Tag Archives: Putin

Putin shows off sniper skills firing Kalashnikov rifle

Putin shows off sniper skills firing Kalashnikov rifleRussian state television showed Putin in goggles and earphones crouching as he fired the silver rifle at the Kalashnikov company’s shooting range outside Moscow. “The target is set up practically at the maximum distance,” Rossiya 24 television reported, saying that Putin appeared to be pressing the trigger while holding his breath and between heartbeats as professional snipers are supposed to do. Putin “shot five times and hit the target more than half the time” the television channel reported.



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Israel determined to stop Iran in Syria, PM tells Putin

Israel determined to stop Iran in Syria, PM tells PutinPrime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed Tuesday that Israel would keep acting against its arch foe Iran in Syria, after a Russian aircraft was accidentally downed there by Syria during an Israeli missile strike. Netanyahu also “expressed sorrow” over the deaths of the 15 Russian crew members onboard and said Israel would assist Moscow in the investigation.



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Putin sees chance circumstances behind downing of Russian plane off Syrian coast

Putin sees chance circumstances behind downing of Russian plane off Syrian coastThe ministry said that while Syrian anti-aircraft had mistakenly shot down the plane of a close ally, Israeli jets flying nearby had put the Russian jet in the path of danger, and it threatened to retaliate over what it called a hostile act. “As for retaliatory measures, they will be aimed first and foremost at further ensuring the safety of our military personnel and facilities in Syria.



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Putin and Erdogan to hold talks on Syria's rebel-held Idlib

Putin and Erdogan to hold talks on Syria's rebel-held IdlibRussian President Vladimir Putin was set to meet Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday as international concern mounts over an expected Syrian government assault on the rebel-held province of Idlib. The leaders of the two countries that are on opposite sides of the conflict but key global allies will discuss the situation in Idlib at Putin’s residence in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi, the Kremlin said. “The situation with Idlib is acute,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told RIA Novosti news agency on Monday ahead of the talks.



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Putin says will strengthen army at military drills

Putin says will strengthen army at military drillsPresident Vladimir Putin on Thursday visited Russia’s largest-ever military drills in eastern Siberia, where he said Moscow planned to strengthen the country’s armed forces. Russia has said the Vostok-2018 exercises involve nearly 300,000 troops and all types of military equipment, as well as the participation of the Chinese and Mongolian armies. “Out duty to our country is to be ready to defend our sovereignty, our security and our national interests and, if we must, to support our allies,” the president said following a huge military parade after the manoeuvres.



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Turkey says Erdogan will meet Putin on Monday for Syria talks

Turkey says Erdogan will meet Putin on Monday for Syria talksTurkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will meet with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Monday, officials said, amid rising international concern over a looming Syrian government assault on a rebel-held province bordering Turkey. “President Erdogan will meet with Mr Putin on Monday,” Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told a televised press conference on Friday. Russia-backed forces of the Syrian regime have massed around the Idlib province in recent weeks, sparking fears of an imminent air and ground attack to retake the last major opposition bastion.



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Vladimir Putin says Salisbury poison suspects are Russian 'civilians' and hopes they will 'tell their story'

Vladimir Putin says Salisbury poison suspects are Russian 'civilians' and hopes they will 'tell their story'Vladimir Putin said Russia has identified the two men wanted by British authorities for the Salisbury poisoning and called on them to speak to the media.  One of them appeared to promise an interview to a Russian state news outlet next week, but doubts remain whether he is the same man sought by the UK police. Two Russians known as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov have been charged with attempting to murder of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury in March by spraying Novichok nerve agent on the handle of their door. The metropolitan police have said these names are probably aliases.  Theresa May's spokesman on Wednesday reiterated that “these men are officers of the Russian military intelligence service the GRU who used a devastatingly toxic chemical weapon in Salisbury.” Asked about the case on Wednesday at the eastern economic forum in Vladivostok, Mr Putin tried to shift the blame away from the Russian state, insisting that the two men were “civilians”.  “We know who they are, we found them,” he said at a panel with the leaders of China and Japan. “I hope they will appear on their own to talk about themselves, that will be better for everyone. There's nothing especially criminal there, I assure you.” A police photograph of Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, who have been named as suspects in the Salisbury Novichok attack Credit: Metropolitan Police His comments suggested that Russia will soon put forward an Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov to deny or muddy the waters around the British accusations.  Following Mr Putin's statement, state media Rossiya 24 spoke with an employee of Virion, a branch of the state pharmaceutical company Microgen in the Siberian city of Tomsk, named Alexander Petrov.  “I have no comment for now. Maybe later. Next week I think,” Petrov said.  But Alexander Petrov is an extremely common name in Russia. Photographs on his social media page, which were retrieved by The Telegraph last week before they were deleted, appeared to show a different man than the one seen in the photograph and Salisbury CCTV footage of Alexander Petrov released by UK police.  A social media photograph of Alexander Petrov, a state pharmaceutical company employee in Tomsk in Siberia Credit: OK A relative of the Petrov in Tomsk told The Telegraph his middle name was Sergeyevich, which did not match the middle name of the Petrov who went to Salisbury, according to a diplomatic source. The Telegraph has been trying to get in touch with both Petrov and Virion since the metropolitan police first announced the attackers' names last week. Neither has responded to requests for comment.  Last week, the Petrov in Tomsk told Russian state media he had “nothing to do with the story with Skripal”. “It's a complete coincidence. I can't go to London, I can't even go to the Altai” region, he said, apparently referring to travel restrictions that some state employees are subject to. The suspects head back towards Salisbury station; the Skripals were found slumped on a bench in the town centre three hours later Credit: Metropolitan Police According to passport details reported by the independent Russian news site Fontanka, the Petrov who flew to London in March was born on July 13, 1979.  There are at least five Alexander Petrovs with this birth date in Russia.  One of them held an ID from the defence ministry, of which the GRU was a part, and was the grandson of an officer in Joseph Stalin's feared counter-intelligence agency SMERSH. But his patronymic middle name also did not match that of the Salisbury suspect. The background of the other attacker, Ruslan Boshirov, remains just as murky.  A man with that name was born in the Soviet republic of Tajikistan on April 12, 1978, according to an electronic real estate document seen by The Telegraph. The fake perfume bottle had been designed as a poison applicator Credit: Metropolitan Police No one answered the door when a reporter knocked at the flat that Boshirov listed as his home address, and neighbours said they had not seen or heard of Boshirov. The flat was also listed as the home address of a woman named Alina Isaakova. When The Telegraph reached her by phone, she denied knowing of any Boshirov and said he had never lived there.  “This person probably doesn't exist,” she said. “It's a fake.” Ruslan Boshirov received a passport in 2010 from the federal migration service's central branch in Moscow, an office that often issues passports to state officials and undercover agents, according to Sergei Kanev of the Dossier Centre, an investigative journalism project funded by Putin foe Mikhail Khodorkovsky.  The only people he had previously seen with passports from this office, Mr Kanev said, was an agent of the FSB security service and two secretive women believed to be Mr Putin's daughters.  Video: Prime Minister addresses Commons over Salisbury In a statement that deepened the diplomatic crisis between the two countries, Mrs May told MPs last week that intelligence provided by UK agencies indicates the two Russian suspects are officers of Russia's GRU military intelligence service.  "This was not a rogue operation," Mrs May said. "It was almost certainly also approved outside the GRU at a senior level of the Russian state." The Crown Prosecution Service now faces a battle to bring the case as Russia does not allow the extradition of its own nationals. A European arrest warrant for the two men – who police think were travelling under aliases and are now back in Russia – has been obtained.  Scotland Yard said the military-grade nerve agent was brought into the UK in a fake bottle of Ninna Ricci Premier Jour perfume, which had been designed as a specially-made poison applicator. It is believed that it was later found by Charlie Rowley before he and his girlfriend, Dawn Sturgess, became indirect casualties of the poisoning. Ms Sturgess died just over a week later. Neil Basu, Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, said it is likely the suspects were travelling under aliases and that Petrov and Boshirov are not their real names. He said the pair, who are believed to be aged around 40, had been to the UK before on the same passports and had "travelled extensively on them in the past". Read more | Salisbury Novichok poisoning Detectives believe the front door of Mr Skripal's Salisbury home was contaminated with the military-grade substance on Sunday, March 4. Mr Basu said CCTV shows the two suspects in the vicinity of the property on that date. Hours later, the men left the UK on a flight from Heathrow to Moscow – two days after they had arrived at Gatwick. Releasing a series of CCTV images of the men in Britain, Mr Basu asked witnesses to come forward to establish their real identities. Russian media reports suggest Boshirov is a 40-year-old Moscow State University graduate who was living in the capital. Boshirov's latest listed address is said to be in Moscow, but less is known about Petrov, other than he is 39.  Caught on camera: The 48-hour 'mission to kill' When passengers left the Aeroflot SU2588 flight from Moscow to London Gatwick on the afternoon of March 2 2018, little did they know they were in the company of two men police believe were sent to the UK to kill. Here is a timeline of the suspects' movements, released by Scotland Yard, during their brief trip to the UK: Friday, March 2 1500: Suspects Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov arrive at Gatwick Airport, having flown from Moscow on Aeroflot flight SU2588. Suspect Ruslan Boshirov at Gatwick airport at 3pm on March 2 Credit: Metropolitan Police The same CCTV camera captured Alexander Petrov after the pair got off an Aeroflot flight Credit: Metropolitan Police 1740: The pair arrive at London Victoria station by train from Gatwick. 1800: They then travel on public transport to Waterloo station, and then to the City Stay Hotel in Bow Road, east London, where they stay for two nights. Saturday, March 3 1145: The pair arrive at Waterloo station, having left the hotel, bound for Salisbury. It is believed the two are on a reconnaissance mission. 1425: They arrive in Salisbury by train. 1611: Having spent a short time in the city, Petrov and Boshirov leave Salisbury to begin the return journey. Both suspects at Salisbury train station at 4.11pm on March 3 Credit: Metropolitan Police 2005: The pair arrive back in Bow, east London, where they stay at the City Stay Hotel for a second night. Sunday, March 4 0805: The day of the Novichok attack. Petrov and Boshirov use the Underground at Bow to travel to Waterloo, and then on by train to Salisbury. 1148: The pair are caught on CCTV leaving Salisbury railway station. Image of both suspects at Salisbury railway station at 11.48am on March 4 Credit: Metropolitan Police 1158: They are then spotted in Wilton Road in Salisbury, a short distance from Christie Miller Road, Mr Skripal's address. Police say this is moments before the attack. The suspects in Wilton Road, close to Mr Skripal's house Credit: Metropolitan Police 1305: The suspects are caught on CCTV in Fisherton Street, heading back towards the railway station. Both suspects are pictured from behind on Fisherton Road Credit: Metropolitan Police 1350: Petrov and Boshirov begin their journey back to London. Both suspects, left, prepare to board a train in Salisbury Credit: Metropolitan Police 1645: The pair arrive back in London at Waterloo station. 1830: They board the Underground heading to Heathrow Airport. 1928: CCTV catches the pair going through passport control. The two suspects at Heathrow airport security Credit: Metropolitan Police 2230: They depart London for Moscow on the Aeroflot flight SU2585. Convulsions, paralysis and respiratory failure: How Novichok attacks nervous system Novichok is a group of nerve agents which are more potent and lethal than VX or sarin. They are made of two separate non-toxic substances that work as a nerve agent when brought together. They work by attacking the nervous system and stopping chemical messages from being transmitted around the body. This causes the heart to slow down and the airways to become constricted, which can lead to suffocation or brain damage. Breathing is disrupted as the muscles struggle to contract normally, while fluid may build up on the lungs. Symptoms can start within seconds or minutes of being exposed and include convulsions, paralysis and respiratory failure. Video: What Novichok is – and how it affects the body Nerve agents including Novichok can be inhaled as a fine powder, absorbed through the skin or ingested. Experts said medics would probably have relied on three chemicals to treat the Skripals after they were found unconscious on a park bench in Salisbury in March. Paramedics are likely to have used diazepam to prevent convulsions, while they worked out what was responsible for the symptoms. Doctors may later have administered atropine, which counteracts the effect of the nerve agent, maintaining heart rate and stopping the secretion from entering the lungs. The Moscow weapons lab that made the deadly Novichok nerve agent An oxime, which pulls the nerve agent off the enzyme, could also have been used to help the acetylcholinesterase enzyme start functioning again. The patient's body itself will also work to reproduce the blocked enzyme and this process will be accelerated if they have received a strong dose of nerve agent. When Mr Skripal and his daughter were discharged, the hospital warned that they may require further treatment in the future.  Newsletter promotion – global health security – end of article Skripal 'briefed intelligence officers in Europe' British security services allegedly sent Col Skripal to Eastern Europe to share Russian spy secrets, reports Victoria Ward. The former Russian spy is said to have travelled widely, offering information on Russian espionage to security officers in both Prague and Estonia. Such briefings have been cited as a possible motive for Russia’s attempt to kill both Col Skripal and his daughter, Yulia. A visit to Prague in 2012, when he reportedly provided information about Russian espionage methods and the activities of his former colleagues operating in Europe, was described as “beneficial” and his information, although dated, was deemed valuable. Sergei Skripal profile He arrived in the city shortly after his wife, Lyudmila, died. But although he was grieving, he was in “good spirits,” drinking with intelligence officers and joking that his doctor had prescribed whiskey for high blood pressure. One agent suggested that although he was in poor health, his mind was sharp. In fact, Col Skripal was so helpful that Czech intelligence officers continued to meet with him, reportedly making several trips to Britain in subsequent years. The former spy is said to have visited Estonia as recently as June 2016, in which “very sensitive information” was discussed with a “select group of intelligence officers”. MI6 helped facilitate the meeting, it is claimed. 



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Russia, Turkey, Iran discussed 'phased stabilisation' in Syria's Idlib: Putin

Russia, Turkey, Iran discussed 'phased stabilisation' in Syria's Idlib: PutinLeaders of Russia, Turkey and Iran on Friday discussed a step-by-step “stabilisation” in Syria’s Idlib, with a possibility of peace with some rebel groups, Russian President Vladimir Putin said after the talks. “We have discussed concrete measures regarding a phased stabilisation in the Idlib de-escalation zone, which stipulate… a possibility of making peace for those ready for dialogue,” Putin said after the summit in Tehran to discuss the fate of Syria’s last rebel bastion.



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Russian state television introduces weekly show in praise of Vladimir Putin 

Russian state television introduces weekly show in praise of Vladimir Putin A weekly show glorifying Vladimir Putin's political acumen, physical fitness and love of children has made its debut on Russian state television, raising concerns of a Stalinesque “personality cult”. The hour-long show, titled “Moscow. Kremlin. Putin.,” comes after the president's popularity took a hit over an widely loathed plan to raise the pension age. Hosted by Vladimir Soloviev, a TV and radio personality who previously authored documentary films and books about Mr Putin, the first broadcast began with footage of the leader hiking on a holiday in Siberia, meeting with schoolchildren and paying respects to a well-known singer who died last week. “Putin doesn't just love children, he loves people. He's a very humane human,” the Kremlin spokesman told Mr Soloviev, echoing a famous quote calling Vladimir Lenin the “most humane human”. The programme also showed Mr Putin meeting with talented schoolchildren, but did not mention that one of them was wearing a t-shirt with the name of his main critic Credit: YouTube The show claimed that Mr Putin had travelled more than 5,000 miles across Russia for work in the past week, wondering how he “keeps up with such a marathon”. It later answered its own question with a segment on the president's five-mile hike in mountainous Siberia and details of his daily swimming and weight-lifting routines. The programme also recycled old PR stunts such as footage of him descending into a nickel mine in Norilsk in 2002. But the “main topic” of the week, it said, was a televised address in which Mr Putin softened pension reform that has sparked protests. Nearly nine in 10 Russians oppose the plan. His approval rating tumbled from 79 to 67 per cent after the planned reform was announced, and the communist party rallied some 9,000 demonstrators against the measure in Moscow this weekend. A sign with the words 'pension reform' at a protest in Moscow on Sunday Credit: Dmitri Lovetsky/AP Opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who was suddenly jailed last week for previous demonstrations, has been calling for a pension protest across Russia this coming Sunday. In the address, Mr Putin said the retirement age for women would be only be raised five years to 60 rather than to 63. The age for men will still be hiked to 65, however, a year less than their average life expectancy. Russian state television features fawning coverage of the president nearly every day, and Mr Putin is well-known for shirtless photographs and macho exploits like tranquilising tigers, flying in fighter jets and scoring seven goals in a birthday hockey game. But “Moscow. Kremlin. Putin.” has taken the adulation to new heights. Mr Putin is known for his macho stunts and shirtless photographs, such as this picture of him fishing in Siberia in 2017 Credit: Alexey Nikolsky/AFP An article on the independent news site Znak compared it to the Soviet propaganda that trumpeted the achievements of leaders like Mr Lenin, Joseph Stalin and Leonid Brezhnev. “This wasn't surprising, of course, but it should be somehow documented that in September 2018 we've returned to the personality cult,” journalist Ilya Barabanov tweeted about the show, which he described as a “stomach balloon” after the inflatable weight-loss device. Stalin's infamous personality cult was denounced by his successor Nikita Khrushchev, and later leaders have been wary of emulating it. The figure of Mr Putin was removed from a statue ensemble just before it was unveiled in the Kurgan region in May, reportedly on orders from the Kremlin. Mr Putin goes boating with defence minister Sergei Shoigu in footage shown on the new programme Credit: YouTube More laughs at the new show's expense came when it emerged that one of the kids had worn a Navalny shirt during Mr Putin's visit with talented schoolchildren, which was not reflected on television but slipped into a photograph published on the Kremlin website. Although the younger generation tends to get its news from the Internet, television remains the main source of information for a majority of the population.



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Putin, Erdogan, Rohani to hold Syria talks Friday: Kremlin

Putin, Erdogan, Rohani to hold Syria talks Friday: KremlinThe Kremlin on Monday said the leaders of Russia, Iran and Turkey would on Friday hold a tripartite summit in Iran seeking an end to the Syrian conflict. In a statement confirming the date of September 7 that was reported earlier by Turkish media, the Kremlin said Putin would “make a working visit to Iran” for the talks.



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