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UK nerve agent case against Russia collapses (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 107.

Alex Christoforou

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Prosecutors in the UK last week claimed that Russian tourists, Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, were responsible for poisoning Sergei and Yulia Skripal in March.

UK authorities stated that the two men were using aliases during their travels to the UK.

In a stunning twist of events, during an Eastern Economic Forum event, Russian President Russian Vladimir Putin said that Russian authorities had located the two men, confirmed that they are civilians, with no ties to Russian intelligence, and that their real names are in fact Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov…not aliases.

Days after Putin’s forum announcement, Petrov and Boshirov, whom Theresa May claims are professional Russia assassins, gave an exclusive interview with RT.

Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov said they visited London to “cut loose and have some fun” and that they were in Wiltshire to see two well-known tourist attractions, Salisbury Cathedral and Stonehenge.

If these two guys are Russian GRU, super assassins, then John McCain was indeed a peace maker and Hillary Clinton is a champion for human rights.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the RT interview with Petrov and Boshirov, and how RT’s Editor-in-Chief, Margarita Simonyan, may have hinted (through her line of questioning) the real reason behind the men’s visit to London and Salisbury…of which had noting to do with the alleged Novichok poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal.

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Via Zerohedge

The same day the US announced it plans a second round of “very severe” sanctions on Russia over the use of a nerve agent in connection to the West’s allegations surrounding the Skripal poisoning, the alleged perpetrators of the poison attack have appeared on RT News for an exclusive interview with RT’s Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan.

Suffice it to say the whole strange Skripal saga just got a lot more bizarre. The pair told Simonyan in the televised interview that they had nothing to do with it, but were very excited to visit the famous Salisbury cathedral as mere sightseers and were in the Salisbury town briefly on two consecutive days, but that they are not GRU agents or Russian spies.

“Our friends had been suggesting for a long time that we visit this wonderful town,” they said, and explained that after the short visit, their “whole lives were turned upside down” as they suddenly became “framed tourists” caught up in the Skripal cause after being falsely accused by UK authorities.

The pair sat stone-faced throughout the interview and delivered brief, concise answers to RT’s questions, while consistently claiming to have been visiting Britain as tourists, but while also acknowledging it was indeed them that appeared in CCTV footage published by the UK authorities.

“Salisbury? A wonderful town?” RT’s Margarita Simonyan asked. “Yes,” Petrov answered tersely. “It is a tourist town,” Boshirov offered. “There’s a famous cathedral there… It is famous not just in Europe, but in the whole world. It’s famous for its 123-metre spire, it’s famous for its clock, the first one [of its kind] ever created in the world, which is still working.”

Upon the start of the interview wherein the two confirm their true identities as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov to RT’s Simonyan, the interview proceeds:

SIMONYAN: The guys we all saw in those videos from London and Salisbury, wearing those jackets and trainers, it’s you?

PETROV: Yes, it’s us.

SIMONYAN: What were you doing there?

PETROV: Our friends have been suggesting for quite a long time that we visit this wonderful city.

SIMONYAN: Salisbury? A wonderful city?

PETROV:  Yes.

SIMONYAN: What makes it so wonderful?

BOSHIROV:  It’s a tourist city. They have a famous cathedral there, Salisbury Cathedral. It’s famous throughout Europe and, in fact, throughout the world, I think. It’s famous for its 123-meter spire. It’s famous for its clock. It’s one of the oldest working clocks in the world.

Petrov then explains that the pair planned to visit famous tourist sites in London and in and around Salisbury, but parts of their trip were cut short because of heavy snowfall and inclement weather.

The pair say they only spent three days total in England, due their decision to cut it short, but were in Salisbury for some of that time, on two consecutive days:

SIMONYAN: So, you travelled to Salisbury to see the clock?

PETROV: No, initially we planned to go to London and have some fun there. This time, it wasn’t a business trip. Our plan was to spend some time in London and then to visit Salisbury. Of course, we wanted to do it all in one day. But when we got there, our plane couldn’t land on its first approach. That’s because of all the havoc they had with transport in the UK on March 2 and 3. There was heavy snowfall, nearly all the cities were paralyzed. We were unable to go anywhere.

BOSHIROV: It was in all the news. Railroads didn’t work on March 2 and 3. Motorways were closed. Police cars and ambulances blocked off highways. There was no traffic at all – no trains, nothing. Why is it that nobody talks about any of this?

SIMONYAN: Can you give a time line? Minute-by-minute, or at least hour-by-hour, or as much as you can remember. You arrived in the UK – like you said, to have some fun and to see the cathedral, to see some clock in Salisbury. Can you tell us what you did in the UK? You spent two days there, right?

PETROV: Actually, three.

SIMONYAN: OK, three. What did you do for those three days?

PETROV: We arrived on March 2. We went to the train station to check the schedule, to see where we could go.

BOSHIROV: The initial plan was to go there for a day. Just take a look and return the same day.

PETROV: To Salisbury, that is. One day in Salisbury is enough. There’s not much you can do there.

BOSHIROV: It’s a regular city. A regular tourist city.

SIMONYAN: OK, I get that. That was your plan. But what did you actually do? You arrived. There was heavy snowfall. No trains, nothing. So, what did you do?

PETROV: No, we arrived in Salisbury on March 3. We wanted to walk around the city but since the whole city was covered with snow, we spent only 30 minutes there. We were all wet.

In comments that will likely be able to be easily proven or disproven, he followed with: “There are no pictures. The media, television – nobody talks about the fact that the transport system was paralyzed that day. It was impossible to get anywhere because of the snow. We were drenched up to our knees.

In Salisbury, Petrov continued, the two intended “to see Stonehenge, Old Sarum, and the Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary. But it didn’t work out because of the slush.” But they blame the harsh conditions for quickly canceling their plans and “transport collapse”, and they returned the train station after their initial arrival in the town via train from London.

SIMONYAN: All right. You went for a walk for 30 minutes, you got wet. What next?

PETROV: We travelled there to see Stonehenge, Old Sarum, and the Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary. But it didn’t work out because of the slush. The whole city was covered with slush. We got wet, so we went back to the train station and took the first train to go back. We spent about 40 minutes in a coffee shop at the train station.

BOSHIROV: Drinking coffee. A hot drink because we were drenched.

PETROV: Maybe a little over an hour. That’s because of large intervals between trains. I think this was because of the snowfall. We went back to London and continued with our journey.

BOSHIROV: We walked around London…

SIMONYAN: So, you only spent an hour in Salisbury?

PETROV: On March 3? Yes. That’s because it was impossible to get anywhere.

SIMONYAN: What about the next day?

PETROV: On March 4, we went back there, because the snow melted in London, it was warm.

BOSHIROV: It was sunny.

PETROV: And we thought – we really wanted to see Old Sarum and the cathedral. So we decided to give it another try on March 4.

SIMONYAN: Another try to do what?

PETROV: To go sightseeing.

BOSHIROV: To see this famous cathedral. To visit Old Sarum.

SIMONYAN: So, did you see it?

BOSHIROV: Yes, we did.

PETROV: On March 4, we did. But again, by lunchtime, there was heavy sleet.

BOSHIROV: For some reason, nobody talks about this.

PETROV: So we left early.

In total, the pair say they spent only an hour on their first day in Salisbury “because it was impossible to get anywhere,” before taking a train back to London. The men say this all happened on March 3rd, the day before the alleged poisoning of Sergei Skripal, a former Russian military officer and double agent for the UK’s intelligence services, and his daughter Yulia Skripal, in the same town.

However, they say they returned to sightsee in Salisbury the next day, March 4, on the day of the Skripal attack.

A handout picture allegedly taken in Salisbury, on March 4, 2018, and released by the British Metropolitan Police purportedly shows Alexander Petrov (R) and Ruslan Boshirov, September 5, 2018 © AFP

And continuing, RT’s Simonyan asked them to divulge proof that they took photographs of the sites. The pair agreed they would provide their tourist photographs to the media as proof of their story.

SIMONYAN: Is it beautiful?

BOSHIROV: The cathedral is very beautiful. There are lots of tourists, lots of Russian tourists, lots of Russian-speaking tourists.

PETROV: By the way, they should have a lot of pictures from the cathedral.

SIMONYAN: Your pictures, you mean?

PETROV: They should show them.

SIMONYAN: I assume you took some pictures while at the cathedral?

PETROV: Of course.

BOSHIROV: Sure, we did. We went to a park, we had some coffee. We went to a coffee shop. We walked around, enjoying those beautiful English Gothic buildings.

PETROV: For some reason, they don’t show this. They only show how we went to the train station.

SIMONYAN: If you give us your pictures, we can show them. So, while you were in Salisbury, did you go anywhere near the Skripals home?

PETROV: Maybe. We don’t know.

BOSHIROV: What about you? Do you know where their house is?

SIMONYAN: I don’t. Do you?

BOSHIROV: We don’t either.

PETROV: I wish somebody told us where it was.

And Boshirov added after the series of questions concerning the Skripal residence: “Maybe we passed it, or maybe we didn’t. I’d never heard about them before this nightmare started. I’d never heard this name before. I didn’t know anything about them.”

On the issue of the alleged “perfume bottle” the UK police claim to have identified as used for delivery of the nerve agent, the two accused men said the prospect is “absurd”.

SIMONYAN: When you arrived in the UK, when you were in London or in Salisbury, throughout your whole trip, did you have any Novichok or some other poisonous agent or dangerous substance with you?

BOSHIROV: No.

PETROV: It’s absurd.

SIMONYAN: Did you have that bottle of Nina Ricci perfume which the UK presents as evidence of your alleged crime?

BOSHIROV: Don’t you think that it’s kind of stupid for two straight men to be carrying perfume for ladies? When you go through customs, they check all your belongings. So, if we had anything suspicious, they would definitely have questions. Why would a man have women’s perfume in his bag?

PETROV: Even an ordinary person would have questions. Why would a man need perfume for women?

And on the issue of the widely circulated and somewhat mysterious (considering the same exact time stamp for each) security camera photographs at Gatwick airport…

SIMONYAN: Right. Here’s the photo that’s got the whole world puzzled. Gatwick. You’re going through the gate at the same time, even at the same second. How do you explain that?

BOSHIROV: I think it’s for them to explain.

PETROV: How can we explain it.

CCTV images of Petrov and Boshirov at Gatwick airport on 2 March 2018.

BOSHIROV: We always go through the gate together. Through the same gate, with the same customs officer. One after another. We walked through that corridor together. We’re always together. As to how it happened – us walking there at the same second and then separately – I think it’s a question that should be put to them.

PETROV: Yeah, on the point of us always going through it together – my English is a bit better, so if any problem crops up, I’m there to help Ruslan out.

SIMONYAN: So you went through together? You didn’t take different corridors?

PETROV: No, we never go through separately.

BOSHIROV: No, never.

SIMONYAN: So what about these photos then? You say it never happened? Or were they doctored?

BOSHIROV: Well, I don’t really know…

PETROV: It’d be a good thing if we could actually remember it…

BOSHIROV: … how they do these things over there. When you arrive at an airport, or leave one, when you go somewhere or other, you never think about the cameras… There’s nothing interesting about them. How they film, or what, or where – I’m not interested in any of that and so I never took any notice. Given that it was them who published these photos with this time on them and all, I think the best thing to do would be to ask them.

Near the end of the interview, the two men explicitly denied working for GRU and demanded a formal apology from the UK government over the whole gambit of accusations.

But when pressed further about how they know each other and their past, said they preferred not give too many public details about their lives, but explained they worked as part of a fitness nutrition supplements business.

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A.F.
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A.F.

Authorities in the Netherlands detained two Russian nationals earlier this year who were suspected of planning a break-in at a Swiss lab that is investigating the poison attack on Sergei Skripal in the English town of Salisbury, according to Dutch and Swiss reports.

The Russians were detained in the Hague, NRC Handelsblad said Friday, citing the results of joint reporting with Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger. The suspects were planning to travel to the Spiez Laboratory, a government-run facility in central Switzerland that investigates nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, and had in their possession equipment to break in,

AM Hants
Member
AM Hants

Prefer the story the Netherlands media was reporting, concerning why the Government were financing terrorists in Syria?

A.F.
Guest
A.F.

The GRU-officers were showing pretending to be ‘tourists……………..total failure by Russia. Their passportnumbers were at one digid the same. The GRU gave them these passports.

Patrick Armstrong
Guest
Patrick Armstrong

That’s because GRU assassins like to be observed and when they are exposed, they show up to be interviewed with a story that can be seen through immediately. It’s Chapt 1 on the GRU Wet Job Handbook: the Anonymity of Being Obvious. Chap 2, by the way, is the bit where you’re told to check the assassination weapon before using it — if it’s an Incredibly Deadly Nerve Agent Securely Packed in an Extra Strengthened Fake Perfume Bottle, be sure to open it up and have a sniff before using it.

A.F.
Guest
A.F.

comment image

The GRU-stamp in their GRU-passports……………

Raymond Comeau
Guest
Raymond Comeau

The UK Nerve agent False Flag scenario was probably formulated by M16 and the plan given to the UK Prime Minister. The goal was to add the faked crime to the chemical weapons false flag which was concocted to cover the posterior Dorsal Fins of the Ba$tards who want to attack Syria yet again. This time the USA is trying to save the hired ter4rorists in Idlib. United Nations and the World Court should indict the UK PM and the USA President for fomenting wars, and trying to frame Russia for doing so. If these two world bodies do nothing… Read more »

RobertX5
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RobertX5

I was not as comfortable as A.M. and A.C. were with the interview by Ms. Simonyan. It struck me as perhaps good enough if you are looking to present it to an audience with a limited understanding of the issues involved, but I suspect someone from ‘The Blogmire’ or ‘Off Guardian’ would be less than impressed. Her knowledge of the minutiae of the affair appeared limited (now to me that is not her fault, as head of R.T. the vast bulk of her time would be dealing with other things) which restricted her ability to clarify exactly where they were,when… Read more »

AM Hants
Member
AM Hants

She did not have long to prepare for the interview. If you were a state funded assassin, would you take ‘Southern Rail’ Sunday service, when the UK was virtually shut down, owing to the weather? If they went to the house, then surely they would have used protective clothing, owing to the toxicity of the military grade nerve agent? How many people does it take to close a door?

Tjoe
Guest
Tjoe

I noticed their many claims of heavy snow and sleet but so far the photo’s I have seen of them, there is no snow or even heavy rain.

dennis
Guest
dennis

The photos are clear evidence that the two men passed through different channels. Simple surveillance cameras are fixed in place. One channel’s camera was about 10 degrees tilted. Also close examination shows differences within the channels. Note the small automatic swing gates through which the men are passing. The gate to Mr. Boshirov’s right side swings more than 90 degrees. The gate to Mr. Petrov’s left side swings more than 90 degrees. Thus the time stamps being identical is actually evidence that the pictures are undoctored. For if the men had passed through the same channel at different times, and… Read more »

dennis
Guest
dennis

There was a Pushkin. There was a Tolstoi. There was a Chekhov. There was a Solzhenitsyn. Russia’s cultural depths were not plowed by shallow men. A half-competent administrator cannot maintain Russian greatness. If Putin fumbled the Petrov and Boshirov case, by publically declaring in a summit meeting “of course they are civilians” when they aren’t, this will make the world less trustful of all things Russian. Forensic evidence that the men are not civilians is not the main trouble. Sleuth-versus-sleuth is an insiders’ game, and evidence can be faked. Rather it will be the Russian people’s failure to stand up… Read more »

dvrr
Guest
dvrr

LOL moron

PhoriAlamaine
Guest
PhoriAlamaine

One thing that another correspondent mentioned was the timeline, comparing the time that the Skripals left their house and the time that the fellows were actually arriving in Salisbury, some two hours apart and later. What becomes a matter of speculation is whether the Russian intelligence forces have developed a form of time travel in order to allow their “agents” to arrive somewhere, go back in time, then return to a form of “present,” all the while doing so without detection. One wonders what vehicle might have been used, available somewhere between Gatwick and Salisbury, before attaching the wiring to… Read more »

AM Hants
Member
AM Hants

The hysteria, concerning the two Russian tourists. Yet, they say nought about the US investing $70 million in Porton Down, just down the road. Or why they need so many bio-chemical weapon labs in Eastern Europe, with full diplomatic immunity.

RENAT KUZMIN: AMERICA PREPARES DEADLY VIRUSES IN 15 LABORATORIES IN UKRAINE… http://www.stalkerzone.org/renat-kuzmin-america-prepares-deadly-viruses-in-15-laboratories-in-ukraine/

A.F.
Guest
A.F.

Tourists hahahaha, just GRU-terrorists………

A.F.
Guest
A.F.

“Last time Russian military claimed to be on holiday was when they invaded Ukraine in 2014,” – British FM on interview with Russians suspected of Salisbury poisoning

voza0db
Guest
voza0db

“Russia invaded Ukraine”… That’s a new one!

Now we all know that you’re just a dumb pro-terrorists slave!

A.F.
Guest
A.F.

You support the Russian-Ukrainian War…………………5000 Russian Army soldiers killed since 2014 in Donbass.

voza0db
Guest
voza0db

Only 5000?!

A.F.
Guest
A.F.

comment image

The booking data of the GRU-officers few hours before their LONDON-flight.

SSS
Guest
SSS

There is no booking data in your picture. It starts with their online registration the day before they travelled to England. Don’t believe everything Bellingcat sells you.

Jane Karlsson
Guest
Jane Karlsson

The two men have mentioned in relation to their nutrition enterprise that they are interested in ‘microelements’ and ‘fat burning’. This could conceivably mean they have heard about copper being necessary for fat burning. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160606200439.htm The UK Department of Health once told me in a letter that ‘copper deficiency is rare’. Actually it’s so common that most of us have it. The obesity epidemic is arguably caused in large part by copper deficiency, and so are the epidemics of heart disease and dementia. You can get into a lot of trouble if you try to inform people about copper deficiency.… Read more »

voza0db
Guest
voza0db

“UK nerve agent case against Russia collapses”

The problem is that THIS WILL NEVER COLLAPSE. The UK and the USofT will use this MI6/CIA/MOSSAD operation to fulfill their actual purpose. Impose sanctions and more sanctions on Russia and all of its allies!

A.F.
Guest
A.F.

No, Because Russian agents poisoned the Skripals as proven by all evidence.

voza0db
Guest
voza0db

ZERO EVIDENCE… It just like the mutTRUMP/RUSSIA collusion! ZERO EVIDENCE!

The only REAL evidence clear to everyone is that you are a dumb pro-terrorists slave…

Tjoe
Guest
Tjoe

Voza….Duran did good dumping the troll infested Disqus, but will they curtail/control them on the new format?

strav
Guest
strav

You would think as double agents the skiprals would have cctv at there front door showing who sprayed the front door? And footage also showed unmasked un protected police in front yar with such deadly toxic nerve agent near by!

A.F.
Guest
A.F.

Swiss Confirm Russians Tried To Hack Lab Analyzing Skripal Samples September 15, 2018 12:33 GMT RFE/RL British military personnel work to remove vehicles from a cordoned off area behind a police station in Salisbury near the place where the Skripals were poisoned in March 2018. British military personnel work to remove vehicles from a cordoned off area behind a police station in Salisbury near the place where the Skripals were poisoned in March 2018. Share 16 The Swiss government has confirmed reports that Dutch authorities had arrested and expelled two suspected Russian spies earlier this year after the two allegedly… Read more »

Tjoe
Guest
Tjoe

Duran did good to change their Disqus format, unfortunately the infestation of troll fleas like AF here, has started in the new format.

Wayne Blow
Guest
Wayne Blow

Britain is nothing, but a “pile of SHIT” on the Eastern shore of Atlantic Ocean !!!!!!!!!

xyz
Guest
xyz
A.F.
Guest
A.F.

New chemical leaks reported in Crimea’s north because of local emergency service’s “recklessness” 16:59, 16 September 2018 UKRAINE 20 0 A possibly repeat release of sulfuric acid in the town of Armyansk was reported on September 13. REUTERS New chemical leaks have been reported in the north of Russian-occupied Crimea because of the local emergency service’s mistake. The cause behind the deterioration in the environmental situation in the town of Armyansk could be “recklessness of the local officials from the occupying administration and emergency service workers of the Russian Federation” in addressing a chemical disaster at the Crimean Titan plant,… Read more »

A.F.
Guest
A.F.

After the meeting with the U.S. national security adviser, John Bolton, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg assured that NATO will continue to support Georgia’s and Ukraine’s efforts to join the Alliance, reports Voice of America.

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Vladimir Putin calls new Ukrainian church ‘dangerous politicking’

President Putin said creation of the “Orthodox Church in Ukraine” is against Church canon and that the West drove Constantinople to do it.

Seraphim Hanisch

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In an interview with the Serbian newspapers Politika and Vecernje Novosti ahead of his visit to Serbia, Russian President Vladimir Putin noted the creation of the “Orthodox Church of Ukraine”, a schismatic agglomeration headed by Ukrainian ultra-nationalists was “dangerous politicking.” He further noted that:

The establishment of the new religious entity in Ukraine is nothing but an attempt “to legalize the schismatic communities that exist in Ukraine under the jurisdiction of Istanbul, which is a major violation of Orthodox canons.”

“Yet, hardly anyone in the U.S. or in the Ukrainian leadership worries about this,” Putin said.

“Once again, this has nothing to do with spiritual life; we are dealing here with dangerous and irresponsible politicking,” he said.

President Putin had more things to say in the interview, and we present what he said in full here (emphasis ours), as reported on the Kremlin.ru website:

Question: The Serbian Orthodox Church has taken the side of the Russian Orthodox Church in the context of the ecclesiastical crisis in Ukraine. At the same time, a number of countries are exerting pressure on Patriarch Bartholomew and seek to ensure recognition of Ukrainian ”schismatics“ by Local Orthodox Churches. How do you think the situation will evolve?

Vladimir Putin: I would like to remind your readers, who are greatly concerned about the information regarding the split in the Orthodox community but are probably not fully aware of the situation in Ukraine, what it is all about.

On December 15, 2018, the Ukrainian leaders, actively supported by the USA and the Constantinople Patriarchate, held a so-called “unifying synod”. This synod declared the creation of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, with Patriarch Bartholomew signing the tomos (decree) granting it autocephaly on January 6, 2019. Thus, it was attempted to legalize the schismatic communities that exist in Ukraine under the jurisdiction of Istanbul, which is a major violation of Orthodox canons.

Yet, hardly anyone in the US or in the Ukrainian leadership worries about this, as the new church entity is an entirely political, secular project. Its main aim is to divide the peoples of Russia and Ukraine, sowing seeds of ethnic as well as religious discord. No wonder Kiev has already declared ”obtaining complete independence from Moscow.”

Once again, this has nothing to do with spiritual life; we are dealing here with dangerous and irresponsible politicking. Likewise, we do not speak about the independence of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. It is de-facto fully controlled by Istanbul. Whereas Ukraine’s largest canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which has never requested autocephaly from Patriarch Bartholomew, is absolutely independent in its actions. Its connection with the Russian Orthodox Church is purely canonical – but even this causes undisguised irritation of the current Kiev regime.

Because of this, clergymen and laymen of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church are being persecuted and deprived of churches and monasteries, and attempts are made to deny the Church its legitimate name, which raises tensions and only leads to further discord in Ukrainian society.

Evidently, Ukraine’s leaders have to understand that any attempts to force the faithful into a different church are fraught with grave consequences. Yet, they are eager to put interconfessional concord in the country at stake in order to conduct the election campaign of the current Ukrainian President based on a search for enemies, and to retain power by all means.

All of this does not go unnoticed by Orthodox Christians.

Naturally, Russia does not intend to interfere in ecclesiastical processes, especially those happening on the territory of a neighboring sovereign state. However, we are aware of the danger posed by such experiments and blatant interference of the state in religious affairs.

The situation continues to degrade in Ukraine, and though the Orthodox faithful of the Autonomous but Moscow-based Ukrainian Orthodox Church are the hardest hit, worry over Ukrainian lawlessless-made-law has the Jewish community in that country nervous as well. This is perhaps to be expected as the Azov Brigade, a neo-Nazi aligned group that is hypernationalist, is a good representation of the character of the “hate Russia at all costs” Ukrainian nationalists. A parallel piece in Interfax made note of this in a piece dated January 17th 2019:

[A] bill passed by the Verkhovna Rada introducing a procedure by which parishes can join the new Ukrainian church makes it easier to seize places of worship, and supporters of autocephaly have already started doing this across the country, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church said.

“They need this law to seize our churches. You can’t just come with a crowbar to someone else’s barn, but now the law allows you to do so. They aren’t creating something of their own, but are trying to steal what’s ours,” Ukrainian Orthodox Church spokesperson Vasyl Anisimov told Interfax on Thursday.

The religious entity set up in December with Constantinople’s involvement and called the Orthodox Church of Ukraine “in fact doesn’t yet exist in nature. It’s fake. It doesn’t have any parishes of its own or government registration,” he said.

However, “the supporters of autocephaly don’t have plans to create anything of their own at all, so they have chosen the path of takeover, and the authorities are helping them in that,” Anisimov said.

“Hence, the legislation passed by the Verkhovna Rada today is in fact absolute lawlessness,” he said.

“If you pass legislation affecting an industry, you should talk to industrialists, and if it’s legislation on the agricultural sector, talk to farmers. And here legislation on a church is passed, and moreover, this legislation is aimed against this church, it is protesting, and Jews are protesting, too, because this legislation may affect them as well – but nobody is listening, and they change the law for the sake of an absolutely absurd and unconstitutional gimmick. But, of course, it’s the people who will ultimately suffer,” Anisimov said.

 

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May survives ‘no confidence’ vote as UK moves towards March 29 deadline or Article 50 extension (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 168.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the ‘no confidence’ vote that UK Prime Minister May won with the a slim margin…meaning that though few MPs have confidence in her ‘Brexit withdrawal’ negotiating skills, they appear to have no problem allowing May to lead the country towards its Brexit deadline in March, which coincidently may be delayed and eventually scrapped altogether.

Meanwhile Tony Blair is cozying up to Brussels’ oligarchs, working his evil magic to derail the will of the British people, and keep the integrationist ambitions for the UK and Europe on track.

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Via RT


The UK government led by Theresa May, has survived to fight another day, after winning a no-confidence vote, tabled by Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party, following parliament rejecting the PM’s Brexit deal, earlier on Tuesday evening.

The no-confidence vote was defeated by 19 votes – the government winning by 325 to 306. It’s a rare positive note for May’s Tory cabinet after the humiliating Brexit defeat.

Speaking immediately after the vote, a victorious May said she was “pleased” that the House expressed its confidence in her government. May said she will “continue to work” to deliver on the result of the Brexit referendum and leave the EU.

May invited the leaders of parliamentary parties to meet with her individually, beginning on Wednesday evening.

“I stand ready to work with any member of this House to deliver on Brexit,” she said.

Responding to the vote, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said that the House had “emphatically” rejected May’s deal on Tuesday. The government, he said, must now remove “clearly once and for all the prospect of the catastrophe of a no-deal Brexit from the EU and all the chaos that would result from that.”

Labour will now have to consider what move to make next. Their official Brexit policy, decided by members at conference in September, states that if a general election cannot be forced, then all options should be left on the table, including calling for a second referendum.

Liberal Democrats MP Ed Davey also called on May to rule out a no deal Brexit.

The way forward for Brexit is not yet clear and May’s options are now limited, given that the Brexit deal she was offering was voted down so dramatically on Tuesday.

Gavin Barrett, a professor at the UCD Sutherland School of Law in Dublin, told RT that May will now have to decide if her second preference is a no-deal Brexit or a second referendum. Her preference will likely be a no-deal Brexit, Barrett said, adding that “since no other option commands a majority in the House” a no-deal exit is now “the default option.”

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Final Steps in Syria’s Successful Struggle for Peace and Sovereignty

The war of aggression against Syria is winding up, and this can be observed by the opening of a series of new embassies in Damascus.

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Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


The situation in Syria evolves daily and sees two situations very closely linked to each other, with the US withdrawal from Syria and the consequent expansionist ambitions of Erdogan in Syria and the Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) takeover in Idlib that frees the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and Russian aviation to liberate the de-escalation zone.

Trump has promised to destroy Turkey economically if he attacks the Kurds, reinforcing his claim that Erdogan will not target the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) once the US withdraws from the area. One of the strongest accusations made against Trump’s withdrawal by his opponents is that no Middle Eastern force will ever trust the US again if they abandon the SDF to its fate, that is, to its annihilation at the hands of the Turkish army and its FSA proxies. This, however, is not possible; not so much because of Trump’s economic threats, but because of Damascus and Moscow being strongly opposed to any Turkish military action in the northeast of Syria.

This is a red line drawn by Putin and Assad, and the Turkish president likely understands the consequences of any wrong moves. It is no coincidence that he stated several times that he had no problems with the “Syrians or Syrian-Kurdish brothers”, and repeated that if the area under the SDF were to come under the control of Damascus, Turkey would have no need to intervene in Syria. Trump’s request that Ankara have a buffer zone of 20 kilometers separating the Kurdish and Turkish forces seems to complement the desire of Damascus and Moscow to avoid a clash between the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) and the SDF.

The only party that seems to be secretly encouraging a clash between the SDF and Turkish forces is Israel, criticizing Ankara and singing the praises of the SDF, in order to try and accentuate the tensions between the two sides, though naturally without success. Israel’s continued raids in Syria, though almost constantly failing due to Syrian air defense, and the divide-and-rule policy used against Turkey and the SDF, show that Tel Aviv is now weakened and mostly irrelevant in the Syrian conflict.

In Idlib, the situation seems to be becoming less complicated and difficult to decipher. Russia, Iran and Syria had asked Erdogan to take control of the province through its “moderate jihadists”, sit down at the negotiating table, and resolve the matter through a diplomatic solution. Exactly the opposite happened. The HTS (formerly al-Nusra/al-Qaeda in Syria) has in recent weeks conquered practically the whole province of Idlib, with numerous forces linked to Turkey (Ahrar al-Sham and Nour al-Din al-Zenki) dissolving and merging into HTS. This development puts even more pressure on Erdogan, who is likely to see his influence in Idlib fade away permanently. Moreover, this evolution represents a unique opportunity for Damascus and Moscow to start operations in Idlib with the genuine justification of combating terrorism. It is a repeat of what happened in other de-escalation areas. Moscow and Damascus have repeatedly requested the moderates be separated from the terrorists, so as to approach the situation with a diplomatic negotiation.

In the absence of an effective division of combatants, all are considered terrorists, with the military option replacing the diplomatic. This remains the only feasible option to free the area from terrorists who are not willing to give back territory to the legitimate government in Damascus and are keeping civilians hostages. The Idlib province seems to have experienced the same playbook applied in other de-escalation zones, this time with a clear contrast between Turkey and Saudi Arabia that shows how the struggle between the two countries is much deeper than it appears. The reasons behind the Khashoggi case and the diplomatic confrontation between Qatar and Saudi Arabia were laid bare in the actions of the HTS in Idlib, which has taken control of all the areas previously held by Ankara’s proxies.

It remains to be seen whether Moscow and Damascus would like to encourage Erdogan to recover Idlib through its proxies, trying to encourage jihadists to fight each other as much as possible in order to lighten the task of the SAA, or whether they would prefer to press the advantage themselves and attack while the terrorist front is experiencing internal confusion.

In terms of occupied territory and accounts to be settled, two areas of great importance for the future of Syria remain unresolved, namely al-Tanf, occupied by US forces on the Syrian-Jordanian border, and the area in the north of Syria occupied by Turkish forces and their FSA proxies. It is too early to approach a solution militarily, it being easier for Damascus and Moscow to complete the work to free Syria from the remaining terrorists. Once this has been done, the presence of US or Turkish forces in Syria, whether directly or indirectly, would become all the more difficult to justify. Driving away the US and, above all, Turkey from Syrian territory will be the natural next step in the Syrian conflict.

This is an unequivocal sign that the war of aggression against Syria is winding up, and this can be observed by the opening of a series of new embassies in Damascus. Several countries — including Italy in the near future — will reopen their embassies in Syria to demonstrate that the war, even if not completely over, is effectively won by Damascus and her allies.

For this reason, several countries that were previously opposed to Damascus, like the United Arab Emirates, are understood to have some kind of contact with the government of Damascus. If they intend to become involved in the reconstruction process and any future investment, they will quite naturally need to re-establish diplomatic relations with Damascus. The Arab League is also looking to welcome Syria back into the fold.

Such are signs that Syria is returning to normality, without forgetting which and how many countries have conspired and acted directly against the Syrians for over seven years. An invitation to the Arab League or some embassy being reopened will not be enough to compensate for the damage done over years, but Assad does not preclude any option, and is in the meantime demonstrating to the Israelis, Saudis and the US Deep State that their war has failed and that even their most loyal allies are resuming diplomatic relations with Damascus, a double whammy against the neocons, Wahhabis and Zionists.

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