PravdaReport

PravdaReport: Russian news and analysis
Päivitetty: 20.01.2020 16:19
  • Czech president does not see Russia without Putin
    Czech President Milos Zeman expressed his ideas about the future of the Russian Federation and its president, Vladimir Putin. The Czech leader sees three scenarios for the situation to develop: According to the first one, Vladimir Putin will take over as president of Russia after 2024 again. This may happen as a result of the changes to the Constitution of the Russian Federation, which he earlier announced in the Address to the Federal Assembly on January 15, 2020. In the second scenario, Vladimir Putin will take the post of prime minister and will serve as the head of the government. By this time, Putin will be able to shift the "pole of power" from president to prime minister. According to the third option, Vladimir Putin will chair the State Council. Earlier, Milos Zeman called Vladimir Putin a strong politician and noted that only fools do not understand this.
  • Five people boiled alive in hot water pipe accident in Russia
    Five people were killed in the city of Perm as a result of the hot water pipe rupture at  Caramel mini-hostel, located in the basement of an apartment building. The accident occurred on January 20  overnight. There is one child among the victims.Paramedics arrived at the site of the accident within ten minutes. Three people were hospitalized with burns, three more refused hospitalization. According to the regional Ministry of Health, hospitalized individuals suffered first and second degree burns of lower extremities. The hostel is located in the basement of the five-story apartment building built in 1965. There is neither an emergency exit nor even windows in the hostel, so the people were trapped inside and hardly had any chance to escape to safety. The hostel was flooded with hot water almost entirely. According to eyewitnesses, there was so much water that it was flowing out of the hostel entrance door. The pipe presumably burst in two places. The street, where the hostel is located, was flooded, a thick haze was formed in the street because.Many guests complained about the absence of windows at the hostel on a booking website.According to a resident of the apartment buildings, relatives of cancer patients of a nearby oncological hospital would often book the hostel.
  • Russians to decide the fate of their Constitution on Cosmonautics Day
    The national vote on constitutional amendments may take place  in Russia on Sunday, April 12. The date has not been set, but April 12 is considered to be the most likely date for the vote, which is currently discussed in the Kremlin.Reportedly, the Kremlin considers another date, April 26, but this date is less likely. April 19, is not convenient to vote, because it coincides with Orthodox Easter. The all-Russian voting will take place after the State Duma and the Federation Council pass amendments to the Constitution, but before the federal constitutional law enters into force. At least two-thirds of legislative assemblies of Russian regions will have to support the adoption of amendments to the Constitution. The Kremlin expects the process to pass as quickly as possible. President Vladimir Putin, in his Address to the Federal Assembly, said that the final decision on amending the Constitution would depend on the decision of the people. The dates and procedures for voting will be specified separately, in a special decree. The procedural deadlines for the decisions, on which the date of the all-Russian vote will depend, have not been determined yet.It is worthy of note that on April 12, Russia marks the Cosmonautics Day. Interestingly, the new Constitution of the RSFSR was adopted on the same day in 1978. Article 5 of the Constitution of the RSFSR said that most important issues of politics shall be submitted for public discussion and national vote (referendum).
  • Libyan chaos as Berlin conference approaches and Italian fiasco
    On January 14th 2020, the notorious Russian Telegram channel "Directorate4" showed the ID card of a Syrian "rebel" (by the name Muhammet Turkman) that was recovered in an area in the south-east of Tripoli, bringing up more evidence about the arrival of Syrian jihadists that have been transferred by Turkey from the north-west of Syria in order to support the Islamist government led by al-Serraj. A predictable move after Tripoli's official request for support that was granted by a signed agreement with Ankara. The flow of Syrian jihadists to Libya was also cited by King Hussein of Jordan during an interview with the French TV channel France 24. These same militias that were used in Syria with the objective of overthrowing Bashar al-Assad's government. An internationally-backed project that failed thanks to the Russian military intervention initiated in September 2015.
  • USA vs. Iran: Americans are not going anywhere
    Inna Novikova, Pravda.Ru editor-in-chief, interviewed Secretary of the United Communist Party of the Russian Federation, Daria Mitina, about the events that we have been able to witness in the very beginning of 2020. USA-Iran standoff"2020 has had more than just an unusual start. The first topic on the agenda is the USA-Iran crisis, even though there are many other countries involved in it. The USA killed Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, and then there was the crash of the Ukrainian passenger jetliner. This reminds us of other similar incidents that we had in the past." Daria Mitina: Some people believe that the United States seeks to leave the Middle East and focus on the Far Eastern theater of operations, to devote itself to relations with China. I do not share this opinion, because I do not see empirical confirmation to this version. I can see the American military contingent in the region growing, but not decreasing.Yes, we can hear a plentitude of rhetorical statements, there is a lot of political talking going on. Donald Trump reiterates that one should not spend money for no reason. Yet, one must understand that the foreign policy of the United States is the resultant of many forces at once, rather than just Trump alone.There is a group of hawks led by Pompeo, who do not want to leave the Middle East. There are bare facts too. For example, Barack Obama promised to cut the military contingent in Afghanistan and even began to reduce it. He cut it to 12,000.Soon after Trump's arrival, we can see that the US military contingent in Afghanistan has already reached 14,000 people. Today, Congress and the Senate discuss increasing it to 16,000. The Americans are not very good at leaving. They say goodbye and stay.
  • What is going to happen to Russia after Putin's landmark 2020 speech?
    Putin's most recent Address to the Federal Assembly should not be perceived separately from his intention to replace the top administration of the executive branch. These two actions complement each other nicely.One can describe most recent events in the political life of Russia as follows:     New executive power.    Acceleration through the solution of social problems.    Reconstruction of the entire state structure. According to Putin's proposals, power shall be distributed, and it goes about the entire power structure here, because regions will have to imitate the federal government in their general approaches.President Putin noted that he did not want to change the Constitution, but we perfectly understand at least one of the reasons why it was adopted in the form of concentration in the person of the head of state.The question was, in particular, precisely about the concentration of full power in the hands of the president and the limitations of the functions of the Supreme Council of Russia. Let me remind you that Yeltsin and his team saw people's deputies (members of the parliament) as one of the obstacles for reforms. As we remember, the Congress of People's Deputies had refused to approve Yegor Gaidar as prime minister.It took Russia almost 30 years to cross out the constitutional reforms that led to the shelling of the White House (the House of the Russian Government) in the center of the Russian capital, Moscow.As I understand it, Vladimir Putin started implementing these ideas immediately, having accepted the resignation of Dmitry Medvedev and suggesting the State Duma should approve Mikhail Mishustin, the head of the Federal Tax Service, as the new head of the Russian government.Someone has already called Mishustin a technical prime minister, but this is too premature a statement. While the entire political system in the country is being rebuilt, and new echelons of power are being formed, new leaders may appear in the country, whom Russia has been wanting for so long. Mishustin could be one of them. Many in Russia believe that Putin's Address to the Federal Assembly in 2020 has become his strongest address of all.
  • Dmitry Medvedev says his resignation heralds major changes in Russia
    Former Prime Minister of Russia Dmitry Medvedev does not see the resignation of his government as something special. According to him, such changes are natural for any country.In addition, Medvedev noted that a change of the government heralds other changes in a country - "constitutional or some other changes."The former prime minister expressed a hope that after the formation of the new government everything will happen "in the proper way."Dmitry Medvedev and Russia's new Prime Minister, Mikhail Mishustin, talked to each other tete-a-tete on January 17 for more than an hour. Afterwards, they held a meeting with members of the government. All ministers were invited to the meeting. Medvedev wished the new prime minister and the government success.On January 15, Russian President Vladimir Putin fired Dmitry Medvedev's government. Putin picked the head of the Federal Tax Service (FTS), Mikhail Mishustin, to be the new prime minister. The members of the resigned government will continue working until the new cabinet if formed.
  • Putin takes measures to rule Russia after he retires
    Draft laws on amendments to the Constitution of the Russian Federation, which Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed during his 16th Address to the Federal Assembly are likely to be submitted to the State Duma in February-March 2020.The nationwide vote on these amendments is planned to be held before May 1, a source in the Federation Council said. According to the source, the all-Russian voluntary vote about the draft laws pertaining to the amendments to the Constitution will take place before May 1.In his Address to the Federal Assembly, Putin noted that in order to amend the Constitution (the amendments will give him an opportunity to rule Russia even after he leaves office as president), one needs to hold a nationwide discussion. "Given that the proposed innovations envisage significant changes of the political system, the work of the executive, legislative, judicial powers, I consider it necessary to hold a national vote about  the entire package of proposed amendments to the Constitution of the Russian Federation," Putin said in his speech on January 15, 2020. The authorities are currently developing a procedure for holding such a vote, which is not going to be a referendum from the technical point of view. Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated that a referendum on the subject was out of the question. Therefore, to amend the Constitution, it would be enough to obtain a simple majority of votes at any turnout. It will be a package voting, in which there will be one point offered to vote for all the proposed amendments at once. It is worthy of note that the amendments, which Putin proposed, are going to be revised, supplemented and clarified by the Federal Assembly and the "working group."During a meeting with members of the working group, Putin ordered to develop a format for an all-Russian vote to amend the Constitution of the country. Noteworthy, there are 74 people in the group, of whom only eleven are legal scholars.
  • 2020: The need for acculturation
    2020: The need for acculturation By week two of 2020 we are facing each other down the barrel of a gun, indigenous peoples are being cleansed, tensions have seen a passenger airliner downed. By week two of the year 2020, we are already glaring at each other down the barrel of a gun, indigenous peoples are being ethnically cleansed in Latin America without a word being said abroad in a silent media, of course, and heightened tensions between (who else?) the USA and its latest victim have seen a passsenger airliner downed. A billion animals have been exterminated by a fire in Australia, extreme weather events are threatening to create more havoc, a huge glacier in the Arctic is about to shear off and splash into the Ocean, causing nobody knows what...roll on 2021!
  • Dmitry Medvedev's government resigns, Russian PM is going to change
    Dmitry Medvedev, the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation considers that it is the right decision for the sitting government of the Russian Federation to resign against the background of Putin's proposals to amend the Constitution of Russia."These amendments, when they are adopted, they will bring significant changes not only to a number of articles of the Constitution, but to the balance of power, executive power, legislative  and judicial power," said the Prime Minister. "In this context, it is obvious that we, as the government of the Russian Federation, should provide the president of our country an opportunity to make all the necessary decisions. In these conditions, I believe that it was the right decision for the government to resign in accordance with article 117 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation."The amendments to the Constitution, which President Putin suggested during his Address to the Federal Assembly on January 15, 2020, contain the idea to delegate powers to approve the head of the government and the ministers from the President of the Russian Federation to the State Duma (the parliament).Putin instructed the outgoing government of Dmitry Medvedev to perform its duties until the new cabinet is formed.Against the background of the news about the resignation of the government, the Russian ruble declined sharply against the US dollar. The dollar is now traded at 61.725 rubles per dollar, which is 30 kopecks lower than before the government resignation news was announced.It remains unknown who is going to become Russia's next prime minister. Reportedly, Putin is going to open a new position of deputy head of the Security Council and plans to appoint Dmitry Medvedev to this post. Putin himself, as president, also serves as the chairman of the Security Council."Dmitry Anatolyevich [Medvedev] has always been engaged with these issues and, from the point of view of enhancing our defense capability and security, I consider it possible and asked him to deal with issues of this property and category in the future," Putin added, commenting on Medvedev's upcoming appointment as his deputy at the Security Council.Putin recalled that Medvedev was served as the president of the Russian Federation and chaired the government for almost 8 years. "This is probably the longest time of service in this post in recent history," he said.Putin emphasized that if Medvedev's appointment requires changes to existing laws and regulations, then this will be done in the near future.The Security Council of the Russian Federation is a constitutional body, which, in particular, prepares decisions of the head of state in issues related to the nation's development strategy, protection of the vital interests of citizens, society and the state from internal and external threats, and pursues the unified state policy in the field of national security.The chairman of the Security Council is Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Secretary of the Security Council (Nikolai Patrushev has been taking this position since 2008), permanent members of the Security Council and members of the Security Council, whom the president appoints, also act as members of this authority. Putin regularly holds operational meetings with permanent members of the Security Council.
  • Putin wants 7 amendments to Constitution for strong, nuclear Russia
    On January 15, 2020, Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered his 16th Address to the Federal Assembly. During this annual speech, the head of state traditionally sets out his assessment of the state of affairs in the country and his vision of main objectives for the future. This year, Putin's speech was broadcast live almost everywhere - on the facades of buildings, in public transport, at clinics, hospitals, airports, libraries, on Mount Elbrus and even on board the International Space Station. Putin paid first priority attention to such issues as increasing the birth rate in Russia, increasing the income level of citizens, supporting young families, overcoming poverty and economic stagnation.Economists, experts and many public figures believe there will be no "revolutionary" or "breakthrough" suggestions, because they are simply no such suggestions per se. Putin started his speech with saying that there is a demand for a change in the Russian society. The pace of change should increase every year, he said, with the active participation of Russian citizens in them. At the same time, he noted, it is extremely important how many people there are in the country. Thus, the problem of demography was the first one that Vladimir Putin spoke about in this speech.The fate of Russia and its historical prospects depend on demography in the first place, the president said, added that the country needs to escape from the demographic trap and ensure the country's population growth.Putin noted that it is the generation of the 1990s that builds families today. Russia experienced a significant demographic crisis during the 1990s, which has created a complicated demographic period today.The total birth rate coefficient in 2019 was 1.5. For comparison, the coefficient was 1.4 during war years.As Putin said, the point of all measures that he proposes is to create an extensive family support system.The president emphasized that the measures in the field of demographic development that the Russian authorities had taken before have already brought positive results, and there is a large new generation growing in Russia. "They are the boys and girls who go to kindergartens and study at schools now," the president said. "It is very important that they take true family values close to their hearts: that family means love, happiness, the joy of motherhood and fatherhood, that family means strong connection of several generations, where respect for elderly people and care for children always unite, that family gives a feeling of confidence, security and reliability," Putin said.If all this becomes a natural moral norm for the younger generation, then the authorities would be able to solve the historical objective to guarantee the development of Russia as a large and successful country.About 70-80% of low-income families in Russia are families with children. "Very often, even when both parents work, the income of such a family is very modest," Putin said.If incomes are low, families should receive additional payments for their first and second children, the president said and suggested implementing monthly payments for each child from three to seven years old already from January 2020. Families whose income does not exceed one subsistence rate per person will be eligible to such payments. "When the child turns three years old, the family stops receiving payments and may find itself in a difficult situation. This is what happens most of the time, and we should not make this happen. In this regard, I propose to provide monthly payments for children aged from 3 to 7 years inclusive, starting from January 1, 2020," Putin said."At this age, children "get acquainted" with viruses, they often get sick and do not go to school. So, it is often difficult for mothers to combine work and child care," he added. Initially, such payments will amount to a half of the cost of living - 5,500 rubles, and in 2021 they will be increased twice to the average amount of 11,000 rubles per month.The program of the maternity capital in Russia will be extended before 2026, while the capital will be increased. "Presently, this program embraces the period before December 31, 2021. I know that many people wonder what the state intends to do after December 31, 2021. We will extend this program, at least before December 31, 2026," Putin said. With the birth of a second child, the maternal capital will be increased by another 150,000 rubles, and then it will be indexed every year.The total amount of the maternity capital for a family with two children will make up more than 616,000 rubles. From January 2020, families in Russia will receive maternity capital already with the birth of their first child.For young families, the preferential mortgage rate will apply to the entire loan. Vladimir Putin called on all banks - not only the state ones - to actively participate in the program of preferential mortgage at 2% for families with children.Putin proposed that all school children studying in grades from 1 to 4 should have free hot meals at their schools.
  • India loses trust in Russian aircraft engines
    India plans to develop engines for the Advanced Multirole Combat Aircraft (AMCA) project based on French, British and American technologies. India's traditional defense partner, Russia, does not appear on the list, because Russian aircraft engines are inferior to Western analogues, an article in The Economic Times said.According to the publication, India is trying to avoid the problems that China is currently facing. The lack of a reliable aircraft engine program became a serious obstacle for China on the way of arms development. Fighter jets of the first two AMCA squadrons will be equipped with F414 engines that are currently used for F/A-18E/F Super Hornet fighters.In September of 2019, it was reported that India would resume its cooperation with Russia to create its own fifth-generation fighter when the Sukhoi Su-57 aircraft (formerly known as PAK FA fighter jet) received an upgraded engine.India suspended cooperation with Russia on the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) project in the spring of 2018. As part of the project, India was planning to create its own fifth-generation fighter aircraft based on Russia's Sukhoi Su-57 fighter.
  • Russia readies to launch serial production of new PAK DA stealth bomber
    The serial production of the Russian stealth bomber known as PAK DA (the prospective long-range aviation complex) is to be launched in 2027. Preliminary trials of the new aircraft are scheduled for April 2023, while state trials are to take place in February 2026. The PAK DA aircraft will be built with the use of the stealth technology - it will be practically invisible to enemy radars. Russia's state-of-the-art bombers are to be armed with hypersonic missiles. They will be able to strike strategically important enemy targets from a distance of thousands of kilometers, while remaining invulnerable to fighters.It is planned to assemble three flight models of the bomber. The trials of the assembled prototypes, are to begin in April 2023 and to be completed by the fall of 2025, before the stage of state trials starts.The crew of the new bomber aircraft will consist of four people, similarly to the strategic missile carrier Tu-160. To equip the first new PAK DA aircraft, 12 ejection seats will be manufactured. During preliminary trials, the aircraft will perform up to 100 flights during the period of up to 12 months. During the state trials, the aircraft will be tested in all possible conditions, at different temperatures, altitudes and speeds. During its maiden flight, the new aircraft will need to successfully take off, make one or two circles in the air and land. Initial tests of the aircraft will last from two to six months. In 2017, Yuri Borisov, then Deputy Minister of Defense, said that flight tests of the first prototypes of the PAK DA bomber could begin in 2025, while the serial production of the aircraft would start in 2028-2029.The Russian military finalised the technical appearance of the bomber in July 2017. At the end of the same year, a state contract was signed with the Tupolev Design Bureau to carry out experimental design works to create the combat aircraft. The military decided that the PAK DA would be a subsonic and stealth aircraft designed on the basis of the "flying wing" principle. The fuselage and the wings of the aircraft represent one solid structure that has no tail assembly. The full-sized model of the new bomber was unveiled in early 2017. The aircraft will have an increased, unrefueled flight duration compared to the Tu-160 and will carry a larger payload. In addition to conventional and nuclear weapons, the PAK DA will be equipped with hypersonic weapons and air-to-air missiles for self-defense purposes.According to documents published on the public procurement website, in the coming year it is planned to start testing the engine of the new plane on board the Ilyushin IL-76 flying laboratory. The contract for the development of the 23 ton per second thrust engine was concluded between the United Engine Corporation and the Tupolev Design Bureau in June 2018. The new engine will give the "flying wing" a flight duration of at least 30 hours, which is extremely important for the long-range bomber, the main purpose of which is to replace both the Tu-160 and Tu-95MS bombers. Meanwhile, Russia is modernising its long-range aviation and started building the new strategic Tu-160M aircraft, upgrading the Tu-95SM and the Tu-22M3.
  • Ukrainian official names secret versions of Iran plane crash
    Alexei Danilov, the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine believes that there were several secret versions considered during the investigation of the crash of the Ukrainian passenger aircraft in Iran.According to him, the priority version was a missile attack, but experts had a number of other versions to explain the causes of the tragedy."For example, according to an unusual version, someone was trying to prevent the evacuation of US secret agents from Tehran. Another version says that the plane was downed to prevent the departure of nuclear and missile scientists from Iran," the official said. Earlier, Ukrainian officials called President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky to seek for a Russian trace in the crash of the Ukrainian aircraft in Iran. According to Ukrainian MP Irina Gerashchenko, Ukraine should summon the UN Security Council to raise the issue of the supplies of Russian missiles to Iran.The Boeing 737-800 of Ukraine's International Airlines caught fire and crashed shortly after take off from the airport of Tehran on January 8. 176 people were killed, including 11 citizens of Ukraine. Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh said that the air defense system took the plane for a cruise missile and shot the object down.
  • Ukraine's Zelensky sacks Poroshenko's wife to replace her with his own
    Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky dismissed Marina Poroshenko, the wife of former President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko from her position at the council for the development of the Mystetsky Arsenal National Cultural, Artistic and Museum Complex. The position of Marina Poroshenko will be taken by Ukraine's sitting First Lady, Elena Zelenskaya (also spelled as Olena Zelenska).Marina Poroshenko earlier left the post of the head of the Ukrainian Cultural Foundation (UCF), explaining her decision by pressure from the current authorities of Ukraine. According to her, the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports of Ukraine, Vladimir Borodyansky, put forward a suggestion at the UCF supervisory board to terminate her powers. Marina Poroshenko is certain that the initiative came from the office of the President of Ukraine. She decided to leave her position in a hope to prevent political pressure on the members of her team.According to Marina Poroshenko, her problems at work appeared strictly because of her name. Yet, she has not intention to change her last name as she has been bearing it for more than 30 years and is proud to be a part of Ukraine's history.
  • United States and Iran: the reasons for an impossible coexistence
    The political course inaugurated by the Trump administration towards Iran, based on the so-called "maximum pressure", is having success. The reintroduction and strengthening of the sanctioning regime have sunk the already fragile economy, lobbying and threats have diplomatically isolated Tehran, and the pounding campaign based on targeted killings and surgical attacks between Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, assisted by Israel, is decapitating the network of proxies scrupulously built in the aftermath of the fall of Saddam Hussein. by Emanuel Pietrobon The recent death of General Qasem Soleimani represented a turning point, of no return, which could have really sanctioned the beginning of the fall of the revolutionary regime that has led Iran since 1979.
  • Iran sets new records for gold and oil
    Against the background of the alarming development in the Middle East, Brent crude oil broke through the level of $70 per barrel, which the price of gold has reached the maximum in five years.  Analysts unanimously associate the growth in prices on oil and gold with the killing of one of Iran's most prominent generals, Qasem Soleimani, which may trigger an armed conflict between the United States and Iran.All major Middle East stocks indices plummeted after Iran announced that it would no longer comply with any uranium enrichment restrictions. Trump announced that the US identified 52 Iranian targets that would be struck, if Tehran showed aggressive response to the killing of Soleimani. Also read: Russia becomes world's largest gold buyer in 2019As a result, the price on WTI crude oil rose by 2.1% to $64.35 per barrel, Brent - by 2.4% to $70.25 per barrel. Gold increased in price by 1.5% to $1,574.83 an ounce. The yield on 10-year US bonds fell by more than one basis point to 1.77%. The price of Brent began to grow already on January 2 and reached $68.86 per barrel on the night of January 2, and had exceeded $70 by January 6.The last time, when the price of oil of this grade was above the level of $70 per barrel was on May 22, 2019. However, at the moment, the price of oil has slowed down. As of January 14, 2020, Brent oil is traded at $69.42 per barrel.Brent oil quotes approached peak numbers in September 2019, after the drone attack on Saudi Aramco facilities and the subsequent short-term reduction in oil production in Saudi Arabia by almost 50 percent.The stocks of gold mining companies rose in their price too as gold is considered one of the most protective assets during the times of a crisis. The stocks of Newcrest Mining Ltd., Australia's largest gold producer, went up 4%, Northern Star Resources Ltd. - by 2.4%, Evolution Mining Ltd. - by 7.5%. Given the uncertainty in US-China trade negotiations and the aggravation of security problems in the Middle East, gold will continue rising in price.
  • Russia gives birth to two more dollar billionaires
    Forbes magazine has included two new names on the list of Russian billionaires. They are Ratmir Timashev and Andrey Baronov - the founders of Veeam Software IT company. The magazine evaluated the fortune of each of company founders at $1.2 billion dollars.Veeam Software develops products for backup, recovery and data protection, as well as for security and cloud storage. It was also reported that a US-based fund was going to buy the company of the two Russians for $5 billion. The deal has not been closed yet. No details about the deal have been exposed, nothing is known about the current structure of Veeam's board of directors either. After the sale of the company, it will be headquartered in the United States. Timashev and Baronov will leave the board of directors by the middle of 2021, but will continue consulting the new management.Timashev and Baronov entered the list of 200 richest Russians since 2017. In 2018, the fortune of each of the businessmen was evaluated at $950 million.
  • Putin back-pedals on Russian mercenaries in Libya
    Russian President Vladimir Putin personally commented on the participation of Russian mercenaries in hostilities in Libya. While answering a question at a press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel following their talks in Moscow, Putin stated that if there are Russians in Libya, they "do not represent the interests of the Russian state" nor do they receive money from him.Turkish President Recep Erdogan earlier said that Russian mercenaries from private military company Wagner, which is supposedly funded by Putin's chef Yevgeny Prigozhin, fight on the side of the Libyan National Army Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar. It is worthy of note that Turkey's Erdogan signed a military cooperation agreement with the internationally recognized Government of National Accord chaired by Fayez Sarraj, which Khaftar opposes.Erdogan said that Russia had sent PMC Wagner to Libya, therefore, he concluded, Turkey could also send its units to the African country to support the Government of National Accord. Erdogan said in late 2019 that there were about 2,000 PMC fighters in Libya.Putin's official spokesman Dmitry Peskov, commenting on Erdogan's statements, said that Libya had become a haven for mercenaries and terrorists from a large number of countries after the killing of Muammar Gaddafi. He also noted that "citizens of different countries work as mercenaries in different parts of the planet," and their movement cannot be controlled.US officials also expressed their concerns about the growing number of Russian mercenaries in Libya. An unnamed official from US State Department said that such state of affairs was changing and exacerbating the general course of the conflict, although it was not changing the balance of power in Haftar's favor.
  • Russian fashion model Ksenia Puntus falls out of window
    Famous Russian fashion model Ksenia Puntus, who was found in the center of Moscow underneath the windows of the apartment of Nikita Mikhalkov's grandson, remains in serious condition. The woman was hospitalised to the intensive care of the Botkin Hospital. The woman fell out of the window of the apartment building, in which she was staying. Circumstances of the incident remain unclear.Reportedly, the model fell out of the window from the third floor as she was visiting Andrei Bakov, a grandson of Russian film director Nikita Mikhalkov. Ksenia is alive, but remains in critical condition. It was also said that the model was going to fly to Paris on January 14. Her friends say that Ksenia neither smokes nor drinks and goes in for sports. Ksenia Puntus was hospitalized with injuries of varying severity to Moscow's Botkin Hospital. She suffered bone fractures, a cranial injury, lung contusion and brain concussion. Andrei Bakov is believed to be her boyfriend.
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