Wednesday, April 23, 2014
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Foreign journalists detained in Ukraine
2014.04.22 04:09:23

Three foreign journalists were temporarily detained by pro-Russia insurgents in city in eastern Ukraine.

One Belarusian and two Italian journalists were stopped Monday by gunmen as they reported in the city of Slovyansk, which has been occupied by pro-Russia forces for more than a week. Slovyansk is one of many cities in Ukraine's Russian-speaking eastern region where insurgents are demanding greater ties with Russia.

Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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Putin signs decree to rehabilitate Crimea Tatars
2014.04.22 04:08:26

The decree, published on the Kremlin website, said it aimed "to restore historical justice and remove the consequences of the illegal deportation (of the groups) and the violations of their rights."

It said Russia would "foster the creation and development of national-cultural autonomous" for the groups - implying little change for the Crimean Tatars, who have their own assembly - and allow for basic education in their native languages.

Putin and Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan have discussed the Crimean Tatars, who are Sunni Muslims of Turkic origin, at least twice since March. Crimea faces Turkey across the Black Sea.

Tags: Ukraine | Russia | Crimea | Tatars

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US Vice President Biden arrives in Ukraine
2014.04.22 04:07:13

US Vice President Joe Biden touched down at Kiev airport Monday for a two-day visit seen as a show of support for crisis-hit Ukraine's pro-Western leaders, an AFP reporter at the scene said.

Biden's arrival came as Moscow accused Kiev of violating an international accord aimed at defusing a separatist uprising in the county's pro-Russian east.

Tags: Ukraine | Russia | United States

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Vladimir Putin
2014.04.22 04:06:09

"I have signed a decree to rehabilitate the Crimean Tatar population of Crimea, the Armenian population, Germans, Greeks, all those who suffered during Stalin's purges."

Vladimir Putin

Tags: Ukraine | Russia | Vladimir Putin

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Pictures link masked men in Ukraine to Russia
2014.04.22 04:05:03

Photographs taken in eastern Ukraine suggest that some of the masked armed pro-Kremlin separatists are really Russian soldiers and intelligence operatives, the New York Times reported on Monday.

Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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Journalists held by separatists
2014.04.22 03:32:13

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine have detained a Ukrainian journalist, accusing her of "war crimes" during the  "Euromaidan" protests that toppled the Moscow-backed president, her lawyer said on Monday.

There were also reports of other journalists being  held. Irma Krat, 29, was held late on Sunday by militants in the city of  Slaviansk, said Oleg Veremienko, a lawyer for the online television news site  Krat runs.

The Russian internet channel, Life News, posted video of her being escorted by masked men in combat gear and of an activist saying she was under arrest.

The channel showed a woman it said was Krat, her face hidden by a scarf, saying in Ukrainian: "They detained me but they are treating me all right. They will check the reports I've filed and then they'll decide when to let me go."

A man in camouflage gear whose name was given as Pavel told Life News she was being investigated for "war crimes" against riot police and civilians during the Kiev protests which led to the removal of Viktor Yanukovich from the presidency in February.

Interfax-Ukraine news agency and other local media noted a report from a blogger in eastern Ukraine who said three other, foreign, journalists had been held by militants in Slavyansk on Monday.


Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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Shooting near Dabrapoliye
2014.04.22 03:31:07

The shooting near Dabrapoliye happened late on Sunday, according to Ukraine military.

Tags: Ukraine

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Syria's parliament speaker
2014.04.22 03:30:27

Syria's parliament speaker has said the country will hold presidential elections on June 3.


Tags: Syria

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Reuters on Lavrov's comments
2014.04.22 03:22:02

A slightly more coherent translation from Reuters on Lavrov's comments.

Steps are being taken - above all by those who seized power in Kiev - not only that do not fulfill, but that crudely violate the Geneva agreement.

Lavrov also told the news conference that the Slovyansk gunfight on Sunday showed Kiev did not want to control "extremists".

Tags: Ukraine | Russia | Sergey Lavrov

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Mortar shells hit near the parliament building
2014.04.22 03:19:14

At least five people have died in the capital, Damascus, after mortar shells hit near the parliament building, according to Syrian state media. [AP]

Tags: Syria

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Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister
2014.04.22 03:10:25

Sergey Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, has spoken this morning on the situation in Ukraine.

He says it is impossible to isolate Russia from the rest of the world. "We know what they want."

He says Kiev is violating the Geneva deal agreed last week. He called the attack in Slovyansk as "senseless violence" and that there were calls from pro-Russians for Russia to enter Ukraine to help them.

There is a popular uprising in eastern Ukraine. People cannot understand why the Kiev government is not in a position to end the violence of extremists and why we have to wait so long. There should be a clear expression of constitutional reform, why are they being dragged out?

The attack in Slovyansk, this is completely senseless, they are opening fire without warning. It puts Russia in a difficult position. There is a very serious risk of civil war.

We will not only condemn these criminals but we will pursue them.

People have been killed on both sides. These are crimes that must be emphasized. The authorities can not, or do not, want to control the extremists who are continuing to carry out their orders. And we need to see responsibility for what is happening.

Sergey Lavrov, Russia's foreign minister

Tags: Sergey Lavrov | Russia | Ukraine

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United Nations refugee convention
2014.04.22 03:07:46

It has been 60 years since the United Nations refugee convention was signed.

But in Syria, and elsewhere in the world, millions of refugees across the world are struggling for basic essentials.

After three years of war, more than 2.5 million Syrians have fled to neighboring countries for safety.

But almost 6.5 million Syrians are now internally displaced in their own country.

Richard Murphy, a former US Ambassador to Syria and Saudi Arabia, discusses the plight of Syrian refugees today.

Tags: Syria | Saudi Arabia

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Putin approved amendment
2014.04.22 02:42:25

The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has approved amendments to a law to allow Russian speakers in the former Soviet Union to acquire Russian citizenship, according to the Kremlin.


Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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Syrian warplanes
2014.04.22 02:25:39

Activists have claimed that Syrian warplanes have targeted the neighborhood of al-Fardous in Aleppo city with barrel bombs, killing at least 40 people.

A video posted on Saturday to YouTube showed severe damage on buildings and the street, while firefighters extinguished the fire. The number of casualties remained unclear.

At least 10 people were also killed in another barrel bomb attack in the suburb of Biideen, activists claimed. Videos posted online showed buildings engulfed in fire creating large plumes of smoke rising over the city.

Barrel bombs are imprecise weapons, causing extensive damages and at least 1,000 people have been killed in such attacks since mid-December, activists say.

MWC cannot independently verify the authenticity of the activist videos.

Tags: Syria

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Latest developments in Ukraine
2014.04.22 02:05:59

Good morning from Vancouver. Here is a recap of the latest developments in Ukraine:

* At least three people were killed in a gun battle between pro-Russians and unknown assailants at a checkpoint in Slovyansk.

The Russian foreign ministry said the separatists killed were "innocent civilians", while Kiev said the battle was a "cynical provocation".

* The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, says he "very much hopes" he will not have to send troops into Ukraine, but asserted he had the "right to do so". According to Western sources, Russia has at least 40,000 troops near the border of Ukraine, and 25,000 in Crimea.

* Separatists in east Ukraine continue to defy the terms of a Geneva deal to defuse the standoff, refusing to leave state buildings they have occupied for weeks.

* The US vice president, Joe Biden, is due in Kiev to start a two-day visit.

We'll have more for you as the situation develops today.

Tags: Ukraine | Russia

Hits: 80 |

Two people were injured in southern Turkey
2014.04.21 04:10:58

Two people were injured in southern Turkey on Sunday when a shell fired in Syria landed on the other side of the border, a Turkish news agency reported.

The incident happened in a rural area near the village of Yayladadi, according to a report by the Dogan agency.

The two villagers were injured when the shell fell near a tractor, it said.

Turkey normally responds when shrapnel or shells fired by government forces or rebel groups in Syria land on its soil.

Earlier this month it fired artillery after shrapnel from Syrian shells reached its side of the border.

On March 23 the Turkish airforce shot down a Syrian fighter jet that it said had crossed into its airspace.

Turkey has sided with rebels opposed to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad during the three-year Syrian conflict and is hosting close to 900,000 refugees who have fled the fighting.


Tags: Syria | Turkey

Hits: 119 |

Assad hopes all Syrians have a happy Easter
2014.04.21 04:09:26

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Easter Sunday visited the ancient Christian town of Maalula, which his troops recently recaptured from rebels, state television said.

"On the day of the resurrection of Christ, and from the heart of Maalula, President Assad hopes all Syrians have a happy Easter, and for the reestablishment of peace and security throughout Syria," the channel announced in a caption at the bottom of the screen, without showing images of the visit - AFP

Tags: Syria

Hits: 124 |

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk
2014.04.21 04:08:24

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk warned in an interview that aired on Sunday that Russia is undermining global stability and nuclear nonproliferation efforts amid an ongoing crisis between Kiev and the Kremlin.

Ahead of a visit by US Vice President Joe Biden, he also called for financial and economic support and help modernizing Ukraine's military -- while stopping short of asking for weapons.


Tags: Ukraine | Russia

Hits: 111 |

Syria's Christians won't yield to extremists
2014.04.21 04:07:35

In Easter message, Greek Orthodox Patriarch says Syria's Christians won't yield to extremists - AP

Tags: Syria

Hits: 121 |

Leader of pro-Russian forces in Slovaynsk
2014.04.21 04:06:49

"I want to ask the Russian government and Vladimir Putin personally to send us help. If you can't send peacekeepers, help us by sending food, weapons - everything you can. Our people are ready to stand until the end to protect our land from the fascist invasion."

Vyacheslav Ponomaryov

Leader of pro-Russian forces in Slovaynsk

Tags: Ukraine | Russia

Hits: 113 |

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