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Comfortable and warm thanks to Nord Stream, Brussels elite refuse to compensate Bulgaria for their misguided obedience

Russia has axed the South Stream gas pipeline meant to bring gas straight into Southern Europe and avoid any “middleman” countries which might hinder deliveries. The route was supposed to go from Russia through the black sea to Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary and Slovenia, and then further to Austria. Bulgaria, following orders from its E.U. masters, kept delaying the approval of the economically lucrative project. Russia finally got tired of waiting and scrapped the deal.

Alex Christoforou

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Oh that feeling when you have been ripped off. We have all felt it. Maybe a taxi driver overcharges you, a co-worker backstabs you, or perhaps a business partner betrays your trust and runs off with the loot.

We have all been swindled from time to time, some people worse than others. It hurts, it damages your pride and confidence, but if you are smart, you learn from your mistakes and swiftly cut off the wrongdoers from your life.

As the saying goes…”Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

Perhaps the mother of all swindling just took place two days ago when Russia pulled the plug on South Stream, and left a variety of EU countries holding a bag of nothingness.

Serbia, Hungary, and Austria, who will lose out in the South Stream pull back, at least exercised some dignity and sovereignty by approving the project on their end, and refusing King Brussels’ demands to halt construction on the lucrative pipeline.

Greece, Italy and Romania remained a bit more quiet throughout the entire South Stream tug of war, perhaps opting to fly below the Brussels radar as best they could.

But Bulgaria, oh Bulgaria, you got swindled, shafted, mistreated in the most vile and evil of ways. Those E.U. powers up north…man they screwed you guys big time.

No one can be sure what exact leverage they held over Bulgaria’s politicians and policy makers to warrant the stonewalling of a project that literally would have transformed the country, but whatever guarantees they provided, one thing is for sure, Bulgaria ain’t gonna see one cent of it.

Brussels won’t even be so kind as to offer up an apology…”Hey Bulgaria, sorry guys we misread the whole Russia/gas thing. We thought some hardball would make Russia grovel like we grovel to our US masters.”

The newly crowned Queen of Brussels, Federica Mogherini, had these words of comfort to offer Bulgaria regarding South Stream.

In other words…blah, blah, we will form a committee, blah, blah, which will form a committee, blah, blah, which will do committee stuff and then we will lend Bulgaria $400 million USD in return for reforms, austerity and an “opening” up of their economy to our banks and speculators.

Seriously, this how the Brussels elite think nowadays. It’s all about what’s in it for them. How can they best subjugate, pillage and financially rape their southern neighbours.

Bulgaria should not forget that up in the North of Europe they will remain nice and toasty warm, enjoying their cheap gas delivered via the Russian Nord Stream pipeline. What’s good for the north of Europe is obviously not good for the South of Europe.

Feeling a tad slighted, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov has decided to go to Brussels for consultations in the EU regarding “energy issues.”

As ITAR TASS reports:

The main topic of the forthcoming consultations in the European Commission will be Sofia’s attempt to get compensation for the closure of the South Stream gas pipeline project by Russia. It was halted by Moscow on December 1 as Bulgaria did not give Russia’s natural gas monopoly Gazprom the permission to launch the natural gas pipeline system construction in the Black Sea.

Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed to Sofia on Monday to demand from the European Union compensation for losses from the halted project. Putin said that the project would have given at least €400 million to Bulgaria’s budget per year from gas transit.

The European Commission on December 9 will hold a coordination meeting with the EU countries’ governments on South Stream. And on Wednesday, Bulgarian authorities started the calculation of the lost funds. The more so that freezing the South Stream project Bulgaria complied with the EU policy. Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev said in October that his country would “prevent a situation in which the gas pipeline will be built not under European legislation.”

“None of us has seen the official figure – how much Bulgaria would gain and when it would start to get the profit. Such figure does not exist,” Borisov said in the Bulgarian parliament on Wednesday. “If it’s not 400 million euro per year, this means that our half of the project will pay back in several years. I’ve heard this, but could not read anywhere from which year and how much Bulgaria will be receiving from gas transit through its territory.”

Unfortunately Bulgaria will have to tack on Prime Minister Borisov’s plane ticket to Brussels to the total bill of wasted state funds allocated to the South Stream debacle, because as ITAR TASS reports…

The EU already said, however, that it does not intend to pay Bulgaria. European Commission spokesperson Anna-Kaisa Itkonen said on Tuesday that “there are no legal grounds for compensations in case of suspension of that or other similar projects.”

However, the Bulgarian premier still cherishes hopes. Boyko Borisov asked the lawmakers to set specific tasks: “There are issues I would like to discuss with representatives of the European Commission. I want the Popular Assembly to charge me with the task to raise them. I want the coming dialogue to be maximally constructive.”

I guess hope does indeed die last.

As Prime Minister Borisov hopes and prays for a miracle, we suggest Bulgaria not forget that when the opportunity to rise up from poverty and suffering finally presented itself, in the form of South Stream, Brussels made sure to swindle you out of your God given right to energy independence and prosperity.

“In the Now” with Anissa Naouai explains how Europe shot itself in the foot and Bulgaria in the heart.

References:

http://itar-tass.com/en/economy/764937

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Rocky Racoon
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Rocky Racoon

They made up the laws AFTER the pipeline was agreed upon!

redpilltimes
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redpilltimes

Excellent post from Fort Russ blog which went into Bulgarian forums to gauge reactions: http://fortruss.blogspot.ca/2014/12/we-turned-out-to-be-same-stupid.html

Rocky Racoon
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Rocky Racoon

They made up the laws AFTER the pipeline was agreed upon!

redpilltimes
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redpilltimes

Excellent post from Fort Russ blog which went into Bulgarian forums to gauge reactions: http://fortruss.blogspot.ca/2014/12/we-turned-out-to-be-same-stupid.html

Rocky Racoon
Guest
Rocky Racoon

And Russia is an impeccably reliable provider who continued to serve Europe even through the cold war. When they make a deal they stick to the deal. They are solid are a rock unlike the EU stuffed full of cheese EU.

Rocky Racoon
Guest
Rocky Racoon

And Russia is an impeccably reliable provider who continued to serve Europe even through the cold war. When they make a deal they stick to the deal. They are solid are a rock unlike the EU stuffed full of cheese EU.

Narwhal8915
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http://t.co/KyXxnjpnR5
#Brussels elite refuse to compensate #Bulgaria for misguided obedience
@pulsar1 #Nord_Stream http://t.co/sm8qYpP1CZ

rbella24
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RT @Narwhal8915: http://t.co/KyXxnjpnR5
#Brussels elite refuse to compensate #Bulgaria for misguided obedience
@pulsar1 #Nord_Stream http:/…

pulsar1
Guest

RT @Narwhal8915: http://t.co/KyXxnjpnR5
#Brussels elite refuse to compensate #Bulgaria for misguided obedience
@pulsar1 #Nord_Stream http:/…

AgenturRU
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Comfortable and warm thanks to Nord Stream, Brussels elite refuse to compensate Bulgaria for their misguided o… http://t.co/JnDrZx1ZQd

alisya7492
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alisya7492

Russia is rock solid provider. The EU will be scrambling to find solutions going forward

alisya7492
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alisya7492

Russia is rock solid provider. The EU will be scrambling to find solutions going forward

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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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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

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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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