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Russian military holds chemical attack drill

by admin   |   Posted on Monday, September 17th, 2018

Man in chemical protection suit holding a red flag during the chemical attack drill in Russia | REUTERS

The Russian military held a chemical attack drill on Sunday (September 16) as part of major military exercises Vostok-2018.

The Russian defense ministry published a video showing servicemen in chemical protection suits and gas masks cleaning tanks.

Russia’s biggest war games since the fall of the Soviet Union, the Vostok-2018 (East-2018) drills, which run until Sept. 17, take place in eastern Siberia close to the border with China and involve 300,000 Russian troops.

The exercises involve over a thousand military aircraft as well as up to 36,000 tanks, come amid tense relations between Russia and the West. — Reuters

 

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OPEC set to extend oil supply cut

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Monday, July 1st, 2019

Oil prices were up on Monday (July 1) as OPEC and its allies looked on track to extend supply cuts until at least the end of 2019, a policy aimed at propping up the price of crude amid a weakening global economy.

OPEC and its allies led by Russia have been reducing oil output since 2017 to prevent prices from sliding amid soaring production from the United States, which has become the world’s top producer this year ahead of Russia and Saudi Arabia.

The United States is not a member of OPEC, nor is it participating in the supply pact. Washington has demanded that Riyadh pump more oil to compensate for lower exports from Iran after slapping fresh sanctions on Tehran over its nuclear program.

Speaking at a news conference in Vienna, the head of Nigeria’s delegation Folsade Yemi-Essan said they ”strongly endorse” the planned extension and said the extension of 9 months was preferable as it offered greater confidence for markets.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia and other producers, an alliance known as OPEC+, meet on Monday and Tuesday (July 2) to discuss supply cuts amid surging U.S. output.

Oil prices have come under renewed pressure in recent months from rising U.S. supplies and a slowing global economy.

U.S. crude oil output in April rose to a fresh monthly record of 12.16 million bpd, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, even though shale production growth likely peaked last year. (REUTERS)

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Trump tells Putin: Don’t meddle in U.S. elections

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Friday, June 28th, 2019

Meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump | Courtesy: Reuters

U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday (June 28) told Russian President Vladimir Putin not to meddle in the U.S. elections, appearing to make light of a scandal that led to a two-year investigation into his campaign’s contact with the Kremlin during the 2016 elections.

Asked by a reporter whether he would raise the issue during a meeting with Putin, Trump said: “Yes, of course I will.”

Trump then turned to Putin to give the directive twice while pointing at the Russian leader. Putin maintained a smile as the remark was interpreted for him.

The two leaders were heading into talks on the sidelines of the Group of 20 (G20) summit in Japan’s western city of Osaka, their first formal face-to-face meeting since a controversial high-profile summit in Helsinki last July.

Relations between the two countries have been sour for years, worsening after Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and backed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian war.

In a recent television interview, Putin said that relations between Moscow and Washington were “getting worse and worse.”

For his part, Trump has sought better relations with Putin to tackle a host of issues, including his goal to rein in North Korea’s nuclear ambitions. On Friday, he emphasized the positive.

“It’s a great honor to be with President Putin,” Trump told reporters. “We have many things to discuss, including trade and including some disarmament.”

Trump and Putin had been scheduled to meet at the end of November at the last G20 in Buenos Aires, but Trump cancelled the meeting as he flew to Argentina, citing Russia’s seizure of Ukrainian navy ships and sailors. The two spoke informally at the event, and at a lunch in Paris earlier that month.

“We’ve had great meetings. We’ve had a very, very good relationship,” Trump said on Friday. “And we look forward to spending some very good time together. A lot of very positive things going to come out of the relationship.”

In May, the two leaders had their first extensive phone conversation in months. Trump said they talked about a new accord to limit nuclear arms that could eventually include China.

Russia is under punitive sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union and wants them lifted.

Trump’s critics have accused him of being too friendly with Putin and slammed him for failing to publicly confront the Russian leader in Helsinki over Moscow’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election. (REUTERS)

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Over 70 injured during clashes at protest in Georgia

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Friday, June 21st, 2019

Protesters clashing with riot police outside of parliament building | Courtesy : Reuters

At least 70 people were injured after protesters rallying against the visit of a Russian lawmaker tried to storm Georgia’s parliament building on Thursday (June 20) night, Georgian Ministry of Health said.

Riot police used tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannon after protesters pushed against lines of riot police, throwing bottles and grabbing riot shields from some officers and tearing off their helmets.

The scenes in Tbilisi, the Georgian capital, flared up suddenly after public anger over the visit and speech of a member of the Russian lower house of parliament triggered big street protests.

After hours of confrontation between protesters and the police dozens had been taken to hospitals with injuries from rubber bullets or stones, thrown by protesters, as well as tear gas poisoning.

The majority of protesters left the area outside the parliament, but dozens of them remained at adjoining streets, while police continued to use tear gas to disperse them.

Russian influence in Georgia remains a politically sensitive subject. The small country, a U.S. ally, fought and lost a short war against Moscow in 2008. (REUTERS)

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