Moscow warns Kiev of ‘consequences’ for attempts to provoke conflict after Kerch Strait standoff

Moscow warns Kiev of ‘consequences’ for attempts to provoke conflict after Kerch Strait standoff
Moscow has protested Kiev’s “planned” breach of Russian waters in the Kerch Strait and cautioned Ukraine’s foreign backers against blowing the incident out of proportion. Russia will “strongly” respond to similar “provocations.”

Three Ukrainian military boats on Sunday tried to pass through the Kerch Strait apparently without prior warning, but were ordered to stop by Russian border guards. A confrontation ensued, ending with the three ships being seized by the Russian side.

The actions of the Ukrainian Navy “violated the rules of passage through Russian territorial waters,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Monday, adding that Moscow has summoned an emergency UN Security Council meeting to discuss the incident.

“Russia has repeatedly warned the Kiev regime and its Western supporters that fanning up the hysteria over the Azov Sea and the Kerch Strait was dangerous. It’s obvious that there was a provocation, carefully planned in terms of location and form, which is aimed at flaring up yet another point of conflict in the region and creating a new pretext to impose more sanctions against Russia.”

Kiev has used the clash to justify declaring martial law – something Moscow says only benefits Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko ahead of the March elections. Poroshenko has been struggling to campaign for re-election, with his popularity decimated by harsh economic problems and recent corruption scandals.

Moscow also said it’s outraged by vandalism attacks targeting Russian diplomatic missions in Ukraine following the Kerch standoff. Further incidents of a similar nature may have “serious consequences,” it said, pledging to “strongly counter” any attempt to violate Russian sovereignty.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has meanwhile described the actions of the Ukrainian Navy as “an invasion of Russian territorial waters.”

US Spy Plane Enters Black Sea Area Amid Ukraine-Russia Naval Tensions
TEHRAN (FNA)- A Crete-based US spy plane entered the Black Sea area on Monday morning after a standoff between Ukraine and Russia over a strait that separates it from the Sea of Azov, the Ukrainian military portal disclosed.

The Boeing RC-135V reconnaissance plane left the US naval base at Souda Bay on Crete at 05:50 GMT and headed east, the portal said, Sputnik reported.

The electronic intelligence aircraft was reportedly in Bulgarian airspace as of 06:30 GMT and flying toward the Crimean peninsula, a Russian territory in the Black Sea.

This comes after Russia detained three Ukrainian naval vessels on 25 November for entering its territorial waters on their way from the Black Sea to the Sea of Azov, a shallow internal sea the two countries share.

Russia’s FSB security agency accused the ships of ignoring warnings to stop and maneuvering dangerously. Ukraine’s national Security Council responded by declaring a 60-day martial law, which still needs parliamentary approval.
posted by ZUKUNASHI at 23:22| Comment(0) | 国際・政治

Corbyn tells May to ‘bring it on,’ as PM considers live TV debate on her Brexit deal

Corbyn tells May to ‘bring it on,’ as PM considers live TV debate on her Brexit deal
Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn has told Theresa May that he would “relish” a live head-to-head TV debate on her Brexit deal, as the prime minister attempts a PR charm offensive before a crucial vote on the agreement in parliament.

Corbyn has branded May’s deal with the EU as “a miserable failure of negotiation” and has vowed that Labour will vote against it, because in his view it “leaves us with the worst of all worlds.” The Labour leader has welcomed the prospect of locking horns with May.

A Labour spokesperson said: “Jeremy would relish a head-to-head debate with Theresa May about her botched Brexit deal and the future of our country.”

The prime minister, who was accused of ‘weakness’ for not participating in TV debates during the run up the 2017 General Election, would want the debates to be televised at prime time. If agreed upon the debates could happen just days before the Commons is expected to vote on the deal – scheduled for December 11 or 12.

May has a huge task ahead to get her deal through parliament. According to Business Insider, up to 90 Tory MPs have declared they will vote against May’s Brexit deal, with Labour and other opposition parties, including the Democratic Unionist Party which props up her minority government, also committed to voting it down.

The prime minister will attempt to rally support from MPs on Monday in a Commons statement, in which she will urge them to get behind her or risk “more division and more uncertainty,” Politics Home reports.

She is expected to say: “There is a choice which MPs will have to make. We can back this deal, deliver on the vote of the referendum and move on to building a brighter future of opportunity and prosperity for all our people.

“Or this House can choose to reject this deal and go back to square one … It would open the door to more division and more uncertainty, with all the risks that will entail.”

The UK and the EU announced on Sunday that they had agreed on a Brexit deal at a summit of the bloc’s leaders in Brussels. It took them just 40 minutes to sign off nearly 600 pages of legal text and a 20-page roadmap for the EU's future relationship with Britain, Bloomberg reports.
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Syria blames foreign states for Aleppo ‘toxic gas attack’, calls for UN to step in

Over 70 people hospitalized in Syria's Aleppo after militants shell city with poison gas – reports

At least 73 residents of neighborhoods in Syria's Aleppo have been treated for symptoms of toxic gas poisoning after militants attacked the residential area with gas-filled munitions, Syrian media reported.

The Al-Khalidiye and Al Zahraa neighborhoods, as well as Nile Street, were targeted by rocket fire on Saturday evening, Syria's state SANA news agency reported. The munitions used by the rebels were rigged with toxic gas, causing dozens of civilians to suffer from asphyxiation, the agency said.

The hazardous substance has been preliminarily identified as chlorine, according to medical officials.

The head of the health department of the Syrian city of Aleppo, Ziad Haj Taha, reported that 50 people were taken to two Aleppo hospitals after the shelling, noting that the number of the injured is likely to rise.

"Ambulance services continue to provide assistance to victims of poison gas use by terrorist groups, presumably chlorine," Taha told Russian Sputnik news agency.

The Russian Defense Ministry has dispatched chemical protection troops stationed in Syria to the area. They are tending to those affected and monitoring the situation on the ground, ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov told media.

"From preliminary data, in particular the confirmed symptoms displayed by those affected, the munitions used in the shelling were filled with chlorine," Konashenkov said. According to the Russian military's data, 46 people, including 8 children, were hospitalized after the shelling.

Footage from the Aleppo hospital released by the Russian Ministry of Defense shows injured civilians, including women and children, being tended to by the doctors. A choking woman is seen being rushed into the hospital in a wheelchair. Patients are wearing oxygen masks.
The number of civilians treated for the symptoms of gas poisoning has climbed to 73 people, including 4 children, Syrian medical officials reported early Sunday. All of the injured have expierenced problems with breathing and watery eyes, the symptoms that are consistent with an allergic reaction to gas, doctor Shervan Shekho told journalists.

According to the Russian military's preliminary estimates, the attack was launched from within the nearby Idlib de-escalation zone, from an area near a village controlled by the former Al-Nusra front.

Chlorine, which was first used as a weapon during WWI, may cause lasting health damage and can be fatal at high levels of exposure.

Children and women are reported to be among the victims of the attack.

The Syrian armed forces fired back, targeting the positions of the militants north of Aleppo, a SANA correspondent reported, adding that they appear to have suffered heavy losses.

"The Syrian army responded to the shelling of militants, attacking the positions from which the shelling was carried out, militants suffered significant losses," a Syrian military source confirmed the retaliatory attack to Sputnik.

SANA has released a video showing purported victims of the attack wearing oxygen masks as they are being treated in an Aleppo hospital.

Doctors told RT that the hospital has been filled with a distinct chemical smell. Patients “see very badly and have big difficulties breathing,” a doctor said.

Syria blames foreign states for Aleppo ‘toxic gas attack’, calls for UN to step in
The militant shelling of Aleppo was the result of some countries’ attempts to “facilitate” delivery of chemicals to terrorist groups, Damascus said. Syria now calls for the UN to act against states supporting terrorism.

At least 46 people, including 8 children have been hospitalized in Aleppo with symptoms of gas poisoning from chlorine, according to the Russian military who sent special units to assist with treating patients after the attack. Syrian media say over 100 people were injured. The shelling that targeted residential areas of Aleppo on Saturday night is believed to have been launched from within the Idlib de-escalation zone, from an area controlled by the former Al-Nusra front.

Damascus said the attack aimed to further frame the Syrian government, according to Sana news agency. The Syrian Foreign Ministry called on the UN Security Council to immediately condemn the “terrorist crimes,” and take “deterrent and punitive measures against the states and regimes backing terrorism.”

The statement stopped short to name any particular “sponsors,” but said the attack occurred as the result of “facilitation” provided by “some countries” to deliver chemicals to armed militants.

The attack was an attempt to damage the Syrian normalization process, according to Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova. She added that the shelling of Aleppo must be condemned by the international community, which has been silent of the incident so far.

Analyst Ali Rizk, who specializes in Middle East affairs, told RT that the shelling is “further proof” of Russia’s constant warnings that the militants possess chemicals. Idlib remains a terrorist “safe haven”, he stressed.

“If terrorists are left alone for more time I think they will only continue such attacks, which I think makes it more and more imperative to go ahead as soon as possible to eliminate these terrorists,” Rizk told the channel.

Speaking of what terrorists can achieve by such actions, the analyst said that they want to show that the war is not over and boost morale among militants, as well as scare off Syrian refugees who fled the country from returning back home.

Previous alleged chemical weapons attack in the city of Douma in April, for which the West was quick to pin the blame on Damascus, was used as a pretext for US-UK-French missile strikes against Syria. Russia has repeatedly stressed that the incident was staged and warned that terrorist groups are plotting to carry out more false flag chemical attacks in the Arab Republic.

Russian Air Force hits positions of Syrian militants used for Aleppo 'gas attack'
Russian aircraft struck militant targets in the Idlib demilitarized zone, from which Syrian militants launched a “poisonous substance” attack on civilians in the city of Aleppo, Moscow announced.

The air raid was aimed particularly at artillery positions of the militants, according to the Defense Ministry’s spokesperson, Major General Igor Konashenkov.

All the targets were eliminated as a result of the airstrike

However, the militants did not plan to stop at one assault. Intelligence data showed that further attacks of the kind were planned, Konashenkov revealed.

The airstrikes came less than a day after several residential areas of Aleppo were hit with “gas” munitions fired by the Syrian militants. At least 46 people were treated for symptoms of chlorine poisoning, the Russian MoD confirmed earlier.

Local news agency, SANA, has put the injury toll even higher, saying that up to 107 people – women and children among them – fell victim to the assault.

Pinning the blame on unidentified foreign states, Damascus alleged that the attempts to “facilitate” delivery of chemicals to terrorist groups by these countries had led to the tragedy. Earlier cases where allegations of a toxic attack were made from the rebel side, quickly led to an outcry from the international community, who rushed to castigate Damascus.

The West’s reaction to the attack on late Saturday has been rather restrained so far. France is the only state that has given its take on the assault, saying the case should be addressed by the international chemical watchdog – the OPCW. Admitting that he does not have enough information at the moment, French President Emmanuel Macron promised to raise the issue in talks with his “partners” within the EU and beyond.

Meanwhile, Damascus has called on the UN Security Council to immediately condemn the “terrorist crimes” and “take … measures” against the states supporting terrorism.
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