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Trump couldn’t engage in detente with Russia, but America’s Middle East allies have

Russia is ‘leading from the front’ by creating partnerships with states in the Middle East, just as the US ‘lead from behind’ strategy of employing non-state proxy actors to achieve its aims, has failed.




Over the last two months, Russia has been using increasingly direct language to state the following:

–The US spares terrorists in Syria including al-Nusrea

–The biggest attacks on Syrian and Russian troops in Deir ez-Zor come from US-proxy SDF held positions

–The US and its proxies collude on the battle field with ISIS

–ISIS moves freely around US controlled areas in Syria and attacks Syrian and Russian forces from those positions

These are incredibly serious allegations, although they are little different than what the Syrian government has been saying for many years. The allegations amount to backing up Damascus, Wikileaks and some of things said by candidate Trump, implying that the US is seriously in cahoots with ISIS, that the known US proxy SDF is a also in cahoots with ISIS and is de-facto a militant group working to undermine Syria’s security and territorial unity and that the US is not actually fighting terrorism in Syria, contrary to boasts from Washington.

In this sense, Russia has seemingly given up on trying to insensitivity the US into cooperation and is instead telling blunt truths about the negative role the US plays in Syrian conflict, truths that Russia had previously been less reticent to spell out so overtly. While Russia has more or less given up on Washington, Moscow remains highly eager to work with traditional US allies throughout the Middle East and Eurasia, many of whom are now equally eager to work with Russia and take advantages of the many benefits of good relations with the Eurasian super-power.

Israel, which is a close US ally and a country that still maintains good relations with Russia, has also weighed in on this new reality. Hardline, Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman has recently said that the US must do more in the region to counter Russia, Iran, Hezbollah and refreshed Arab powers like Syria. While Israel does not necessarily mind Russia’s military presence in the region, Tel Aviv is well aware that Russia’s geo-political strategy in the Middle East is one balance and generally, one of fairness. This contrasts with the adversarial US approach, which virtually always takes Israel’s side over that of any country having a dispute with Tel Aviv. With Russia becoming a more important player in the region and with the US slowly but surely coming to realise its own failures, Israel will have to get used to the Russian language of compromise becoming increasingly prominent. Clearly Israel would prefer US language of undying pro-Israeli rhetoric, but realities are changing and Israel knows this.

While all this is being said, America’s two most prominent state allies in the region, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, are speaking more and more like Russia. Turkey is now standing with Iran and Iraq in saying Ankara has a commitment to the territorial integrity of Syria, Iraq and the wider Arab world and just yesterday the Saudi Foreign Minister said the same, even going further stating that Riyadh supports the stability of the political institutions of Syria. When decoding the diplomatic language, Saudi is essentially saying that it has dropped its long held militant opposition to the secular government of Syrian Prettiness Bashar al-Assad. During a recent meeting of the so-called Syrian opposition in Saudi, the Saudi regime delegates more or less said the same thing.

Saudi FM offers thinly veiled criticism of US during press conference with Sergey Lavrov

Just as Russia’s new found partnership with Turkey has brought Ankara’s leadership closer to Moscow’s regional partners, namely Iran, it is now highly probable that the wide ranging meeting between Saudi and Russian leaders in Moscow, could help ease tensions in the Persian Gulf.

Earlier this year, the Qatari Foreign Minister praised Russia’s role of being a neutral power in the Saudi, Bahraini, Emirati and Egyptian row with Qatar. Furthermore, Saudi Arabia which has led the boycott of Qatar, is now also praising Russia, using incredibly warm language, especially when one considers Saudi’s recent positions in the region which ran totally contrary to that of Russia.

In this sense, if any major power is going to ease tensions between Riyadh and Doha, this will likely be Russia.

As I explained yesterday, by creating an intertwined relationship between Saudi and Russia, this is actually good for Iran, as it gives Russia the ability to use economic incentives to quietly tell Saudi to tone down its anti-Iranian rhetoric. In other words, just as Russia brought Turkey and Iran together, that same economic and geo-political influence can now help to at least ease tensions between Riyadh and Tehran. For clear ideological reasons, Tehran and Riyadh will likely never be partners, but nor do they need to live in a state of constant tension. This is now increasingly possible.

Russia and Saudi Arabia: A case of ‘PEACE FOR OIL and OIL FOR PEACE’

Russia has also exposed a great many failures in Saudi’s own 20 year + geo-strategy. For all the money that Saudi has poured into proxy militant and terrorist groups, in attempts to foment regime change, none of it has worked, particularly in Syria. Iraq’s predominately Shi’a government is stabilising and has an ally in not only non-Arab Shi’a Iran but also now in non-Arab Sunni Turkey. Saudi is increasingly having to accept this reality. In Syria, Saudi’s failure is America’s failure and while it was Turkey’s failure, Ankara has saved face by more or less switching to the winning side, before the conflict officially ends.

In respect of Libya, this was always far more of a Qatari “project regime change” than a Saudi one and Saudi’s increasingly close relations with Sisi’s Egypt which supports the secular Libyan House of Representatives, effectively makes Riyadh’s machinations in Libya redundant, as Egypt has taken the lead. Saudi can do little more than tacitly consent to Egypt’s support for Libya’s leading secular faction, led by Khalifa Haftar.

Finally, with oil prices continuing to fall and with China’s progress in renewable energy threatening to keep the oil price down for many years to come, Saudi has found that as a non-OPEC energy producer, Russia may be a more useful economic partner than the United States, not least because quietly many in the Saudi deep state are privately upset that the US deep state favours former Crown Prince Mohammad bin Nayef (MBN) over the current Crown Prince and lead Saudi policy maker, Mohammad bin Salman (MBS).

After years of close relations with the US, Saudi is now discovering what it is like when leading figures in Washington seek to control the internal political workings of one’s state, and the pro-MBS faction which apparently includes the elderly Saudi King, are not entirely happy about that. Hence. the Saudi Foreign Minister stated that both Saudi and Russia are similar in that they do not seek to interfere in the internal workings of other countries, nor impose alien political systems upon foreign states.

Forgetting the fact that in Saudi’s case, this is historically untrue, the intent of the statement is far more crucial than the context. Saudi is saying that it respects Russia’s hands off approach to the internal realities in the countries it works with, while Saudi is expressing its growing exacerbation over US aims for Saudi which some are saying may go as far as to foment a palace coup in Riyadh in favour of MBN and his supporters.

In this sense, one could say that the US observed the Qatar crisis as a test to see how united a Gulfi country’s elites would be in respect of supporting an embattled leader. In Qatar, the Emir has not fallen and this means that the US might have more difficulty than originally thought if they really seek to foment a palace coup in Saudi Arabia.

Russia is also aware that as oil prices inevitably fall in coming years and as Saudi at least attempts to diversify its economy in line with MBS’ ‘Vision 2030’ programme, Saudi may increasingly fall into Russia’s orbit in the next decade.  As an energy producer desperate for unity among non-OPEC producers such as Russia and also as a country that will rely increasingly on the expertise of countries like Russia (and its ally China) to diversify an economy that since the inception of the Saudi state, has been entirely dependant on energy exports, Riyadh may well find itself embracing the so-called ‘eastern’ model of global commerce.

Saudi Arabia may need Russia more than it needs America

Saudi’s keenness to buy Russian weapons and also to purchase a licence to manufacture Kalashnikov automatic riffles, is a further sign that Riyadh seeks military independence from the United States. Unlike the case with Turkey, where Russian weapons were a more economic option, for Saudi Arabia, money is still essentially no object. In this sense, the weapons deals made with Russia are more of a symbolic gesture than an economic one, even when one accounts for the fact that in many instances, Russian weapons are simply more durable and better crafted than more ornate US made devices.

In this sense Russia is playing the long game which necessitates an understanding of where trends in the oil market will bring Saudi (whether they like it or not) in future years, while also playing the immediate term game of ‘leading from the front’ in the Middle East.

While the US has mastered the art of ‘leading from behind’ in the Middle East, first with Sunni jihadists and now Kurdish militants in Syria and to a degree Kurdish secessionists in Iraq, Russia is leading from the position of working openly with the major state players in both the Middle East and Eurasia. This includes Russia’s traditional allies like Syria and increasingly with its old Iraqi ally,  with rejuvenated Eurasian players like Iran and Pakistan and now with traditional US allies Turkey and Saudi.

Ultimately, the Russian strategy seems to be consolidating more meaningful geo-political as well as economic gains than the US strategy. In this sense, America’s failure to respect the sovereignty of states and even the internal political workings of its own allies, has put the US in a position of having to work with proxies and militants in order to attempt and attain its aims.

Russia’s position of respecting all states, no matter how seemingly different a particular state’s geo-politics are from Russia, has paid off and ultimately, unless a proxy force is as strong as that of a state, the state will always win. Russia’s traditional thinking has once again proved to be a more timeless way of doing geo-politics than the dismemberment inducing proxy strategies of Washington. Distrust is often the first step before isolation. If these trends continue, the US may one day be as isolated from Saudi, as it seemingly already is from its once unshakeable ally Turkey.

Furthermore, this is the price the United States is paying for being unwilling and unable to engage in meaningful detente with Russia. Donald Trump’s failure to actively engage with Russia has led Russia to simply engage directly with US allies throughout the world from Turkey and Pakistan and Saudi Arabia and South Korea.

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Skripal and Khashoggi: A Tale of Two Disappearances

Two disappearances, and two different responses.



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



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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Massacre in Crimea kills dozens, many in critical condition

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

The Duran



“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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