Russia says it hit Islamic State with submarine-launched missile for first time

admin   •   December 9, 2015   •   2032

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) with Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu (C) attend a meeting on Russian air force's activity in Syria at the national defense control center in Moscow, Russia, November 17, 2015. Reuters/Alexei Nikolskyi/SPUTNIK/Kremlin

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) with Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu (C) attend a meeting on Russian air force’s activity in Syria at the national defense control center in Moscow, Russia, November 17, 2015.
Reuters/Alexei Nikolskyi/SPUTNIK/Kremlin

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Tuesday that Russia had for the first time struck Islamic State targets in Syria with missiles fired from a submarine in the Mediterranean.

“The targets were two large terrorist positions in the territory of Raqqa,” Shoigu told President Vladimir Putin in a televised meeting, adding that the Calibre missiles had been fired from the submarine Rostov-on-Don.

“We can say with complete confidence that fairly serious damage was done to weapons stores and a factory for preparing mines and, naturally, oil infrastructure.”

Shoigu said Russia had informed Israel and the United States in advance of its plan to launch missiles from a submarine.

He said that, over the previous three days, Russia’s air force had flown more than 300 sorties over Syria and struck more than 600 targets of various types.

Russian bombers flying over Syria were being accompanied by fighter jets, as Putin had ordered, he added.

Russia began intervening directly in Syria’s civil war at the end of September with air strikes in support of its ally, President Bashar al-Assad.

But the intervention has had unintended consequences, notably when Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet that it said had strayed into Turkish airspace, an allegation that Russia denies.

Shoigu presented the flight recorder of the downed jet to Putin at the meeting.

Putin thanked Russian special services and Syrian government troops for recovering it, and said it would allow experts to determine where exactly the Russian plane was located when it was hit. He said it should be opened only in the presence of international experts, “to carefully document everything”.

(Reporting by Alexander Winning and Anton Zverev; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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)

‘Are you real?’ Putin quashes rumors of using body double

UNTV News   •   February 28, 2020

Russian President Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin has acknowledged he was offered the chance to use a body double to make appearances in public for security reasons but said he declined the offer and never used one.

Putin, 67, who has dominated Russian politics for more than two decades, has long been the subject of conspiracy theories in Russia – all of them unsubstantiated – that he uses a body double or even a small army of them.

One of the more elaborate theories compares photographs of Putin over the years, claiming to have identified a number of different individuals posing as him.

But during an interview with TASS news agency aired on Thursday (February 27), Putin was shown a list of popular Internet searches purportedly associated with his name, one of which was entitled “Putin body double evidence.”

Asked “Are you real?” by the interviewer, Putin replied “Yes” before going on to deny that he uses a lookalike for public appearances for his own safety.

But he said he had been offered the opportunity.

“I declined these body doubles. This (the offer) was during the most difficult periods of the fight against terrorism,” Putin said, adding that he was referring to the beginning of the 2000s.

Russia fought a war in the southern Muslim majority region of Chechnya in the early years of Putin’s first term and was frequently targeted in attacks by Islamist militant groups.

Putin said in the same interview that he didn’t use a mobile phone. He had access to a special official phone, he said, that could connect with any number he wanted. (KREMLIN.AU VIA REUTERS CONNECT)

(Production: Peter Scott, Tom Balmforth)

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