Thousands evacuated from Moscow buildings as Russian cities inundated with bomb threats

Thousands evacuated from Moscow buildings as Russian cities inundated with bomb threats
Over 20 shopping centers, railway stations and universities had to be evacuated in Moscow, following warnings that they had been rigged with explosives. In total, 190 sites have been evacuated across 17 Russian cities after bomb threats, a security source told RIA news agency.

 

Очередная эвакуация. БЦ “Город столиц” и ТЦ Афимолл, Москва-Сити. Угроза взрыва, говорят, ждут кинологов.

“This appears to be a case of telephone terrorism, but we have to check the credibility of these messages,” an emergency service source told Tass news agency, noting that the calls began at the same time, and continued after the evacuations had begun.

Tass reported that over 20,000 people had been affected by the evacuation in Moscow alone.

Emergency services said that police units including explosives specialists and officers with sniffer dogs are examining the buildings. Several later reported that police cordons had been lifted.

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Эпидемия анонимных звонков о минировании в России. Эвакуация ТЦ Метрополис в Москве. А здесь о том, что происходит: https://www.bfm.ru/news/364795 

Among the locations affected are three of the capital’s biggest railway stations, more than a dozen shopping centers – including GUM, located next to Red Square – and at least three universities, the leading First Moscow State Medical University, and the Moscow State Institute of International Relations among them.

Tass reported that the railway timetable remained unaffected by the police operation. Social media accounts show bemused crowds milling passively outside evacuated buildings, and there have been no reports of disturbances of public order.

President Vladimir Putin has been informed of the incidents, but his press secretary Dmitry Peskov said that he would not be commenting “as this is a matter for the security services to address.”

An epidemic of hoax bomb warnings has plagued Russia over the past week. Security services told the RIA news agency that over 45,000 people were evacuated from public places in 22 Russian cities on Tuesday, adding that many of the calls appeared to have come from Ukraine.

Terrorist false alarms are punishable by up to five years in prison under Russian law, and multiple police investigations have been opened.  However, the possibility that the hoaxers are using pre-recorded messages – as appears to be the case in earlier, identical messages – automated dialing systems and digital means of concealing their true location present difficulties in identifying the culprits.

Courtesy, RT

 

Moscow rejects cutting off North Korea from Russian oil supplies

Moscow rejects cutting off North Korea from Russian oil supplies
Russia won’t stop delivering oil products to North Korea, as dialogue, not sanctions, is the only solution to the crisis, said Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov.

South Korea has proposed cutting all crude supplies to the North in response to the latest missile test.

“Pyongyang needs to be involved in dialogue, conditions must be created in which Pyongyang will feel secure, and that will allow us to search for solutions,” Peskov told reporters in a conference call.

The spokesman stressed the current level of oil supplies to North Korea from Russia is minimal, so the suspension of them is pointless.

“The Russian president repeatedly, including at a press conference in Beijing, said the volume of trade and economic cooperation and the supply of oil and oil products to Korea is at an insignificant level, at a meager level, so in this case, it is hardly reasonable to continue talking about this. There are no significant quantities there,” said Peskov.

Pyongyang has been buying most of its oil from China and trying to boost imports from Russia as an alternative source of energy.

Earlier this week, South Korea pushed for a global embargo on oil exports to North Korea as the UN Security Council discusses a new round of sanctions against Pyongyang.

The proposal followed Pyongyang’s sixth and most powerful missile test it claimed involved a hydrogen bomb.

Russia to work on trilateral projects with North & South Korea https://on.rt.com/8mb2 

Photo published for Russia to work on trilateral projects with North & South Korea — RT Business

Russia to work on trilateral projects with North & South Korea — RT Business

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Moscow and Seoul have agreed to develop projects involving North Korea.

rt.com

Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the idea of driving Pyongyang into a corner with sanctions pressure to solve the current crisis didn’t make sense.

“It is clear that it is impossible to solve the problems of the Korean Peninsula by sanctions alone and pressure,” the president said at the economic forum in Vladivostok, following talks with his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-In.

Courtesy, RT

Russia & Iran to boost military cooperation as both get hit by US sanctions

Russia & Iran to boost military cooperation as both get hit by US sanctions
Moscow and Tehran have agreed to strengthen military and technological cooperation as the Russian Deputy PM visited Iran following the latest round of US sanctions.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin has met Iranian government officials during his visit to the country on Saturday. Rogozin leads the Russian delegation invited to the inauguration ceremony of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who was reelected in May.

Rogozin held talks with Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan. The officials reportedly discussed new supplies of Russian arms to Iran. They agreed upon the implementation of deals boosting military and technological cooperation, according to Fars news agency.

READ MORE: Sanctions retaliation: Russia tells US to cut embassy staff, stop using storage facilities

The move comes just three days after the US decision to impose a new round of sanctions against Russia and Iran, along with North Korea. The ‘Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act’ was overwhelmingly approved by American lawmakers at the end of July and signed by Trump on Wednesday. The US leader himself said that the “legislation is significantly flawed” and warned that it puts “US-Russia relations at all-time & dangerous low.”

The move triggered a strong response from all subjects of the newly introduced economic restrictions, as well as concerns from the US’ European allies.

Moscow considers the bill “a full-fledged economic war on Russia,”according to Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. He also called the legislation a “humiliating defeat” for Trump, which leaves no room for improving bilateral ties.

Russia promised retaliatory measures even before the bill was officially signed by Trump. Following congressional approval, Russia decided to reduce the number of US diplomatic staff in Russia to 455, and suspend the use of embassy storage facilities, warning that more restrictions may come.

Iran slammed the measures as a violation of the 2015 nuclear deal, promising to “show an appropriate and proportional reaction” to America’s “hostile” act. Tehran also blamed Washington for attempting to curb foreign investment in the Iranian economy.

READ MORE: ‘Anachronistic’: N. Korea slams ‘international hooligan US brandishing sanctions club’

Several European government officials said the US law would harm their national interests, as the restrictive measures would target European companies taking part in Russian-EU energy projects, including the Nordstream II pipeline.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel criticized the restrictive measures as “diametrically opposed to the interests of Germany and the EU.” Earlier, German Economy Minister Brigitte Zypries called on the European Commission “to look into countermeasures” against the “illegal” sanctions.

READ MORE: Trade war? EU ready for economic counter-sanctions if US anti-Russia bill signed – top officials

The Austrian chancellor also slammed the move, calling it “absolutely unacceptable.” France voiced its opposition to the sanctions, saying they target companies beyond US jurisdiction and violate international law.

The EU vowed to defend its economic interests and issue an “adequate” response if the sanctions on Russia hurt the interests of European companies working with Russia, according to European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker.

Courtesy, RT

Draft UN resolution seeks to cripple North Korea’s export revenue by $1bn

Draft UN resolution seeks to cripple North Korea’s export revenue by $1bn
The UN Security Council is set to vote on a US-drafted resolution aiming to hit North Korea with new sanctions, slashing by a third its $3 billion annual export revenue in response to Pyongyang’s recent missile tests.

The draft resolution would ban Pyongyang’s exports of coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore, and seafood.
The draft text would also prohibit countries from increasing the current number of North Korean specialists working abroad, and ban new joint ventures with Pyongyang as well as any new investment in current joint projects.

The proposed document would add North Korea’s key Foreign Trade Bank to a UN sanctions blacklist that imposes an asset freeze. It would also enhance trade restrictions on technology to prevent North Korea from acquiring items that could be used for its military programs.

North Korean vessels caught violating UN resolutions would be banned from entering ports in all countries.

The measures could deprive Pyongyang of roughly $1 billion in annual revenue.
A resolution needs nine votes in favor, and no vetoes by the US, UK, China, Russia, or France to be adopted.

North Korea’s Foreign Ministry has criticized the “anachronistic”attempts by Washington to put national legislation above international law by introducing unilateral sanctions against sovereign states. It also denounced Washington’s “childish”travel ban for US citizens.

The “DPRK strongly condemns and rejects the so-called unilateral sanctions by the US, and all other countries in the world also need to seriously ponder over the outrageous and unlawful act of the US,” a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the DPRK said in a statement on Friday, carried by KCNA.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with NBC News late last month that Moscow would not support United Nations Security Council resolutions which are “designed to completely suffocate the North Korean economy,” noting that the UN could not stop nuclear programs “at the expense of hundreds of thousands of lives of North Koreans.” 

Asked why Moscow does not consider Pyongyang a threat, Lavrov replied: “I cannot say we are not considering a threat what is going on on the Korean Peninsula, because of what North Korea is doing in gross violation of the Security Council resolutions.”

Lavrov added that he did not understand the purpose of portraying Moscow as “appeasing” North Korea and “acquiescing with what they have been doing.”

Moscow and Beijing have consistently maintained that strangling Pyongyang with new sanctions is not a solution to the crisis. China, though, has satisfied some of Washington’s demands and has reduced its level of cooperation with North Korea.

Instead, Russia and China have put forward a joint initiative that could help solve this crisis. It is based on the Chinese idea of a “double freezing” of both the missile and nuclear testing by the DPRK and the large-scale joint military exercises by the US and the South Korea, plus “parallel advance” towards a full denuclearization of the peninsula.

While supportive of new UN action, security council member Sweden also said that sanctions alone could not solve the problem.

“Sanctions alone will never solve this situation,” Carl Skau, Sweden’s deputy ambassador who had seen a copy of the draft resolution, told Bloomberg.

“More creative diplomacy is urgently needed. A long-term solution can only be achieved through dialogue and negotiations.”

Courtesy, RT

Moscow denies banning US diplomats from their compound ahead of deadline

Russia has not barred US diplomatic staff from retrieving their belongings from the suburban residence at Serebryany Bor on the outskirts of Moscow, a foreign ministry source said, refuting claims that access to the recreational compound had been denied ahead of the deadline to vacate the premises.

On Monday, American embassy spokeswoman Maria Olson told RIA and Reuters that US diplomatic staff had been blocked from entering the Serebryany Bor recreational compound for two days, despite being allowed to use the so-called Dacha until noon Tuesday.

The accusations by the US diplomatic staff is a “deliberate provocation,” a source from the Russian foreign ministry told RIA after the news agency reached out for an official comment.

On Friday, following the US Congress’ approval of new sanctions against Moscow, the Russian foreign ministry told Washington to reduce the number of its diplomatic and technical staff in Russia to 455 people by September 1. Moscow has also ordered Washington to suspend the use of a warehouse and surrender the Serebryany Bor Dacha by August 1.

The source explained that the US embassy sent cargo trucks to a property located on a national reserve territory, where any industrial size vehicles are not allowed without proper clearance.

The source noted that the Americans, “simply did not bother to inform the Moscow department of environmental protection in advance that they were going to send three large trucks there.”

Furthermore, on Monday, the Russian foreign ministry urgently arranged for special vehicle access with the environmental protection agency for American staff, but the US side appears to have deliberately left the vicinity of the compound.

“At the entrance to the reserve, the park security workers wanted to hand out permission slips to the embassy staff to pass through,” the source said, noting that the US team simply “turned around and drove away,” apparently after receiving orders from headquarters.

“As far as we know, they are going to return on Tuesday morning, but American diplomats continue to tell the media that they were supposedly driven away,” the ministry’s source concluded.

Courtesy: RT

Dozens detained in Moscow as protesters show up at unauthorized location (VIDEOS, PHOTOS)

Dozens were detained at an unauthorized protest in Moscow after Aleksey Navalny called for the demonstration to be moved from its authorized location, citing obstructions to installng a sound system and stage. Hundreds turned up at the authorized site, with sound systems present.

Recap: RT’s extensive LIVE updates on Moscow protest rallies

About 4,500 people took part in an unauthorized protest on Tverskaya Street in the center of the Russian capital, Moscow police said in a statement. More than 150 people were taken to police stations for “breaching public order,” the statement added.

Protest at historic fair contained. Police making arrests. Opposition chanting “shame”. People urged to go to designated protest venue

It came after one of the organizers, Aleksey Navalny, called for the demonstration to be moved from the authorized location on Sakharova Street to Tverskaya Street, through a message on his website just hours before the event. Navalny cited a lack of stage and audio systems as a reason for moving the location.

“Some contractors refuse [to provide equipment] straight away, others when they learn about the geolocation,” Navalny claimed, adding that equipment suppliers were allegedly being “pressured” not to work with him, regardless of the money he offered.

Navalny urged protesters to come to Tverskaya Street instead. Moscow authorities announced they were not contacted on the issue and assumed that it was a “new provocation” intended to deceive people into attending an unauthorized gathering. The Moscow Prosecutor’s Office warned Navalny that holding a demonstration on Tverskaya Street would violate the law and law enforcement would be compelled to take necessary measures.

Around 1,800 people, according to police estimates, showed up at the original location on Sakharova Street, and the demonstration concluded without any major incidents, according to Moscow police.

It can be seen in a video that a stage equipped with audio systems was functioning on Sakharova Street, and was used by people protesting a massive Moscow redevelopment project.

Navalny himself was not able to show up at any of the events, as he was detained by police before the beginning of the protest. According to his lawyer, Vadim Kobzev, Navalny’s administrative case involves repeated violation of rules for organizing or carrying out a public rally.

A number of opposition protesters, following Navalny’s call, gatecrashed the celebrations on Tverskaya Street, including ‘The Times and Epochs’ historical festival. The festival has been running at multiple locations in Moscow since June 1, with over 6,000 reenactors participating, including history enthusiasts from the UK, US, Italy, Sweden, France, Ireland and other countries.

Families with children now fleeing historical fair in Moscow, after opposition protesters blockaded one of the enterances to the fair

Police contained the unauthorized protest and urged them to go back to nearby Pushkinskaya Square in an orderly fashion. Over 150 people were detained in Moscow during the unauthorized protest, the police said.

While 4,500 people came to Tverskaya Street to participate in the unauthorized protest, over 270,000 people visited the central Moscow street to take part in the Russia Day festivities, according to police estimates. Russia Day is the national holiday commemorating the 1990 declaration of sovereignty. Some 3.8 million people have participated in around 3,000 events across the country, police reported.

Another unauthorized protest rally was held in St. Petersburg. Some 3,500 people turned out at the event, according to police estimates, while at least 500 were detained over public order disruption.

A number of sanctioned opposition protests were held across other Russian cities. The events concluded without any major incidents. Around 2,500 protesters participated in an anti-corruption demonstration In Chelyabinsk, according to police, and up to 2,000 people took part in an authorized rally in Ekaterinburg.

The protests in other Russian cities attracted much smaller turnouts. Rallies in Murmansk, Kurgan and Belgorod were attended by some 100 people each. About 150 protesters gathered in Cheboksary, Magnitogorsk and Ulan-Ude, about 200 met in Bryansk and Rostov-on-Don, and 300 people gathered in Tyumen.

Russia, Iran warn US against new Syria attacks

A week since the US launched airstrikes in Syria, Iranian, Syrian and Russian foreign ministers have met in Moscow. All three countries strongly warned the United States against launching new strikes.

Russland Treffen von Lavrov, Javad Zarif und Muallem in Moskau (Reuters/S. Karpukhin)

Hosting three-way talks with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem (pictured above, left), and Iranian counterpart Mohammed Dschawad Sarif (pictured above, right) in Moscow on Friday, Russian Foreign Minsiter Sergey Lavrov denounced last week’s US attack on Syria and warned that any further such action would entail “grave consequences not only for regional but global security.”

Read: US skips out on Afghanistan conference in Moscow

Lavrov also told al-Moualem that Russia and the US have a shared understanding that such strikes would not be repeated.

The Interfax news agency reported that the Russian diplomat revealed this had been “concluded” during Wednesday’s visit of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to Moscow.

Watch video00:42

Lavrov: “Future of Syria has to be decided by Syrians themselves”

US ‘did not rule out any future action’

In Washington, however, the US State Department said Tillerson did not eliminate the possibility of the US maybe undertaking future strikes.

“The secretary explained there were no subsequent targets after the missile strike, but he did not rule out any future action,” State Department acting spokesman Mark Toner said in a statement.

“He stressed that Russia is in a position to use its influence over the Assad regime to ensure it is never again necessary for the US to act,” Toner said.

US blames Assad regime

The US launched Tomahawk missiles at Syria’s Shayrat air base near Homs last Friday, in response toa chemical attack in the northwestern Idlibprovince.

Washington has blamed Assad’s government for the deadly attack which killed more than 80 people. Damascus, however, has staunchly denied the accusation.

The Syria crisis is also set to be the focus of further talks planned for Saturday between Lavrov and Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al-Thani.

 

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