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UK, France and Germany plan Russia sanctions over Navalny poisoning



Navalny, a fierce critic of the Kremlin, became gravely ill on a flight from the Siberian city of Tomsk to Moscow on August 20. He was treated at the Charité Hospital in Berlin and was discharged in late September.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons confirmed Tuesday that blood and urine samples taken from Navalny showed the presence of Novichok, a Soviet-era group of nerve agents. A Novichok agent was also used in a March 2018 attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in the English city of Salisbury.

The foreign ministers of France and Germany released a joint statement Wednesday saying they were putting forward a proposal to European partners that target “individuals deemed responsible for this crime and breach of international norms,” including Russian officials and entities involved in the country’s Novichok chemical weapon program.

“A murder attempt has been made on Russian soil, against a Russian opposition figure, using a military-grade nerve agent developed by Russia,” the statement said.

“We believe that there is no credible explanation for the poisoning of Mr Navalny other than Russian involvement and responsibility,” the pair said in a statement.

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said Britain would work with its international partners to take such sanctions forward. “The UK stands side by side with our German and French partners in our response to the abhorrent poisoning of Alexey Navalny,” he said in a statement Wednesday evening.

“Despite having a clear case to answer, the Russian authorities continue to make no credible attempt to investigate this attack. There is no plausible explanation for Mr Navalny’s poisoning other than Russian involvement and responsibility for this appalling attack.”

The Kremlin has strongly denied any involvement in Navalny’s poisoning, and offered to cooperate with Germany in an investigation into the matter, according to state news agency TASS.

TASS previously reported that Russia had “eliminated” all warfare agents, including Novichok, citing Sergei Naryshkin, the Director of the Foreign Intelligence Service. “[Warfare agents] were eliminated in accordance with OPCW procedures and rules which was properly documented. Any speculation Russia still produces or keeps in stock the old reserves of chemical warfare agents are disinformation, of course,” Naryshkin reportedly said.

Asked Tuesday about the OPCW findings, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists, “we do not have the information yet.”

Journalists Gaëlle Fournier in Paris and Nadine Schmidt in Berlin contributed to this report.



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Giant nuclear explosion scale model erected in Russia


A giant nuclear explosion scale model has spotted during a recent Russian large-scale military exercise called Kavkaz-2020 (Caucasus 2020). 

This exercise took place predominantly in Russia’s Southern Military District, a region that stretches from Russian-occupied Crimea in the west, to the Caspian Sea in the east, and the volatile North Caucasus in the middle.

The image circulated for days in various formats on social media, causing considerable debate within the open-source intelligence community about what exactly was spotted during exercises.

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The social media posts also indicated that this scale model wad erected by Russian engineers for CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear) troops training.

Military analyst Dmitry Stefanovich and Evgeniy Maksimov use OSINT found out that scale model located at Prudboy range in the Southern Military District.

“It was constructed not later than 2013, might be used for CBRN troops training,” tweeted Dmitry Stefanovich.





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Dublin-listed PetroNeft raises $1m to finance infrastructure development in Russia



Oil and gas explorer PetroNeft says it has agreed a deal with Alexandrovskoye Oil Refinery for up to $1m (€844,000) to finance infrastructure development on one of its licenses in Russia.

he Dublin-listed company is focused on the Tomsk Oblast region of the country, where it owns and operates 50pc of Licences 61 and 67.

The latest finance is to further develop the infrastructure of Licence 67 to enable year-round production from next year.

At present the well can only produce for three to four months each winter.

The financing will be repaid in tranches with produced oil at market rates, according to a statement from PetroNeft.

The facility will cover the entire anticipated cost of road construction.

AOR is located at Alexandrovskoye town in the north-western part of the Tomsk region located 230km from the Cheremshanskoye oil field.

PetroNeft said AOR purchased all the oil produced from the C4 well – part of Licenses 67 – during the recent extended well test at “competitive market rates.”

Production will recommence from the C4 well as soon as the winter road is in place, which is expected to be by the end of December.

Construction of the new all-weather road will occur through the winter months and should be completed in early 2021.

David Sturt, chief executive of PetroNeft Resources, said: “The financing arrangement will enable us to establish year-round production from Licence 67 from the beginning of 2021 and also provides a secure buyer for our produced oil at competitive market rates. It may also have further value, as we look at the potential of further development on Licence 67.”

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Russia report says UK took its ‘eye off the ball’ on meddling


British security services were distracted by the post 9/11 terrorist threat and didn’t give sufficient priority to Russia’s attempts to gain influence in the UK, which Moscow regarded as one of its top intelligence targets, the UK parliament’s cross-party Intelligence and Security Committee said.

UK politicians allowed rich Russians with deep ties to the Kremlin to gain influence and access in London, using it as a “laundromat” for illicit funds. Cultural institutions, PR firms, political groups and even real-estate agents became unwitting stooges of the Russian state, the report says.

“Russian influence in the UK is the new normal,” the report concludes. “Successive governments have welcomed the oligarchs and their money with open arms, providing them with a means of recycling illicit finance through the London ‘laundromat’, and connections at the highest levels with access to UK companies and political figures,” the committee said in a press release accompanying the report.

The findings are the result of an eight-month investigation into Russia’s influence in UK politics and public life. The report was delayed when Prime Minister Boris Johnson called a general election as it was being completed. The committee has been critical of the delay in publication.

Among the committee’s expert witnesses were former MI6 spy Christopher Steele, author of the explosive Trump-Russia dossier that painted a picture of widespread conspiracy of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, a document that Trump has dismissed as “phony” and full of lies.

Russian influence on Brexit

In one key section of the report, dealing with the Brexit referendum, the British government is accused of failing to conduct a thorough inquiry into allegations of a Kremlin-sponsored influence campaign.

Companies warn 'huge gamble' on Brexit could add to Britain's growing jobs crisis

“We have not been provided with any post-referendum assessment of Russian attempts at interference,” the report says, redacting a clause that followed. “This situation is in stark contrast to the US handling of allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, where an intelligence community assessment was produced within two months of the vote, with an unclassified summary being made public.”

The report said that British intelligence agencies didn’t see the security of UK voting process as part of their role because they feared the issue was a “hot potato.” One of the members of the committee, Stewart Hosie, told reporters in a press briefing that the government was afraid of what such an investigation might show.

In an interview with CNN, the committee’s former chair, Dominic Grieve, said that the issue of Russian meddling in the Brexit vote had been intentionally “glossed over.”

“There was no government desire to look at it and it hasn’t looked at it,” said Grieve, who chaired the committee when it carried out the investigation. He added that it “troubled” the committee that there was so little intelligence on Russia’s role in the vote.

“Because it seems to me that it was a very significant democratic event, that there is now plenty of evidence of Russian interference in democratic processes, and it there ought really to be a proper focus on whether it happened in this particular case or not.”

The committee called on the UK intelligence community to produce and make public an assessment Russia’s role in the Brexit referendum.

In its response, the UK government rejected the committee’s calls for such a probe, saying it received regular updates of all threats considered hostile state activities. “We have seen no evidence of successful interference in the EU Referendum,” the statement said.

“Where new information emerges, the government will always consider the most appropriate use of any intelligence it develops or receives, including whether it is appropriate to make this public. Given this long-standing approach, a retrospective assessment of the EU referendum is not necessary.”

The report also contains a redacted section on whether Moscow attempted to interfere with the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, referring to “credible open source commentary” related to “what some commentators have described as potentially the first post-Soviet Russian interference in a Western democratic process.”

But the next sentence trails off into a string of asterisks showing the report has been redacted: “We note that — almost five years on — ***.”

Accusation hurled against Johnson

The document, with a redacted annex, was based on interviews behind closed doors with experts and members of the country’s intelligence community. Johnson was accused of blocking its publication ahead of last year’s general election, in which his Conservative Party won a landslide victory.

Opposition politicians accused the government of a cover-up, saying it could raise awkward questions about the validity of the Brexit referendum in 2016 and expose the alleged Russian connections of some in the ruling Conservative party.

Opening the press conference that launched the report’s publication, Kevan Jones, a Labour MP who sat on the committee under its previous chairmanship, said that the report’s delay was because Johnson failed give his permission for the report to be published in the standard 10 days after its submission to Downing Street.

Various explanations offered by the government for the report’s delay were “categorically not true,” he said. The delay had “fueled speculation” around what the report might say about Russian involvement in the 2016 Brexit referendum.

Many of Johnson’s team inside Downing Street worked on the victorious Vote Leave team, the official Brexit campaign during the 2016 referendum, including his most senior adviser, Dominic Cummings. Since the referendum there have been numerous accusations that the Vote Leave campaign, which was fronted by Johnson and contained many members of his current cabinet and political advisers, misled the public on a range of subject from the economic realities of Brexit to immigration. The delay of the report and subsequent speculation that it contained a smoking gun tying Brexit to Russia would therefore have been potentially damaging to many of the most senior figures in the government.



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#Russia vs #China – EU Reporter : EU Reporter


Co-operation between Russia and China has deep historical roots, and its earliest manifestations can be found already during the Chinese civil war. It seems that both countries should be most united by their communist ideology, but the ambitions of their leaders and the willingness to be the first and the most powerful was in fact the dominating force. Relations between these nations have seen times of flourishing, as well as times of military conflict, writes Zintis Znotiņš.

The relationship between both countries are currently presented as friendly, but it is difficult to call them truly friendly. Even in the past, relations between the USSR and China were based on each nation’s calculations and attempts to play the leading role, and it doesn’t seem like something has changed at the present, although China has become a “smarter” and resource-wise richer player than Russia.

We will now look at the “similarities” between China and Russia, the ways they are cooperating and future prospects for both of them.

Russia is a semi-presidential federative republic, while China is a socialist nation ruled by the secretary general of its Communist Party.

Already we can see formal differences, but if we dive deeper both countries essentially feel like Siamese twins. There are more than one party in Russia, but only one party decides everything that takes places in the country – United Russia. Russia isn’t even attempting to hide the aim of establishing the said party, which is to support the course taken by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

China, too, has nine parties1, but only one of them is allowed to rule and it is the Communist Party of China which answers to the secretary general who is also the president of the state.

Therefore, there is a single ruling party both in Russia and China, and this party is responsible for implementing and executing whatever the president wishes, meaning that both countries are ruled by a rather narrow circle of people. Forecasting election results in Russia and China is as difficult as being able to tell that the day after Monday is Tuesday. To write this piece, I spent a lot of time reading about the history of China and Russia and the current events taking place in these countries, and for this reason I figured that we also have to look at the meaning of the word “totalitarianism”.

Totalitarianism is a political system in which a country is governed without the participation of its people and decisions are made without the agreement of the majority of the people; in a totalitarian regime the most important social, economic and political affairs are controlled by the state. It is a type of dictatorship where the regime restricts its people in all of the imaginable aspects of life.

Notable characteristics:

Power is held by a small group of people – a clique;

Opposition is suppressed and general terror is a tool for governing the state;

All aspects of life are subordinate to the interests of the state and the dominating ideology;

The public is mobilized using a personality cult of the leader, mass movements, propaganda and other similar means;

Aggressive and expansionist foreign policy;

Total control over public life.2

Are China and Russia truly totalitarian states? Formally, no, but if we look at the essence of it we see a completely different picture. We will look at all of the signs of totalitarianism in China and Russia, but we will not delve too deep into events and occurrences that most of us are already familiar with.

Can we say that the majority of Russian and Chinese citizens are engaged in decision making? Formally, sort of, because elections do take place in these countries, but can we really call them “elections”? It would be impossible to list all the video footage or articles that reveal how polling stations operate in order to provide the required election results. Therefore, we can say that the general public is involved in making decisions, it’s just that the results are always determined by those in power.

The last paragraph brings us to the first point: power is held by a small group of people – a clique. Both nations are ruled by presidents who appoint whoever they wish and dismiss whoever they wish. This is power held by a small group of people. The next point – suppressing the opposition and using general terror to govern the state. Media outlets have written enough about suppressing the opposition in both countries, and everyone has seen at least a video or two on this topic. To stop their political opponents and any events organized by them Russia and China use not only their police forces, but the army as well. From time to time, information appears that an opposition activist has been murdered in either of the countries, and these murders are never solved.

We will not even begin talking about criminal cases and administrative arrests of opposition activists. We can say that the point in question is completely true. Regarding all of the aspects of life being subordinate to the state and ideology – is there anyone who isn’t convinced by this? If Russia is engaged in restricting and “teaching” its citizens quite inconspicuously, China has no time for ceremony – the Communist Party of China has published new guidelines on improving the “moral quality” of its citizens, and this touches upon all of the imaginable aspects of one’s private life – from organizing wedding ceremonies to dressing appropriately.3 Is the public in Russia and China mobilized using the cult of personality, mass movements, propaganda and other means? We can look at 9 May celebrations in Russia and all of the surrounding rhetoric, and the events dedicated to the anniversary of founding the People’s Republic of China. I’m sorry, but it feels like I’m watching some Stalin and Hitler era montage but in a more modern fashion, and instead of Stalin and Hitler there are some new faces. What is left? Of course, aggressive and expansionist foreign policy. China has been very active in the South China Sea for many years now, which has aggravated tensions among the armed forces of its neighbours – Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.

China is continuing to physically seize, artificially build and arm islands far from its shores. And in the recent years China has been particularly aggressive towards Taiwan, which the regime sees as being rightfully theirs.4 China is also willing to impose sanctions against those nations who intend to sell arms to Taiwan.

However, when it comes to armed aggression China pales in comparison to Russia, which isn’t shy to use armed aggression against its close and far neighbors in order to reach its goals. Russia’s aggression goes hand in hand with its nihilism. I am sure I don’t have to remind you about the events in Georgia, Ukraine and previously in Chechnya as well. Russia will use every opportunity to show everyone its great weaponry, and this also includes directly or covertly engaging in different military conflicts.

Maybe some of you will disagree, but as I see it China and Russia currently are totalitarian states in their essence.

History has shown us that up to a certain point even two totalitarian countries are able to cooperate. Let’s remember the “friendship” between Nazi Germany and the USSR, but let’s also not forget what this friendship resulted in.

It is also true that the economic sanctions imposed against Russia have pushed it to be more friendly with China, but it seems that China will come out as the winner of this relationship.

According to data from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, in 2018 the Chinese economy received 56.6 million USD in direct investments from Russia (+ 137.4%), meaning that by the end of 2018 the amount of direct investments from Russia reached 1,066.9 million USD.

In 2018, the Russian economy received 720 million USD in direct investments from China, resulting in a total of 10,960 million USD in direct investments from China by the end of 2018.

The main spheres of Chinese investments in Russia are energy, agriculture and forestry, construction and construction materials, trade, light industry, textiles, household electric goods, services, etc.

The main spheres of Russian investments in China are production, construction and transportation.We can see from the amount of investments that in this “friendship” China has far exceeded Russia. We also cannot ignore the fact that China has launched more large-scale investment projects in other nations than Russia has.

It should be noted that China’s procurement of military equipment has allowed Russian armaments programs to exist. Russia sold modern armaments to China, despite the concerns that China will be able to “copy” the received armaments and then improve them. But the need for money was much greater to worry about such things. As a result, in early 2020 it was concluded that China has surpassed Russia in producing and selling armaments.6

If we look at the ways Russia and China are attempting to shape public opinion in the long term, we can see some differences. Russia tries to do this using publications, demonstrative activities and attempts for its compatriots to become citizens of their country of residence while maintaining their cultural identity in order to establish an intellectual, economic and spiritually-cultural resource in global politics.7 China, in addition to all of this, has established Confucius Institutes that are subordinate to the Chinese Ministry of Education. There are a total of 5,418 Confucius Institutes or classes around the world. These institutes, named after the most known Chinese philosopher, have drawn sharp criticism globally for its foreign policy views – ones that avoid discussing human rights or believe that Taiwan or Tibet are inseparable parts of China. These institutes have been accused of espionage and restricting academic freedom.

“The Confucius Institutes are an attractive brand for our culture to spread abroad,” representative of the Communist Party’s Politburo Li Changchun said in 2011. “They have always been an important investment in expanding our soft power. The brand name “Confucius” is quite attractive. By using language tuition as a cover, everything looks logical and acceptable from the outside.” The leadership of the Communist Party calls these institutes a crucial part of its propaganda toolset abroad, and it is estimated that over the past 12 years China has spent roughly two billion USD on them. The constitution of these institutes9 stipulates that their leadership, personnel, guidelines, tuition materials and most of their funding is ensured by the Hanban institution which is under the Chinese Ministry of Education.10

Both Russian and Chinese citizens either buy or rent property abroad. Russians do this so they have somewhere to go in case the necessity arises.

Chinese citizens and companies slowly rent or purchase large swathes of land in in the Russian Far East. There is no precise estimate of the amount of land handed over to the Chinese, but it is said it could range between 1–1.5 billion hectares.11

What can we conclude from all of this? China and Russia are, in essence, totalitarian states with bloated ambitions. If Russia tries to reach its ambitions in an openly aggressive and shameless manner, then China is doing the same with caution and thought. If Russia often uses military means to reach its goals, China will most likely use financial ones. If Russia attempts to fulfill its ambitions arrogantly, then China achieves the same result with seeming kindness and humility.

Which country has gotten closer to its goal? I believe it is definitely not Russia. In addition, just as the USSR, Russia too believes it is better than China. But for those observing from the sidelines, it is evident that in many areas China has far succeeded Russia and is now even acquiring Russian land.

This brings us back to history – what happens when two totalitarian states share a border? One of them eventually disappears. For now, it seems that China has done everything in its power to stay on the world map.

1 https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%A1%D0%BF%D0%B8%D1%81%D0%BE%D0%BA_%D0%BF%D0%BE%D0%BB%D0%B8%D1%82%D0%B8%D1%87%D0%B5%D1%81%D0%BA%D0%B8%D1%85_%D0%BF%D0%B0%D1%80%D1%82%D0%B8%D0%B9_%D0%9A%D0%9D%D0%A0

2 https://lv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Totalit%C4%81risms

3 https://www.la.lv/komunistiska-kina-publice-vadlinijas-pilsonu-moralas-kvalitates-uzlabosanai

4 https://www.delfi.lv/news/arzemes/devini-konflikti-kas-apdraud-pasauli-2019-gada.d?id=50691613&page=4

5 http://www.russchinatrade.ru/ru/ru-cn-cooperation/investment

6 http://www.ng.ru/economics/2020-01-27/4_7778_weapon.html

7 https://www.tvnet.lv/5684274/krievijas-am-tautiesiem-arzemes-jaklust-par-pilntiesigiem-mitnes-valstu-pilsoniem

8 http://english.hanban.org/node_10971.htm

9 http://english.hanban.org/node_7880.htm

10 https://rebaltica.lv/2019/08/kinas-maigas-varas-rupja-seja/

11 https://www.sibreal.org/a/29278233.html

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author alone, and do not reflect EU Reporter‘s political position.

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Russia is battling coronavirus across 11 time zones. But Moscow and the regions are worlds apart


The Russian capital has been hardest hit. Of Russia’s total of 281,752 confirmed cases, over half — 142,824 — are in Moscow, the country’s coronavirus headquarters said Sunday. But the virus is now spreading across Russia’s regions, an enormous landmass that covers 11 time zones and includes some of the country’s most remote and impoverished places.

In a video conference meeting on Monday with Russia’s 85 regional heads, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the burden would fall to local leaders to decide whether to continue lockdown measures or to begin cautiously lifting restrictions to reopen the economy.

“We have a big country,” he said. “The epidemiological situation varies across the regions. We factored this in before, and now at the next stage, we have to act even more specifically and carefully.”

According to official statistics, the pandemic has reached all of Russia’s constituent parts, from the Kaliningrad exclave between Poland and Lithuania to the remote Chukotka autonomous okrug, across the Bering Strait from Alaska. Russia’s regions are also starting to report their own numbers, sometimes showing a disparity between the nationally published statistics on mortality and infections published on the stopcoronavirus.rf portal and on local government websites.

Kaliningrad region, for instance, reported 13 deaths as of Friday, while the nation’s coronavirus headquarters reported 11. The contrast between national and local mortality figures was even more stark in Chelyabinsk region in the Ural mountains: Local authorities there reported 10 Covid-19-related deaths in addition to the six deaths attributed directly to coronavirus on the national portal.

Russian Vice-Premier Tatiana Golikova told Russian news outlets this week that the Russian government has not manipulated statistics, but Russia’s mortality figures have become a political football. Observers have noted the comparatively low overall number of deaths in Russia — a total that currently stands at 2,631, according to the country’s coronavirus headquarters — even as the country takes second place in the world for the number of confirmed cases, behind the United States.

People wearing face masks and gloves on a subway escalator in Moscow on Tuesday.

In Moscow, health officials hit back at media reports that it was underreporting Covid-19 fatalities, saying its data was “absolutely open.” But the city’s health department also acknowledged that it only counts deaths that were found through post-mortem autopsy to have been caused directly by coronavirus complications.

And the capital is proceeding with caution. Earlier this week, Putin announced a gradual easing of restrictions around the country, at the discretion of local leadership. But Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin subsequently made clear he was in no rush to end lockdown.

“Premature removal of restrictions carries a real risk of a second pandemic,” he said in a statement Thursday. “Unjustified delays will also hit people in the strongest way.”

Sobyanin, in many respects, has been the public face of Russia’s fight with coronavirus, as Putin shelters at his residence of Novo-Ogaryovo.
President Putin takes part in a video conference call from his Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, on May 14.

As cases began to pick up pace in April Moscow authorities opened a new coronavirus hospital, built in around a month. And Sobyanin’s government oversaw the introduction of electronic passes to enforce lockdown measures, controversial measures ahead of the rest of the country. The city is also launching a large coronavirus screening program that will be free to the public.

Healthcare system in crisis

Moscow, in many ways, is better equipped to deal with the crisis than Russia’s less well-off regions. It has a concentration of wealth and budgetary resources that is the envy of the rest of the country.

Under Sobyanin, the Russian capital, which in pre-coronavirus days was transforming itself into an Instagram-friendly landscape of refurbished parks, hip restaurants and high-end real estate, has enjoyed a municipal spending spree.

The leading business daily Vedomosti reported last year that the city’s budget on beautification projects over the past decade — more than 1.5 trillion rubles ($20.5 billion), according to Moscow budget data — was nearly equivalent to the total amount spent on similar projects around the country.

People in protective gear disinfecting Red Square in Moscow.
Grave diggers bury a COVID-19 victim as relatives and friends stand at a safe distance, at a cemetary in Kolpino, outside St. Petersburg, on Friday.

One doesn’t have to travel far outside of Moscow to see the disparities in living standards and the decrepitude of the healthcare system.

A viral YouTube video recently posted by the popular Russian journalist Irina Shikhman showed a visit to the town of Ivanteyevka, a town just over 10 miles outside the city limits of Moscow of a local clinic as it receives a delivery of personal protective equipment. As Shikhman begins the formal interview, a masked doctor says she had “no complaints” about the supplies and had enough personnel to handle patients.

But the images in the video, which has had more than 3,327,000 views, shows the peeling paint and poorly lit interior of the facility, and underscores the shocking condition of Russia’s provincial healthcare system. It seems that in this sprawling country, time is not the only thing that differs between the capital and the regions.

This story has been updated.



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John Brennan Suppressed Intel Saying Russia Wanted Hillary Clinton to Win



Fox News’ Ed Henry reported Tuesday evening that Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell has declassified information calling into question the conclusion that Russia interfered in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump.

Henry told Tucker Carlson on Tucker Carlson Tonight that the new information would suggested John Brennan, who headed the Central Intelligence Agency under President Barack Obama, “also had intel saying, actually, Russia wanted Hillary Clinton to win because she was a known quantity, she had been secretary of state, and Vladimir Putin’s team thought she was more malleable, while candidate Donald Trump was unpredictable.”

Former National Security Council chief of staff Fred Fleitz made a similar claim in an article on FoxNews.com April 22:

House Intelligence Committee staff told me that after an exhaustive investigation reviewing intelligence and interviewing intelligence officers, they found that Brennan suppressed high-quality intelligence suggesting that Putin actually wanted the more predictable and malleable Clinton to win the 2016 election.

Instead, the Brennan team included low-quality intelligence that failed to meet intelligence community standards to support the political claim that Russian officials wanted Trump to win, House Intelligence Committee staff revealed. They said that CIA analysts also objected to including that flawed, substandard information in the assessment.

On Tuesday, Henry said that he had obtained independent confirmation of the claims made by Fleitz in that report.

For three years, the received wisdom in Washington has been that 17 intelligence agencies concluded that Russia had interfered in the election to help Trump win. It then transpired that only four agencies had actually been involved.

The Senate Intelligence Committee, chaired by embattled Republican Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), issued a report last month that appeared to confirm the work of the intelligence agencies.

However, that conclusion may soon be contradicted.

President Trump has accepted the claim that Russia interfered in the election — though he does not believe Russia actually helped him win, and he has publicly cast doubt on the idea that Russia preferred him over Clinton, his Democratic rival.

Breitbart News noted in 2017: “[T]he Russians may just as well have preferred Hillary Clinton, who had given Russia everything it wanted while serving as President Barack Obama’s Secretary of State — from the ill-fated “reset,” to a surrender of U.S. missile defenses in Eastern Europe, to the sale of 20% of America’s uranium reserves to a Russian company closely tied to the Russian state.”

“This could be a bombshell,” Henry told Carlson on Tuesday.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.





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Russia suspends grain export until July 1


Russia will halt the export of grain until July 1, 2020, the Agriculture Ministry said on Sunday, Trend reports citing TASS.

“After exporting all grain declared under the quota, the export of wheat, meslin, rye, barley and corn to the non-member states of the Eurasian Economic Union will be suspended until July 1, 2020. The Federal Customs Service has stopped issuing new declarations for export purposes,” the statement said.

According to the ministry, on April 26 the non-tariff quota for grain export from Russia to the tune of 7 mln tonnes, introduced on April 1, was selected in full. The ministry’s representatives say these restrictions would help stabilize grain prices and ensure the demand in grain and its products in the country. However, these measures would not prevent Russia from achieving its goals under the state programs and the total volume of agricultural exports in 2020.



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7.5 magnitude earthquake triggers tsunami warning for Russia



A 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck near Russia’s far eastern Kuril Islands on Wednesday, prompting a tsunami warning for the closest shores.

The US Geological Survey said the quake struck 136 miles south-southeast of Severo on the Kuril chain north of Japan. It was 37 miles deep.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said hazardous tsunami waves were possible within 620 miles of the quake’s epicenter.

It said earthquakes of this strength in the past have caused tsunamis far from the epicentre, and the US National Tsunami Warning Centre was analysing the event to determine the level of danger.

The US National Tsunami Warning Centre also still was analyzing the event to determine the level of danger for Alaska and the US West Coast.

The Japan Meteorological Agency said the quake was a stronger 7.8 magnitude and may cause a slight change of sea levels around Japanese coasts.





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Russia deploys chemical defense troops to Italy – Defence Blog


Russia reportedly is deploying its Troops of Radiological, Chemical and Biological Defence or RChB Defense to Italy.

Russia has loaded nine Il-76 cargo planes that flew to Italy, with eight mobile medical teams, medical equipment and aerosol disinfection trucks. Moscow also sent about 100 military specialists in virology and epidemics, one special military laboratory and 20 mobile disinfection vehicles.

Mobile complexes with equipment for diagnosis and disinfection were delivered to the Italian Air Force Practitioner de Mare airbase, located 30 kilometers south-west of Rome, Russia’s Defense Ministry said in a statement.

In photos released by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service, the doors of military trucks bore signs with heart-shaped Russian and Italian flags that read: “From Russia with love” in Russian, Italian and English.

Putin spoke to Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Saturday, the Kremlin said, saying the Russian leader had offered his support and help in the form of mobile disinfection vehicles and specialists to help the worst hit Italian regions.

Italy recorded a jump in deaths from coronavirus of almost 800 on Saturday, taking the toll in the world’s hardest-hit country to almost 5,000.

 

* If you wish to report grammatical or factual errors within our news articles, you can let us know by using the online feedback form.



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