#AceNewsReport – Oct.07: Poland declared a state of emergency at the border with Belarus earlier this month and revealed that some of the migrants “had radical Islamic propaganda in their possession.” The jihadist infiltration through unvetted refugee streams has been a major threat to the security of Western countries across the board, although globalists refuse to acknowledge this.
#AceDailyNews says that back in August, Poland deployed hundreds of troops along the Belarus border and erected barbed wire to stop the influx of illegal migrants. According to ABC News, “Most of the migrants trying to cross over from Belarus are originally from Iraq, with some from Afghanistan and Syria.”
Some of the migrants are also said to have possessed child pornography and images of bestiality on their mobile devices, which led to a bizarre fact-check by left-wing journalists as to the correct species of animals in the pornography in question.
Poland has remained steadfast in upholding the rule of law and protecting itself from invasion, even under longstanding EU pressure to accept open-door mass migration. Only now there has been a shift in the face of a new challenge from Belarus. European Union Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson accused Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko of luring “people from the Middle East, Asia, and Africa to the border of Europe.” She added: “We must never be weak towards Lukashenko. He is desperate.”
Any Western nation in fact that appears (and is) “weak” and unknowledgeable about jihadists, their lies and their manipulations, is contributing to the destruction of its own civilization from within.
Turkey, on the other hand, which would be a more religiously and culturally compatible place for Muslim refugees to settle, has been deporting hundreds of Afghan refugees.
“‘Go home’: Poland sends thousands of text messages to migrants at its border with Belarus,” translated from “”Rentrez” : la Pologne envoie des milliers de SMS aux migrants à sa frontière avec la Biélorussie,” FranceInfo, September 29, 2021:
This is not a welcome message. Poland says it has sent nearly 31,000 text messages to foreign telephones along its border with Belarus on Tuesday, September 28, in an attempt to deter migrants there from entering its territory. “The Polish border is closed. The Belarusian authorities lied to you. Go back to Minsk!”, Read the message in English.
The text messages also contained a link to a site in English, French, Arabic, Russian and Polish warning migrants that crossing the border illegally “can lead to jail.” “Deteriorating weather conditions can endanger your life and health,” the site added. “Any attempt to hide and sleep irregularly (outdoors, unsheltered) can end tragically.” Six migrants recently died on the border between the EU and Belarus.
Immigration orchestrated by Minsk and Moscow?
Poland has deployed thousands of troops to the 400 km border in recent weeks, built a barbed-wire fence and declared a state of emergency that prohibits the press and NGOs from approaching it. With the drop in temperatures, associations spoke of a humanitarian crisis among migrants and asked for access to provide medical assistance.
Poland accuses Russia and Belarus of being at the origin of this wave of illegal immigration at its land border, with nearly 10,000 entry attempts since early August. The European Union sees this as a form of reprisal for the sanctions imposed by the EU against Belarus following the repression of the opposition by the Minsk regime.
#AceNewsReport – Oct.04: Our people with CNN do not want to talk, because you are constantly distorting information. It looks like you came to accuse me of something – apparently you have such a task.
#AceDailyNews says that Meduza Interview Report: ” If you attack us, I will be the eternal president.” Alexander Lukashenko gave an hour-long interview to CNN. The shortest retelling:
We in Belarus have never fired point-blank, even at radicals. But in the US Congress, a girl was shot – is this not a violation of human rights? And you keep silent about it. An atmosphere of fear in Minsk? Lies.
Meduza: Veth: October: O2, 2021:
Did you walk around Minsk yourself?
I’m not going to be president to death, but if you attack us, I will be president forever. I am still young, not like yours in the Washington regional committee” There are no Russian military bases in Belarus, only two for civilian purposes. But if it is necessary to resist your aggression, the whole of Belarus will turn into a single military base. We will build our future with Russia and even you cannot stop us. You have Anglo-Saxon thinking, and Russians and I never bargain over money, we are fraternal peoples. Nobody forced Tikhanovskaya to flee the country, she herself asked to take her to the border. The Ryanair plane landing was not an intelligence operation – these are your fantasies. I can personally guarantee the safety of flights over Belarus, but if we see a threat to the state, we will immediately land any plane. If you don’t want to fly, we’ll do it. We have lived without the EU and will live for many more years. What we need to sell – we will sell to Russia and Asia.
This is a rough retelling of Alexander Lukashenko ‘s interview with CNN. Quotes, including those written in the first person, are not necessarily literal.
#AceNewsReport – Oct.04: According to human rights activists, Mozheiko was detained on October 1 in Moscow. ….
#AceDailyNews says on Saturday, October 2, the Belarusian human rights center Viasna announced that the site of Komsomolskaya Pravda in Belarus was blocked because of an article about a KGB officer accused of murdering. The author of the material is in the detention center on Akrestsin Street: According to human rights activists, the journalist was detained in Moscow 13:45, October 2, 2021: Meduza
The detention of Mozheiko was confirmed by Komsomolskaya Pravda, which had been unable to contact the correspondent since Friday evening.
The journalist’s mother, Irina, told the publication that the last time she communicated with her son via video link on the afternoon of September 30. Then he was in a hotel in Moscow.
On the night of October 1–2, Mozheiko’s mother received a call and was told that he had been detained and was in a pre-trial detention center in Akrestsin Street in Minsk. Before that, according to her, the KGB officers searched the journalist’s apartment. “They seized flash drives, stickers and badges of 2001,” said Mozheiko’s mother. The search warrant indicated two articles of the criminal code: part 3 of article 130 (incitement of racial, national, religious or other social hostility or hatred) and article 369 (insulting a government official).
The detention of Gennady Mozheiko, according to Viasna, may be related to his work. A few days ago, Mozheiko spoke with a classmate of Minsk resident Andrei Zeltser, who, according to the Belarusian authorities, is guilty of the murder of a KGB officer. Zeltser died during the department’s operation in Minsk.
“There were literally four sentences published [of the recollections of Andrei Zeltser’s classmate]. <…> She says that she studied with Andrei Zeltser, he was “positive, truthful, advocated the truth,” and she “does not know what happened to him”. She speaks about what happened with amazement, ”Vladimir Sungorkin, editor-in-chief of“ KP ” , told RBC the content of the text.
#AceNewsReport – Sept.15: Last week, the correspondent accounts of Belarusbank, Belinvestbank and Belagroprombank were closed by Deutcsche Bank, a key correspondent bank for Belarusian banking institutions,
#AceDailyNews says that Nasha Niva reports, citing sources as Belarus loses access to European banking system due to sanctions: European banks began to massively close dollar end euro correspondent accounts of Belarusian states-owned companies, making it impossible to conduct operations in two key world currencies………..
Belagroprombank, one of three banks sanctioned by the EU, has lost correspondent relations not only with Deutsche, but also with all its European correspondent banks, including Germany’s Commerzbank, DZ Bank, Italy’s Unione di Banche Italie and Poland’s PKO Bank.
Even Russian banks, including Sberbank, VTB and Rosselkhozbank, refused to conduct currency transactions with Belagroprombank.
A similar situation has developed with Belarusbank and Belinvestbank, which are also included in the EU sanctions list, Nasha Niva reports.
Two thin threads on which the Belarusian banking sector is still hanging and which can break at any time are the European subsidiary of VTB (conducts operations for Belarusbank) and the Moscow TKB Bank, which holds euro accounts for Belagroprombank.
Isolation from the world monetary system has already hit Belarusian business. Foreign currency payments are still technically possible through small Belarusian and marginal Russian banks, but this all makes it very difficult to fulfill existing contracts and jeopardizes new ones, one of the entrepreneurs complained to Nasha Niva.
“It used to be that a three-day delay in payment was considered a scandal, now two weeks is a norm because money goes around half the world to get where it needs to go,” he says, adding that the private sector is likely to move to other banks or look for opportunities through neighboring countries.
On June 24, the European Union announced the imposition of economic sanctions against the regime of Alexander Lukashenko for “serious human rights violations”, “brutal suppression of civil rights”, as well as the forced landing of the Ryanair flight in Minsk, which the West qualified as air piracy.
All Belarusian banks with a state share of more than 50%, as well as subsidiaries of Belarusbank, Belinvestbank, Belagroprombank, fell under sanctions prohibiting the provision of financing for a period of more than 90 days.
Lukashenko, commenting on the EU decision, said that the sanctions show “impotence” and called for “scoundrels on the other side of the border” to prove this in practice.
#AceNewsReport – Aug.31: Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski, who is responsible for police and security, said what the protesters did was “absolutely unacceptable” and that those detained “will bear all the legal consequences of their actions.”
#AceDailyNews says Poland detains activists for damaging barrier with Belarus the activists said it was an act of protest against Polish authorities for what they believe is the “inhuman treatment” of migrants seeking to enter the European Union nation.
Those detained include 12 Poles and one Dutch citizen, according to Polish media reports.
Poland — like Lithuania — has seen a surge of migrants arriving across its border with Belarus in recent weeks. The government in Warsaw accuses Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko of sending migrants from Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere across the border in a “hybrid war” to create instability in the 27-nation EU. The borders that Lithuania and Poland have with Belarus form part of the EU’s eastern border.
In reaction, Poland has begun building a barbed wire fence along the border.
But local attention has focused heavily on 32 people — described by a refugee group as Afghans — who have been stuck in a no man’s land along the border near the Polish village of Usnarz Górny for weeks. Poland’s government says they are on Belarusian soil and will not let them walk the short distance into Poland to apply for asylum. It argues that Belarus is responsible for them.
In a statement, the activists who tried to cut through the barbed wire barrier said: “We do not agree to humiliation, inhumane treatment and refusal to provide medical assistance to refugees, and we do not agree to the use of illegal push-back procedures.”
#AceHealthReport – Aug.05: The increase was driven by foreign sales of Russia’s flagship Sputnik V anti-coronavirus vaccine, with millions of doses shipped overseas to customers including Argentina, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Hungary and Serbia.
#CoronavirusNewsDesk says Russia Has Earned $300-Million on Vaccine Exports So Far, with Sputnik V to Argentina, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Hungary & Serbia …….
Aug. 04, 2021Russian Sputnik-V vaccines arrived at Aurora International Airport in Guatemala CityJohan ORDONEZ / AFP
The figure also includes sales of non-coronavirus vaccines — mainly shots against yellow fever and flu. But the Trade Ministry told the RBC business site that the large jump in sales was mainly due to Sputnik V exports.
Russia has not revealed specific details on how much money it has made, or expects to make, from selling Sputnik V around the world.
In the whole of 2019, Russia exported $60 million of vaccines — a figure which grew in 2020 to $70 million.
In the first five months of 2021, Moscow’s vaccine exports surged to a total of $304 million, according to customs data analyzed by RBC. That compares to just $10 million during the same period of 2020.
But amid production delays and numerous delivery issues among key Sputnik V customers, Russia’s growth in vaccine exports significantly lags the increases in sales registered by other countries exporting coronavirus shots: https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/1d4UU/1/
China increased its vaccine exports almost 100-fold during the first five months of 2021 — selling $1.8 billion worth compared to just $19 million in the same period last year. While the European Union has sold $6.4 billion in vaccines outside the bloc, up from $4.3 billion, and the U.S. also exported more than $1.5 billion.
Russia is hoping a successful Sputnik V export drive could help the country break into the lucrative medical exports market, providing both a new income stream for coronavirus vaccines, and also opening the door for Russia to sell other pharmaceutical products around the world.
#AceNewsReport – July.31: Looking on from the outside, such figures appear to be a largish run-of-the-mill loan that one country grants another and for which interest is collected. But the situation with Belarus and Russia is different. According to observers: interest is mounting and debts carry on growing year in and year out, yet Minsk continues to receive new loans from Moscow…..
#AceDailyNews says here’s how Russian money keeps Belarus afloat Russia has supported its western neighbor Belarus for decades — long before the European Union and the United States imposed sanctions on Minsk and President Alexander Lukashenko. Earlier this summer, Moscow loaned its ally $500 million (€423 million) — six months prior, it had issued Lukashenko’s regime a similar sum.
Russia has been subsidizing its neighbor for years. Between 2005 and 2015, Moscow pumped $106 billion into the Belarus economy, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Discounted oil and gas
Experts divide Russia’s monetary contributions to Minsk into two categories: one legal and one covert. Neither is driven by economics and both have put a strain on Russia’s state budget.
The most obvious subsidy, analysts say, occurs within Belarus’ energy sector — which receives cheap Russian gas and has tariffs waived on oil destined for Belarusian refineries.
Russia has subsidized the energy sector by selling cheap gas
“Over the past 20 years, gas prices in Belarus only rose twice to European levels; each time, Belarus halted payments [to Russia], demanding a discount,” said Sergey Kondratiev of Moscow’s Institute for Energy and Finance Foundation. The research institute estimates Russia has subsidized oil to Belarus to the tune of $35 billion, and gas to the equivalent of $19 billion between 2011 and 2020.
Cheap loans, preferential market access
Cheap — and legal — loans are another means by which Russia has been able to prop up Belarus. Moscow continues to extend payment deadlines and is constantly revising the terms and conditions of the loans. Russia, for example, lent Belarus $10 billion to build a nuclear power plant in 2011.
“Belarus received both a very long grace period when it came to repaying the money, as well as the possibility to repay the loan at a discounted rate,” said Kondratiev. “Belarus would not have received such favorable conditions on the open market.”
It remains unclear how Minsk spends loans not earmarked for specific projects. Bogdan Bespalko, a member of Russia’s Council for Interethnic Relations — a body linked to President Vladimir Putin’s office — suspects they are used to pay off old debts. “A large portion of the latest $500 million loan was taken to repay money owed to Russian corporations,” Bespalko pointed out.
Certain sectors of Belarus’ economy enjoy preferential treatment in the Russian market
Russia has also granted Belarus special access to its market. Not even other members of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) enjoy such favorable terms as companies from Belarus do. Observers argue this preferential treatment guarantees the survival of entire business sectors within Belarus, especially within the food and engineering industries.
In addition to low-interest loans, such favorable preferences allowed the Belarusian economy to generate some $11 billion between 2011 and 2020, according to Moscow’s Institute for Energy and Finance Foundation.
Shady sources of income
Cross-border smuggling has also played its part in supporting the country’s economy. Without border checks between Belarus and Russia, and thanks to preferential market access, illicit trade has thrived. While the financial scale of this smuggling pales in comparison to that of official Russian loans, it is still considerable. As such, it also hurts Russian coffers.
The illicit trade in Belarus sees certain EU goods relabeled, and falsified customs documents issued. These mislabeled goods are then smuggled into Russia to evade EU sanctions. Such business practices also mean excise payments on products are being circumvented.
“Only Belarus earns money doing this,” said Kondratiev. “Belarusian cigarettes are a case in point: Batches containing up to 1 million packs are smuggled into Russia without any excise duty being paid. A popular way to hide cigarettes is within shipments of mineral fertilizers.”
From 2011 to 2020, illegal tobacco imports cost Russia some $2.6 billion. Between 2014 and 2020, Russia incurred an estimated $4.2 billion in financial damages from the smuggling of EU-sanctioned goods.
Another source of income for Minsk lies in seizing the property of Russian companies in Belarus. The 2020 Belgazprombank case is a prominent example.
“After a provisional administration was established, deposits and financial assets were siphoned off, seriously hurting Russian shareholders,” said Kondratiev. Such conduct is common, he added. “We know of cases where goods sent by Russians transiting through Belarus have been seized.”
No country in the world receives the level of support from Russia as that which is afforded to Belarus, Kondratiev said. However, Moscow’s assistance has put a strain on finances. This is all the more troublesome, as the help rendered is neither spurring economic growth in Belarus, nor promoting the efficient use of money.
“On the contrary, we are seeing steady stagnation,” said the Russian Council for Interethnic Relations member Bogdan Bespalko.
#AceNewsReport – June.02: Putin’s latest meeting with Alyaksandr Lukashenka of Belarus — his fourth since August — was no exception. More than five hours of talks yielded only seven minutes of official footage, in which Putin comments on the weather and Lukashenka fingers a briefcase of documents that, he claims, expose unspecified Western machinations.
KREMLIN: The Russian public is used to being left in the dark about what President Vladimir Putin discusses with high officials and the heads of other former Soviet republics. Official photos of Putin and his guests provide the fodder for headlines — and countless memes — that often follow: But with few details forthcoming, many observers focused instead on the venue for the informal second day of talks on May 29: a 54-meter luxury yacht complete with a sumptuous dining area boasting panoramic views of the sea’
“Russians earning 10,000 to 40,000 rubles ($136-$545) a month…are apparently proud of the fact that Putin has a 30-million-euro yacht,” one Twitter user wrote sarcastically, citing the reported cost of the vessel.
Dozhd, an independent TV channel in Russia that often airs opposition views, reported on May 31 that the yacht, now named Chaika (Seagull), was built in Turkey and purchased by the Russian government in 2011, when Putin was prime minister.
Dozhd also noted a previous meeting, apparently on the same yacht, between Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2018.
Officially, the May 28-29 talks in and around the Black Sea resort city of Sochi led to Moscow’s release of a $500 million loan to Minsk and an increase in the number of flight connections with Belarus as a show of support for Lukashenka. The Belarusian leader is being shunned in Europe since his government scrambled a fighter jet on May 23 to ground a Ryanair flight and arrested a dissident Belarusian journalist who was aboard, along with his girlfriend, a Russian citizen.
But there was little in the way of details about crucial questions that haunt the close but often tense relationship between Russia and Belarus, leaving observers on social media with little to do but comment on the photos of Putin and Lukashenka posing by the sea — some with wry humor, others angrily — or zero in on the lush setting.
The attention to evidence of Putin’s alleged wealth, or the perks that he has at his fingertips, was nothing new.
Officially, Putin earned a salary equivalent to $136,000 in 2020, and in his declaration, he listed a modest apartment, three Soviet-era cars, and a small camping trailer handed down by his late father.
But in nearly 22 years as president or prime minister, he has regularly been accused of amassing a huge personal fortune. In 2012, three years before he was shot dead near the Kremlin, opposition politician Boris Nemtsov co-authored a report describing a stunning array of helicopters and jets, homes, luxury watches, and four yachts that, according to the report, belonged to Putin or were available for his use in connection with his office.
The report referenced a 54-meter yacht similar in description to the Chaika, but said the “real diamond of the Kremlin flotilla” is a five-deck vessel equipped with a Jacuzzi, a barbecue, a maple wood colonnade, and a large bathroom faced in marble.
Shots of the yacht in Sochi come four months after Putin was forced to publicly dispute allegations by jailed opposition leader Aleksei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) that a $1.36 billion estate complete with hookah bar, vineyard, and ice hockey arena had been built for the Russian president on the Black Sea, not far from the waters he cruised with Lukashenka.
In April, the FBK — which has been targeted by a government effort to label it as an extremist group — followed up with reports of another lavish residence it linked to Putin.
The Kremlin said the sprawling property that Navalny dubbed “a palace for Putin” does not belong to the president. Arkady Rotenberg, a construction magnate and childhood friend of Putin’s, later came forwardto say that he is the owner.
Other apparent efforts to discredit the January report from the FBK included a remark at the time from Dmitry Kiselyov, a state-TV presenter widely seen as a Kremlin propagandist:
“Putin has no need for luxury,” Kiselyov asserted. “For him, this is just not cool.”
Matthew Luxmoore is a Moscow-based correspondent for RFE/RL covering Russia and the former Soviet Union. Before joining RFE/RL in 2018, he reported for The New York Times in Moscow and has written for The Guardian, Politico, The New Republic, and Foreign Policy. He’s a graduate of Harvard’s Davis Center and a recipient of New York University’s Reporting Award and the Fulbright Alistair Cooke Journalism Award.
#AceNewsReport – May.29: The Ryanair flight was forced to land on May 23 in Minsk, where 26-year-old Belarusian journalist and opposition activist Raman Pratasevich and his girlfriend were detained. The EU demanded their immediate release, with some leaders calling the incident “state hijacking.”
BRUSSELS: EU Leaders Agree On Belarus Sanctions @acenewsservicesAfter Flight Diversion, Arrest Of Journalist: Following a summit in Brussels on May 24, the bloc instructed officials to “adopt necessary measures to ban overflight of EU airspace by Belarusian airlines and prevent access to EU airports,” European Council President Charles Michel’s spokesman Barend Leyts said in a statement posted on Twitter.
The summit’s conclusions came as Pratasevich, in a video released on Belarusian state TV on May 24, said he was “confessing” to charges of being behind civil disturbances, an offense punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
“I can say that I have no health problems…. I continue cooperating with investigators and am confessing to having organized mass unrest in the city of Minsk,” he says in the video, in which he appears to have black marks on his forehead. The Belarusian opposition and Pratasevich’s allies dismissed the comments as made under duress.
Dmitry Pratasevich, the detained Belarusian journalist’s father, told RFE/RL the family was “very worried about what is happening to our son.” Pratasevich’s parents said they feared their son, who has lived in Lithuania and Poland since he fled a brutal crackdown against the opposition in Belarus, would be tortured.
In the statement adopted at the summit, the leaders said the EU “demands the immediate release” of Pratasevich and his girlfriend and called on the European Council to adopt additional sanctions on Belarusian persons and entities.
Leaders also urged the bloc’s airlines to avoid Belarus’s airspace and called on the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to urgently investigate the incident, which it called “unprecedented and unacceptable.” The UN agency said its 36 diplomatic representatives will meet on May 27 to discuss Belarus’s actions.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also backed calls for an independent investigation into the plane diversion.
The EU also voiced its solidarity with member Latvia, which announced it was expelling all Belarusian diplomats, including the Belarusian ambassador, in a tit-for-tat measure.
Earlier on May 24, Belarus expelled Latvia’s ambassador to Minsk and all the embassy’s employees apart from one staff member. The Belarusian Foreign Ministry announced that move after the Latvia-based airBaltic joined other airlines that are avoiding Belarus airspace.
Polish national carrier LOT, Hungarian airline Wizzair, Scandinavian airline SAS, and Dutch airline KLM were among airliners announcing a halt to using Belarus’s airspace.
Lithuanian Transport Minister Marius Skuodis announced that all flights to and from Lithuanian airports must avoid Belarusian airspace from midnight GMT on May 25.
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the UK would suspend the air permit that allows flights in British airspace by the Belarus’s national airline, Belavia — a move that effectively blocks it from using Britain’s transit hub at Heathrow International Airport. Raab also said British authorities are instructing British airlines to cease all of their flights over Belarusian airspace.
Raab told Parliament that Belarus “must be held to account for such reckless and dangerous behavior.”
“The scenario as reported is a shocking assault on civil aviation and an assault on international law,” he said. “It represents a danger to civilian flights everywhere.”
The diversion of the flight and the detention of Pratasevich has also been met by criticism from the United States, which has pledged to coordinate a response with its European allies.
The Ryanair flight from Athens to Lithuania’s capital, Vilnius, was diverted on the orders of Belarusian strongman leader Alyaksandr Lukashenka as it was flying through Belarusian airspace.
Belarusian authorities said the flight to Vilnius was diverted because of a bomb threat from Hamas, a claim the Palestinian militant group rejected.
Rolandas Kiskis, the Lithuanian chief of criminal police, said five of the 126 passengers who boarded the Ryanair flight in Athens did not reach Vilnius, though he would not elaborate.
But Ryanair Chief Executive Officer Michael O’Leary said the airline believes “there were some [Belarusian security agency] KGB agents offloaded at the airport as well.”
Although the Ryanair flight was closer to Vilnius when it was intercepted, Minsk claims the diversion and forced landing with a MiG-29 fighter jet escort was necessary because Belarusian authorities were informed there was a bomb on the plane. No explosive device was found.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel dismissed that explanation as “completely implausible.”
“We have seen a forced landing that led to the arrest,” Merkel said on May 24 ahead of the summit. “All other explanations for the landing of this Ryanair flight are completely implausible.”
“This was effectively aviation piracy, state sponsored,” Ireland’s Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said. Ryanair is headquartered in Dublin.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg denounced the diversion as a “serious and dangerous incident.” NATO officials say the military alliance will discuss the matter on May 25.
Many European leaders already have called for expanded sanctions against the regime of Lukashenka, who has led a sometimes violent and deadly crackdown on dissent in his country since mass protests broke over the disputed results of last August’s presidential election.
Russia accused the West of hypocrisy, reiterating accusations that in 2013 a flight from Moscow carrying then-Bolivian President Evo Morales had been diverted to Austria after reports that fugitive U.S. intelligence leaker Edward Snowden might be on board.
Speaking to reporters, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov wouldn’t say if the Belarusian authorities had contacted Russia about the incident.
Russia and Belarus have close political, economic and military ties, and Lukashenka has relied on Moscow’s support amid Western sanctions.
The EU has already imposed three rounds of sanctions against Belarus and was preparing a fourth round before the Ryanair event, including further asset freezes and visa bans on Belarusian officials and entities amid the ongoing crackdown on the opposition and pro-democracy protesters.
Belarus has been rocked by protests since Lukashenka, in power since 1994, was declared the landslide winner of a presidential election in August 2020 that the West and opposition deem fraudulent.
Since then, more than 30,000 people have been detained, hundreds beaten or tortured, and journalists targeted in the crackdown by Lukashenka.
The opposition says Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya, who fled to neighboring Lithuania after the election due to concerns about her safety, was the true winner of the vote.
Pratasevich was a key administrator of the Telegram channel Nexta Live, which has been covering the protests that broke out in Belarus following the disputed presidential election.
Belarusian authorities in November 2020 launched investigations into Pratasevich and a colleague, Stsyapan Putsila, on suspicion of the organization of mass disorder, disruption of social order, and inciting social hatred.
Describing Pratasevich as a high-profile opponent of Lukashenka, Tsikhanouskaya told Sky News on May 24 that she was “really afraid not only for his freedom, but for his life.
Pratasevich spoke to Current Time from an undisclosed location in Poland on November 19, 2020, after Belarusian authorities issued a warrant for his arrest.
“It seems to me that the [state] power now considers nearly any expression of a different opinion in general to be a crime,” Pratasevich said, saying this was clear from the number of people who were being detained. Current Time is a Russian-language network run by RFE/RL in cooperation with VOA.
In October 2020, a court in Minsk designated the Nexta Live channel and its logo as extremist and instructed the Information Ministry to restrict access to information resources using the name and logo of the Telegram channel, as well as their distribution in the Belarusian segment of the Internet.
Media in Belarus have been targeted by the Lukashenka government in the ongoing crackdown. The watchdog Reporters Without Borders has designated Belarus as the most dangerous spot in Europe for journalists.
With reporting by RFE/RL’s Belarus Service, Reuters, AP, and AFP
#AceNewsReport – May.24: On the afternoon of May 23, a Ryanair airline, flying from Athens to Vilnius, urgently boarded in Minsk:
INTERNATIONAL INCIDENT: The plane on which he flew was urgently landed in Belarus because of the bomb report that happened to be false after Lukashenka said he personally took the decision to land the aircraft in order to “protect Europe”
It is utterly unacceptable to force @Ryanair flight from Athens to Vilnius to land in Minsk.
ALL passengers must be able to continue their travel to Vilnius immediately and their safety ensured.
Any violation of international air transport rules must bear consequences.
https://t.me/nexta_tv/15764 NEXTA, [May 23, 2021 at 4:38 PM] Председатель Европейской комиссии Урсула фон дер Ляйен: «Любое нарушение правил международного воздушного транспорта влечёт за собой последствия»
Совершенно недопустимо принуждать самолёт Ryanair, летевший из Афин в Вильнюс, садиться в Минске.
Все пассажиры должны немедленно получить возможность продолжить свой путь в Вильнюс, должна быть обеспечена их безопасность.
May: 23, 2021
According to Franak Vyachorka, an advisor to Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, a journalist, former editor-in-chief of the Nexta telegram channel Roman Protasevich was on board. After leaving Nexta, he edited another opposition channel “Brain Belarus”.
Before the flight, according to Nexta, Protasevich noticed that he was being watched. In Minsk, passengers were taken off the plane and sent to the airport for a second inspection, during which Protasevich was detained.
At the Minsk airport, they said that the Ryanair plane landed after the signal about a bomb planted – the pilots themselves allegedly requested the landing . At the same time, the head of the communications department of Vilnius International Airport (the flight was supposed to arrive there) Lina Beishene said : “As far as I know, there was a conflict between the crew member and the passenger. The plane has now landed successfully. We have no other official information ”. Nexta reported that, according to preliminary information, the KGB officers staged a fight with the crew during the flight, insisting that there was an explosive device on board. As a result, the crew was forced to request an emergency landing.
The Pool of the First Telegram channel, which is close to the press service of Alexander Lukashenko, published a post with the headline “Belarus defended Europe” immediately after the landing of the flight . It emphasized: “The situation was reported to the president. Lukashenka gave an unconditional command to turn the plane around and receive it. “
Also, “Pool of the First” noted that the plane was located near the border with Lithuania: “But they turned to Minsk. So it turns out, and the dictator came in handy! “
The Minsk airport has already reported that at the moment information about mining has not been confirmed. “Pool of the first” additionally reported that on behalf of Lukashenka, “a MiG-29 fighter was raised to escort a passenger plane into the sky.”
“The regime endangered the safety of passengers on board and the entire civil aviation for the sake of reprisals against the man who was the editor of the largest Belarusian independent telegram channels … We have already informed the Ryanair office and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), demanding to start an investigation into the incident. and take measures up to the exclusion of Belarus from ICAO, ” Svetlana Tikhanovskaya wrote after Protasevich’s arrest.
This issue topped the agenda of the Armenian government’s meeting chaired by Vice-Premier Ovik Abramyan.
“Upon joining the Treaty, Armenia becomes a member of the Eurasian Economic Union,” the document says.
From this moment, acts of the Eurasian Economic Union will be applied on the territory of Armenia, according to the document.
The document’s addenda highlight 29 agreements, which Armenia will join, the terms of the republic’s membership in the Eurasian Economic Union and transitional provisions.
A separate addendum contains a list of goods and services subject to customs duties during the transitional period that differ from the levies effective in the customs union of the Eurasian economic bloc.
Eurasian Economic Union Treaty
Russia’s upper house of parliament unanimously ratified on Wednesday the Treaty on the Eurasian Economic Union.
The Treaty on the establishment of the Eurasian Economic Union was signed by the presidents of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan on May 29, 2014 in Astana.
The agreement is the basic document defining the accords between Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan for creating the Eurasian Economic Union for the free movement of goods, services, capital and workforce and conducting coordinated, agreed or common policies in key sectors of the economy, such as energy, industry, agriculture and transport.
The Treaty on the Eurasian Economic Union is to enter force on January 1, 2015.
#AceWorldNews UKRAINE (Donetsk) September 14 The much-anticipated prisoner swapbetween Ukrainian security forces and militia in the breakaway republic of Donetsk is under-way 30 kilometres to the north of the region’s capital city Donetsk, a RIA Novosti correspondent reports.
‘ Prisoner Swap in Ukraine Eastern Ukraine Takes Place During Cease-Fire ‘
The swap follows a ground-breaking ceasefire agreementin Belarus’ capital Minsk on September 5 where Ukraine, Russia and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) agreed to exchange all captives held by Kiev and militias in the breakaway eastern regions, in what they described as an “all-for-all” prisoner exchange.
Negotiators were building on Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s peace plan for resolving the conflict in eastern Ukraine, as well as on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s proposals.
Earlier in the day, Kiev confirmed that the parties were to exchange a total of 146 captives on Sunday, following a similar swap on Friday when self-defence forces in the Donetsk People’s Republic handed over 36 Ukrainian personnel that had been apprehended in their territory during Kiev’s military operation in eastern Ukraine. In its turn, the Ukrainian government freed 31 hostages.
On Friday, the Donetsk republic’s Deputy Prime Minister, Andrei Purgin, said a total of 1,500 people could eventually be swapped.
Ukraine has been engulfed in violent internal conflict since mid-April, when Kiev began its military operation against independence supporters in the south-eastern regions of the country.
According to United Nations’ estimates, some 3,000 people have been killed and more than 6,000 wounded since the start of the offensive.
#AceWorldNews – CHISINAU – May 01 – Moldovans celebrated May Day with rallies in support of accession to the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia.
The opposition communist and socialist parties took thousands of people to streets in Chisinau, the capital of the country, under this motto. “We are for integration with Russia and see the future of our country in the Customs Union, because the agreements imposed upon Chisinau by Brussels are disadvantageous,” former Deputy Prime Minister Igor Dodon said.
He believes that this question has been raised now because Moldova is at a crossroads and should make its choice that will be critical for its future. “We can’t sit in two chairs at once. Look at what is happening in neighbouring Ukraine.
If the authorities keep dividing the country into ‘us’ and ‘them’, and limit the use of the Russian language, we will face the same plight,” Dodon said and urged all left-wing parties to unite under these ideas.
#AceWorldNews – BELARUS – April 04 – Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko has described Western sanctions against Russia as “nonsense” and “twaddle.” The West “is fit for nothing now,” RIA Novosti quoted him as saying on Friday.
The president added that Belarus itself has been under Western sanctions for two decades.
They could bring benefits for Russia, as sanctions mobilize the nation, and the people to solve domestic problems, he said.
#AceWorldNews A Russian A-50 AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) aircraft has been redeployed to the Belarusian airfield Baranovichi (western Brest region) to take part in the second stage of the exercise aimed at evaluating the combat readiness of the joint Belarusian-Russian regional air defence system, the Belarusian Defence Ministry said on Saturday, March 15.
The ministry said that Air Force and air defence troops involved in the exercise had gone on combat duty as scheduled. “The air defence forces on duty were tested by control target flights performed by Belarusian Air Force and air defence aircraft,” the ministry said.
Earlier this week, six Russian SU-27 aircraft and three military transport planes were redeployed to Belarus.
Also, a squadron of Russian jet fighters has been on combat duty in Belarus since December 2013.
At a meeting of the Belarusian Security Council on March 12, President Alexander Lukashenko offered to host an additional 15 Russian planes in the country in response to stepped up NATO activities on the Belarusian border.
#AceWorldNews says that Moscow calls on Ukraine’s authorities and forces attempting to control Kiev and western Ukrainian regions to ensure safety for Russians and compatriots, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s commissioner for human rights, democracy and the rule of law, Konstantin Dolgov, told Itar-Tass on Saturday, commenting on the attack on a bus, which carried Belarusian tourists, in Ukraine’s Rovno region on February.
The bus driver, a citizen of the Russian Federation, was seriously wounded in the attack.
Moscow believes it is an absolute necessity and duty of Ukraine’s law-enforcement authorities and all the forces that are controlling or trying to control Kiev and the Ukrainian regions, first of all in the west, which have been swept by the wave of disorders and disturbances, to strictly comply with the international obligations to ensure protection and safety for civilian people, including Russian citizens and compatriots, Dolgov stressed.
It is of principle importance also to prevent potentially extremely dangerous increase of inter-ethnic tension in the country, he noted.
“The box with the relic will be open for visitors until 10 a.m. Moscow TimeFebruary 5, after midnight February 4,” Sergei Ivanov, a spokesman for the regional diocese, said Tuesday.
“On Wednesday morning, the relic will be taken from Volgograd’s Cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan to the airport and then it will head for home, to the Agiou Pavlou (St. Paul’s) monastery on Mount Athos,” Ivanov told Itar-Tass.
According to theGospel of Matthew, Biblical Magi, or Wise Men, were led by the Star of Bethlehem to the place where the baby Jesus was born. They brought Christ gold, which was a gift to kings, frankincense, a sign of veneration, and myrrh, used to anoint the deceased, thus venerating Jesus as King, God and Man.
Warming centers and feeding stations have been opened for believers, with temperatures in the city reaching minus 20 degrees Celsius.
The relic was brought to Volgograd on Monday.
The event is important for the city, where two suicide bombings killed 34 people and injured more than 70 others in attacks on a railway terminal and a trolleybus on December 29 and 30, 2013.
The Gifts, kept in theAgiou Pavlou monastery on Mount Athos in Greece since the 15th century, were displayed in Russia on January 7-17, then traveled to Belarus, and were later taken to Ukraine for display in the world-famous Kiev-Pechersk Lavra, or Monastery of the Caves, in Kiev. Over 1.6 million of pilgrims have worshipped the relic in the three countries by now.
The box with the relic has part of the original Gifts: three gold plates with a thin filigree ornament with beads from a mix of frankincense and myrrh attached to it on a silver thread.
Volgograd was a special point in the Gifts’ travel from Greece due to the recent terrorist attacks on the city, Konstantin Malofeyev, the head of the St. Basil the Great Charitable Foundation, which organized and funded the Gifts’ travel to Russia, Belarus and Ukraine, said at an Itar-Tass news conference.
“There was a permit to take the relic [out of Greece] for one month, but it was impossible to say no to believers in Volgograd. The Gifts of the Magi were brought here by Patriarch Kirill [of Moscow and All Russia] himself, who arrived in Volgograd to speak to those who came through the tragedy and tell them words of consolation,” Malofeyev said.
Representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church have said the Gifts of the Magi are one of the few relics connected with the earthly life of Jesus Christ that have been preserved to the present day.
Legend has it that shortly before her Dormition, or Assumption, the Mother of God passed the relics to two pious women. Later on, the Gifts were brought to Byzantium, and, after the Turkish conquest of Constantinople in 1453, they were taken to Mount Athos in Greece by Serb Princess Mary.