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Ukraine's ousted president blames CIA
2014.04.15 00:22:39

Ukraine's ousted president has accused the CIA of being behind the new Ukrainian government's decision to deploy armed forces to quash an increasingly brazen pro-Russian insurgency.

Speaking late on Sunday on Russian state television, Viktor Yanukovich claimed that CIA director John Brennan had met with Ukraine's new leadership and "in fact sanctioned the use of weapons and provoked bloodshed."

There was no independent confirmation that Brennan was in Ukraine or in any way involved in the decision to send troops to eastern Ukraine, where armed pro-Russia men have seized a number of government buildings. [AP]

Yanukovich also told journalists referring to the events in the eastern city of Slovyansk:

Blood was spilt today. Now our country finds itself in a totally new situation - with one foot in the door of a civil war. The Kiev junta has issued a criminal order to use armed forces and the army against the protesters. During my time in Kiev, we never used such methods against radicals or extremists.

[Russia Today]

Yanukovich is blamed for authorizing Berkut riot police to shoot at anti-government protesters in the Independence Square of Kiev during anti-government demonstrations that ousted him in February.



Tags: Ukraine

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Russia's Foreign Ministry
2014.04.14 03:14:21

Russia's Foreign Ministry said on Sunday that an announcement by the authorities in Kiev that they will mobilize the army to put down a rebellion by pro-Russian militants in eastern Ukraine was a "criminal order".

The ministry said the West should bring its allies in Ukraine's government under control. "It is now the West's responsibility to prevent civil war in Ukraine," it said in a statement posted on Facebook.

It also said that Russia would put an urgent discussion of the situation in eastern Ukraine on the agenda of the United Nations Security Council.

The statement said:

The situation in southeastern Ukraine is taking on an extremely dangerous character. The authorities in Kiev, who put themselves in power as a result of a coup d'etat, have set a course to use force to put down popular protests.

"We decisively condemn attempts to use brute force against protesters and activists ... We are particularly indignant about the criminal order of (Ukrainian Acting President Oleksander Turchinov) to use the army to put down protest."

The statement said the West had sponsored the rulers in Kiev and should now "rein in its out-of-control proteges, force them to distance themselves from neo-Nazis and other extremists, stop using armed force against the Ukrainian people, and immediately start a genuine dialogue". [Reuters]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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Full-scale anti-terrorist operation
2014.04.14 03:12:25

Ukraine's authorities plan to launch a "full-scale anti-terrorist operation" involving the army against pro-Russian separatists, acting president Oleksander Turchinov said on Sunday in a televised address to the nation.

Turchinov said Russia was waging a war against Ukraine by sowing disorder in the east of the country, but he offered not to prosecute any militants who gave up their weapons by Monday morning. [Reuters]



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US ambassador to the United Nations
2014.04.14 03:11:08

The US ambassador to the United Nations said Sunday that reports of a poison gas attack in a rural village north of Damascus were so far "unsubstantiated," adding that the United States was trying to establish what really happened before it considers a response.

Both sides in Syria's civil war blamed each other for the alleged attack that reportedly injured scores of people Friday amid an ongoing international effort to rid the country of chemical weapons.

"We are trying to run this down," said Samantha Power, the US ambassador to the UN, during an appearance Sunday on ABC's "This Week."

So far it's unsubstantiated, but we've shown, I think, in the past that we will do everything in our power to establish what has happened and then consider possible steps in response.



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EU High Representative Catherine Ashton
2014.04.14 03:09:41

EU High Representative Catherine Ashton discussed the situation in Eastern Ukraine in a statement published on Sunday:

I am gravely concerned about the surge of actions undertaken by armed individuals and separatist groups in various cities of Eastern Ukraine, who have seized in the last 24 hours police stations and branches of the Ministry of Interior and erected check points around the city of Slavyansk.

Ashton said the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission would continue to play a crucial role in actively observing and reporting about these developments and "thus contributing to prevent a further escalation of the situation.

She reiterated the EU's "strong support for Ukraine's unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity" and called upon Russia to do so as well.

To this end, the Russian Federation is urged to call back its troops from the Ukrainian border and to cease any further actions aimed at destabilizing Ukraine.

Ashton also urged the Ukrainian authorities "for pursuing their law and order operations in a measured way, in order to establish the authority of the state".

She also expressed hope that a meaningful dialogue would start in Geneva on April 17, when Ukraine, Russia, the EU and the United States are due to meet for talk



Tags: Ukraine | Russia | European Union | Catherine Ashton

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Syrian warplanes
2014.04.14 03:06:34

Syrian warplanes on Sunday launched a fierce offensive against a string of opposition bastions on the edges of the capital, including the besieged Eastern Ghouta area, a monitoring group said.

"Warplanes carried out two air strikes against areas of Douma" northeast of Damascus, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, adding that "at least five people including one child were killed and several others injured".

One of the strikes on Douma, an opposition stronghold since early in the revolt against President Bashar al-Assad, hit a crowded marketplace, said the Syrian Revolution General Commission, a network of activists on the ground.

Douma and other towns and villages in Eastern Ghouta have been under army siege for a year.

The Observatory also reported air strikes against Hammuriyeh east of Damascus, and highly destructive barrel bomb attacks on Daraya, an opposition bastion southwest of the capital.

The air raids came as fighting raged on the edges of Daraya pitting rebels against the army, which for more than a year has waged a bitter campaign aimed at securing the capital.

[AFP]



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Military-Political Research Center in Ukraine
2014.04.14 03:04:35

Dmirty Tymchuk, director of Military-Political Research Center in Ukraine, says on his Facebook page:

There are about 600 people of the main forces of extremists in Slavyansk. Besides special forces of the Russian Federation, about 500 members of different movements of Donbass are also active in the city, they arrived there and split into 2 big groups. A group of 200 people is being controlled by representatives of one of the oligarchs. The second group of about 300 people is run by representatives of one of the mafia bosses. The whole action is being coordinated by Russian Intelligence.



Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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Syria's President Bashar al-Assad
2014.04.14 02:33:35

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad said Sunday the three-year war tearing the country apart is turning in the government's favor, state television reported.

This is a turning point in the crisis, both militarily in terms of the army's achievements in the war against terror, and socially in terms of national reconciliation processes and growing awareness of the truth behind the (attacks) targeting the country.

The television quoted Assad as saying.

[AFP]



Tags: Syria | Bashar al-Assad

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Syrian government forces and rebels
2014.04.14 02:18:47

Shelling and firefights between Syrian government forces and rebels in the northern city of Aleppo killed at least 29 people, activists said Sunday.

The fighting occurred a day after both sides in Syria's civil war claimed a village near Damascus fell victim to a poison gas attack.

The Britain-based Observatory for Human Rights said that at least 16 rebels were among those who died in the overnight combat with President Bashar al-Assad's forces.

At least 13 civilians were also killed when government aircraft dropped barrel bombs on the city's three rebel-held districts late Saturday, the Observatory said.

Another activist group, the Syria-based Local Coordination Committees, reported heavy fighting in Aleppo, saying Assad's warplanes launched fresh airstrikes there on Sunday.

Both activist groups also reported airstrikes on rebel positions in a village in the oil-rich Deir el-Zour province near the Iraqi border. The Observatory said at least four people were killed and scores were injured in that strike.

[AP]



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Air raid on Daraya
2014.04.14 02:16:52

Air raid on Daraya in Damascus countryside today:



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Barrel bombs attack on Kafer Zeta
2014.04.14 02:15:23

Barrel bombs attack on Kafer Zeta in Hama countryside today:



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Fights between Syrian forces and rebels
2014.04.14 02:04:01

Activists say shelling and firefights between Syrian government forces and rebels in the northern city of Aleppo have killed at least 28 people.

The Britain-based Observatory for Human Rights said Sunday that at least 16 rebels are among those who died in the overnight combat with President Bashar al-Assad's forces. At least 13 civilians were also killed when government aircraft dropped barrel bombs on the city's three rebel-held districts Saturday, the Observatory said. [AP]



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Pro-Russian activist killed
2014.04.14 01:40:47

One pro-Russian activist has been killed in the east Ukrainian city of Slovyansk in clashes with forces loyal to the government in Kiev, Russian news agency RIA has reported, citing a local armed protester.

"On our side, another two were injured," RIA quoted pro-Russian protester Nikolai Solntsev as saying.

[Reuters]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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Ukrainian special forces
2014.04.14 01:39:37

Ukraine's interior minister has said that both sides had suffered casualties during a raid launched by Ukrainian special forces on a police station in the eastern city of Slovyansk that was seized by armed pro-Russian protesters.

"There are dead and wounded on both sides," Interior Minister Arsen Avakov wrote on his Facebook page. "On our side - an ABU (Ukrainian Security Service) officer... On side of the separatists - an unidentified number... The separatists have started to protect themselves using human shields."

[AFP]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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Residents to stay indoors
2014.04.14 01:38:35

Ukraine's Interior Minister has told residents in the eastern city of  Slovyansk to stay indoors, in anticipation of clashes between armed pro-Russian protesters who have seized official buildings and Ukrainian security forces.

"Pass it on to all civilians: they should leave the center of town, not come out of their apartments, and not go near the windows," Interfax Ukraine news agency quoted Arsen Avakov as saying.

[Reuters]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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'Anti-terrorist operation' in Slovyansk
2014.04.14 01:36:46

Ukraine's interior minister has announced the start of an 'anti-terrorist operation' in Slovyansk, Eastern Ukraine.

"An anti-terrorist operation has begun in Slavyansk. It is being directed by the anti-terrorist center of the state security service. Forces from all the security units of the country have been brought in", Interfax news agency quoted the minister, Arsen Avakov, as saying on his Facebook page on Sunday.

[Reuters]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
2014.04.14 01:35:32

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called on all sides in the Ukraine crisis to "exercise maximum restraint" and engage in dialogue to de-escalate the situation there.

Ban is "deeply concerned" about the deteriorating situation and "growing potential for violent clashes," a UN statement said on Saturday.

The secretary general "appeals to all sides to work towards calming the situation, adhere to the rule of law and exercise maximum restraint," the statement added.

He also "calls again for urgent and constructive dialogue to de-escalate the situation and address all differences".

[AFP]



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Former Egyptian presidential hopeful leader jailed
2014.04.13 11:42:55

An Egyptian court sentenced a former presidential hopeful to one year in prison on Saturday for insulting the court, state news agency MENA reported.

Hazem Salah Abu Ismail is on trial for fraud in a case related to presidential elections in 2012 which brought the now ousted President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood to power.

Abu Ismail interrupted his court-appointed attorney during Saturday's session and told the judge, "I don't feel like I am before a court," a judicial source told Reuters.

Abu Ismail, who has links to the Brotherhood, was disqualified from that election after reports that his late mother had held a U.S. passport. Under Egypt's election rules, both a candidate's parents must hold only Egyptian citizenship.

He was sentenced to a year in prison in January after making a similar statement.

[Reuters]



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Interview with Abu Sulayman Al-Muhaji
2014.04.13 11:41:57

This video uploaded to Youtube is an interview with Abu Sulayman Al-Muhajir, a member of the shariah committee of the Nusra Front.

Speaking in English, the preacher discusses the relationship between the Nusra Front and the Islamic state of Iraq and the Levant and the reasons behind the recent fighting between the rebel groups.

MWC cannot independently verify the content of this video.



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Activist released
2014.04.13 11:39:50

Prominent activist Mahinour al-Masry, who was detained last night in the coastal city of Alexandria, was released on Saturday, state-owned Al-Ahram newspaper reported.

In her first tweet after her release, Mahinour urged citizens to help release four other detainees in Alexandria's prisons.

Al-Masry was arrested on the basis on a two-year prison sentence she has received in absentia last January for breaching a controversial anti-protest law, by taking part in a demonstration demanding its retraction.

The city's prosecutor has postponed interrogations with al-Masry for lack of evidence, according to the newspaper.



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