Omnibus Russia Ukraine crisis

spaminator

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Canada sanctions Russian military officers over atrocities in Bucha
Author of the article:Canadian Press
Canadian Press
Publishing date:Aug 02, 2022 • 15 hours ago • 1 minute read • Join the conversation

OTTAWA — The Canadian government is imposing sanctions on dozens of Russian military officers whose troops are accused of committing atrocities against Ukrainian civilians.


Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly announced the new sanctions against 43 Russians this morning, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues nearly six months after it began.

Canada is also adding 17 Russian companies and entities to its sanctions list for supporting the invasion of Ukraine.

Most of the individuals added to the list are Russian military officers sanctioned by the European Union in June for their troops’ actions in Bucha.

Russian troops are accused of having raped, tortured and killed hundreds of Ukrainian civilians in the city on the outskirts of Kyiv during the first months of their invasion.

The International Criminal Court is investigating alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity by Russian troops, who withdrew from the area in March.
 

spaminator

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Canada's cowardice with Ukrainian embassy staff is shameful
Author of the article:Brian Lilley
Publishing date:Aug 02, 2022 • 11 hours ago • 3 minute read • 32 Comments

Ukrainians working at Canada’s embassy in Kyiv were left behind even though Trudeau government officials had been warned those workers might be on Putin’s kill list. The shocking revelations, first reported by the Globe and Mail, were not refuted by the government.


According to the Globe, several senior diplomats, speaking anonymously, were briefed in January that intelligence from the Five Eyes Group – Canada, the U.K., U.S, Australia and New Zealand – showed that Russia would launch an invasion of Ukraine. Additionally, the intelligence report described how Russia planned to hunt down those who had worked for Western embassies.

There was no list of names provided, according to the diplomats, but it was presumed that Ukrainian locals working for Canada would be on the list. The orders from Global Affairs headquarters in Ottawa to the local diplomats in Kyiv was clear, don’t tell anyone.

“They were told by two senior Global Affairs civil servants that Canada had no responsibility – known in policy terms as a ‘duty of care’ – to local employees in this situation, and that Ottawa did not want to set a precedent of protecting local embassy staff,” the Globe reported.


Now, an official for Global Affairs Minister Melanie Joly is claiming in a statement that the safety and security of local staff “is of utmost importance.

“Should the minister have had information of locally engaged staff facing direct threat, she would have taken the necessary actions to keep them safe,” spokesperson Adrien Blanchard said in a statement late Tuesday.

Blanchard added that Joly has spoken to officials about the concerns of local staff, that there were offers of flexible work arrangements and that they were informed of immigration paths to Canada. Thanks for working for us, here’s a brochure.

One of the only defences put forward to the Globe in their original story was a 2014 memo from the Harper government issued after the sudden closing of the Iranian embassy. If this were 2015, perhaps that would fly, but this is 2022, and just last September, we had the fall of Kabul and the problems that presented with leaving local Afghan workers behind.


The Trudeau government has been firmly in power for seven years, their ability to blame bad policy on the former Conservative government is finished. They are the people in charge; they will gleefully tell you that they have won three elections. It’s time for them to take responsibility and not just pass blame.

When Canadian embassy officials fled Kyiv for Lviv on Feb. 12 and then for Poland on Feb. 24, after the invasion started, they were under express orders not to tell local embassy staff that their lives were in danger due to their jobs. That is nothing short of cowardly and despicable, and yet it was the official order that diplomats were told to follow from HQ in Ottawa.

We can debate whether we need to be saving every person in danger in this world and resettling them to Canada, but these are people who worked for us. If we don’t owe them the offer of a new life in Canada, don’t we at least owe them the decency to tell them that their lives are at risk due to the work they have done on behalf of our country?

That would seem like the minimum we should be doing, but apparently it is more than the Trudeau government is willing to give at the moment.

Thankfully, Kyiv was not overrun in a matter of days or weeks, as the early intelligence suggested it would be. It appears that no one was hunted down because the Ukrainian people have held the Russians back.

That doesn’t negate what the Trudeau government did in deciding that when the going got tough, we should get going and leave local Ukrainian workers behind.

It’s shameful.
 

bill barilko

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I have very mixed feelings about this-how can we be sure some of these people aren't in fact spying for Russia?

Because we know for a fact some Ukrainians work for the 'other side' and a job like that would be an excellent cover.
 

Tecumsehsbones

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I have very mixed feelings about this-how can we be sure some of these people aren't in fact spying for Russia?

Because we know for a fact some Ukrainians work for the 'other side' and a job like that would be an excellent cover.
True. They might spy out and reveal to the Russians the super-secret formula for poutine!
 

spaminator

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Russian court hands Brittney Griner 9-year prison sentence in drugs trial
Author of the article:Reuters
Reuters
Publishing date:Aug 04, 2022 • 20 hours ago • 4 minute read • 84 Comments

KHIMKI — A Russian court sentenced U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner to nine years in prison on Thursday after finding her guilty of deliberately bringing cannabis-infused vape cartridges into Russia, a ruling that U.S. President Joe Biden called “unacceptable.”


Griner was escorted out of the courtroom in handcuffs by police after the ruling, turning to reporters and saying: “I love my family”.

Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medallist and a Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) star, was arrested in mid-February as she arrived to play for a Russian side during the WNBA offseason. Her case threw the Texan into the geopolitical maelstrom triggered when President Vladimir Putin sent troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24, propelling U.S.-Russian relations to a new post-Cold War low.


Her sentencing could now pave the way for a U.S.-Russia prisoner swap that would include the 31-year-old athlete and an imprisoned Russian who was once a prolific arms dealer.

Griner had admitted having the vape cartridges containing hashish oil but said it was an honest mistake.


Before the verdict, she tearfully pleaded with a Russian judge not to “end her life” with a harsh prison sentence. The court also fined her 1 million roubles ($16,990).

Biden, under pressure to help free Americans held in Russia, called on Russia to release Griner immediately and said his administration would continue to work for her release.

“Today, American citizen Brittney Griner received a prison sentence that is one more reminder of what the world already knew: Russia is wrongfully detaining Brittney,” Biden said in a statement.

“It’s unacceptable, and I call on Russia to release her immediately so she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends, and teammates.”

Griner’s lawyers said they would appeal. Her defence team said the court had ignored all evidence they had presented, as well as Griner’s guilty plea.


“Taking into account the amount of the substance – not to mention the defects of the expertise – and the plea, the verdict is absolutely unreasonable,” her defence team said in a statement.

The Russian prosecutor had called for Griner to be sentenced to 9-1/2 years prison if she was found guilty of bringing illegal drugs into the country.

‘HONEST MISTAKE’

Griner was detained at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport on Feb. 17 with the cartridges containing hashish oil in her luggage. While she pleaded guilty, she said she had neither intended to bring a banned substance to Russia nor to hurt anybody.

“I made an honest mistake and I hope that in your ruling, that it doesn’t end my life here,” Griner said in court on Thursday before breaking down in tears.


“My parents taught me two important things: one, take ownership of your responsibilities and two, work hard for everything that you have. That’s why I pled guilty to my charges.”

“I want to say again that I had no intent on breaking any Russians laws,” she told the court. “I had no intent, I did not conspire or plan to commit this crime.”

Griner also referred to the international politics around her case, saying: “I know everybody keeps talking about political pawn and politics, but I hope that is far from this courtroom”.

Cannabis is illegal in Russia for both medicinal and recreational purposes.

Griner’s defence team had called for her to be acquitted and said on Thursday that if the court deemed it necessary to punish her, she should be treated leniently. Alexander Boikov, one of her lawyers, said some of the case files had been drawn up in violation of the law.


PRISONER SWAP

The United States has offered to exchange Russian prisoners for American citizens including Griner and former Marine Paul Whelan.

One source familiar with the situation said that Washington was willing to exchange convicted arms trafficker Viktor Bout, whose life helped inspire the 2005 Hollywood film “Lord of War” starring Nicholas Cage.

Russian officials have said a deal has not been reached. They argue that Griner – known as “BG” to basketball fans – violated laws and should be judged accordingly.

USA Basketball said in a message on Twitter it was disappointed at Thursday’s ruling but it would remain engaged with the U.S. State Department in the effort to get Griner home.

“We will not be satisfied until BG is back in the U.S. and reunited with her loved ones, teammates and fans,” it said.


Griner appeared at the hearing in a grey T-shirt and round-rimmed glasses. Before taking a seat in the defendant’s cage, she held up a picture of UMMC Ekaterinburg, the team she played for in Russia during the WNBA offseason.

In her testimony last week, Griner expressed puzzlement as to how the vape cartridges ended up in her luggage as she was flying back to Russia to join UMMC Ekaterinburg for the playoffs.

“I still don’t understand to this day how they ended up in my bag,” said Griner, the first pick overall in the 2013 WNBA draft. “If I had to guess on how they ended up in my bags, I was in a rush packing.”

Griner had been prescribed medical marijuana in the United States to relieve pain from chronic injuries, a treatment method that is common among elite athletes because it has fewer side effects than some painkillers.
 

Jinentonix

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Russian court hands Brittney Griner 9-year prison sentence in drugs trial
Author of the article:Reuters
Reuters
Publishing date:Aug 04, 2022 • 20 hours ago • 4 minute read • 84 Comments

KHIMKI — A Russian court sentenced U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner to nine years in prison on Thursday after finding her guilty of deliberately bringing cannabis-infused vape cartridges into Russia, a ruling that U.S. President Joe Biden called “unacceptable.”


Griner was escorted out of the courtroom in handcuffs by police after the ruling, turning to reporters and saying: “I love my family”.

Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medallist and a Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) star, was arrested in mid-February as she arrived to play for a Russian side during the WNBA offseason. Her case threw the Texan into the geopolitical maelstrom triggered when President Vladimir Putin sent troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24, propelling U.S.-Russian relations to a new post-Cold War low.


Her sentencing could now pave the way for a U.S.-Russia prisoner swap that would include the 31-year-old athlete and an imprisoned Russian who was once a prolific arms dealer.

Griner had admitted having the vape cartridges containing hashish oil but said it was an honest mistake.


Before the verdict, she tearfully pleaded with a Russian judge not to “end her life” with a harsh prison sentence. The court also fined her 1 million roubles ($16,990).

Biden, under pressure to help free Americans held in Russia, called on Russia to release Griner immediately and said his administration would continue to work for her release.

“Today, American citizen Brittney Griner received a prison sentence that is one more reminder of what the world already knew: Russia is wrongfully detaining Brittney,” Biden said in a statement.

“It’s unacceptable, and I call on Russia to release her immediately so she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends, and teammates.”

Griner’s lawyers said they would appeal. Her defence team said the court had ignored all evidence they had presented, as well as Griner’s guilty plea.


“Taking into account the amount of the substance – not to mention the defects of the expertise – and the plea, the verdict is absolutely unreasonable,” her defence team said in a statement.

The Russian prosecutor had called for Griner to be sentenced to 9-1/2 years prison if she was found guilty of bringing illegal drugs into the country.

‘HONEST MISTAKE’

Griner was detained at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport on Feb. 17 with the cartridges containing hashish oil in her luggage. While she pleaded guilty, she said she had neither intended to bring a banned substance to Russia nor to hurt anybody.

“I made an honest mistake and I hope that in your ruling, that it doesn’t end my life here,” Griner said in court on Thursday before breaking down in tears.


“My parents taught me two important things: one, take ownership of your responsibilities and two, work hard for everything that you have. That’s why I pled guilty to my charges.”

“I want to say again that I had no intent on breaking any Russians laws,” she told the court. “I had no intent, I did not conspire or plan to commit this crime.”

Griner also referred to the international politics around her case, saying: “I know everybody keeps talking about political pawn and politics, but I hope that is far from this courtroom”.

Cannabis is illegal in Russia for both medicinal and recreational purposes.

Griner’s defence team had called for her to be acquitted and said on Thursday that if the court deemed it necessary to punish her, she should be treated leniently. Alexander Boikov, one of her lawyers, said some of the case files had been drawn up in violation of the law.


PRISONER SWAP

The United States has offered to exchange Russian prisoners for American citizens including Griner and former Marine Paul Whelan.

One source familiar with the situation said that Washington was willing to exchange convicted arms trafficker Viktor Bout, whose life helped inspire the 2005 Hollywood film “Lord of War” starring Nicholas Cage.

Russian officials have said a deal has not been reached. They argue that Griner – known as “BG” to basketball fans – violated laws and should be judged accordingly.

USA Basketball said in a message on Twitter it was disappointed at Thursday’s ruling but it would remain engaged with the U.S. State Department in the effort to get Griner home.

“We will not be satisfied until BG is back in the U.S. and reunited with her loved ones, teammates and fans,” it said.


Griner appeared at the hearing in a grey T-shirt and round-rimmed glasses. Before taking a seat in the defendant’s cage, she held up a picture of UMMC Ekaterinburg, the team she played for in Russia during the WNBA offseason.

In her testimony last week, Griner expressed puzzlement as to how the vape cartridges ended up in her luggage as she was flying back to Russia to join UMMC Ekaterinburg for the playoffs.

“I still don’t understand to this day how they ended up in my bag,” said Griner, the first pick overall in the 2013 WNBA draft. “If I had to guess on how they ended up in my bags, I was in a rush packing.”

Griner had been prescribed medical marijuana in the United States to relieve pain from chronic injuries, a treatment method that is common among elite athletes because it has fewer side effects than some painkillers.
Meanwhile in America:
Iman Shumpert arrested at Texas airport for pot possession (msn.com)
 
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Twin_Moose

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spaminator

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Russian TV protester charged with spreading false information
Author of the article:Reuters
Reuters
Publishing date:Aug 10, 2022 • 1 day ago • 1 minute read • Join the conversation
Marina Ovsyannikova, a journalist who became known after protesting against the Russian military action in Ukraine during a prime-time news broadcast on state television, arrives for her court session over charges of "discrediting" the Russian army fighting in Ukraine, in Moscow on Aug. 8, 2022.
Marina Ovsyannikova, a journalist who became known after protesting against the Russian military action in Ukraine during a prime-time news broadcast on state television, arrives for her court session over charges of "discrediting" the Russian army fighting in Ukraine, in Moscow on Aug. 8, 2022. PHOTO BY ALEXANDER NEMENOV /AFP via Getty Images
Russian former state TV journalist Marina Ovsyannikova was charged on Wednesday with spreading false information about the Russian army, an offence punishable by up to 10 years in prison, her lawyer said on Telegram.


The charges relate to a protest last month, when Ovsyannikova held up an anti-war placard on the Moskva river embankment opposite the Kremlin and posted images of the protest on her Telegram channel.

Ovsyannikova, who was born in Ukraine, came to international prominence in March by walking out in front of studio cameras with an anti-war placard during a live evening news broadcast on Russia’s flagship Channel One.

This video grab taken on March 15, 2022 shows Russian Channel One editor Marina Ovsyannikova holding a poster reading ” Stop the war. Don’t believe the propaganda. Here they are lying to you.”
This video grab taken on March 15, 2022 shows Russian Channel One editor Marina Ovsyannikova holding a poster reading ” Stop the war. Don’t believe the propaganda. Here they are lying to you.” PHOTO BY HANDOUT /AFP via Getty Images
She has since been arrested and fined several times for her continued opposition to Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine.

She had announced earlier on Wednesday that federal investigators had forced their way into her house at 6 a.m. to conduct a search before taking her away to charge her.
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spaminator

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Ukraine accuses Russia of using nuclear plant for deadly rocket attack
Author of the article:Reuters
Reuters
Pavel Polityuk
Publishing date:Aug 10, 2022 • 1 day ago • 3 minute read • Join the conversation
A man stands inside a crater left by a Russian missile strike in the settlement of Kushuhum, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine, Aug. 10, 2022.
A man stands inside a crater left by a Russian missile strike in the settlement of Kushuhum, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine, Aug. 10, 2022. PHOTO BY DMYTRO SMOLIENKO /REUTERS
KYIV — Ukraine accused Russia on Wednesday of exploiting its capture of a nuclear power plant to fire rockets at a nearby town in an attack that killed at least 13 people and wounded many others.


The town Ukraine says Russia targeted – Marhanets – is one Moscow says its foes have used in the past to shell Russian soldiers at the Zaporizhzhia plant, which they seized in March.

Ukraine and Russia have accused each other of imperiling the plant, Europe’s largest nuclear complex, with attacks nearby.


After the United Nations’ atomic energy watchdog sounded the alarm over a potential nuclear disaster, the Group of Seven leading industrialized countries on Wednesday told Russia to hand back the plant to Ukraine.

There are no indications that their demand will sway Moscow, which on Wednesday received powerful endorsement from China of its rationale for the Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine.

Beijing’s ambassador to Moscow, Zhang Hanhui, accused Washington of backing Russia into a corner with repeated expansions of the western-led NATO military alliance and support for Ukraine’s alignment with the European Union.


“As the initiator and main instigator of the Ukrainian crisis, Washington, while imposing unprecedented comprehensive sanctions on Russia, continues to supply arms and military equipment to Ukraine,” Zhang was quoted as saying.

“Their ultimate goal is to exhaust and crush Russia with a protracted war and the cudgel of sanctions.”

Beijing is also involved in a standoff with the United States over Taiwan: China has been conducting huge military drills around the self-ruled island it claims as its own since the visit of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

Russia has not commented on the Ukrainian allegations of an attack on Marhanets and Reuters could not independently verify Kyiv’s version. Moscow says it does not deliberately target civilians in what it calls its “special military operation” aimed at safeguarding its security against NATO expansion.


Ukraine and the West accuse Moscow of waging an unprovoked imperial-style war of aggression.

NEW RUSSIAN GROUND FORCE?
Andriy Yermak, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s chief of staff, said Russia was launching attacks with impunity from Zaporizhzhia knowing it was risky for Ukraine to fight back.

“The cowardly Russians can’t do anything more so they strike towns ignobly hiding at the Zaporizhzhia atomic power station,” he said on social media

Ukraine says around 500 Russian troops with heavy vehicles and weapons are at the plant, where Ukrainian technicians continue to work.

Ukraine’s state nuclear power firm has warned that containers with radioactive material might be shelled and said it is vital Kyiv retake the plant by winter. It accuses Russia of wanting to connect the facility to its power grid.


Russia says its forces are behaving responsibly and ensuring the complex’s safety.

Valentyn Reznychenko, governor of Ukraine’s central Dnipropetrovsk region, said on Wednesday that the Russian attack on Marhanets was carried out with 80 Grad rockets.

More than 20 buildings had been damaged in the town on the other side of the Dnipro river from the power plant, he said.

Images supplied by Ukrainian officials showed the rubble-strewn corridor of a school with its windows blown out and a residential building pierced by a rocket.

The war has crushed Ukraine’s economy, but there was some relief on Wednesday when overseas creditors backed Kyiv’s request for a two-year freeze on payments on almost $20 billion in international bonds. That should avert a messy default.


Ukraine said that would save around $5 billion as it manages its dwindling financial resources.

“The two-year debt freeze makes sense because even if the war ends soon, Ukraine’s situation is not going to improve overnight,” said Stuart Culverhouse, chief economist at London-based research firm Tellimer. “Creditors were even surprised that the country decided to be current on the bonds until now.”

In another rare positive for Ukraine, the United Nations said it expects to see a big uptick in applications for ships to export its grain under a mediated deal intended to unblock exports and ease global shortages and price hikes.

Britain, which is helping Ukraine with arms, intelligence and training, said on Wednesday it believed Russia had “almost certainly” established a major new ground force to back its war.

The new 3rd Army Corps was based in the city of Mulino, east of Moscow, the British Defence Ministry said in an intelligence bulletin. However, Russia would struggle to build up the numbers needed and the new force is unlikely to sway the war, it added.
Zaporizhzhia-scaled-e1660155030840[1].jpg