Russia will easily design new missiles to defend itself if US pulls out of INF – Putin

Russia may easily respond to the US withdrawal from the milestone INF Treaty by developing new types of land-based missiles, Vladimir Putin said, warning that Washington's decision to pull out “is one step towards an arms race.”

The Russian president reiterated that Moscow did not violate the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), but if Washington ditches it, Russia will be left with no choice but “to react accordingly” to defend itself. 

FILE PHOTO RT-21M Pioneer missile and launcher © Wikipedia

“As you know, we do have sea and airborne [missile] systems and there will be no difficulty to carry out research-and-development and make them land-based if needed,” Putin told a Defense Ministry conference on Tuesday.

Russia’s successes in developing sea- and air-launched missiles became a source of concern for “our partners,” prompting them to undermine the treaty. Putin had also praised Russia’s newest Kalibr cruise missiles which saw action against terrorists in Syria.

Over the past months, Washington has been repeatedly accusing Russia of violating the INF. Moscow, for its part, denied such accusations calling them unfounded.

But, Putin said, the US is violating the INF directly, as it’s actively building up Aegis Ashore facilities in Romania and Poland. Meanwhile, there are strike drones in the US military arsenals whose properties fall under the treaty.

They blatantly violate it and make hypothetical, unfounded claims against us.

The Russian president noted that the US and Russia – two signatories to the treaty – are not the only countries to possess short- and intermediate-range missiles. “There are plenty of them … why don’t they [the US] engage these countries?”

Putin believes they don’t do it “simply because it apparently hampers certain aspirations and these aspirations are unlikely to be peaceful ones,” while the US pullout “is one step towards an arms race.”

Also on A new arms race has begun – Gorbachev on Trump's INF pullout plan

He also reminded the conference that the US military is profiting from a record $725-billion “militarist budget” that dwarfs Russia’s annual defense spending worth $46 billion.

Earlier Putin suggested the US planned their withdrawal beforehand. Notably, the Congress authorized funding an effort to build new missile systems “before Washington announced withdrawal from the INF. The decision had been made some time ago, but quietly – they thought we wouldn’t notice it.”

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Russia hysteria in West has become dangerous & an insult to the masses – analyst to RT

As media organizations and Paris try to link the Yellow Vest rallies to Moscow, analysts tell RT that the demonstrations have nothing to do with Russia, and suggesting otherwise is an insult to the protesters and their cause.

Speaking to RT just one day after leaked messages revealed that a BBC journalist tried to find any trace of Russian involvement in the Yellow Vest protest, political analyst John Wight said the idea that Russia is behind everything happening in the West “is preposterous and it's also an insult to the masses of the people who are expressing their anger and resistance” in France and elsewhere.

Also on ‘We didn’t listen to people’: French PM admits mistakes in dealing with Yellow Vest rallies

He went on to explain that the real reason people have hit the streets of France in huge numbers has nothing to do with Russia and everything to do with the French government.

“Policies have left over 8 million people in France living in poverty in 2018, 9 percent unemployment, cuts to pensions, cuts to welfare benefits, and tax cuts for the rich...

That's got nothing to do with Russia, these people don't live in Russia, they're dealing with the real world consequences of their government's policies.”

Journalist Neil Clark agreed, telling RT that the Yellow Vest protests are “organic” and “grew up in the streets of France.”

Also on ‘Macron… WHAT?’ French TV channel ‘censors’ photo of Yellow Vest protester’s placard (PHOTOS) 

He added that people are simply fed up with President Emmanuel Macron. “These are bread-and-butter issues, people are complaining about tax rises, living standards falling or stagnating, and Russia has nothing to do with it.”

And despite the leaks that implicate that the BBC was out to place blame on Russia, Clark noted that the news outlet is just one small part of a wider media landscape trying to do the exact same thing.

“Yes, we can look at the BBC but I'm pretty sure that every other major news organization in the West is trying to find a Russian angle to this because that's the narrative.”

It is indeed true that the BBC isn't the only one pointing the finger at Russia without any basis whatsoever. Citing a vague so-called “analysis,” The Times reported that social media accounts supposedly linked to Russia have “sought to amplify” the Yellow Vest protests.

Bloomberg even went so far as to slam RT for “covering the French crisis closely” – also known as doing the job of a news outlet.

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Lavrov Denounces Ukrainian Military Provocation in Crimea

Moscow, Dec 17 (Prensa Latina) Russian Foreign Minister Serguei Lavrov denounced the preparation by Kiev of a provocation in Crimea by the end of this year, while denying the possibility of a conflict between his country and Ukraine.

For the last 10 days of the year, the Ukrainian president, Piotro Poroshenko, plans a military provocation on the Russian border, on the Crimean border, Lavrov declared.

Moscow will respond forcefully to Kiev, in case of provocative actions, he promised.

This is our country, our border and in no way allow Poroshenko to try, as he claims, defend their interests and thus violate the rights of Crimean, obtained according to international law, he said.

In March 2014, the overwhelming majority of the population of Crimea and in the special area of Sevastopol spoke in favor of the departure from Ukraine and the subsequent return to Russian jurisdiction.

We have information that the Ukrainian leader is discussing with other nations that protect and stimulate his government how to carry out the provocation, said the Russian head of Foreign Affairs to the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper.

But such actions should never lead to the launching of an offensive that provokes a massive response from Russia, Lavrov said, referring to the advice that the West would have given to the Ukrainian head of state.

The minister considered that Moscow will avoid a war with Ukraine.

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'Hi-tech robot' at Russia forum turns out to be man in suit

A “hi-tech robot” shown on Russian state television has turned out to be a man in a suit.

Russia-24 praised the ersatz android during coverage of a youth forum dedicated to robotics, boasting that “Robot Boris has already learned to dance and he’s not that bad”.

But sharp-eyed bloggers were dubious. The Russian website TJournal listed questions about the robot’s performance: Where were Boris’s external sensors? Why did the robot make so many “unnecessary movements” while dancing?

And why did the robot look like a person would fit perfectly inside of it?

Later, photographs of the “robot” posted on social media showed the very visible neckline of the person in the suit.

Boris turned out to be an “Alyosha the Robot” costume made by a company called Show Robots.

An actor in the robot suit.Photo purporting to show an actor in the robot suit. Photograph: MBKh Media

The £3,000 costume, equipped with microphone and tablet display, creates the “near total illusion that before you stands a real robot”.

A photograph published by MBKh Media, the news agency founded by the Vladimir Putin opponent Mikhail Khodorkovsky, appeared to show the actor in the robot suit ahead of the forum on Tuesday in Yaroslavl, a city about 150 miles north-east of Moscow.

The organisers of the Proyektoria technology forum, held each year for the “future intellectual leaders of Russia”, did not try to pass off the robot as real, the website reported.

But whether by mistake or design, the state television footage did just that. “It’s entirely possible one of these [students] could dedicate himself to robotics,” an anchor reported. “Especially as at the forum they have the opportunity to look at the most modern robots.”

Then, a very robotic voice rang out. “I know mathematics well but I also want to learn to draw,” Boris said, before dancing to the Little Big song Skibidi.

On Wednesday morning, the television report briefly disappeared from Russia-24’s YouTube channel but by early afternoon it was accessible again.

The state-run Channel One was forced to apologise last week for a fake report showing a young Ukrainian man complaining about progress since the country’s revolution five years ago. The man turned out to be Belarusian, and told RFE/RL he was “totally ashamed” for taking part in the report.

US Moon landing conspiracy: Faking it more difficult than doing, Russian scientist says

The head of the Russian space agency may joke about ‘verifying’ if the Americans landed on the moon, but there are no doubts for one Russian scientist, who weighed in on the decades-long conspiracy debate.

The claim that NASA never landed astronauts on the moon and that evidence to the contrary was fabricated is among the most pervasive in popular culture and has been a point of fierce debates.

US astronaut Buzz Aldrin salutes the American flag on the surface of the Moon after he and fellow astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first men to land on the Moon. © Reuters / NASA

Dmitry Rogozin, Russia’s space chief, even recently joked that Russia’s future lunar missions will give the country an opportunity to check whether Neil Armstrong’s footprints are actually out there.

That aside, people who actually study the moon for a living believe there is no need to launch spaceships just to prove the success of the Apollo program. Fabricating a lunar landing would probably be technologically impossible and anyway economically unnecessary, told RIA Novosti Yury Kostitsyn.

The man heads the Institute of Analytical Chemistry, which is directly involved in developing sensors for space and was part of the Soviet robotic study of the moon.

“Faking the landing of the American astronauts to the Moon would have been more complex and expensive than actually doing it,” the scientist assured.

The key piece of evidence in his own field of knowledge is the moon soil, which the Americans said to have retrieved. It was studied in labs of many countries, including the USSR, and it’s definitely not from this planet.

“Falsifying moon soil is impossible. The Americans brought back to Earth about 300 kilos of it, most of it basalt,” he explained. “We have basalts on Earth too, but they are significantly different from the lunar ones in their chemical composition, properties, and structure. There are no rock formations older than 3.7 billion years, and what the Americans brought is over 4 billion years old, comparable to the age of the solar system.” (NB. There are actually rocks of earth origin dated over 4bn years, but the ones brought from the Moon are still older.)

So unless there is a secret ageing machine hidden somewhere in Los Alamos, the quickest way to get some really old rocks is to go to space and grab some.

“There is nothing to argue about Americans landing on the moon between 1969 and 1972,” Kostitsyn stressed. “You won’t hear a single cosmonaut say they didn’t.”

Also on Russia, China agree joint data center for lunar projects & deep space exploration

That aside, more secrets of our closest ‘neighbor’ could be discovered soon after China blasted off a lunar rover on a historic mission to explore the far side of the moon. Earlier this year Russian space agency Roscosmos also announced that Moscow and Beijing have agreed to create a joint data center for lunar and deep space projects.

In 2016, Russian space rocket giant Energia announced plans to create a reusable space vehicle to shuttle cargo and crews between the Space Station and the moon.

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One win, two loses for Cuba in promotional WSB match

Win by Osley Iglesias and losses to Julio Cesar La Cruz and Erislandy Savon marked the Cuban performance in the promotional match of the 9th World Series of Boxing (WSB) held in Moscow, Russia.

Iglesias (75 kg) avenged the setback suffered against Russian Gleb Bakshi last September and was the only winner among the three members of the Cuba Domadores included in the multinational squad that faced the local side of the Patriot Boxing Team.

The national runner-up Imam Khatayev hit the headlines when defeating the four-time world champion and once Olympic monarch La Cruz (81), while the domestic king Muslim Gadzhimagomedov beat the 2017 universal champ Savon (91).

Rolando Acebal, coach of the Cuban boxers, told JIT sports publication that both verdicts were severely judged by the referees.

  • Published in Sports

"Putin Tried To Muck Around Our Elections Again": US Defence Secretary

Washington: US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Saturday that Russia tried to meddle in the US midterm elections last month -- just as it did in the 2016 vote that brought President Donald Trump to power.

The already strained ties between Washington and Moscow have "no doubt" worsened over Russian's continued attempts to interfere in the US voting process, Mattis said at the Reagan National Defense Forum in California.

Russian President Vladimir Putin "tried again to muck around in our elections this last month, and we are seeing a continued effort along those lines," the Pentagon chief said.

Putin has "continued efforts to try to subvert democratic processes that must be defended," Mattis said, stressing he was unsure whether there were growing threats from Russia.

"We'll do whatever is necessary to defend them."

Mattis spoke as President Donald Trump suddenly scrapped a planned meeting with Putin at the G20 summit of world leaders in Buenos Aires, Argentina, citing a Russian military intervention in Ukraine.

Ahead of last month's vote, Twitter and Facebook shut down thousands of Russian-controlled accounts, while 14 people from Russia's notorious troll farm, the Internet Research Agency, were indicted.

And US law enforcement agencies warned that "Americans should be aware that foreign actors -- and Russia in particular -- continue to try to influence public sentiment and voter perceptions through actions intended to sow discord."

The troll farm's finance chief, named as Yelena Khusyainova, was indicted by the US Justice Department days before the November 6 midterms, becoming the first person to face charges of interfering in the US vote.

Russia in turn condemned the US for indicting her, saying the accusations were fabricated in order to impose further sanctions on Moscow.

Trump himself is at the center of a probe into whether his 2016 presidential campaign conspired with Russian operatives to tilt the election in his favor.

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Syria, Russia accuse rebels of wounding scores in Aleppo gas attack

BEIRUT (Reuters) - More than 100 people were wounded in a suspected toxic gas attack in Syria’s Aleppo late on Saturday, which a health official said was the first such assault in the city.

The Syrian government and its ally Russia blamed the attack on insurgents, which rebel officials denied.

Russia’s defense ministry said on Sunday its warplanes bombed militants who had fired chlorine gas at Aleppo.

Moscow said it would talk to Turkey, which backs some rebel factions and helped broker a ceasefire in the insurgent stronghold of Idlib.

A monitoring group said air strikes hit rebel territory in the northwest on Sunday for the first time since Russia and Turkey agreed a buffer zone there in September.

In Aleppo city which the government controls, the shells had spread a strong stench and caused breathing problems, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also said.

State news agency SANA said on Sunday 107 people were injured, including children, after militants hit three districts with projectiles containing gases that caused choking.

It marks the highest such casualty toll in Aleppo since government forces and their allies clawed back the city from rebels nearly two years ago.

“We can not know the kinds of gases but we suspected chlorine and treated patients on this basis because of the symptoms,” Zaher Batal, the head of the Aleppo Doctors Syndicate, told Reuters.

Patients suffered difficulty breathing, eye inflammation, shivering and fainting, he said. Hospitals had discharged many people overnight.

Batal said this was the first gas attack against civilians in the city since the conflict erupted more than seven years ago.


No group has claimed the attack so far. Russia said it came from territory that former al-Qaeda militants control in Idlib.

“The explosive (shells) contain toxic gases that led to choking among civilians,” Aleppo police chief Issam al-Shilli told state media.

Pictures and footage on SANA showed medical workers carrying patients on stretchers and helping them with oxygen masks.

State media said the army hit back at militants near the city but did not elaborate. Syria’s foreign ministry urged the U.N. Security Council to condemn and punish the attack.

Abdel-Salam Abdel-Razak, an official from the Nour el-Din al-Zinki insurgent faction, said rebels did not own chemical weapons or have the capacity to produce them.

“The criminal regime, under Russian instructions, is trying to accuse the rebels of using toxic substances in Aleppo. This is purely a lie,” he tweeted.

Abu Omar, a Failaq al-Sham spokesman, accused Damascus of trying to create “a malicious charade” as a pretext to attack rebel towns.

The UK-based Observatory said government shelling earlier on Saturday had killed two women and seven children in a village in Idlib.

The Russian-Turkish deal in September had staved off an expected army offensive against the Idlib region, including nearby parts of Aleppo and Hama provinces.

The dominant force among an array of factions holding sway in Idlib is Tahrir al-Sham, an Islamist alliance led by fighters formerly linked to al-Qaeda.

A past U.N.-OPCW inquiry found the Syrian government used the nerve agent sarin in April 2017 and has also used chlorine several times. It also blamed Islamic State for using mustard gas.

Assad’s government has repeatedly denied using chemical weapons in the war.

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