RT News - January 28th 2023

1 year ago

A mass shooting in a Jerusalem synagogue leaves seven people dead and many others wounded on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Russian military forces engage in heavy fighting for the city of Ugledar, in the Donetsk region. RT's correspondent is there, reporting from the front line.
Press "more" for expanded news"
USA: Violent protests have broken out in across USA, where a man was beaten to death by traffic police in Memphis, having been stopped for a traffic incident of reckless driving. He was hospitalised and died a few days later. Protests in Atlanta, GA also after an activist was killed by police during a raid of a protest camp.
The private military company director of "Mozart" Andrew Milburn has spoken to RT about his video on social media and has accused The Grayzone of posting "heavily edited footage" (QS I haven't seen the Grayzone version - just the one posted by Andrew Milburn and I can't think any editing could have made it any worse. "Russian disinformation" of his own video?) Mr. Milburn spoke to Afshin Rattansi of Going Underground - full discussion right here on Rumble https://rumble.com/v27e7ri-its-to-kill-russians-going-underground-speaks-to-the-mozart-group-in-ukrain.html?mref=6zof&mrefc=2 (don't forget to like subscribe to channel, it's excellent) commentary also from Max Blumenthal.
Tennis and politics (watch report, I am so ticked off about politics in sport anything I might say would seem biased - also see (10) below) Andrey Rublev had also been jeered at/insulted by pro-Ukraine spectators during the match.
RT begins special coverage of the legacy left by the disastrous war in Iraq, as 20 years since the US invasion and occupation of the country has left an estimated 180-thousand civilians dead and arguably paved the way for the rise of the Daesh terrorist group.

Below, via RT website 1) ---- German FM under fire for ‘war with Russia’ comment
2) --- NATO state unveils its largest Ukraine arms package
3) --- Ukraine restricts official trips after scandal
4) --- Washington ‘destroying world peace’, North Korea
5) --- Ukraine’s Maidan leader faces calls for party expulsion
6) --- Zelensky issues warning over Abrams deliveries
7) --- Eight killed in Jerusalem terrorist attack
8) --- EU claims to have found way to access frozen Russian funds – Bloomberg
9) --- Moscow expels Baltic country ambassador
10) --- Djokovic hits out at media after father’s Russian flag row


27 Jan, 2023 22:17

1) ---- German FM under fire for ‘war with Russia’ comment

Opposition politicians say Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock is unfit for her job

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has faced waves of criticism after saying at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) that Germany is at war with Russia. The comment led opposition politicians to question whether she is fit for the job.

“A statement by Baerbock that Germany is at war with Russia shows that she is not suited for her job,” MP Sahra Wagenknecht, the former head of the Left Party in the Bundestag, tweeted on Friday. A foreign minister should be a “top diplomat” and “not act like an elephant in a China shop,” she added, accusing Baerbock of “trampling” on Germany’s reputation.

During the debate on Tuesday, Baerbock said European nations are “fighting a war against Russia” and must do more to defend Ukraine.

Germany needs a foreign minister who is capable of acting “as a responsible diplomat and not a firebrand” amid the conflict in Europe, said Alice Weidel, the co-chair of the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) in the Bundestag, adding that a foreign minister should represent Germany’s interests exclusively.

Gerhard Papke, a regional lawmaker from North Rhine-Westphalia and president of the German-Hungarian Association, accused Baerbock of being “completely politically insane” for making the statement. https://twitter.com/PapkeGerhard/status/1618702083645145088

Left MP Selim Dagdelen demanded that Chancellor Olaf Scholz provide an “immediate” explanation on whether Baerbock has his government’s mandate “for her declaration of war.” He added that the minister is a threat to the security of the German people.

Neither Baerbock nor Scholz have responded to the criticism so far. The Foreign Ministry stated that Berlin is not a party to the conflict between Kiev and Moscow, in a statement to the tabloid Bild.

“Supporting Ukraine in exercising its individual right to self-defense… does not make Germany a party to the conflict,” it said, pointing to the UN Charter. The Foreign Ministry added that Russia’s military operation in Ukraine is “a war against the European peace and order,” and that this is what Baerbock meant.

Moscow said that Baerbock’s words only show that the West has been planning this conflict for years.

28 Jan, 2023 03:42

2) --- NATO state unveils its largest Ukraine arms package

The Belgian government says it is unable to supply Leopard tanks to Kiev after pulling the weapon from service in 2014

Belgium has authorized a new round of military aid for Ukraine worth €92 million ($100 million), the country’s largest weapons transfer since the conflict with Russia kicked off last year. The arms will include anti-aircraft munitions, armored vehicles, and anti-tank grenades.

The NATO member announced the decision on Friday, with officials noting that some of the weapons would come from existing Belgian inventories, while the remaining portion will be purchased directly from the arms industry.

“Since the start of this war, our country has made a lot of efforts to support Ukraine,” Prime Minister Alexander De Croo told reporters. “In total, our country has already given €146 million in military aid. Today, the Council of Ministers decided to send a new package of €92 million in military aid to Ukraine.”

While Defense Minister Ludivine Dedonder declined to give exact numbers for what Kiev will receive, she said the package will include grenades, ammunition, anti-aircraft missiles, anti-tank weapons, light armored vehicles, machine guns, and assault rifles.

The package also includes the US-made AIM-120 advanced medium-range air-to-air missiles (AMRAAMs), which Washington agreed to sell to Belgium in November. Though it is designed to be fired from an aircraft, the missile is also compatible with the ground-based NASAMS launcher, several of which have been provided to Kiev by Washington.

According to local media reports, the new arms package will include a number of Volvo N10 heavy utility trucks, which were removed from Belgium’s arsenal in 2021 after they were found to provide “no or insufficient protection to the crew.” Several dozen Iveco LMV tactical vehicles are also reportedly destined for Ukraine, even after the military discovered a design flaw in its armor and decided to phase out the platform by 2026. Officials said some of the gear will undergo maintenance before being shipped out, though it’s unclear if that will address the defects.

Dedonder went on to explain that Brussels cannot follow the US, Germany, and other European partners and supply tanks to Ukraine, as Belgium sold off its aging Leopard 1 battle tanks to private companies in 2014 and has no comparable weapon to offer.

“We haven’t found a way to answer that question. We no longer have them in stock and we have not found any operational units on the market,” she said, adding that while the government approached some firms about purchasing tanks, it was unable to find a reasonable deal.

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky later thanked Brussels in a statement posted to Twitter, saying the weapons will “strengthen our air defense, help deter enemy tanks [and] improve the mobility of our defenders.”

Russia has repeatedly urged the West to stop “pumping” Ukraine with weaponry, arguing it would only prolong the conflict and lead to more bloodshed.
27 Jan, 2023 21:53

3) --- Ukraine restricts official trips after scandal

The move comes after President Zelensky’s party expelled an MP over a Thailand beach video

The government in Kiev issued a decree on Friday sharply limiting the scope of international travel for Ukrainian officials, after President Vladimir Zelensky’s party expelled a lawmaker over social media posts showing him living it up in Southeast Asia.

Members of the legislature, prosecutors, judges, members of local governments, and other public servants can cross the border only on official business, for medical reasons, or to attend the funerals of immediate family, Prime Minister Denis Shmigal announced.

Single mothers or fathers still need government permission to visit underage children living abroad. A letter from the Ministry of Health is required to accompany children for medical treatment outside Ukraine, while the State Border Service needs to issue a letter to attend the funeral of a person “in the first degree of kinship,” according to the new rules.

Zelensky raised the issue himself in an address to the nation on Thursday evening, saying that officials “must comply with the relevant decision of the National Security and Defense Council, which you have all seen.”

“There will be no other trips abroad by officials or MPs in wartime,” he warned, adding he was repeating the rule “for those hard of hearing.”

Earlier on Thursday, Zelensky’s ‘Servant of the People’ party voted to expel MP Nikolay Tyshchenko after he posted a video on Facebook showing himself enjoying the beaches of Thailand. The video has since been deleted, with Tyshchenko claiming it is from 2019.

According to Ukrainian media, Tyshchenko defended himself by claiming he was doing very important work, meeting with “our partners” and signing “an important diplomatic agreement to support Ukraine.”

He also said he was just following parliamentary instructions to prioritize relations with Asian countries, as the co-chair of the Vietnam friendship caucus. Although expelled from the ruling party, Tyshchenko remains an MP and retains parliamentary immunity.

Prior to cracking down on travel, Zelensky fired a number of senior officials, including his deputy chief of staff, deputy defense minister, deputy prosecutor general, and governors of four frontline regions. Several other high-ranking officials were ousted or arrested on charges of corruption or embezzlement.

28 Jan, 2023 05:01

4) --- Washington ‘destroying world peace’, North Korea says

US intervention in Ukraine could kick off a wider conflict across Europe, Pyongyang has warned

North Korea has condemned the US and other Western powers for providing main battle tanks to Ukrainian forces, saying Washington’s “proxy war” against Russia poses a dire threat to world peace.

In comments carried by the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Friday, senior Workers’ Party official Kim Yo-jong – the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un – said US involvement in Ukraine has “exposed the entire continent of Europe to the grave danger of war.”

Washington and its allies “are destroying world peace and regional security by handing over an astronomical amount of military equipment to Ukraine, completely ignoring Russia's safety concerns,” she said, adding that the decision to supply tanks poses “a major threat and challenge to the strategic security of Russia.”

After repeatedly declining Kiev’s requests for heavy armor, US officials finally gave in earlier this week and agreed to send 31 M1 Abrams battle tanks. Though the weapons aren’t set to reach the battlefield until August at the earliest, several allies, including Germany and Poland, have also pledged to send their own Leopard 2 tanks in the coming weeks and months. Berlin was initially reluctant to authorize shipments of the German-made vehicle, but ultimately accepted the move under pressure from fellow NATO members, allowing allies to export the Leopard to Ukraine.

Kim went on to express “serious concern” over the potential for escalation in Ukraine, accusing the US of “further expanding the proxy war to destroy Russia.” However, she said “no matter how desperate the allied imperialist forces are,” all Western weapons supplied to Kiev would “burn up and become a pile of iron.”

Moscow has offered similar warnings about foreign intervention in Ukraine, arguing that non-stop arms shipments only serve to prolong the conflict and risk direct confrontation with the NATO alliance. Officials insist that no amount of military aid will prevent Russia from reaching its objectives, with Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov declaring Western tanks will “burn” on the Ukrainian battlefield.

27 Jan, 2023 19:49

5) --- Ukraine’s Maidan leader faces calls for party expulsion

Former Ukrainian PM Yulia Timoshenko has sparked outrage by reportedly holidaying in Dubai amid the conflict with Russia

Former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Timoshenko is in hot water over media reports that she spent the recent festive period holidaying in the United Arab Emirates as her country remained locked in a protracted conflict with Russia.

A Ukrainian MP has called on Timoshenko’s party to expel her in light of the reports of her New Year getaway.

“[I] am addressing the Fatherland [Party] with a call on Yulia Vladimirovna [Timoshenko] to be expelled from the parliamentary faction and the party,” Mariana Bezuglaya, the deputy head of the Ukrainian parliament’s Defense and National Security Committee, wrote on her Facebook page on Friday.

The high-ranking MP also published a photo purportedly showing the former leader spending her time on a beach in Dubai. Timoshenko, who served as Ukraine’s prime minister between 2007 and 2010, currently leads the Fatherland Party as well as the party’s faction in the national parliament or Verkhovna Rada.

Earlier on Friday, Ukraine’s Ukrainskaya Pravda newspaper published a series of photos apparently depicting Timoshenko and her family relaxing in Dubai. The former prime minister reportedly spent a vacation in a villa belonging to the five-star Kempinski Hotel in the UAE. Ukrainian journalists said they photographed the politician at a private, closed beach on January 5th

In a separate piece, Ukrainskaya Pravda reported, citing an anonymous source within the Ukrainian border guard service, that the former prime minister had spent around a month in Dubai between December 27 and January 23. Her daughter moved to the UAE together with her family before the start of the conflict between Moscow and Kiev, the paper added.

Timoshenko herself has not commented on the reports, and her party did not respond to Bezuglaya’s call.

Timoshenko, who was jailed under President Viktor Yanukovich on charges of abuse of office, actively supported the Maidan coup after her release in early 2014. Later the same year, her Fatherland Party sought to initiate a referendum on Ukraine’s accession to NATO.

The news comes as Kiev seeks to limit foreign trips by Ukrainian officials. On January 23, President Vladimir Zelensky signed an executive order banning all government and presidential administration officials as well as all MPs from traveling abroad for any reasons not related to their professional duties.

27 Jan, 2023 17:06

6) --- Zelensky issues warning over Abrams deliveries

The Ukrainian president claimed that if the tanks arrive in August it would be too late

President Vladimir Zelensky has criticized Washington’s lack of speed in delivering heavy tanks to Ukraine. In an interview with Sky News on Friday, the Ukrainian leader also warned that Kiev would not be satisfied with a small number of tanks from the West.

Zelensky’s comments come after the US promised on Wednesday to supply Kiev with 31 M1 Abrams tanks, but cautioned that the delivery could take several months or more. The White House explained that it expects to acquire the machines from the industry, rather than pulling them directly from its own stocks.

However, Zelensky complained that if the American tanks arrive as late as August, it will be “too late.” He insisted that a handful of tanks “won’t make a difference on the battlefield.”

The Ukrainian president told Sky News that Kiev currently needs “300 to 500 tanks” in order to be able to launch a counter offensive against Russia.

“It’s not about politics, it’s about specific results on the battlefield,” he said.

Zelensky also thanked the countries that have been delivering weapons to Ukraine and noted that a total of 12 countries have already committed to bolstering Kiev’s tank coalition.

Earlier this week, Germany officially approved the supply to Kiev of 14 Leopard 2A6 tanks from its own stocks and also gave permission to other countries to provide their own German-made armor to the Ukrainian army. Berlin said it expects to deliver the Leopards no later than the end of March.

Other countries that have also pledged their heavy armor to Kiev include the UK, Poland, Canada, Spain, Norway and the Netherlands.

Russia, meanwhile, has warned the West against continuing to supply Ukraine with weapons, arguing that it only serves to prolong the conflict. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov also warned that German and US tanks will not change the outcome of the fighting and will “burn” like the rest of Western-supplied weaponry.

27 Jan, 2023 19:28

7) --- Eight killed in Jerusalem terrorist attack

Gunman reportedly opened fire on Jews leaving evening prayers

At least eight people have been killed and ten more wounded in a shooting at a Jerusalem synagogue on Friday evening, Israeli media reported. The attacker was killed by security forces while attempting to escape.

The armed assault took place in the Neve Yaakov neighborhood of Jerusalem, in the territory claimed by the Palestinian Authority. At least five people were confirmed dead at the scene. Five of the wounded were taken to area hospitals in critical condition.

Police identified the attacker as Fadi Ayesh, a member of Hamas who lived in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat. Ayesh opened fire on the Ateret Avraham synagogue from a handgun, then fled towards the Palestinian neighborhood of Beit Hanina. He allegedly fired at the officers who responded to the scene and was fatally shot by their return fire, according to the Times of Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was briefed on the situation and reportedly called for a “situational assessment” meeting later in the evening. Opposition leader Yair Lapid sent condolences to the families of the victims and called for terrorism to “be dealt with harshly,” according to the Jerusalem Post.

The attack followed the funerals of nine Palestinians killed in clashes with Israeli troops in the refugee camp in Jenin, in what AP described as “the deadliest West Bank raid in years.”

Following Thursday’s firefight, Palestinian militants in Gaza fired rockets into Israel, while the Israeli military launched air strikes against the enclave.

27 Jan, 2023 11:17

8) --- EU claims to have found way to access frozen Russian funds – Bloomberg

Brussels reportedly wants to use the seized assets to rebuild Ukraine

The European Union has told member states that it has legal authority to temporarily leverage a hefty amount of Russian Central Bank assets to pay for the rebuilding of Ukraine, Bloomberg reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter.

The mechanism could reportedly involve as much as €33.8 billion ($36.8 billion) of the funds frozen by the bloc as part of the Ukraine-related sanctions imposed on Moscow.

According to the EU’s Council Legal Service, the plan is legally feasible if the assets aren’t expropriated and certain conditions are met. These include a termination date, a focus on liquid assets, and clarity that the principal and interest would be returned to Russia at some point, according to people close to the discussions.

The Group of Seven (G7) and the EU reportedly failed to find a clear legal basis for simply confiscating Russian assets.

EU backs member states seizing Russian assets.

Instead, Brussels is considering the idea of pooling the frozen assets together at EU or international level to generate returns that could be used to finance the rebuilding of Ukraine.

According to a number of estimates, the Russian Central Bank’s frozen assets amount to some $300 billion worldwide. EU officials had previously said almost €34 billion ($37 billion) of the funds are sitting in EU-based deposits. The figure is, however, still under assessment.

In November, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen proposed that the bloc’s authorities should create a special structure to manage the frozen Russian funds and invest them with a view to using the proceeds for Ukraine.

The Russian government has repeatedly called the freezing of the country’s assets “theft,” and warned that the step contravenes international law. According to Moscow, the very idea of international reserves has been discredited by the use of the US dollar as a weapon in the sanctions war against Russia.

28 Jan, 2023 08:19

9) --- Moscow expels Baltic country ambassador

Latvia’s hostile actions have “largely destroyed” bilateral ties, the Russian Foreign Ministry has said

The Russian Foreign Ministry has given Latvia’s ambassador, Maris Riekstins, two weeks to leave the country. The Latvian charge d’affaires in Moscow, Dacija Rutka, was summoned to the Foreign Ministry on Friday, where she was served with a “strong protest” and informed of the decision.

Riga said on Monday it was downgrading the level of diplomatic ties, citing Russia’s military operation in Ukraine and “solidarity” with neighboring Estonia. Moscow and Tallinn are also mutually expelling ambassadors.

“We have stressed that the justification of this move by some kind of ‘solidarity’ with other Baltic countries is unacceptable,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“They have ‘solidarity’ only in one thing: total Russophobia and the willingness to initiate hostile steps towards Russia that are being encouraged by the US and other unfriendly countries.”

The ministry added that the relations between Moscow and Riga have already been “largely destroyed” by Latvia’s crackdown on Russian-language media and “criminal prosecution of our compatriots.”

This month, Latvian police arrested Marat Kasem, Editor-in-Chief of Spuntik Lithuania and a Latvian national, on suspicion of violating sanctions against Moscow. Russian officials dismissed the accusations against Kasem as “far-fetched” and “absurd.”

The Russian Foreign Ministry also slammed Riga for taking down Soviet-era monuments. Despite the protests by the local Russian community, the Latvian authorities demolished several World War II memorials, including a tall obelisk in the capital erected to commemorate the liberation of the country from the Nazis.

Estonia demanded this month that Russia drastically cut personnel working at its embassy in Tallinn. Moscow responded on Monday by scaling down bilateral ties to the level of charges d’affaires, and ordering the Estonian ambassador to return home by February 7. Tallinn, meanwhile, has told the Russian ambassador to do the same.

27 Jan, 2023 16:30

10) --- Djokovic hits out at media after father’s Russian flag row

Srdjan Djokovic opted to not attend his son‘s Australian Open semifinal win on Friday

Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic has sprung to the defense of his father Srdjan after he was filmed alongside Russian supporters following a match involving his son at the Australian Open this week.

Video footage appeared online shortly after Wednesday’s match between Djokovic and Russia’s Andrey Rublev. It showed Srdjan Djokovic alongside a man holding the Russian tricolor and wearing a ‘Z’ symbol on his shirt, which is commonly associated with Russian troops in Ukraine.

Subtitles on the video suggested that Srdjan Djokovic made a pro-Russian statement in the brief clip. A ban on displaying the Russian flag was introduced by Tennis Australia earlier in the tournament.

However, Srdjan Djokovic later issued a statement to say that he had been unwittingly caught up in a pro-Russia demonstration as he celebrated and posed for photographs with his son’s supporters in Melbourne. He added that he would stay away from Djokovic’s semifinal match with American Tommy Paul, which took place earlier on Friday.

See tweet https://twitter.com/yasminalombaert/status/1618793740008845313

A phrase used by Djokovic Sr in the footage was translated as professing support for Russia’s military operation in Ukraine. However, Serbian media later clarified that his words were actually a common way of saying goodbye.

Following his win against Paul, which will see Novak Djokovic appear in the tenth Australian Open final of his career, the Serb admitted that the furore involving his father had affected him during the match.

“It was unfortunate that the misinterpretation of what happened has escalated to such a high level. There was a lot of conversations with the tournament director, with media and everyone else,” said Djokovic in his post-match press conference.

“It has got to me, of course, as well. I was not aware of it until last night. Then, of course, I was not pleased to see that.”

Djokovic roared into an early lead in his match with Paul, only to uncharacteristically appear to lose momentum late in the first set, offering his opponent a route back into the match.

He ultimately rallied, though, and saw the win through in a three-set whitewash.

With the potential semifinal pitfall successfully navigated, Djokovic turned his attention to the Russian supporters who he said had “misused” his father, as well as the media who mistranslated his father’s comments.

see tweet https://twitter.com/divirj04/status/1618966205691498496

“The photo that he made, he was passing through. I heard what he said in the video. He said, ‘Cheers.’ Unfortunately, some of the media has interpreted that in a really wrong way.

“There was a lot of Serbian flags around. That’s what he thought. He thought he was making a photo with somebody from Serbia.

“He was misused in this situation by this group of people,” he added. “I can’t be angry with him or upset because I can say it was not his fault. He went out to celebrate with my fans, and that’s it.

“After that, of course he felt bad because of me and he knew how that’s going to reflect on me.”

Djokovic also said he was unsure whether his father would attend Sunday’s final where he will take on Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas in pursuit of a tenth Australian Open title, a record-equalling 22nd Grand Slam win and a 28th consecutive victory overall at the Melbourne event.

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