#AceNewsReport – Oct.15: According to Putin, the United States is only developing hypersonic missiles with a speed of slightly more than Mach 3: According to Putin, similar systems are being developed in other countries, and this is not unusual.
#AceDailyNews says that according to Interfax Putin has said that Russia has won nuclear arms race with the United States And our systems are flying at speeds in excess of Mach 20. It’s not just a hypersonic missile, it’s an intercontinental missile. And they are on combat duty already in Russia,” Interfax quoted Putin as saying…….
Interfax – Published: Oct.14, 2021
“I would like to draw your attention to the fact that we, having such systems, and for the first time in history, are overtaking our main competitors – in this case the United States – in high-tech weapons systems. We do not abuse this, do not threaten anyone,” Putin said.
According to Putin, the nuclear arms race resumed after the U.S. withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2003, which Moscow considered “the cornerstone of international security.”
It was not just a defense, but “an attempt to gain strategic advantages by de-energizing the nuclear potential of a potential enemy,” Putin explained.
Russia, Putin said, had two ways: either to create its own missile defense, which “costs a lot of money and it is not known how it will work,” or to develop missiles that will overcome American defenses.
“I said we’re going to do it. The answer from the American partners was as follows: our missile defense is not against you, you do what you want, we will proceed from the fact that it is not against us,” Putin described the situation.
The arms race “is not on our initiative,” he stressed, adding that Russia is ready to conduct a constructive dialogue on this matter.
#AceNewsReport – Oct.10: The Czech-made L-410 plane crashed at 9.23am (0623 GMT) in the republic of Tatarstan with 22 people on board. The plane broke in two on impact, according to images released by the Russian emergency ministry.
#AceDailyNews says according to EuroNews & Tass at least fifteen people are dead following plane crash in central Russia on Sunday around 06:23GMT in republic of Tartarstan ….
• Updated: 10/10/2021 – 11:39
It added on Telegram that “seven people were rescued” but that “15 were found without any signs of life.”
The seven survivors were hospitalised and one of them is “in a serious condition”, according to the RIA Novosti agency, which quoted a source at the local health ministry.
According to the Interfax news agency, the plane belonged to a local club of the paramilitary organisation DOSAAF, the Voluntary Society for Assistance to the Army, Air Force and Navy.
Russia, long known for its numerous accidents, has significantly improved its air safety since the 2000s, but crashes still occur fairly frequently, especially in sparsely populated areas such as the Far East.
#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 – Oct.03: In the Donetsk region, two organizers and six guards of the “Izolyatsia” underground prison will be tried for torture and other grave crimes…..
#AceDailyNews says that according to reports prison guards involved in brutal torture in occupied Donbass at Izolyatsia which is a former cultural centre in Donetsk, which the militants turned into a real concentration camp. According to police, civilians and prisoners of war are being severely tortured in violation of all international human rights treaties reported by the press service of the GUNP.
To send the indictments to court, the police worked for seven years on a pre-trial investigation. During this time, they carried out investigative actions with more than fifty former prisoners of Izolyatsia, who now live in different regions of Ukraine.
Thus, the investigation established that in June 2014, on the territory of the former plant of insulation materials seized by the militants in Donetsk, an underground prison was organized for citizens with a pro-Ukrainian position – both ATO / JFO participants and civilians.
Currently, the police have fully collected evidence about eight members of the criminal organization: immediate leaders and guards. Law enforcers found out that the dungeon was run by two residents of the Donetsk region, 39 and 48 years old, who were in the position of the head of the “Special Operations Service of the DPR Ministry of State Security,” controlled by the Russian Federation.
It is known that among the most cruel tortures used in prison are cutting teeth, connecting electricity to various organs, rape, imitation of execution and burial alive with nails being driven into a coffin.
In addition, the jailers exploited the victims, driving them out to forced labor: unloading ammunition, repairing military equipment, building roads, cleaning in the “leadership residence”. Emaciated people were forced to work from morning until late at night, often without food or water, guarded by guards with machine guns, who mocked the prisoners.
The prisoners were also forced to disassemble the goods stolen from the captured enterprises, including expired food, which were then packed in new packaging and sold to residents in large stores. There are 34 victims in this case, including men and women of different ages, there are also pensioners and even an 18-year-old boy. The defendants were charged in absentia with participation in a criminal organization (part 1 of Art. 255 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine), illegal paramilitary groups (part 1 of Art. 260), cruel treatment of the civilian population (part 4 of Art. 28, Part 1 of Art. 438), human trafficking (part 4 of article 28, part 1 of article 149).
In addition, six guards are charged under Part 1 of Art. 258-3 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (participation in a terrorist organization). “According to the current legislation, the accused can be convicted in absentia and, after arrest, immediately sent to places of deprivation of liberty,” the message says.
#AceNewsReport – Oct.01: Prior to her work at Sberbank, Rakova was deputy education minister. She allegedly took taxpayers’ money, initially intended for state contracts for a federal education program, and sent it to the Fund for New Forms of Education Development, where she was the CEO.
Rakova is suspected of embezzling more than 50 million rubles ($685,000) and faces up to 10 years in prison. According to REN TV, the Fund for New Forms of Education Development was allocated as much as 2.837 billion rubles ($39 million) during her time in the ministry, meaning the current charges may just be the tip of the iceberg.
On Wednesday, her office and home were searched by law enforcement. One day later, she failed to turn up for questioning and turned off her mobile phone, it was reported.
On Thursday, a Moscow court also detained three of Rakova’s former colleagues, Maxim Inkin, Evgeny Zak, and Kristina Kryuchkova, who are also suspected of taking part in the fraud.
Sberbank is a Russian state-owned financial institution and is the country’s most popular bank. Earlier this year, Forbes declared it to be the “most reliable” of all banks operating in the country.
#AceNewsReport – Sept.22: With permission, Mr Speaker, I would like to make a statement on the announcement today by Counter Terrorism Policing that the Crown Prosecution Service has authorised charges against a third individual in relation to the 2018 Salisbury attack – an appalling event which shook the whole country and united our allies in condemnation.
GOVUK: The new Salisbury charging decision: Home Secretary Priti Patel’s statement to Parliament about a further charge relating to the Salisbury poisonings.
Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the opposition for their courtesy and support in allowing some of their Parliamentary time to be used for this statement and the House will of course understand that this is an ongoing investigation and so we are limited in terms of what can be said about these 3 individuals.
In March 2018, Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russia, commonly known as ‘Novichok’.
Two police officers from Wiltshire Police involved in searching the victims’ home were also poisoned with the same agent.
In July 2018, a further 2 members of the public were found unwell in Amesbury, both of whom had been exposed to Novichok. And tragically, one of them died and this is Dawn Sturgess.
An inquest into her death is ongoing. I know that the thoughts of the whole House will be with the loved ones of Dawn today.
Mr Speaker, This House has profound differences with Russia.
By annexing Crimea in 2014, igniting the flames of conflict in eastern Ukraine and threatening western democracies, including by interfering in their elections, Russia has challenged the fundamental basis of international order.
Although attacks like this are uncommon, this is not the first time Russia has committed a brazen attack in the UK.
Today the European Court of Human Rights has ruled that Russia was responsible for the assassination of Alexander Litvinenko. This supports the findings of the independent Litvinenko Inquiry.
However, as the then-government made clear in 2018 and I reiterate today – we will not tolerate such malign activity here in the UK.
The United Kingdom, under successive governments, has responded with strength and determination,
As my Rt Hon Friend the member for Maidenhead, then Prime Minister, announced in 2018, 250 detectives were involved in the Salisbury murder investigation, working around the clock to discover who was responsible.
On 5 September 2018, the independent Director of Public Prosecutions announced there was sufficient evidence to bring charges against 2 Russian nationals for:
conspiracy to murder Sergei Skripal
the attempted murder of Sergei Skripal, Yulia Skripal and Nick Bailey
causing grievous bodily harm with intent to Yulia Skripal and Nick Bailey
possession and use of a chemical weapon, contrary to the Chemical Weapons Act 1996
The 2 Russian nationals were known as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, but the police believed these to be aliases.
The then-Prime Minister announced that the government had concluded the 2 men were members of the Russian Military Intelligence Service, the GRU – and that the operation was almost certainly approved outside the GRU at a senior level of the Russian state.
I want to recognise the exemplary work of our emergency services, our intelligence agencies, armed forces, and law enforcement staff who led the initial response to this despicable attack.
I also pay tribute to the ongoing work to bring the perpetrators of this outrageous attack to justice. We will not let this go.
As Deputy Assistant Commissioner Dean Haydon has said, this investigation has been extraordinarily complex and our country is very fortunate that so many brave people do such outstanding work to keep us safe.
As a result of these efforts, the police can now evidence that Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov are aliases for Alexander Mishkin and Anatoliy Chepiga, and that both are members of the GRU.
The CPS has now authorised charges against a third individual, known as Sergey Fedotov.
The CT Policing investigation identified that Fedotov entered the UK on a flight from Moscow to London Heathrow and stayed at a hotel in central London between the 2nd and 4th of March 2018, before returning to Moscow.
While in the UK, he met with Petrov and Boshirov on more than one occasion in central London.
The CT Policing investigation has established that Fedotov is in fact Denis Sergeev, that he is also a member of the GRU, and that all 3 individuals previously worked together for the GRU as part of additional operations outside Russia.
All 3 men are now wanted by UK police. Arrest warrants are in place for all 3. The police have applied for an Interpol Notice against Fedotov, mirroring those already in place against the other 2 suspects.
Russia has repeatedly refused to allow its nationals to stand trial overseas. This was also the case following the murder of Alexander Litvinenko when a UK extradition request was refused. This has only added to the heartache of those hurt by these attacks and, Mr Speaker, inevitably further damaged our relations with Russia.
As was made clear in 2018, should any of these individuals ever travel outside Russia, we will work with our international partners and take every possible step to detain them and extradite them to face justice.
Mr Speaker, after the attack in Salisbury, my Rt Hon Friends the Members for Maidenhead and Uxbridge and South Ruislip put in place the toughest measures the UK has levied against another state for more than 30 years, comprising of diplomatic, legislative, and economic measures.
We continue to take robust steps to counter the threat posed by the Russian state.
In 2018, 23 undeclared Russian intelligence officers were immediately expelled from the UK. In solidarity, 28 other countries and NATO joined us, resulting in the largest collective expulsion ever – of over 150 Russian intelligence officers.
This fundamentally degraded Russian intelligence capability for years to come.
The government will continue to provide the security services and law enforcement agencies with all the additional tools they need to deal with the full range of state threats, which continue to evolve.
In direct response to the Salisbury attack, we introduced new powers to enable the police to stop, question, search, and detain individuals at the UK border to determine whether they are a spy or otherwise involved in hostile activity.
These vital powers are already helping the security services and law enforcement agencies to protect the UK from very real and serious threat posed by states who seek to undermine and destabilise our country.
In July 2020, we published a full and comprehensive response to Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee’s Russia report. This addressed point by point all the key themes and recommendations raised by the Committee.
But we are going even further and have committed to introducing new legislation to counter state threats to protect the United Kingdom.
Earlier this summer, we held a public consultation on the government’s proposals, to improve our ability to detect, respond to, and prevent state threats, keep our citizens safe, and protect sensitive data and intellectual property.
Responses to that consultation are currently being considered and we will return with comprehensive legislation.
Another crucial strand of this work is combatting illicit finance. Squeezing out the dirty money and money launderers out of the UK to secure our global prosperity is our priority.
We are at the forefront of the international fight against illicit finance, combatting the threat from source to destination.
We have introduced a new Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime and a Global Anti-Corruption Sanctions Regime.
The National Crime Agency continues to lead UK effort to bring the full power of law enforcement to bear against serious criminals, corrupt elites, and their assets, including through increased checks on private flights, customs, and freight travel.
In July and September 2020, working in tandem with the EU, we announced sanctions against the Russian Intelligence Services for cyberattacks against the UK and her allies.
We have also taken robust action in response to the poisoning and attempted murder of Alexei Navalny – enforcing asset freezes and travel bans against 13 individuals and a Russian research institute involved in the case.
The government will continue to respond extremely robustly to the enduring and significant threat from the Russian state.
We continue to make huge strides to counter this threat and to increase our resilience and that of our allies to Russian malign activity.
Mr Speaker, we respect the people of Russia, but we will do whatever it takes, everything it takes, to keep our country safe. We will actively work to deter and defend against the full spectrum of threats emanating from Russia until relations with its government improve.
Mr Speaker, I would like to end by paying tribute to the resilience of the people of Salisbury, who suffered a sickening and despicable act in their community, and to the people of Amesbury, who lost one of their own in the most dreadful of circumstances.
Our government will be relentless in our pursuit of justice for the victims of these attacks and continue to do whatever is necessary to keep our people safe.
I commend this statement to the House.
REUTERS RELATED: The European Court of Human Rights (EHCR) ‘ has ruled that Russia was responsible for the 2006 killing of ex-KGB officer Alexander Litvinenko, who died an agonising death after he was poisoned in London with Polonium 210, a rare radioactive isotope.
Kremlin critic Litvinenko died at age 43, three weeks after drinking green tea laced with polonium-210 at London’s plush Millennium hotel in an attack Britain has long blamed on Russia.
In its ruling, the EHCR concluded Russia was responsible for the killing.
“Mr Litvinenko’s assassination was imputable to Russia,” its statement said.
The court ordered Russia to pay Litvinenko’s widow, Marina Litvinenko, 100,000 euros ($161,600) in damages.
The Kremlin rejected the verdict in its entirety.
“The ECHR hardly has the authority or technological capacity to possess information on the matter. There are still no results from this investigation, and making such claims is at the very least unsubstantiated,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
From his deathbed, Litvinenko told detectives he believed Russian President Vladimir Putin, also a former KGB spy, had directly ordered his killing.
Russia has always denied any involvement in Litvinenko’s death.
A lengthy British inquiry concluded in 2016 that Mr Putin probably approved a Russian intelligence operation to murder Litvinenko.
The judge who oversaw the British inquiry said there were several reasons why the Russian state would have wanted to kill Litvinenko, who was granted British citizenship a month before his death on November 23, 2006.
They included information that he had likely started working for MI6 and accusing Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) of carrying out apartment block bombings in Russia in 1999 that killed more than 200 people, which the Kremlin blamed on Chechen rebels.
He was also close to other leading Russian dissidents and had accused Mr Putin’s administration of collusion with organised crime.
The British inquiry also found that former KGB bodyguard Andrei Lugovoy and another Russian, Dmitry Kovtun, carried out the killing as part of an operation probably directed by the FSB.
The ECHR agreed, despite both men having always denied involvement.
“The court found it established, beyond reasonable doubt, that the assassination had been carried out by Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun,” the ruling said.
“The planned and complex operation involving the procurement of a rare deadly poison, the travel arrangements for the pair, and repeated and sustained attempts to administer the poison indicated that Mr Litvinenko had been the target of the operation.”
It concluded that the Russian state was to blame and that had the men been carrying out a “rogue operation”, Moscow would have the information to prove that theory.
“However, the government had made no serious attempt to provide such information or to counter the findings of the UK authorities,” the ruling said.
‘Extremely idiotic’ ruling
A Russian judge sitting on the ruling panel, Dmitry Dedov, disagreed with his six colleagues on the court’s main finding.
“I found many deficiencies in the analysis by the British inquiry and by the court which raise reasonable doubts as to the involvement of the suspects in the poisoning and whether they were acting as agents of the state,” he said.
Since the ruling Mr Lugovoy, who is a member of Russian Parliament, said the EHCR ruling was politically motivated and damaged the credibility of the court.
“I think this decision is absolutely politically motivated,” Mr Lugovoy said in an audio message shared by his assistant.
“I am very sceptical about it. I think it is extremely idiotic and damaging to the reputation of the European Court of Human Rights.”
British authorities charge third Russian over Skripal attack
On the same day as Russia was found guilty of the murder of Litvinenko, British police said a third Russian had been charged in absentia with the 2018 Novichok murder attempt on former double agent Sergei Skripal.
The attack on Skripal, who sold Russian secrets to Britain, caused the biggest row between Russia and the West since the Cold War, leading to the tit-for-tat expulsion of dozens of diplomats after Britain pointed the finger of blame at Moscow.
Russia has rejected any involvement, casting the accusations as anti-Russian propaganda.
Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found unconscious, slumped on a public bench in the southern English city of Salisbury in March 2018. They, along with a police officer who went to Skripal’s house, were left critically ill in hospital from exposure to the military-grade nerve agent.
A woman later also died from Novichok poisoning after her partner found a counterfeit perfume bottle in which police believe it had been smuggled into the country.
In September 2018, British prosecutors charged two Russians, then identified by the aliases Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, with conspiracy to murder Skripal and the attempted murder of Yulia and the officer, Nick Bailey.
Dean Haydon, the UK’s senior national coordinator for counter terrorism policing, said prosecutors had now authorised them to charge a third man, Sergey Fedotov, who was aged about 50, with the same offences.
Mr Haydon also said Petrov and Boshirov were really named Alexander Mishkin and Anatoliy Chepiga, and that Fedotov’s true identity was Denis Sergeev.
“We can’t go into the detail of how, but we have the evidence that links them to the GRU,” Mr Haydon told reporters, describing them as highly trained.
“All three of them are dangerous individuals.”
As with the other two Russians, British police had obtained an arrest warrant for Fedotov and they were applying for Interpol notices against him, he said.
All three men were now believed to be in Russia, with whom Britain has no extradition treaty and the Russian authorities had so far offered no co-operation.
#AceNewsReport – Sept.20: Students and teachers barricaded themselves inside the university building; others were seen jumping from windows.
#AceDailyNewssays that a gunman has killed several people at Perm University today assailant walked on to the campus on Monday morning and started shooting according to BBC News
Police wounded and detained the attacker, who is reported to be a student.
The incident occurred at 11:00 (06:00 GMT) at Perm State University, located around 1,300 kilometres (800 miles) east of the capital, Moscow, in the Urals.
Videos circulating on social media shows students throwing belongings out of windows from buildings on campus before jumping to flee the shooter.
This piece of footage of students jumping out of windows was broadcast on Russian TV:
Some reports say the gunman had written on social media that he was acting alone and had no political or religious motives. One of the university’s professors, Ivan Pechishchev, told the BBC he saw students running from a building, and people jumping out of the second floor as he went to class. “They jumped out in some horror, screaming,” he said. “One of the students told me that it was a shooting. I heard pops, everyone began to scatter in different directions. I went to my students in the second building and continued to hear the pops.”
“According to Prof Pechishchev, there are about 10 buildings on the Perm University campus, and the security service immediately blocked all buildings and passages.Perm University posted a message on social networks urging students who were in the building to stay in the classrooms.”
“ There were about 60 people in the classroom. We closed the door and barricaded it with chairs,” one student, Semyon Karyakin, told Reuters news agency.Earlier this year, a 19-year-old gunman opened fire in his old school in the central Russian city of Kazan, killing nine people.
#AceNewsReport – Sept .18: President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party is expected to win: Although a total of 14 parties are taking part in the vote, many candidates seen as anti-Putin are barred from running, including anyone associated with Navalny’s opposition movement. Some prominent Kremlin opponents have been forced to leave Russia.
#AceDailyNews says opposition smart app removed as vote begins after Russian authorities had threatened to fine the two companies if they refused to drop the app, which told users who could unseat ruling party candidates after Parliamentary and local elections began on Friday and will last three days:
Voters are electing 450 MPs for the Duma (parliament) in Moscow and a number of cities have introduced electronic voting. For the first time since 1993, election observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) will not be present due to “limitations” imposed by Russian authorities.
EPA: Public video feeds of voting have been banned but official observers were allowed to watch
Navalny was jailed immediately on his return from Germany in January, having recovered from a nerve agent attack in Siberia.
The Smart Voting app was not available for download on both the Google and Apple stories in Russia on Friday.
On the eve of the election, senior officials at the communications regulator threatened big fines for any companies that “systematically violate” its demands. IT companies had been warned that refusing to remove the app would be seen as illegal interference in the vote.
On Thursday night, Google Docs went down in some regions and the Smart Voting-bot on the Telegram platform came under a powerful attack aimed at taking it offline.
Google and Apple representatives met a Russian Federation Council (upper house of parliament) commission on Thursday.
Navalny ally Ivan Zhdanov said the two companies were making a big mistake.
He linked to an Apple statement that explained the Smart Voting app had been removed because it was illegal in Russia and that Navalny’s FBK anti-corruption organisation had been designated as extremist.
Russia’s communications watchdog blocked the Smart Voting website earlier this month, and a Moscow court banned search engines from any mention of it.
Until now, relatively small fines have been imposed on non-Russian tech companies, including Twitter and Facebook, for not deleting content considered illegal by the Russian government. But the media watchdog has now threatened to target their turnover too.
Last March, the media watchdog said it was slowing down the speed of Twitter because it had failed to remove 3,000 posts relating to suicide, drugs and pornography.
The big social media companies were also threatened with fines if they did not delete posts urging young people to protest.
#AceNewsReport – Aug.31: All servicemen involved in the exercise come from the Russian military base in Tajikistan, the Interfax news agency quoted the Central Military District command as saying.
#AceDailyNews says around 500 Russian troops in drills near Afghanistan and the current set of drills is the third one carried out by Russia close to the Afghan border this month. Next month, a Russia-led security bloc will hold another exercise in Kyrgyzstan which hosts a Russian military airbase according to a report by Reuters Aug.30, 20218:50 AM BST:
RFE/RL Russia says about 500 of its troops are taking part in military drills in Tajikistan amid fears of instability across its Central Asian allies after the Taliban gained control of much of Afghanistan, including its northern areas.
“Tactical maneuvers with weapons training exercises have started with the participation of motorized rifle troops from the Russian Federation’s military base No. 201 located in Tajikistan,” the Central Military District’s press service said on August 30 in a statement, adding that the exercises were taking place in the mountainous Sambuli military training field.
All of the servicemen involved in the exercise come from the Russian military base in Tajikistan, it added.
The statement comes three days after spokesman of the Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) said the alliance plans to hold military exercises in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan due to the ongoing situation in Afghanistan.
CSTO members include Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan.
Central Asians states bordering Afghanistan are concerned about security threats emanating from the war-torn country and the potential for tens of thousands of refugees to pour over the border.
The group has said several thousand troops will be involved in another set of exercises, the Rubezh (Frontier) exercises, in Kyrgyzstan, which will be conducted on September 7-9.
Three more sets of military maneuvers will be held close to the Tajik-Afghan border in October, with a fourth scheduled for November.
On August 10, Russia completed joint military exercises with Tajik and Uzbek troops near the border with Afghanistan, which followed smaller Russian-Uzbek maneuvers along the Uzbek-Afghan border.
The Taliban has sought to reassure neighboring countries and Russia that it poses no threat since gaining control over much of Afghanistan’s territory in recent weeks, including Kabul, the capital.
Russia, which has military bases in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, has vowed to defend Moscow’s allies in Central Asia against any security threat from Afghanistan.
RFE/RL journalists report the news in 27 languages in 23 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established. We provide what many people cannot get locally: uncensored news, responsible discussion, and open debate.
Reuters: Reporting by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Alison Williams
Each of the nuclear boats will carry 16 Bulava intercontinental ballistic missiles.Putin says that over the next 6 years, ships should build 70% / REUTERS
In Russia , a ceremony was held to lay down warships, including two corvettes, two nuclear and two diesel submarines.
The ceremony took place at factories in St. Petersburg and Komsomolsk-on-Amur.
“Such responsible and large-scale tasks are conditioned by the geopolitical situation of our country, its role in world affairs. The construction of a high-tech combat-ready Navy places increasing demands on Russian ships and shipbuilding,” the Russian leader said in a video conference.
According to Vedomosti , the initial launch of the nuclear cruisers “Dmitry Donskoy” and “Prince Potemkin” was to take place in May. Each of the boats will carry 16 Bulava intercontinental ballistic missiles.
Diesel submarines are due to join the Pacific Fleet in 2024. Both boats will be armed with the Caliber-PL missile system. Finally, the corvettes “Grozny” and “Buyny” plan to transfer to the fleet by 2028 with missiles “Caliber-NK” or “Uranus”.
#AceNewsReport – Aug.14: An explosion on a city bus in southwestern Russia on Thursday injured more than a dozen people, officials said: Police and investigators work at a side of an explosion on a city bus in Voronezh, about 450 kilometers (280 miles) south of Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Aug. 12, 2021.
#AceDailyNews says that two people were killed and 22-injured after a bus explosion in Russia on Thurs.Aug.12: The Investigative Committee, Russia’s top criminal investigation agency, has opened a probe for possible charges of unsafe consumer services acording to Associated Press report …..
An explosion on a city bus in southwestern Russia on Thursday injured more than a dozen people, officials said.
But the company that operated the bus said the vehicle had a diesel engine and no gas equipment, and insisted it was in good technical condition.
The National Anti-Terrorist Committee said all options were being considered and experts continued to analyze fragments from the bus.
Health authorities in Voronezh, a city of 1 million residents about 450 kilometers (280 miles) south of Moscow, said two people died in a hospital from injuries they sustained in the explosion. Another 15 people remained hospitalized Friday and five were undergoing treatment at home.
#AceNewsReport – Aug.09: On Monday, Russian and Chinese forces will start their 5-day joint military drill, dubbed the Zapad/Interaction 2021, with the aim of enhancing security in Central Asia. The exercise which will be held in China’s northern Chinese Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region and will involve around 10,000 troops. Aircraft, artillery and other armored equipment will also be used during the drills.
#AceDailyNews says recently both countries released a joint statement regarding the exercise saying its with the aim to enhance security in Central Asia having just appointed a new militarycommander on the border
Russia and China joint statement.
The exercise is aimed to consolidate and develop the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination in the new era, deepen the practical cooperation and traditional friendship between the two militaries, and further demonstrate the two sides’ resolve and capability to fight against terrorist forces and jointly safeguard regional peace and security.
Both countries want to ensure stability of Central Asia, since after the withdrawal of US and NATO troops after two decades in the country. In recent months, the Taliban gained huge swathes of land in Afghanistan. The Taliban managed to capture strategically significant border crossings and supply routes. The terror group also captured infrastructure related to mineral extract operations. Both China and Russia, that rely on regional trade routes, particularly for oil and natural gas imports, worry that Afghanistan’s may spill over into other countries in Central Asia. Russia, in fact, also conducted military drills with other Central Asian countriesrecently in an attempt to bolster military cooperation between Central Asian countries.
FILE – In this Jan. 4, 2021, file photo, Chinese soldiers rally while training in -20 degrees Celsius (-4 Fahrenheit) conditions in Kashgar in northwestern China’s Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. China appointed on Friday, Aug. 6, 2021 a new military commander in restive Xinjiang where authorities have locked up more than a million members of Muslim minorities in what they call a bid to curb terrorism and radicalism. (Chinatopix via AP, File)
China Appoints New Military Commander in Restive Xinjiang
BEIJING (AP) — China has appointed a new military commander in restive Xinjiang where authorities have locked up more than a million members of Muslim minorities in what they call a bid to curb terrorism and radicalism.
Lt. Gen. Wang Haijiang will oversee a massive military presence in the sprawling northwestern region that borders on several unstable Central Asian states, along with Pakistan and Afghanistan, from which U.S. troops are withdrawing.
Like Xinjiang’s hardline Communist Party chief Chen Quanguo, Wang previously served in Tibet, which also hosts large numbers of troops to suppress anti-government sentiment among the native Tibetan population and guard the disputed border with India, where the two nations had a deadly clash last year.
Wang’s unannounced appointment was revealed on the Xinjiang Military District’s social media feed showing him presiding at a retirement ceremony for senior officers on Wednesday.
Wang saw combat during a border war with Vietnam in the early 1980s and served in an elite People’s Liberation Army unit, according to state media reports.
The U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan is a particular concern for Beijing, which fears a resurgence of militant Islam along its border.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi last week hosted a delegation from the Taliban, which has been making rapid territorial gains in Afghanistan and is currently engaged in battles for major cities.
Wang told the officials that China hopes the Taliban will focus on peace talks and work for unity among all factions and ethnic groups.
He also said China hopes the Taliban will “deal resolutely” with the East Turkistan Islamic Movement, a group China claims is leading a push for independence in Xinjiang.
Unconfirmed reports say several hundred fighters allied with the ETIM are present in northeastern Afghanistan, although many experts doubt the group even exists in any operational form.
#AceNewsReport – Aug.09: A state of emergency has been declared in the city of Yakutsk, where freezing winter temperatures have given it the reputation of being the coldest constantly inhabited city on the planet. …..
#AceDailyNews says State of Emergency declared as one of the coldest places on earth is on fire as residents have been told to stay indoors while volunteers and firefighters brave temperatures surpassing 100 degrees Fahrenheit …..
In all, the wildfires have devoured over 10 million acres of land in the Yakutia region this summer, with 175 fires still burning, according to government data. Scientists fear the amount of carbon dioxide released from the Russian blazes could surpass last year’s record.
Similar scenes are playing out across several parts of the globe as emergency teams battle wildfires in Turkey, Southern Europe and the U.S., including California and Hawaii, where brush fires have exploded to encompass some 40,000 acres. Scientists say extreme heat in some areas and drought have contributed to sparking the fires.
More than 2,400 firefighters have been deployed to battle the Russian wildfires, supported by troops and military aircraft, while volunteers such as Ayil Dyulurkha have pitched in, desperate to stop the wildfires spreading to towns where they could destroy homes and businesses.
It is a world away from managing the courier company he founded six months ago in Yakutsk, Mr. Dyulurkha said. “When you come back from the fire, you cough and black soot shoots from your nose,” he said.
#AceHealthReport – Aug.08: June saw a surge in nationwide fatalities as Moscow introduced mandatory vaccinations.
#CoronavirusNewsDesk says Russia’s Excess Death Toll Passes 530,000 As #Delta Variant rises and they have recorded more than half a million excess deaths since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, official figures published Friday show.
Russia’s healthcare system has been put under renewed pressure by a surge in coronavirus cases.EPA / TASS
Nationwide fatalities surged during June — the latest month for which such data is available — as the Delta variant of the coronavirus tore across the capital Moscow and spread out into the regions, sending mortality rates back to levels not seen since winter.
That marks a reversal from earlier trends, as deaths had fallen back close to pre-pandemic levels during May. But the rapid spread of the Delta variant, surge in hospitalizations and deaths during June triggered regional authorities across the country to reintroduce some restrictions and roll out mandatory vaccination rules in a bid to kickstart Russia’s sluggish jab drive.
More than 185,000 people died from all causes in June 2021 — 26% more than during the same month in 2019 — figures published by the Rosstat federal statistics service Friday showed. It was the sharpest increase in monthly deaths across the country since January.
The sharp rise took Russia’s excess fatality toll since the start of the pandemic to above 531,000, according to The Moscow Times analysis. That is one of the highest figures in the world, both in absolute terms and adjusted for population.https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/upB0g/8/
Excess fatalities — the difference between all registered deaths during a period of time compared with what should be expected given recent mortality trends — is seen by demographers and statisticians as the most reliable indicator of the number of likely Covid-19 fatalities, as it removes possible discrepancies and flaws in national accounting and attribution standards.
Russia’s excess death tally is significantly higher than the number of deaths which have been officially attributed to Covid-19. Rosstat said 23,372 people died from Covid-19 during June, with a further 3,746 patients dying with Covid-19, but where the infection was not deemed the main cause.
Rosstat has recorded 220,000 official Covid-19 deaths since the start of the pandemic — accounting for 41% of Russia’s excess fatalities during the same period. In a number of European countries, official coronavirus deaths account for 90% or more of increased deaths.
The imposition of mandatory vaccination rules across many parts of the country, including the capital Moscow, sparked an uptick in people coming forward to be inoculated. But despite vaccines having been widely available since the start of the year, only one in four Russians have had at least a first dose of one of the country’s homemade vaccines.
#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 – July.25: This report was provided. By BBC Trending on the effort to use disinformation on vaccines with public, do what’s right in your heart always ….
#CoronavirusNewsDesk says that YouTubers who blew the whistle on an anti-vax plot and the The BBC reports they have made multiple attempts to contact AdNow by phone, email and even a letter couriered to their Moscow headquarters, but they have not responded.
By Charlie Haynes and Flora Carmichael BBC Trending
“It started with an email” says Mirko Drotschmann, a German YouTuber and journalist.
Mirko normally ignores offers from brands asking him to advertise their products to his more than 1.5 million subscribers. But the sponsorship offer he received in May this year was unlike any other.
An influencer marketing agency called Fazze offered to pay him to promote what it said was leaked information that suggested the death rate among people who had the Pfizer vaccine was almost three times that of the AstraZeneca jab.
The information provided wasn’t true.
It quickly became apparent to Mirko that he was being asked to spread disinformation to undermine public confidence in vaccines in the middle of a pandemic.
“I was shocked,” says Mirko “then I was curious, what’s behind all that?”
Mirko DrotschmannMirko Drotschmann was offered money to spread disinformation on his social media accounts
In France, science YouTuber Léo Grasset received a similar offer. The agency offered him 2000 euros if he would take part. Fazze said it was acting for a client who wished to remain anonymous.
“That’s a huge red flag” says Léo.
Both Léo and Mirko were appalled by the false claims.
They pretended to be interested in order to try to find out more and were provided with detailed instructions about what they should say in their videos.
In stilted English, the brief instructed them to “Act like you have the passion and interest in this topic.”
Léo GrassetLéo Grasset was horrified by the attempt to recruit him
It told them not to mention the video had a sponsor – and instead pretend they were spontaneously giving advice out of concern for their viewers.
Social media platforms have rules that ban not disclosing that content is sponsored. In France and Germany it’s also illegal.
Fazze’s brief told influencers to share a story in French newspaper Le Monde about a data leak from the European Medicines Agency.
The story was genuine, but didn’t include anything about vaccine deaths. But in this context it would give the false impression that the death rate statistics had come from the leak.
The data the influencers were asked to share had actually been cobbled together from different sources and taken out of context.
It presented the numbers of people who had died in several countries some time after receiving different Covid vaccines. But just because someone dies after having a vaccine doesn’t mean they died because they had the vaccine. They could have been killed in a car accident.
In the countries the statistics were from, greater numbers of people had received the Pfizer vaccine at that time, so a higher number of people dying after having a Pfizer jab was to be expected.
“If you don’t have any scientific training, you could just say, ‘oh, there are these numbers, they are really different. So there must be a link.’ But you can make any spurious correlation as you want really,” Léo says.
The influencers were also provided with a list of links to share – dubious articles which all used the same set of figures that supposedly showed the Pfzer vaccine was dangerous.
When Léo and Mirko exposed the Fazze campaign on Twitter all the articles, except the Le Monde story, disappeared from the web.
By any measure the disinformation campaign was bungled.
Since Léo and Mirko blew the whistle at least four other influencers in France and Germany have gone public to reveal they also rejected Fazze’s attempts to recruit them.
But German journalist, Daniel Laufer, has identified two influencers who may have taken up the offer.
Indian YouTuber Ashkar Techy usually makes jokey videos about cars and dating and Brazilian prankster Everson Zoio, has more than three million Instagram followers.
Each of them posted uncharacteristic videos in which they pushed the same message as the Fazze campaign and shared the fake news links from the agency’s brief. Both had also participated in previous Fazze promotions.
After Daniel Laufer contacted them, Everson Zoio and Ashkar Techy removed their videos but didn’t answer his questions. The BBC tried to contact both influencers, but they didn’t respond.
Ashkar TechyAshkar Techy shared the dubious data in his video
We tried emailing the people who approached Mirko and Léo. The emails bounced back, not from Fazze, but from the domain of a company called AdNow.
Fazze is a part of AdNow, which is a digital marketing company, registered in both Russia and the UK.
Eventually we managed to contact Ewan Tolladay, one of two directors of the British arm of AdNow – who lives in Durham.
Mr Tolladay said he had very little to do with Fazze – which he said was a joint venture between his fellow director – a Russian man called Stanislav Fesenko – and another person whose identity he didn’t know.
He said that he hadn’t been a part of the disinformation campaign. He said he hadn’t even known Fazze had taken on the contract before the story broke. He couldn’t enlighten us on who the mystery client was.
He said that in light of the scandal “we are doing the responsible thing and shutting down AdNow here in the UK”. He said Fazze was also being shut down.
We have tried to get Mr Fesenko to talk to us but had no success.
Both the French and German authorities have launched investigations into Fazze’s approaches to influencers.
But the identity of the agency’s mystery client remains unclear.
There has been speculation about the Russian connections to this scandal and the interests of the Russian state in promoting its own vaccine – Sputnik V.
Omid Nouripour, the foreign policy spokesman for the German Green party has suggested looking to Moscow for the motivation behind the Fazze campaign.
He said: “Bad-mouthing vaccines in the West undermines trust in our democracies and is supposed to increase trust in Russia’s vaccines, and there is only one side that benefits and that is the Kremlin.”
But in a statement the Russian embassy in London said: “We treat Covid-19 as a global threat and, thus, are not interested in undermining global efforts in the fight against it, with vaccinating people with the Pfizer vaccine as one of the ways to cope with the virus.”
While Fazze’s campaign was a flop, Léo Grasset believes it won’t be the last attempt to use the power of social influencers to spread disinformation.
“If you want to manipulate public opinion, especially for young people, you don’t go to TV” says French YouTuber Léo Grasset.
“Just spend the same money on TikTok creators, YouTube creators. The whole ecosystem is perfectly built for maximum efficiency of disinformation right now.”
#AceNewsReport – July.24: The exercises, which took place between June 15 and July 15, were attended by Russia’s “big four” internet providers (MTS, Beeline, Megafon and Tele2), as well as Rostelecom, Transtelecom and ER-Telecom Holding: Russian authorities held exercises to isolate the Russian internet segment (Runet) from the global internet,
#AceDailyNews says that the Kremlin tests disconnecting Russia from world internet RBC news agency reports, citing sources and materials of the working group “Information Security” under Russia’s Digital Economy national program: The Russian Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications, together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was instructed to agree with the #BRICS countries on the creation of a parallel Internet, an independent system of root domain name servers (DNS), which would “duplicate” the existing ones.
Published: July.22, 2021
“The possibility of physical shutdown of the Russian segment of the Internet was tested,” a source in the telecommunications market told RBC news agency .
According to another interlocutor of the news agency, “the exercises were successful.” The official completion of the tests is scheduled for August 31.
In November 2017: Russian President Vladimir Putin demanded that an autonomous Internet governance system be developed that would remove the Russian internet segment out of the “dominance” of the United States.
They would be independent of the control of international organizations and would protect, among other things, Russian users from “targeted influences”.
The international project of a separate Internet failed, and the Russian authorities decided to act alone. A year later, Russia adopted a law “on the sovereign Internet”, which requires not only to ensure the possibility of autonomous operation of the Runet and minimize the transfer of data abroad, but also introduces strict control over traffic within the Russian Federation, expanding the functions of the Russian media watchdog, Roskomnadzor.
According to the law, all traffic within Russia should pass through exchange points approved by the Roskomnadzor. To do this, mobile operators and Internet providers must install equipment on their networks using which the agency will be able to control the internet traffic, as well as block prohibited resources.
At the end of 2019, the Russian government prepared a list of threats, which, could prompt Roskomnadzor to centralize internet control in the country.
The list includes providing access to prohibited information or blocked resources, cyber attacks and other information attacks on communication facilities and networks, threats to the availability of government online resources, violation of information security of automated network management systems and a number of others.
In February 2019, Putin said that the Internet is an invention of the special services of the West, which “sit there and eavesdrop and collect defense information”. Two years later he called the Internet a threat that can destroy society from within. According to Putin, the Internet must be subordinated to the laws of morality.
The necessary infrastructure for the implementation of the law “on the sovereign Internet” is planned to be completed by the end of 2021.
By that time, in accordance with the Digital Economy national program, the information system of the Center for Monitoring and Management of the Public Communication Network be fully functional work.
#AceNewsReport – July.14: US President Joe Biden said he raised the issue with Vladimir Putin during a phone call on Friday, after discussing the subject during a summit with the Russian president in Geneva last month.
LATEST: REvil: Ransomware gang websites disappear from internet that monitors say a payment website and a blog run by the REvil group became suddenly unreachable on Tuesday and the reason behind the disappearance is unknown, but has sparked speculation that the group may have been targeted deliberately by authorities.
The timing of Tuesday’s outage has sparked speculation that either the US or Russian officials may have taken action against REvil – though officials have so far declined to comment and cyber experts say sudden disappearances of groups are not necessarily uncommon.
The development comes after a series of high-profile ransomware attacks which have hit major US businesses this year.
The FBI accused REvil – also known as Sodinokibi – of being behind a ransomware attack on the world’s largest meat processing company JBS last month.
A huge scalp claimedREvil is one of the most prolific and feared of all ransomware gangs and if this really is the end, it’s extremely significant: The rumour mill is in hyperdrive about what’s behind this sudden shutdown but one hacker who claims to be an affiliate of the gang gave me some insights. I’m yet to confirm his identity but other researchers say his claims are highly plausible.He claims that the US “Feds took down” elements of their websites and so they pulled the plug on the rest of their operation. He also said there was pressure from the Kremlin too saying: “Russia is tired of the US and other countries crying to them.” Like all hacker claims we have to take them with a large dollop of salt but if this scenario proves to be accurate, it shows a dramatic shift in policy from Russia which has so far been happy to sit back and let gangs like REvil operate without fear of intervention. However another comment from my contact also hints at the bigger picture. He says he has no plans to retire and is already planning another unknown venture. “Make one go away, more will rise,” he warned. Technology explained: what is ransomware?
#AceHealthReport – June.30: At least 652 people infected with coronavirus have died in Russia within the latest 24-hour recording period, government officials announced Tuesday morning. It marks the country’s single most deadly day since the pandemic began.
#CoronavirusNewsDesk – Russia records highest official death toll since start of #pandemic, as nation fights sharp rise in cases of Delta variant and the #COVID19 operational headquarters reported the grim milestone amid a steep rise in the number of positive tests for the infection over the past fortnight. More than 134,500 people are confirmed to have died with the virus overall since last March.
Low levels of vaccine uptake compared to a number of other European countries have been repeatedly cited as a challenge in Russia, with polls showing many people are skeptical of the jab. However, in the past few days, queues for appointments have been reported and at least two cities have run short of doses after tough new measures were put in place to control the spread of Covid-19 and boost the numbers of those being immunized.
As of Monday, the Russian capital is also requiring residents to scan a QR code when entering bars, cafes, pubs, food courts and other public spaces. Only those who have proof of vaccination or were officially recorded as a coronavirus case within the past six months will be eligible for unrestricted access, while others seeking admission indoors will have to provide a negative PCR test from within the previous three days.
Russia’s Human Rights Commissioner Tatyana Moskalkova has objected to the move, labelling it “a dishonest game.” She said that “the mechanisms by which it is being implemented are giving rise to mass psychosis and making people fear coercion.”
However, two new polls released last week found that almost half of Russians surveyed back the new measures in Moscow, while 61% of those asked by researchers now plan to get vaccinated in the near future.