Coalition of the Confused

Hosted by Jenifer (Zarknorph)

Confused malcontents swilling Chardonnay while awaiting the Zombie Apocalypse.

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Russia    The U.K and Europe

Started 3/28/18 by Jenifer (Zarknorph); 57578 views.
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Jenifer (Zarknorph)

From: Jenifer (Zarknorph)


The investigative journalist

Unlike Litvinenko and Mr Skripal, Anna Politkovskaya was neither a former spy nor an informant to Western agencies.

She was a Russian journalist, the daughter of two UN diplomats, who made an international reputation for reporting on abuse by Russian troops during the Second Chechen War.

As a writer, Politkovskaya never attempted to hide her contempt for Mr Putin whom she accused of using the same thuggish tactics he learned as a KGB agent when he became President to silence critics.

She doggedly continued publishing journalism even after she was detained in Chechnya in 2001, where she was beaten by Russian military troops, and then poisoned on a flight in 2004.

But in 2006, Politkovskaya was fatally shot in the lift of her Moscow apartment building, in what was widely perceived to be a contract killing.

Following a number of trials and acquittals, five men were eventually convicted in 2014 for carrying out the killing.

But the identity of who ultimately ordered the assassination remains unknown.

The opposition leader

Boris Nemtsov was a leading opposition figure in Russia and one of Mr Putin's most vocal critics.

He was appointed by Boris Yeltsin as a provincial governor for Nizhny Novgorod when he was only 32 years old, and quickly embarked on a "laboratory of reforms" for the region.

Nemtsov pursued early post-Soviet privatisation reforms and rose in prominence throughout the 90s, until Yeltsin finally promoted him to the role of deputy prime minister in 1997.

But his upward trajectory wasn't to last: the economic crisis the following year cost him his job.

Not long after Mr Putin became President in 1999, Nemtsov assumed the role of a strident opposition figure, but his electoral fortunes plummeted over the next few years, and he left politics for business.

Re-emerging into Russian political life in 2011, Nemtsov denounced Mr Putin for fomenting bloodshed in the Ukraine civil war and the corrupt business dealings behind the Sochi Olympic Games.

Just before midnight on 27 February, 2015, Mr Nemtsov was crossing a bridge near the Kremlin, when he was shot fatally four times in the back by multiple assailants, in what was the most prominent political assassination since Mr Putin came to power.

His murder was publicly condemned by Mr Putin, who announced he would assume "personal control" of the investigation into Nemtsov's death.

Last year five Chechen men were finally convicted of his murder, but his family and allies argue that the police investigation has failed to identify who ordered his killing.

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From: Jenifer (Zarknorph)


Then Britain got pissed off.


Britain is to kick out 23 Russian diplomats, the biggest such expulsion since the Cold War, over a chemical attack on a former Russian double agent in England that Prime Minister Theresa May has blamed on Moscow.

Key points:

  • May says no British ministers or royals to attend World Cup
  • Moscow says it could in turn expel 23 British diplomats
  • Experts cast doubt over effectiveness of UK action

Ms May pointed the finger firmly at Russian President Vladimir Putin overnight as she outlined retaliatory measures in Parliament.

Russia denies any involvement in the attack on ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, who have been in a critical condition in hospital since they were found unconscious on March 4 on a bench in the southern English city of Salisbury.

Ms May announced the potential freezing of Russian state assets that pose a security threat, new laws to counter hostile state activity and said British ministers and royals would not attend the football World Cup in Russia later this year.

She had given Moscow until midnight on Tuesday to explain how the Soviet-made Novichok nerve agent came to be deployed on the streets of Salisbury, saying either the Russian state was responsible or had lost control of a stock of the substance.

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Jenifer (Zarknorph)

From: Jenifer (Zarknorph)


We joined in...

The Federal Government is expelling two Russian spies from Australia within a week, in solidarity with the United Kingdom over a nerve agent attack earlier this month.

Key points:

  • PM, Foreign Minister confirmed two Russian spies would be directed to leave within seven days
  • More than a dozen European nations and the US have already expelled Russian diplomats
  • Russia issued a statement strongly condemning the action from other countries

The Prime Minister and Foreign Minister released a joint statement this morning confirming two diplomats had been identified as undeclared intelligence officers and would be "directed to depart Australia within seven days".

Australia's actions mirror the response taken by the United States and more than a dozen European nations in response to the attempted murder of a Russian double agent and his daughter in Salisbury in England.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his deputy Julie Bishop spoke this afternoon about the decision, saying it would send a "clear and unequivocal message" to Russia.


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Jenifer (Zarknorph)

From: Jenifer (Zarknorph)


Then more...


Who is taking action?


The United States and more than a dozen European nations have kicked out Russian diplomats, with the Trump administration also ordering Russia's consulate in Seattle to close, as the West sought joint punishment for Moscow's alleged role in the poisoning of an ex-spy in Britain.

Key points:

  • The White House says the expulsion will "make the United States safer"
  • The expelled Russians will have seven days to leave the US
  • 14 EU member nations are also expelling Russian diplomatic staff

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Jenifer (Zarknorph)

From: Jenifer (Zarknorph)


And tit for tat.  Where did that saying even come from?

Russia promises 'symmetrical' response

European Council President Donald Tusk said further measures could be taken in the coming weeks and months.

Russia said it would respond in kind.

"The response will be symmetrical. We will work on it in the coming days and will respond to every country in turn," the RIA news agency cited an unnamed Foreign Ministry source as saying.

The Russian embassy in the United States asked Twitter followers to vote what US consulates they would close in Russia, if they could decide.

Besides the embassy in Moscow, the United States has three consulate generals in Russia.

The Kremlin has accused Britain of whipping up an anti-Russia campaign and has sought to cast doubt on the British analysis that Moscow was responsible.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova suggested in a post on Facebook that the EU's expression of support for Britain was misguided given it would be leaving the bloc next year.

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Jenifer (Zarknorph)

From: Jenifer (Zarknorph)


Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal likely poisoned at front door


The Russian ex-spy and his daughter left critically ill in a nerve agent attack three weeks ago were probably poisoned at the front door of their home, British police say.

Key points:

  • Police have searched numerous sites including pub, restaurant and cemetery
  • Russia says it's in no hurry to retaliate for expulsion of its diplomats
  • Moscow says UK secret service may have been behind attack

It was the first time police have said where they thought Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia might have been poisoned.

The highest concentration of nerve agent found so far was on the Skripals' front door in Salisbury, and detectives plan to focus their investigation in the surrounding area, London's Metropolitan Police force said in a statement.

"At this point in our investigation, we believe the Skripals first came in contact with the nerve agent from their front door," deputy assistant commissioner Dean Haydon said in the statement.

"We are therefore focusing much of our efforts in and around their address."

Police have also searched a variety of sites around Salisbury, including a pub, a restaurant and a cemetery.

As horrible as it is, at least whoever is responsible didn't carry out the attack in a public park.

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Jenifer (Zarknorph)

From: Jenifer (Zarknorph)


Russian ex-spy's daughter Yulia Skripal no longer in critical condition

The daughter of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, who with her father was poisoned with a nerve agent at his home in England earlier this month, is no longer in a critical condition and is improving rapidly, according to the hospital treating her.

Key points:

  • Her father remained in a critical but stable condition, the hospital said
  • Britain has blamed the attempted murder on Russian President Vladimir Putin
  • 27 nations including Australia have joined the UK in expelling Russian diplomats over the incident

Yulia Skripal, 33, and her 66-year-old father were found on March 4 slumped on a bench in the southern English city of Salisbury where the former Russian double agent lived.

British counter-terrorism police believe a nerve toxin had been left on the front door of his home.

Last week, a British judge said the Skripals might have suffered permanent brain damage as a result of the attack.

"I'm pleased to be able to report an improvement in the condition of Yulia Skripal," Christine Blanshard, Medical Director for Salisbury District Hospital, said in a statement.

"She has responded well to treatment but continues to receive expert clinical care 24 hours a day."

Her father remained in a critical but stable condition, the hospital said.

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Jenifer (Zarknorph)

From: Jenifer (Zarknorph)


Russia expels 60 US diplomats in diplomatic 'tit-for-tat'

Russia has ordered 60 US diplomats to leave by April 5, the Foreign Ministry says, in a retaliatory move against Washington which expelled a similar number of Russian diplomats over the poisoning of a former Russian spy in England.

Key points:

  • The diplomats expelled include 58 from the embassy in Moscow and two general consulate officials in Yekaterinburg
  • Russia will also expel a number of diplomats from other countries including France, Germany and Poland
  • Former Russian double-agent Sergei Skripal remains critical, daughter improving

It said it had declared persona non grata 58 diplomats in Moscow and two general consulate officials in Yekaterinburg in the row over the poisoning of former Russian double-agent Sergei Skripal on March 4.

Moments before the ministry announcement, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Russia would respond in kind to the mass expulsion of diplomats by Western governments which include, apart from the United States and Britain, most member states of NATO and the European Union.

"The measures would be reciprocal ... they include expulsion of the equivalent number of diplomats and they include our decision to withdraw our agreement to allow the United States' general consulate to operate in St Petersburg," Mr Lavrov told a briefing.

"As for the other countries, everything will also be symmetrical in terms of the number of people from their diplomatic missions who will be leaving Russia, and for now that's pretty much it."

That approach will mean that, among other countries affected, France, Germany and Poland would each have four of their diplomats in Moscow sent home, Ukraine would forfeit 13 diplomats, and Denmark, Albania and Spain would each have two of their embassy staff expelled.

Russia has already retaliated in kind after Britain initially expelled 23 diplomats.

The White House said Moscow's decision marked a further deterioration in the US-Russia relationship.

"Russia's response was not unanticipated and the United States will deal with it," the White House said in a statement without elaborating.

The US State Department, however, indicated earlier that Russia's decision to expel
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Jenifer (Zarknorph)

From: Jenifer (Zarknorph)


This guy actually makes some good points...

Russia has warned Britain it is "playing with fire and you'll be sorry" over its accusations that Moscow was to blame for poisoning a former Russian spy and his daughter.

Key points:

  • Russia claims Britain is required to allow Moscow to participate in the investigation of the attack.
  • Britain says their actions will stand up to scrutiny.
  • Russian Ambassador uses a passage from Alice in Wonderland as an analogy for how Moscow has been treated.

It was the second showdown between Russia and Britain at the United Nations Security Council since the March 4 nerve agent attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in an English town.

Russia, which requested the council meeting, denies any involvement.

"We have told our British colleagues that, 'You're playing with fire and you'll be sorry'," Russian UN ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said during a more than 30-minute speech that attempted to poke holes in Britain's allegations against Moscow.

He suggested that anyone who watched television crime shows like Britain's Midsomer Murders would know "hundreds of clever ways to kill someone" to illustrate the "risky and dangerous" nature of the method Britain says was used to target Skripal.

"Great Britain refuses to cooperate with us on the pretext that the victim does not cooperate with the criminal," Mr Nebenzia said.

"A crime was committed on British territory, possibly a terrorist act, and it is our citizens who are the victims."

He challenged Britain to take his statement as "a litmus test" of the country's integrity and respect for international norms and said Britain was required to allow Russia to participate in the investigation of the attack on Mr Skripal and his daughter, Yulia.

British police believe a nerve agent was left on the front door of the Salisbury home where Mr Skripal lived after he was freed in a spy swap.

He was a military intelligence colonel who betrayed dozens of Russian agents to Britain's MI6 spy service.

"We believe that the UK's actions stand up to any scrutiny," British UN ambassador Karen Pierce told the Security Council.

"We have nothing to hide … but I do fear that Russia might have something to fear."

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