journalist would be difficult.

Individuals come up and do not introduce themselves. They take away a phone and documents and do not allow a phone call either to a foreign mission or relatives or even an employer,” the spokeswoman explained.

Then, the reporter disappears from the information field for several hours and it is only under huge pressure from the public, journalists, representatives of Russian state executive bodies that scanty information is provided that the correspondent was detained by agents of Ukrainian security services.

We were shocked that we did not hear from any of high-placed representatives of foreign countries any qualification of such actions by Kiev”.

Far from being an isolated incident, both local and international journalists face a deluge of persecution by the Kiev regime. In some cases, journalists have been assassinated for voicing opinions which contradict the regime’s narrative.

On the same day that Anna Kurbatova was kidnapped, a civilian camera crew from Russia-24 were shot at with live rounds by forces loyal to the regime as they covered the war in Donbass.

In 2015, the local writer and journalist Oles Buzina was assassinated by unknown individuals. Buzina was targeted as an ‘enemy’ of the regime by the ISIS-style website Mirotvorets which names and publishes the personal details of figures deemed non-compliant with the regime and encourages acts of violence upon them.

In 2014, shortly after the coup, British journalist Graham Phillips was abducted by the Ukrainian SBU while covering the Kiev regime’s war on Donbass. After being held in dangerous conditions he had his possessions stolen and was thrown out of the country. A fellow journalist who was abducted at the same time as Phillips, a man called Vadim Aksyonov was savagely beaten by forces loyal to the Kiev regime.

Political assassinations: 

In 2015 Oleg Kalashnikov, a former deputy of the Part of Regions, the faction which held a legislative majority in the country prior to the coup, was brutally assassinated. His death is linked with death threats emanating from the  Mirotvorets  website.

Other terrorist associations included state-sponsored killings of Donbass field commanders Motorola and Givi. Motorola was killed in a bomb planted in his apartment building while Givi was the target of a bomb blast in his office.

More recently, Ukrainian political assassinations have not been exclusively limited to regime opponents. In June of 2017, a car bomb killed Colonel Maksim Shapoval of the regime’s Defence Ministry while in March Denis Voronenkov, a former Communist Deputy from Russia’s State Duma was killed in the streets of Kiev.

Ethnic cleansing: 

The regime’s war on Donbass is a clear attempt to ethnically cleanse  former regions of Ukraine of a population which has held democratic votes to codify the self-determination of the peoples of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics.

The regime’s economic blockade and frequent sabotage of infrastructure in Donbass as well as calls for “total war” coming from prominent politicians in Kiev, makes it clear that Kiev has no intention to adhere to the protocols of the Minsk II ceasefire agreements which have never been implemented.

However, the ethnic cleansing and political disenfranchisement in post-coup Ukraine are not limited to the People’s Republics in Donbass.

On the 2nd of May, 2014, an armed mod of neo-Nazi regimes supporters burnt alive, shot and beat to death nearly 50 people and injured over 200.

The following describes the details of the atrocity:

Throughout the winter and into the spring of 2014, the protests in historic Novorossiya were generally peaceful but often turned violent as fascist thugs from western Ukrainian often visited the protests in order to beat and kill the protesters.

In May of 2014, in the days prior to the 9th of May Victory Day celebrations over Hitler’s fascist forces, things started to become tense.

Knowing that the ethnic and cultural Russians of the region would be honouring their fathers and grandfathers on the 9th of May, the fascist/ultra-nationalist presence in the region grew.

Many people were severely beaten simply because they were wearing the Ribbon of St. George, the symbol of Victory Day that had been adopted by anti-fascist protesters to show solidarity against extremism.

May the 2nd: The Massacre 

The 2nd of May, 2014, began as a day like any other. Although many had seen that in previous days, fascist thugs from the neo-Nazi group Right Sector, the neo-fascist party Svoboda as well as far-right football hooligans from outside the region had descended on Odessa. They continued to pour in on the morning of the 2nd.

By the afternoon, the fascist gangs started violently attacking the anti-fascist protesters. As the anti-fascists come under increasingly violent attacks, the peaceful protesters ran into the Trade Unions House, eventually barricading themselves inside for protection.

As the afternoon wore on, fascists were seen firing shots into the building and then they began to set the building on fire using a combination of Molotov cocktail and flaming debris.

As the fire raged, the fascists surrounded the front and back of the building, prohibiting escape. Many of the protesters, some in their mid-teens died of asphyxiation. Others jumped to their deaths.

Some who jumped and survived the initial fall were beaten to death. Others were tortured to the brink of death.

The authorities did nothing.

The events were videoed and I can personally remember watching as the attack unfolded. It was a barbaric brutality that one had naively hoped had no place in the 21st century. This after all was the age of Facebook, not the age of Hitler. But for those who committed the massacre, it was clearly the age of both.

Aftermath: 

Russia immediately condemned the massacre. Russia was joined by Belarus, Armenia and EU member Bulgaria.

odessa victims

The west remained largely indifferent while the western mainstream media did their best to whitewash the massacre.

There was and still is a kind of unspoken racism that was inherent in the west’s coverage of The Odessa Massacre. Had the events happened in the Arab world and under an ISIS flag, things would have doubtlessly got more coverage.

But because the victims were ethnic and cultural Russians, things were interpreted through the prism of two paradoxical but equally potent forms of racism.

On the one hand, European and English-speaking audiences have been racially conditioned to believe that savage atrocities only happen in the Middle East, Africa or Asia. This is of course unfair and insulting to the vast majority of peace loving people in the aforementioned places.

At the same time, Russians, a distinct ethnic group in spite of their generally white skin, can still be described in racially inflammatory ways by the west. This does not generally happen to black Africans, white Jews, African-Americans or Latin Americans in the western mainstream media. The only other group subject to the same slander as Russians are Serbs, a people who are an historical ally to Russia”.

In the nearby Black Sea city of  Maripoul violence against mainly Russian speaking/culturally Russian opponents of the regime. According to left-wing Ukrainian politician Pyotr Simonenko,

“In Maripoul there was a slaughter of civilians, a mass murder. The number of those killed, first of all among peaceful civilians, is being concealed. A peaceful demonstration was shot at on May 9 and it was a show murder carried out by the current regime. There was a shooting of peaceful civilians, there was no one with weapons there. When you, using armoured personnel carrier guns, killed a family of three, shot [them] in their kitchen, this is what you must be held accountable for; there is blood on your hands today”.

READ MORE: Violence plagues Victory Day in Ukraine

The regime’s acts of violence against civilians is not however limited to the mobilisation of armed militias and thugs. Regime forces have been documented using chemical weapons against civilian populations, an act which is illegal according to international law.

A Russian investigation from 2015 found that Kiev’s forces did indeed drop chemical weapons on Dobass, thus confirming a war crime, in contravention to the Geneva Conventions. Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin reported,

“We have received irrefutable evidence of the use by the Kiev forces of weaponry similar to phosphorus bombs,” Markin said, based on the conclusion of a forensic chemical analysis from soil samples provided by witnesses in the targeted areas.

“The refugees bring in fragments of bombs and artillery shells, which maim and kill their loved ones. We have conducted more than a hundred tests, which all attest to (the war crimes committed by the Ukrainian military)”.

 READ MORE: When Ukraine dropped chemical weapons on Donbass, the west didn’t care (VIDEO)

TERRORISM: 

Regime forces and paramilitaries loyal to the regime have also committed acts of international terrorism. In the spring of 2016, Ukrainian terrorists with connections to the regime in Kiev blew up scores of power-lines which for decades had delivered electricity to Crimea. The fallout has led Crimea to hasten a drive to produce its own energy rather than pay for power-lines originating on Ukrainian territory.

The border between the Russian Republic of Crimea and Ukrainian terrorist has been rendered impassable due to terrorist activities.

Crimean leader Sergey Aksyonov has described the situation in the following way,

“They have placed gunmen from the Right Sector (an neo-fascist Ukrainian group outlawed in Russia) and the so-called Crimean Tatar Battalion near the Crimean border. The border regions have become a cesspool of extremism and terrorism”.

Two weeks ago, Russia’s Federal Security Service FSB, arrested a Ukrainian terrorist who later admitted to acting under orders from the Kiev regime. He was caught will attempting to conduct an act of violence against civilians in Crimea.

READ MORE: Ukrainian terrorist agent captured in Russia pleads guilty to attempted sabotage

CONCLUSION: 

Ukraine is not only a failed state conducting a war of aggression against a people’s who have peacefully exercised their legal right to self-determination, but the regime is attempting to wage war on Russia using terrorist proxies.

Additionally, the freedom of journalists and political leaders, both Ukrainian citizens and visitors has been violently repressed, making Ukraine a country that is unsafe for foreign journalist to operate in without extreme caution.

The Kiev regime can barely pay its own electricity bills and all the while the country’s infrastructure, including its nuclear power stations, is collapsing.

READ MORE: UKRAINE–a ticking nuclear time-bomb

The regime looks close to collapse, but in spite of this western governments ranging from major EU state to the US, continue to prop up a regime which came to power illegal and operates in a swamp of terrorism, violence, oppression and economic deprivation.

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Wayne Blow
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Wayne Blow

There are a shit-load of American and Ukraine scum-bags that need a good kick in the “NUTS”

Seán Murphy
Guest
Seán Murphy

They need a lot more than that.

tapatio
Guest
tapatio

A year before the coup that removed Ukraine’s elected government and installed the neo-Nazis in Kiev, the US and most of Europe called Poroshenko and his gang what they are – Nazis.

As soon as Ukraine’s legitimate government chose not to obey the Rothschild banks, the Nazis became “freedom fighters”, according to the Western media.

Guess what? They were Nazis before the coup and they are still NAZIS.

Wayne Blow
Guest
Wayne Blow

Right on the money, thank you, my friend!!!!

tapatio
Guest
tapatio

Thanks.

Voltaire
Guest
Voltaire

This US organised coup d’état in Ukraine- the most obvious CIA/State Department regime change in many years – must be regarded as the most criminal act in recent years, creating a cancer in the middle of Europe which continues to fester… It is clearly US policy to continue the bloodletting, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity in Ukraine… Just as the US has done in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen….. This is now fully documented… THE UNITED STATES NOW CLEARLY AND OPENLY AIDS AND ABETS MULTIPLE CRIMES IN UKRAINE – for the sole sordid and cynical reason of creating problems… Read more »

Franz Kafka
Guest
Franz Kafka

And just think, all it took was the mass murder of a few thousand americans in the WTC demolition and ‘Pearl-Harbor-like event’ as called for by the Neocons in their PNAC document.

Franz Kafka
Guest
Franz Kafka

Banderastan bawled on the burning Maidan: “We are the heart of Europe”. Europe laughed. Now it is not laughing so hard. And the US is the other parent of this Neo-Fascism. How can it not come to the USA? It is there already.

VeeNarian (Yerevan)
Guest
VeeNarian (Yerevan)

Of course, Maidan was the heart, sorry FART, of Europe when Ukraine made its “civilizational choice”.
Something smelly was lost in translation!

gbardizbanian
Guest
gbardizbanian

The situation in Ukraine is frightening. The US have encouraged a Nazi regime in Europe just as they did with Islamists in Afghanistan and more recently in Kosovo. US leaders are ready to support any criminal faction, any gangster state in the hope of weakening Russia. The EU is controlled by a bunch of irresponsible “leaders” who follow the US and destroy their own continent to please the mad hawks in Washington.

Lants Schtolz
Guest
Lants Schtolz

What is the big difference between Ukraine and the Filipino dictatorship that you suck off on a daily basis?

VeeNarian (Yerevan)
Guest
VeeNarian (Yerevan)

You do know that both Banderised Ukraine and Philippines are loyal US allies following the values of the “superior and civilized” West?
This is all the rubbish you have to say in response to the burning of 50 in Odessa and the US/EU/NATO gang financing and instigating a war in the Donbass in which 10,000 to 100,000 have died and thousands more horrible injured?

Seán Murphy
Guest
Seán Murphy

The Philippines is a legal elected democracy. The Ukraine is not. Understand now?

santiago
Guest
santiago

Do not waste your time, imbeciles like Lants are UNABLE to understand anything beyond very simple concepts.

Guy
Member
Guy

Savagery is a mild word to describe what is going on in Ukraine and to think that it was the work of US of Israel that initiated all this.

Аргел Тал
Guest
Аргел Тал

You know what I can’t understand as Ukrainian myself? Why the fuck is this absolutely safe to talk about separatism and the UK, Spain, Belgium or any other civilized European country, while in Ukraine even a simple citizen can get into real troubles for that. You can easily get to the Mirotvorets website the author mentioned. Guess who runs this law breaking website? The minister’s of internal affairs councelor.

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Skripal and Khashoggi: A Tale of Two Disappearances

Two disappearances, and two different responses.

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Authored by Finian Cunningham via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


Two disappearances, and two very different responses from Western governments, which illustrates their rank hypocrisy.

When former Russian spy Sergei Skripal went missing in England earlier this year, there was almost immediate punitive action by the British government and its NATO allies against Moscow. By contrast, Western governments are straining with restraint towards Saudi Arabia over the more shocking and provable case of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The outcry by Western governments and media over the Skripal affair was deafening and resulted in Britain, the US and some 28 other countries expelling dozens of Russian diplomats on the back of unsubstantiated British allegations that the Kremlin tried to assassinate an exiled spy with a deadly nerve agent. The Trump administration has further tightened sanctions citing the Skripal incident.

London’s case against Moscow has been marked by wild speculation and ropey innuendo. No verifiable evidence of what actually happened to Sergei Skripal (67) and his daughter Yulia has been presented by the British authorities. Their claim that President Vladimir Putin sanctioned a hit squad armed with nerve poison relies on sheer conjecture.

All we know for sure is that the Skripals have been disappeared from public contact by the British authorities for more than seven months, since the mysterious incident of alleged poisoning in Salisbury on March 4.

Russian authorities and family relatives have been steadfastly refused any contact by London with the Skripal pair, despite more than 60 official requests from Moscow in accordance with international law and in spite of the fact that Yulia is a citizen of the Russian Federation with consular rights.

It is an outrage that based on such thin ice of “evidence”, the British have built an edifice of censure against Moscow, rallying an international campaign of further sanctions and diplomatic expulsions.

Now contrast that strenuous reaction, indeed hyper over-reaction, with how Britain, the US, France, Canada and other Western governments are ever-so slowly responding to Saudi Arabia over the Khashoggi case.

After nearly two weeks since Jamal Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, the Saudi regime is this week finally admitting he was killed on their premises – albeit, they claim, in a “botched interrogation”.

Turkish and American intelligence had earlier claimed that Khashoggi was tortured and murdered on the Saudi premises by a 15-member hit squad sent from Riyadh.

Even more grisly, it is claimed that Khashoggi’s body was hacked up with a bone saw by the killers, his remains secreted out of the consulate building in boxes, and flown back to Saudi Arabia on board two private jets connected to the Saudi royal family.

What’s more, the Turks and Americans claim that the whole barbaric plot to murder Khashoggi was on the orders of senior Saudi rulers, implicating Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The latest twist out of Riyadh, is an attempt to scapegoat “rogue killers” and whitewash the House of Saudi from culpability.

The fact that 59-year-old Khashoggi was a legal US resident and a columnist for the Washington Post has no doubt given his case such prominent coverage in Western news media. Thousands of other victims of Saudi vengeance are routinely ignored in the West.

Nevertheless, despite the horrific and damning case against the Saudi monarchy, the response from the Trump administration, Britain and others has been abject.

President Trump has blustered that there “will be severe consequences” for the Saudi regime if it is proven culpable in the murder of Khashoggi. Trump quickly qualified, however, saying that billion-dollar arms deals with the oil-rich kingdom will not be cancelled. Now Trump appears to be joining in a cover-up by spinning the story that the Khashoggi killing was done by “rogue killers”.

Britain, France and Germany this week issued a joint statement calling for “a credible investigation” into the disappearance. But other than “tough-sounding” rhetoric, none of the European states have indicated any specific sanctions, such as weapons contracts being revoked or diplomatic expulsions.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was “concerned” by the gruesome claims about Khashoggi’s killing, but he reiterated that Ottawa would not be scrapping a $15 billion sale of combat vehicles to Riyadh.

The Saudi rulers have even threatened retaliatory measures if sanctions are imposed by Western governments.

Saudi denials of official culpability seem to be a brazen flouting of all reason and circumstantial evidence that Khashoggi was indeed murdered in the consulate building on senior Saudi orders.

This week a glitzy international investor conference in Saudi Arabia is being boycotted by top business figures, including the World Bank chief, Jim Yong Kim, JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon and Britain’s venture capitalist Richard Branson. Global firms like Ford and Uber have pulled out, as have various media sponsors, such as CNN, the New York Times and Financial Times. Withdrawal from the event was in response to the Khashoggi affair.

A growing bipartisan chorus of US Senators, including Bob Corker, Marco Rubio, Lindsey Graham and Chris Murphy, have called for the cancellation of American arms sales to Saudi Arabia, as well as for an overhaul of the strategic partnership between the two countries.

Still, Trump has rebuffed calls for punitive response. He has said that American jobs and profits depend on the Saudi weapons market. Some 20 per cent of all US arms sales are estimated to go to the House of Saud.

The New York Times this week headlined: “In Trump’s Saudi Bargain, the Bottom Line Proudly Stands Out”.

The Trump White House will be represented at the investment conference in Saudi Arabia this week – dubbed “Davos in the Desert” by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. He said he was attending in spite of the grave allegations against the Saudi rulers.

Surely the point here is the unseemly indulgence by Western governments of Saudi Arabia and its so-called “reforming” Crown Prince. It is remarkable how much credulity Washington, London, Paris, Ottawa and others are affording the Saudi despots who, most likely, have been caught redhanded in a barbarous murder.

Yet, when it comes to Russia and outlandish, unproven claims that the Kremlin carried out a bizarre poison-assassination plot, all these same Western governments abandon all reason and decorum to pile sanctions on Russia based on lurid, hollow speculation. The blatant hypocrisy demolishes any pretense of integrity or principle.

Here is another connection between the Skripal and Khashoggi affairs. The Saudis no doubt took note of the way Britain’s rulers have shown absolute disregard and contempt for international law in their de facto abduction of Sergei and Yulia Skripal. If the British can get away with that gross violation, then the Saudis probably thought that nobody would care too much if they disappeared Jamal Khashoggi.

Grotesquely, the way things are shaping up in terms of hypocritical lack of action by the Americans, British and others towards the Saudi despots, the latter might just get away with murder. Not so Russia. The Russians are not allowed to get away with even an absurd fantasy.

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US-China trade war heats up as surplus hits record $34 Billion (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 136.

Alex Christoforou

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According to a report by the AFP, China’s trade surplus with the United States ballooned to a record $34.1 billion in September, despite a raft of US tariffs, official data showed Friday, adding fuel to the fire of a worsening trade war.

Relations between the world’s two largest economies have soured sharply this year, with US President Donald Trump vowing on Thursday to inflict economic pain on China if it does not blink.
The two countries imposed new tariffs on a massive amount of each other’s goods mid-September, with the US targeting $200 billion in Chinese imports and Beijing firing back at $60 billion worth of US goods.

“China-US trade friction has caused trouble and pounded our foreign trade development,” customs spokesman Li Kuiwen told reporters Friday.

But China’s trade surplus with the US grew 10 percent in September from a record $31 billion in August, according to China’s customs administration. It was a 22 percent jump from the same month last year.

China’s exports to the US rose to $46.7 billion while imports slumped to $12.6 billion.

China’s overall trade — what it buys and sells with all countries including the US — logged a $31.7 billion surplus, as exports rose faster than imports.

Exports jumped 14.5 percent for September on-year, beating forecasts from analysts polled by Bloomberg News, while imports rose 14.3 percent on-year.

While the data showed China’s trade remained strong for the month, analysts forecast the trade war will start to hurt in coming months.

China’s export jump for the month suggests exporters were shipping goods early to beat the latest tariffs, said ANZ’s China economist Betty Wang, citing the bounce in electrical machinery exports, much of which faced the looming duties.

“We will watch for downside risks to China’s exports” in the fourth quarter, Wang said.

Analysts say a sharp depreciation of the yuan has also helped China weather the tariffs by making its exports cheaper.

“The big picture is the Chinese exports have so far held up well in the face of escalating trade tensions and cooling global growth, most likely thanks to the competitiveness boost provided by a weaker renminbi (yuan),” said Julian Evans-Pritchard, China economist at Capital Economics.

“With global growth likely to cool further in the coming quarters and US tariffs set to become more punishing, the recent resilience of exports is unlikely to be sustained,” he said.

According to Bloomberg US President Donald Trump’s new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement isn’t that different from the North American Free Trade Agreement that it replaced. But hidden in the bowels of the new trade deal is a clause, Article 32.10, that could have a far-reaching impact. The new agreement requires member states to get approval from the other members if they initiate trade negotiations with a so-called non-market economy. In practice, “non-market” almost certainly means China. If, for example, Canada begins trade talks with China, it has to show the full text of the proposed agreement to the U.S. and Mexico — and if either the U.S. or Mexico doesn’t like what it sees, it can unilaterally kick Canada out of the USMCA.

Although it seems unlikely that the clause would be invoked, it will almost certainly exert a chilling effect on Canada and Mexico’s trade relations with China. Forced to choose between a gargantuan economy across the Pacific and another one next door, both of the U.S.’s neighbors are almost certain to pick the latter.

This is just another part of Trump’s general trade waragainst China. It’s a good sign that Trump realizes that unilateral U.S. efforts alone won’t be enough to force China to make concessions on issues like currency valuation, intellectual-property protection and industrial subsidies. China’s export markets are much too diverse:

If Trump cuts the U.S. off from trade with China, the likeliest outcome is that China simply steps up its exports to other markets. That would bind the rest of the world more closely to China and weaken the global influence of the U.S. China’s economy would take a small but temporary hit, while the U.S. would see its position as the economic center of the world slip into memory.

Instead, to take on China, Trump needs a gang. And that gang has to be much bigger than just North America. But most countries in Europe and East Asia probably can’t be bullied into choosing between the U.S. and China. — their ties to the U.S. are not as strong as those of Mexico and Canada. Countries such as South Korea, Germany, India and Japan will need carrots as well as sticks if they’re going to join a U.S.-led united trade front against China.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the escalating trade war between the United States and China, and the record trade surplus that positions China with a bit more leverage than Trump anticipated.

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Via Zerohedge Trump Threatens China With More Tariffs, Does Not Seek Economic “Depression”

US equity futures dipped in the red after President Trump threatened to impose a third round of tariffs on China and warned that Chinese meddling in U.S. politics was a “bigger problem” than Russian involvement in the 2016 election.

During the same interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes”, in which Trump threatened to impose sanctions against Saudi Arabia if the Saudis are found to have killed WaPo reported Khashoggi, and which sent Saudi stock plunging, Trump said he “might,” impose a new round of tariffs on China, adding that while he has “great chemistry” with Chinese President Xi Jinping, and noting that Xi “wants to negotiate”, he doesn’t “know that that’s necessarily going to continue.” Asked if American products have become more expensive due to tariffs on China, Trump said that “so far, that hasn’t turned out to be the case.”

“They can retaliate, but they can’t, they don’t have enough ammunition to retaliate,” Trump says, “We do $100 billion with them. They do $531 billion with us.”

Trump was also asked if he wants to push China’s economy into a depression to which the US president said “no” before comparing the country’s stock-market losses since the tariffs first launched to those in 1929, the start of the Great Depression in the U.S.

“I want them to negotiate a fair deal with us. I want them to open their markets like our markets are open,” Trump said in the interview that aired Sunday. So far, the U.S. has imposed three rounds of tariffs on Chinese imports totaling $250 billion, prompting China to retaliate against U.S. products. The president previously has threatened to hit virtually all Chinese imports with duties.

Asked about his relationship with Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin’s alleged efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election, Trump quickly turned back to China. “They meddled,” he said of Russia, “but I think China meddled too.”

“I think China meddled also. And I think, frankly, China … is a bigger problem,” Trump said, as interviewer Lesley Stahl interrupted him for “diverting” from a discussion of Russia.

Shortly before an audacious speech by Mike Pence last weekend, in which the US vice president effectively declared a new cold war on Beijing (see “Russell Napier: Mike Pence Announces Cold War II”), Trump made similar accusations during a speech at the United Nations last month, which his aides substantiated by pointing to long-term Chinese influence campaigns and an advertising section in the Des Moines Register warning farmers about the potential effects of Trump’s tariffs.

Meanwhile, in a rare U.S. television appearance, China’s ambassador to the U.S. said Beijing has no choice but to respond to what he described as a trade war started by the U.S.

“We never wanted a trade war, but if somebody started a trade war against us, we have to respond and defend our own interests,” said China’s Ambassador Cui Tiankai.

Cui also dismissed as “groundless” the abovementioned suggestion by Vice President Mike Pence that China has orchestrated an effort to meddle in U.S. domestic affairs. Pence escalated the rhetoric in a speech Oct. 4, saying Beijing has created a “a whole-of-government approach” to sway American public opinion, including spies, tariffs, coercive measures and a propaganda campaign.

Pence’s comments were some of the most critical about China by a high-ranking U.S. official in recent memory. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo got a lecture when he visited Beijing days later, about U.S. actions that were termed “completely out of line.” The tough words followed months of increases tit-for-tat tariffs imposed by Washington and Beijing that have ballooned to cover hundreds of billions of dollars in bilateral trade.

During a recent interview with National Public Radio, Cui said the U.S. has “not sufficiently” dealt in good faith with the Chinese on trade matters, saying “the U.S. position keeps changing all the time so we don’t know exactly what the U.S. would want as priorities.”

Meanwhile, White House economic director Larry Kudlow said on “Fox News Sunday” that President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping will “probably meet” at the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires in late November. “There’s plans and discussions and agendas” being discussed, he said. So far, talks with China on trade have been “unsatisfactory,” Kudlow said. “We’ve made our asks” on allegations of intellectual property theft and forced technology transfers, he added. “We have to have reciprocity.”

Addressing the upcoming meeting, Cui said he was present at two previous meetings of Xi and Trump, and that top-level communication “played a key role, an irreplaceable role, in guiding the relationship forward.” Despite current tensions the two have a “good working relationship,” he said.

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BREAKING: Explosion in Crimea, Russia kills many, injuring dozens, terrorism suspected

According to preliminary information, the incident was caused by a gas explosion at a college facility in Kerch, Crimea.

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“We are clarifying the information at the moment. Preliminary figures are 50 injured and 10 dead. Eight ambulance crews are working at the site and air medical services are involved,” the press-service for the Crimean Ministry of Health stated.

Medics announced that at least 50 people were injured in the explosion in Kerch and 25 have already been taken to local hospital with moderate wounds, according to Sputnik.

Local news outlets reported that earlier in the day, students at the college heard a blast and windows of the building were shattered.

Putin Orders that Assistance Be Provided to Victims of Blast in Kerch – Kremlin Spokesman

“The president has instructed the Ministry of Health and the rescue services to take emergency measures to assist victims of this explosion, if necessary, to ensure the urgent transportation of seriously wounded patients to leading medical institutions of Russia, whether in Moscow or other cities,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitriy Peskov said.

The president also expressed his condolences to all those affected by the tragic incident.

Manhunt Underway in Kerch as FSB Specialists Investigate Site of Explosion – National Anti-Terrorist Committee

The site of the blast that rocked a city college in Kerch is being examined by FSB bomb disposal experts and law enforcement agencies are searching for clues that might lead to the arrest of the perpetrators, the National Anti Terrorism Committee said in a statement.

“Acting on orders from the head of the NAC’s local headquarters, FSB, Interior Ministry, Russian Guards and Emergency Ministry units have arrived at the site. The territory around the college has been cordoned off and the people inside the building evacuated… Mine-disposal experts are working at the site and law enforcement specialists are investigating,” the statement said.

Terrorist Act Considered as Possible Cause of Blast in Kerch – Kremlin Spokesman

“The tragic news that comes from Kerch. Explosion. The president was informed … The data on those killed and the number of injured is constantly updated,” Peskov told reporters.

“[The version of a terrorist attack] is being considered,” he said.

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