Russia plans to file appeal against Olympic doping ban

UNTV News   •   December 20, 2019   •   572

Russian President Vladimir Putin answers questions during his annual life-broadcasted news conference with Russian and foreign media at the World Trade Center in Moscow, Russia, 19 December 2019. EFE/EPA/YURI KOCHETKOV

MOSCOW, RUSSIA – The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (Rusada) announced on Thursday that it plans to appeal a four-year doping ban from international sports competitions.

Rusada rejected the decision by the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) and recommended to file an arbitration case with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas).

Alexandr Ívlev, head of the Rusada supervisory board, told the local press: “We have made the decision not to accept the decision.”

Ívlev said the supervisory board will send the corresponding recommendation to another panel of Russian sports figures for approval.

A letter will then be prepared on behalf of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who described the sanctions as “unfair” at his annual press conference on Thursday.

Ívlev said: “We will do this within 10-15 days. Then the ball will be in the field of Wada and we will address that matter in the legal field.”

The official said the Russian argument is “quite solid” but refused to speculate on the options for the Cas to rule in Moscow’s favour.

When announcing the sanctions Wada gave Rusada 21 days to accept or reject its ruling and appeal to the Cas.

The head of the Kremlin has said from the outset that Moscow will launch an appeal.

Ívlev said: “Collective punishment is inadmissible for clean athletes.

“We are in constant dialogue with the main sports organizations.

“We have discrepancies on strategies, but Russia is still part of the global sports culture.”

Putin said on Thursday during his annual press conference that Wada’s decision was not one of either “common sense” or “international law”.

“Something like this has never happened in the history of mankind in any legal system and I hope it never happens again,” he added.

The Russian leader, who also described the “collective punishment” as unacceptable said he was convinced Russian athletes will compete under their flag at the Tokyo Olympics, as Wada has no power over the Russian Olympic Committee.

“I think this gives us all the reasons to assume that this decision, unfortunately, has a political character,” he added. EFE-EPA

Russian doctor who met Putin last week diagnosed with coronavirus – State TV

UNTV News   •   April 1, 2020

(L-R) Dr. Denis Protsenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin

A doctor who gave Russian President Vladimir Putin a tour of Moscow’s main coronavirus hospital last week said on Tuesday (March 31) he had himself been diagnosed with the virus.

Putin visited the Kommunarka hospital last Tuesday where he chatted with the doctor, Denis Protsenko. Neither man was wearing protective equipment during their conversation, TV footage from the visit showed.

Protsenko, writing on Facebook said: “Yes, I have tested positive for coronavirus, but I feel pretty good. I’ve isolated myself in my office. I think the immunity I’ve developed this month is doing its job.”

The Kremlin said that Putin was being regularly tested for coronavirus and that “everything is okay,” the RIA news agency reported.

It has previously said that Putin is being protected from viruses and other illnesses “around the clock.”

Putin donned a hazmat suit and a respirator during his visit to the hospital last week when dropping in on patients. But he did not have his protective gear on during a meeting with Protsenko, with whom he was photographed shaking hands.

The Kremlin reported a coronavirus case in Putin’s administration on Friday, but said the person in question had not come into contact with the president and that all measures were being taken to prevent the virus from spreading further.

Russian lawmakers on Tuesday granted the government powers to declare a national emergency over the coronavirus, and approved penalties for violations of lockdown rules including, in extreme cases, jail terms of up to seven years. (Reuters)

(Production: Peter Scott)

Russian parliament backs changes allowing Putin to run again for president

UNTV News   •   March 11, 2020

The Russian lower house of parliament on Wednesday (March 11) gave its definitive approval to constitutional changes that allow Vladimir Putin to run for president again in 2024, something the current constitution forbids.

The 450-seat State Duma, the lower house of parliament, voted in favour of the changes in a third and final reading by 383 votes.

Nobody voted against, but 43 lawmakers abstained. Twenty-four lawmakers were absent.

Putin told parliament in televised comments on Tuesday he believed a constitutional amendment that would allow him to run for president again could be adopted if Russia’s Constitutional Court did not object.

Putin is required by the constitution to step down in 2024 when his second sequential presidential term ends. (Reuters)

(Production: Mikhail Antonov, Anton Derbene)

Russia, Turkey agree ceasefire deal for Syria’s Idlib

UNTV News   •   March 6, 2020

Turkey and Russia agreed a ceasefire deal on Thursday (March 5) in Syria’s Idlib region, their two leaders said after talks in Moscow to contain a conflict which has displaced nearly a million people in three months.

Russia and Turkey back opposing sides in Syria’s nine-year conflict, with Moscow supporting President Bashar al-Assad and Turkey backing some rebel groups. Several previous deals to end the fighting in Idlib have collapsed.

The latest offensive in Idlib by Assad’s forces, backed by Russian air strikes, sparked what the United Nations says may be the worst humanitarian crisis yet in a war that has driven millions from their homes and killed hundreds of thousands.

The Russian military has, however, repeatedly played down any talk of a refugee crisis and accused Turkey of violating international law by pouring enough troops into Idlib to make up a mechanised division.

Turkey, which has the second largest army in the transatlantic NATO alliance, has funnelled troops and equipment into the region in recent weeks to resist the Syrian government advance and prevent a wave of refugees over its southern border.

Russia also raced to reinforce its troops in Syria by sea and air before the Putin-Erdogan talks.

Assad himself has vowed to recapture “every inch” of Syrian territory, but his depleted military depends heavily on Moscow’s power and Iranian-backed militias on the ground. Iran was not a party to Thursday’s deal.

Speaking on Russian TV channel Russia 24, Syrian President, Bashar Al-Assad said the Russian-Syrian plan was to normalise relations with Turkey, despite their aggressive behaviour.

“Our common goal with Russia was and remains to make Turkey change its policy from the support of the terrorists and to bring our relations back to normal.” Assad said,”For us and for you (Russia), Turkey is a neighbour state, it would be natural to have normal relations with a neighbour state.

The fighting, which raised the prospect of a direct clash between Russia and Turkey, has killed around 60 Turkish troops in the region since last month. Two hours after the joint announcement Turkey’s defence ministry said two soldiers were killed after Syrian government forces opened fire in Idlib.

Putin expressed his regret to Erdogan about the recent killing of 34 Turkish troops in an air strike, saying the Syrian military had not known of their location.

Ahead of the talks, at least 16 civilians were killed when Russian air strikes hit a gathering of displaced people near the town of Maarat Misrin in Idlib, according to civil defence workers helping clear the rubble and search for survivors.

Russia denies targeting civilians.

Turkey hosts some 3.6 million Syrian refugees and says it cannot handle more. Seeking to extract more funding and support from Europe over Idlib, Ankara said last week it would no longer abide by a 2016 deal in which it stopped migrants crossing into the European Union in return for billions of euros in aid. (Reuters)

(Production: Anton Derbenev)

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