Saturday, March 22, 2014

Over 5,000 Kalashnikovs, other guns stolen from Ukrainian military bases – report

Published time: March 18, 2014 03:07
Reuters / Eduard Kornienko
Reuters / Eduard Kornienko
Fears of possible armed assaults and provocation in Ukraine and neighboring countries are on the rise after yet another report that rocket grenade launchers, firearms and munitions have been stolen from a military warehouse in western Ukraine.
A source in the Ukrainian Interior Ministry told RIA Novosti that the coup appointed Interior Minister Arsen Avakov has recently been notified that a large cache of guns and ammunition was missing from one of the military warehouses.
“Reports to Avakov indicate that over 5,000 Kalashnikov rifles, 2,741 Makarov handguns, 123 light machineguns and 12 Shmel rocket launchers were stolen from the Interior Troops’ depots in the Lvov Region in late February,” the source said.
“The investigation has also established that 1,500 F-1 hand grenades and a large number of munitions are missing,” it added.
Earlier it was reported that at the end of February 2014 during the assaults on a number Ukrainian military units in the Western Lvov Region, radicals stole some 1,200 firearms, including around 1,000 Makarov handguns, over 170 Kalashnikov rifles as well as machineguns and sniper rifles.
The authorities in Ukraine have so far failed to track down these weapons igniting speculation that these weapons could be used to provoke more unrest in Ukraine which could eventually spill outside the country.
“Given that the northern and eastern borders of Ukraine are heavily guarded, there is a high probability that a significant portion of these weapons will be illegally smuggled through the western regions to the neighboring countries - Romania, Albania, in Transnistria, the Balkans. Of course, later part of the weapons may end up in other EU countries,” says Ruslan Pukhov, director of the Russian Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies (CAST).
Some military experts believe that the weapons will soon surface in the hands of the Right Sector or other nationalistic movements, which were the violent driving force of the coup that ousted Victor Yanukovich.

"Right Sector" train in Independence Square in central Kiev (Reuters / David Mdzinarishvili)
"Right Sector" train in Independence Square in central Kiev (Reuters / David Mdzinarishvili)
For inciting terrorism and participation in hostilities against Russian soldiers in Chechnya, Russia’s Investigative Committee has placed Right Sector leader Dmitry Yarosh on an international wanted list.
The head of the Right Sector previously announced the creation of Revolutionary National Guard, a formation that plans to unite all the ultra-nationalists groups to serve as police and secret services. Last week Yarosh also demanded the self-imposed government in Kiev to arm Right Sector members.
The nationalist movement wants weapons and military hardware in addition to army training centers to be under the control of the Right Sector to provide “quality training for Right Sector fighters” in order to “protect the territorial integrity” of Ukraine, Itar-Tass reported, quoting a source in the Ukrainian Defense Ministry.
The creation of a National Guard on the basis of Ukrainian troops to protect Ukrainians against “external and internal aggression” was announced on Friday.
“The Right Sector carries weapons, and will possess them as long as there is a threat to our state and our people. When the threat is over, we will lay down weapons,” the notorious member of the Sector, Aleksandr Muzychko – or Sashko Bilyi as he was known during his war against Russian soldiers in Chechnya – announced last February.
The question remains, whether Kiev considers Sunday’s referendum in Crimea as such a threat that it should be prevented by any means necessary. Crimean leader certainly thinks so.
On Wednesday the Crimean Prime Minister Sergey Aksenov announced he had information that the Right Sector might be planning an attack on one of the Ukrainian army units in the peninsula under the guise of Russian servicemen as a provocation to disrupt the referendum. Some 10,000 members of the Crimean military, recently formed from self-defense squads, and over 5,000 police officers will ensure that the referendum goes smoothly, Aksenov said.


The West’s obligation to Ukraine

By Madeleine Albright and Jim O’Brien, Published: March 21
Madeleine Albright was secretary of state from 1997 to 2001. Jim O’Brien was presidential envoy for the Balkans in the Clinton administration. She is chairman and he is vice chairman of the Albright Stonebridge Group.
When President Obama and European allies meet next week, they can begin forming a meaningful response to Vladi­mir Putin’s adventurism. This new strategy should note that Putin’s view of the world is rooted in dangerous fictions.
Churchill said Russia was a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. Under Putin, Russia’s rhetoric can be described as a fantasy inside a delusion wrapped in a tissue of lies. He may believe that Ukrainians are fascists intending to attack Russians, but it is not true. Ukraine’s interim government is widely representative, and no outside observer has found evidence of a campaign of violence against Russians.
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The greatest disaster of the 20th century was not, as Putin has said, the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The greatest disasters of that century were one world war that came about as a result of uncertain leadership and unclear priorities; another world war that began when ethnic jealousies were used as a pretext for domination; and a half a century during which a totalitarian power oppressed its own people and its neighbors. The first was a result of misunderstandings, the second a result of outright lies and the third a result of brute force.
After the Soviet empire collapsed, the hope was to have a Europe whole and free and for Russia to be a part of it. But to Putin, the ultimate revisionist, Russia has spent more than 20 years being insulted, unable to project its power, to persuade others or to stop others from projecting their power. He tells Russians not of their potential to join the world but that they are victims and have enemies. In reality, Russia is more prosperous today than during the Soviet era, and its citizens benefit more from international involvement.
Given that Putin’s aggression has broken international law, it is interesting that he is trying to justify his actions with precedents — which also are not based on facts. Putin says that he is doing what other states did in Kosovo, but that is simply not true. In the 1990s, international interventions in the Balkans were approved, contributed to and governed by large numbers of states in many institutions and informal arrangements, including the U.N. Security Council. Steps were taken over many years, with force used only after diplomacy was exhausted.
Drawing on this package of fictions, Putin has resorted to military power and propaganda — his available tools — and has acted in a place where a majority of the population is Russian and where he thinks manipulating ethnic tensions might work. His lies cannot be allowed to stand. If his doctrine of “helping” minorities that are not in danger were endorsed, the world would become much more dangerous. Only a firm response has a chance of preventing this scenario from being repeated. Putin’s Russia may not listen, but states around the world are looking to see how the United States and its allies answer.
To that end, we have made a good beginning. The European Union has signed an association agreement with Ukraine. The United States and others have supported international observers, reinforced our allies in Central and Eastern Europe, and pledged financial and security support for the interim Ukrainian government. Sanctions are in place against those who have violated international law, and more are coming.
But these steps, and those that follow, must be in service of a wider strategic vision. The best principles to draw from are those that have guided the West since World War II: that each country may decide its own relationships, and that Europe should be democratic, free and undivided.
The strategy should have three parts.
First, the status of the territories Putin claims should remain disputed. No aid should flow to Crimea, and its officials should not have international standing. Europeans, Americans and the International Monetary Fund must help Ukraine with funds, a plan and advisers.
Second, the president and U.S. allies should let Russia’s leaders and its people know that Russia would be welcome if it chooses to be a responsible member of the international order. We welcome those who would measure their country’s greatness by its wealth, engagement with the world and stability of relationships with neighbors, and not only by military power on its borders.
It is not for us to say who governs Russia. But Putin’s authority lies in his role as arbiter among 400 so-called men of power who benefit from state-controlled banks and companies. They and he should be made to feel the price of his actions. Their assets should be subject to scrutiny and interdiction when they cross international boundaries.
Third, and most important, President Obama’s trip to Europe for the Group of Seven and the U.S.-E.U. Summit should produce a strategy for the states bordering Russia. The crux of any strategy must be to create durable economic and social ties for Ukraine and the West.
Here we can draw a lesson from the Balkans. As the Kosovo War ended in 1999, President Bill Clinton concluded that the weak states of the region, torn by ethnic divisions, could not thrive. He immediately pledged at a summit in Sarajevo to bring those states into a Europe whole, democratic and free.
Obama and our allies can make a similar pledge next week and immediately take steps to support the macroeconomic stability of Ukraine and key countries, to integrate their companies into trading relationships and to allow the people of the region opportunities to pursue education and employment, in a manageable fashion. A stronger transatlantic community embodied in the proposed transatlantic trade agreement would provide a magnet for countries looking to reject the Eurasian Union.
We must recognize, however, that Ukrainians have to be able to defend themselves. While we are beginning to provide some non-lethal assistance, the president needs to reverse a previous proposal to cut funding for a program to modernize the Ukrainian military. The Ukrainian government also needs help defending against cyberattacks and help with policing, especially riot control.
As Ukrainians prepare for presidential elections in May, they will be seeking leaders who can deliver and help them live as they want. Since the Orange Revolution, the Ukrainian people have made clear that they want to participate in Europe. Then, they were failed by their leaders but also by the international community, which did not pay enough attention.
It does not happen often that a country is given a second chance. Ukrainians have one, and so do international leaders. World War I was followed by World War II and the Cold War. History will not forgive those responsible if another Cold War occurs.

Crimea spurs breakaway threats by Bosnian Serbs

Friday 21st, March 2014 / 19:54 Written by
Crimea spurs breakaway threats by Bosnian Serbs
Serbia, along with its key ally Russia, has never accepted Kosovo’s secession and warned that it could trigger a domino effect among separatist movements across Europe, notes Jovan Matic 
Russia’s annexation of Crimea has given new hope to Bosnian Serbs hoping to break away from control by Sarajevo, but analysts say they stand little chance of success. The March 16 disputed referendum in which Crimeans voted overwhelmingly to secede from Ukraine and join Russia, has been carefully watched in the Balkans, where the break-up of Yugoslavia and the ethnic wars of the 1990s left several simmering border conflicts, just barely held in check by huge international missions.
Bosnia is the messiest of the countries that emerged from that period — a loose confederation of Serb and Muslim and Croat entities stitched together by chronically weak central institutions.
The Serb-run Republika Srpska in Bosnia was initially given considerable powers over its own affairs under the 1995 Dayton peace accord — including tax-collection and its own military — but these were gradually transferred to the Bosnian capital Sarajevo under international pressure.
Republika Srpska President Milorad Dodik sees events in Crimea as a new chance to push for the return of these powers, once again raising the threat of a referendum on independence this week.
“Bring back to Republika Srpska the powers that it had under the Dayton agreement and it will not leave Bosnia,” he said after meeting the Russian ambassador to Bosnia Alexander Botsan-Khartchenko on Tuesday.
“If you do not bring the powers back, our conviction that we have to move on will get stronger,” Dodik said. He sees Bosnia as “a non-viable state” and described the Crimean referendum as “an example of respect for the UN Charter and the right of people to self-determination”.
Despite the bluster, analysts say there is little chance that he can go through with the threat of a referendum, not least because of the vast differences between the situation in Crimea and the Balkans.
“The context is not the same. Serbia does not have the same international authority as Russia and it is not currently in its interest to allow this referendum,” said political analyst Miodrag Radojevic of the Institute of Political Studies in Belgrade.
Sasa Popov, an analyst at Serbia’s Igmanska Initiative, a think tank, said a referendum on independence for Republika Srpska “is not realistic”. “The case of Crimea is different. There, Russia has used a dramatic situation in Ukraine to retake a territory that it previously owned. Republika Srpska has never been part of Serbia,” he added.
But the events in Crimea put Serbs in a delicate position full of awkward contradictions — particularly on the question of Kosovo, where ethnic Albanians unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in 2008.
Serbia, along with its key ally Russia, has never accepted Kosovo’s secession and warned that it could trigger a domino effect among separatist movements across Europe.
Bosnian Serbs have tried to overcome the contradiction — and keep their own hopes of secession alive — by arguing that Kosovo should have held a referendum before breaking away. “If Kosovo had respected the same procedures as Crimea, I would have said it was a right of a people to self-determination,” Dodik said this week.
He did not comment on the fact that Kosovo held elections focused on the question of independence just a few month’s before 2008′s declaration.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Arrivederci Roma: Venice to vote in week-long independence referendum

17/03 10:44 CET
smaller_text larger_text
Venetians are called to the polls this week to decide whether or not they want to split from Italy and make Venice, and its region Venetia, “an independent and sovereign republic.”
The vote, which started on Sunday March 16 and will end on Friday March 21, is not legally binding, as Italy only recognises national referendums.
Venetian activists expect as many as two million people to take part, with polls suggesting two-thirds favour a breakaway from Rome, the BBC reports.
While it is rooted in a tradition of Venetian nationalism, the independence question has been stirred up by the recent momentum gained by the Scottish and Catalan movements.
A local Venetian business group met with Business for Scotland, a pro-independence network, and Ian Renwick, a Scottish National Party councillor, was invited to speak in Venetia last year, according to The Scotsman.
Venetia had been an independent state for a century, as part of the Republic of Venice, until it was conquered by Napoleon’s troops in 1797.
Copyright © 2014 euronews

Talks on development of Jug base near Bujanovac

BUJANOVAC -- A delegation of the U.S. European Command and Ohio National Guard has visited the Serbian Army base Jug near Bujanovac, and met with Serbian military officials.
(Tanjug. file)
(Tanjug. file)
The two delegations discussed the development of Jug and future cooperation between the Serbian and U.S. armed forces, the Serbian military stated on Friday.
The U.S.delegation, led by Colonel Dean Brown, was received by Army Chief of Staff Brigadier General Žarko Lazarević.

Besides troop facilities, the base has training, logistic support, rest and sport facilities, and is also used to train Serbian troops for international peace missions.

Jug covers more than 35 hectares of land. It was opened in November 2009.

US aircraft carrier extends stay in Mediterranean amidst Ukraine tensions

Published time: March 19, 2014 20:13
The aircraft carrier USS George H. W. Bush (AFP Photo / US Navy / Juan David Guerra)
The aircraft carrier USS George H. W. Bush (AFP Photo / US Navy / Juan David Guerra)
The aircraft carrier the USS George H.W. Bush and its group will remain in in the Mediterranean Sea for a few more days than planned “to reassure US allies” worried about the crisis in Ukraine, the Pentagon says.
The Pentagon has taken a number of steps to bolster its forces in Eastern Europe, which it says is to reassure its allies over the crisis in Ukraine and the Crimean peninsula where Russia’s Black Sea fleet is based.
“This is a few more days than the original plan was. There’re two reasons. One is to conduct these additional training opportunities, and frankly because a lot of what we’re doing there now is an effort to reassure our allies,” said Colonel Steven Warren, a Pentagon spokesman.
He added that he did not rule out that USS George Bush might remain in the Mediterranean a bit longer.
The US has also beefed up its training with the Polish air force and is providing more aircraft for the NATO air policing mission in the Baltics.
12 extra F-16s have arrived in Poland as well as a C-130 and C-17 transport planes, including 150 personnel.
US officials said Thursday that Ukraine had requested lethal and non-lethal military help from the US but for the moment Washington had agreed to send only military food rations.
Last week the USS Truxton, a destroyer, entered the Black sea for what the Pentagon said were previously planned exercises with the Bulgarian and Romanian navies.
The military deployments in Europe come as Crimea is due to hold a referendum on whether it wants to remain part of Ukraine or join Russia on Sunday. The peninsula, which has a majority ethnic Russian population, is widely expected to secede.
The carrier group consists of seventeen other ships and three submarines. The USS George HW Bush is carrying 90 aircraft including helicopters of various types.
The super carrier was first reported to be off the Greek coast on March 4 2014 and left the Naval Station Norfolk base on 15 February.

Facts only: Kosovo vs Crimea - 'Good Independence' vs 'Bad Referendum'

Published time: March 21, 2014 20:45
(L) Thousands of people celebrate with Kosovo and Albanian flags in Pristina on February 17, 2009.  (R)  Sevastopol residents at a celebratory show held after the referendum on Crimea's status. (AFP Photo/RIA Novosti)
(L) Thousands of people celebrate with Kosovo and Albanian flags in Pristina on February 17, 2009. (R) Sevastopol residents at a celebratory show held after the referendum on Crimea's status. (AFP Photo/RIA Novosti)
The West has so far refused to legitimize Crimea’s decision to secede from Ukraine. Yet Kosovo, which was a part of Serbia, also broke away from its parent country, but has been recognized by the US and most of the EU.
But what makes one breakaway more justifiable than another, in the eyes of the world community?

Crimea, Sevastopol officially join Russia as Putin signs final decree

Published time: March 21, 2014 09:10
Edited time: March 21, 2014 13:12
RIA Novosti / Mikhail Klimentyev
RIA Novosti / Mikhail Klimentyev
Russia has finalized the legal process of taking Crimea under its sovereignty, as President Putin signed a law amending the Russian constitution to reflect the transition.
Earlier Russian lawmakers ratified both the amendment and an international treaty with Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, which was legally required for the incorporation.
Following the signing of the law, Putin thanked lawmakers and everyone involved in the historic change of European borders for their efforts to make it happen.
“I ask lawmakers of both chambers to work actively and do everything we can, to make the transition process not only painless, but also beneficial for all Russia and the people of Crimea,” Putin said.
The treaty and the bill were submitted for the approval of Russian lawmakers on Tuesday by Putin, following last week’s referendum in Crimea, which showed the overwhelming support of the peninsula’s residents for joining Russia.

RIA Novosti / Mikhail Klimentyev
RIA Novosti / Mikhail Klimentyev
The actual transition of Crimea to existing under Russian laws and regulations may take until next year. Local rules in the new Russian region will be changed to adopt the ruble, social benefits, tax requirements and other Russian legislation.
As was promised by the Crimean authorities, the treaty includes preferences for the region’s ethnic minorities, particularly Crimean Tatars and Ukrainians. Their languages would be official in Crimea, on par with Russian.
Russia pledged to make the process as smooth as possible by offering funding and recognizing various Ukrainian documents, which were in force in Crimea before it declared its independence last week.
Moscow will retain military ranks and academic levels for Ukrainian troops who choose to serve Russia, give preference to Ukrainian officials who want to keep their positions in Crimea, and expedite the issuance of Russian citizenship to all residents of Crimea who want it. Citizenship would be given automatically to all except those who explicitly opt out of it no later than one month’s time.
The current interim authorities of Crimea will be replaced with new ones after elections, which will be held in September 2015.
Crimea’s rejoining Russia was triggered by an armed coup in Kiev, which ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanokovich from power. The new authorities took some alarming steps, including parliament passing a law revoking the regional status of the Russian language, which caused the predominantly Russian region to defy Kiev.
The public uprising in Crimea culminated in a referendum, in which an overwhelming majority of over 96 percent voted in favor of asking for reunification with Russia. Moscow agreed, citing the will of the people and the historic justice of the move as its motives.
Kiev and Western countries deemed Crimea’s secession and Russia’s acceptance of the peninsula illegal, a notion that Moscow denies. The US and the EU issued sanctions against some Russian officials and businessmen in a bid to put pressure on Russia over its stance on the Ukrainian crisis. Russian authorities mostly mocked the sanctions.
Turkish soldier killers two Albanians, one Kosovan
Turkish soldier killers  two Albanians, one Kosovan

According to Turkey's Interior Minister, the three attackers who were caught after killing two Turkish soldiers and one police officer on Thursday have turned out to be foreign nationals. While two of the attackers were identified as Albanians, one was identified as a Kosovan.

World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkey's Interior Minister Efkan Ala said Friday that two of the arrested “terrorists” who killed two security officials in central Turkey on Thursday are Albanian nationals, while the third is Kosovan.
Three people, including a soldier and a police officer, were killed in a shoot-out in the central Turkish province of Nigde on Thursday.
"The terrorists opened fire from a taxi that they rented in the southern province of Hatay," the interior minister said. "A number of hand grenades, bullets and guns have been found in the bags left behind by them."
The attackers opened fire when Turkish gendarmerie and police teams tried to stop their vehicle at a roadside checkpoint near the town of Ulukisla.
The gendarmerie and special operations teams chased the assailants who escaped in a truck that they had seized.
The Interior Ministry has said the third person killed in the attack was the driver of the truck.
The intended targets of the assailants, who reports suggest could likely be members of Al-Qaeda or Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL), have not yet been identified.
Four commandos of the Special Albanian Army have gone to war in Syria

Prosecution of Albania: Mercenaries going in Syria, member of the the elite of the Albanian Army

Four commandos of the Special Forces of the Albanian Army, have gone to war in Syria. Artur Balla, known religious as Omer, is the brother of Edmond Balla, one of the suspects for recruiting and sending militant Muslim believers for jihad in Syria. In the prosecution's file, Balla said that Arthur was a former commando in the Department of Special Forces in Zall - Herr, near Tirana.

He is one of Muslim Islamic Believers by the prosecution went to Syria and back again in our country. In the folder are not provided further clarification regarding this person, if he was part of the fighting and on behalf of whom fought.

ArthurBalla is not the only former commando who has' visited' Syria. In the prosecution's file, specify that Diamond Rasha, known as Abu Amar religious, killed in Syria in December 2013, has been earlier in the commando unit of Zall - Herr.

Three years ago, precisely in 2011, he had begun to practice the Islamic faith and attended New Ring mosque, run by self-proclaimed imam Genc (Abdurahman) Balla, who is behind bars as the "brain" of recruiting believers, who allegedly fought in Syria on behalf of the terrorist organization, Al - Nusrat . Another casualty in the war in Syria, suspected to be Alinj Erion, from Pogradec. As cited in the prosecution 's file, even Alinj Erion is a former commando unit Zall Herr.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Russian special forces seize Ukrainian corvette Ternopil, says military official

The Ukrainian Navy corvette Ternopil has been captured by Russian special forces, a representative of the command of a Ukrainian Navy brigade, which includes the Ternopil corvette, has said.
"About 20 special service officers stormed the Ternopil corvette. We tried to avoid an armed conflict to prevent possible fatalities," he told Interfax-Ukraine.
According to him, the crew was ready to fight to the end, but the military leadership of Ukraine did not give them any orders.
"We are military, we gave an oath to the people of Ukraine and remained true to it, but the leadership didn't give any orders, and we found ourselves to be abandoned," the representative of the brigade's command said.
He also said that Slavutych is the only one of all Ukrainian naval ships, which had not been seized by Russian forces yet. However, its crew is awaiting an assault any time soon.
Crimea, Russian Ambassador: I `m sorry, Albania recognizes the principle of self-determination well

(Kosovo and Northern Epirus)

Developments in Ukraine, the Crimea, which declared independence and the declaration of Albania, of the actions of Russia, has become today Russia's ambassador accredited to Albania, Mr. Leonid Abramov Grigorieviç released in a press conference in Tirana.

  "I can only express regret that Albania knows very well the principle of self-determination and how important is this principle to a normal life of people."
Three ‘buyers’ questioned in Cyprus over Libya oil ship
An image released by the Navy Media Content Service and downloaded from the US Navy website on March 17, 2014, shows the French navy frigate FS Cassard (D614) breaking away from passing alongside the aircraft carrier USS George HW Bush (CVN 77). — AFP pic
An image released by the Navy Media Content Service and downloaded from the US Navy website on March 17, 2014, shows the French navy frigate FS Cassard (D614) breaking away from passing alongside the aircraft carrier USS George HW Bush (CVN 77). — AFP picAn image released by the Navy Media Content Service and downloaded from the US Navy website on March 17, 2014, shows the French navy frigate FS Cassard (D614) breaking away from passing alongside the aircraft carrier USS George HW Bush (CVN 77). — AFP picLARNACA, March 17 — Two Israelis and a Senegalese national were questioned in Cyprus in connection with an oil tanker loaded from a rebel-held port in Libya, the island’s CNA news agency reported today.

It said police in the coastal city of Larnaca questioned the three on Saturday on suspicion of negotiating to buy crude from the tanker, Morning Glory.

A Larnaca court declined to issue arrest warrants as authorities in Cyprus had no evidence that the alleged offence was committed within its territorial waters.

Local media said the three flew in to Larnaca on a private jet late Friday, hired a boat from the marina and went out to the tanker to negotiate with the crew.

Police monitored their movements and the boat was intercepted once they were back in Cyprus waters. The trio flew out to Tel Aviv yesterday night.

In Washington, the Pentagon said US Navy Seals early Today boarded and took control of the Morning Glory in international waters southeast of Cyprus.

It was to be taken back to Libya. — AFP
- See more at:
An image released by the Navy Media Content Service and downloaded from the US Navy website on March 17, 2014, shows the French navy frigate FS Cassard (D614) breaking away from passing alongside the aircraft carrier USS George HW Bush (CVN 77). — AFP picAn image released by the Navy Media Content Service and downloaded from the US Navy website on March 17, 2014, shows the French navy frigate FS Cassard (D614) breaking away from passing alongside the aircraft carrier USS George HW Bush (CVN 77). — AFP picLARNACA, March 17 — Two Israelis and a Senegalese national were questioned in Cyprus in connection with an oil tanker loaded from a rebel-held port in Libya, the island’s CNA news agency reported today.
It said police in the coastal city of Larnaca questioned the three on Saturday on suspicion of negotiating to buy crude from the tanker, Morning Glory.
A Larnaca court declined to issue arrest warrants as authorities in Cyprus had no evidence that the alleged offence was committed within its territorial waters.
Local media said the three flew in to Larnaca on a private jet late Friday, hired a boat from the marina and went out to the tanker to negotiate with the crew.
Police monitored their movements and the boat was intercepted once they were back in Cyprus waters. The trio flew out to Tel Aviv yesterday night.
In Washington, the Pentagon said US Navy Seals early Today boarded and took control of the Morning Glory in international waters southeast of Cyprus.
- See more at:
"Stoxos" weekly: Referendum for the unity of Northern Epirus and Northern Macedonia with Greece

Greek nationalist weekly "Stoxos" published today, the developments referendum on Northern Epirus and Northern Macedonia union, with Greece.

According to Greek nationalist weekly, seeing the domino effect after the Crimea se;f determination, which held a referendum for unification with Russia, in historical perspective, but also its practice internationally, as was the case of Kosovo, which the International Court gave the right to self-determination.

'Stoxos "calls the Greek government, the Greek Diaspora and all political parties to support the development of a referendum on union territories historical Greece, which kept illegally occupied.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

"Serbian municipalities should join Albania and Kosovo"

BELGRADE -- A leader of ethnic Albanians in the south has said that "if Russia can annex Crimea" southern Serbian municipalities should be given the right to join Kosovo.
A file photo of a flag of Albania displayed in Bujanovac (Beta)
A file photo of a flag of Albania displayed in Bujanovac (Beta)
According to reports, Jonuz Musliu spoke about the municipalities of Preševo and Bujanovac "uniting with Albania and Kosovo."
Kosovo itself is a Serbian province where ethnic Albanians in 2008 unilaterally declared independence - a proclamation that Serbia and Russia rejected, but many western countries, including the U.S., recognized.

Aleksandar Vulin, Serbia's outgoing government's minister without portfolio in charge of Kosovo, reacted to this to say that the statement represented "a threat to the territorial integrity of Serbia."

Vulin "urged the international community to loudly and publicly condemn such statements and show that it is against such attitudes."

“When it comes to the latest threats to the territorial integrity and wholeness of the Republic of Serbia, this time arriving from Musliu, I wish to warn that any such statement is very dangerous and could have devastating consequences in the whole territory of Serbia,” Vulin told Tanjug.

He said that statements like Musliu's can bring up a number of questions, "such as who those behind such statements are."

Vulin said that he is therefore seeking from “the international community, especially from a group of ambassadors - friends to the south of Serbia, who visit the region of Preševo and Bujanovac very often, to loudly and publicly condemn such statements.”

The minister wants them “to clearly say that they do not stand behind any idea about dissolving Serbia's territorial integrity.”

Vulin demands from the international community “to loudly condemn such behavior and in that way dispel any allegations about the statement having the support in any part of the international community.”

The PDP is an ethnic Albanian party from the south of central Serbia, and Musliu is both its leader and chairman of the Bujanovac municipal assembly.

"If Moscow wants Crimea, then Tirana and Priština should unite with the region of the Preševo Valley," he told the Presheva Jone news agency.

While delivering his statement, Musliu referred to an unconstitutional referendum held in the region in 1992 in which local ethnic Albanians opted in favor of the two municipalities "joining Kosovo."

Albanian Parliament, voted for the Armed Forces, to entry in Kosovo

Also Soldiers from Kosovo, will enter Albanian territory, even to patrol the southern areas of Albania, with the same rights as the agreement provides.

Albanian parliament has approved a few days ago, a Military Agreement, which was signed in August 2013 by the Berisha Government, for which the two countries undertake to cooperate in mutual countries, armed in compliance with the laws of the both countries Albania and Kosovo.

The agreement also provides for a military movement with respective weaponry without mutual customs control, which allows greater doubts, of establishing the appropriate military troops and armor.

According to sources, the armed forces of Kosovo, will move throughout the territory of Albania with Kosovo uniform, even in Southern Albania, where a large Greek population, lives.

The same sources indicate that Albanian forces that will enter in Kosovo, will have installed in uniform, NATO emblem.


Official Gazette No. 23, dated 04.03.2014,,,, LAW No. 539. 8/2014


No Comment! "Shqip Newspaper": "We did not give properties for the Greeks of Himara"
Albanian Parliamentary Committee, opposed to the votes by the governing parties, the draft for the properties of Himara, even went as far as to declare, not property for Greeks in Himara" 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Activists in region of Moldova ask to join Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a treaty Tuesday that would officially annex Ukrainian region of Crimea to the Russian Federation.
By Aileen Graef   |   March. 18, 2014 at 3:10 PM 
March. 18 (UPI) -- The former Soviet Trans-Dniester region in Moldova has submitted a request to join Russia on the heels of the Russian annexation of Crimea.
The Transdniester region, much like Crimea, is mostly populated on by ethnic Russians and sits on Ukraine's eastern border. Signs can be seen in the region with the words, "We remember: we are not Moldova."
This is not the first time the region has tried to break away from Moldova. In 2006, the region passed a referendum declaring independence but it went unrecognized by Moldova and the international community. Moldova's president Nicolae Timofti said in a press briefing that any move by Russia to accept their request, "would be a step in the wrong direction."
Despite Putin's reassurances that he is not interested in regions other than Crimea, he has also said that Russia will be invested in the protection of ethnic Russians. U.S. President Barack Obama and leaders of European nations have condemned the annexation of Crimea by imposing sanctions on Russian officials and warning that any attempt to further meddle with Ukraine or other sovereign regions would only lead to further isolation.

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Putin condemns western hypocrisy as he confirms annexation of Crimea

Russian president makes speech laced with bluster and anger at west, saying Russia has been 'cheated again and again'
Link to video: Vladimir Putin signs treaty for Russia to take Crimea from Ukraine
Vladimir Putin announced the annexation of Crimea on Tuesday in a searing speech to assembled political elites in Moscow shot through with angry rhetoric about western aggression and hypocrisy.
The Russian president summoned the federal assembly, which includes both houses of parliament and all key political leaders, for an extraordinary session in the Kremlin's St George Hall.
Putin delivered an hour-long speech laced with patriotic bluster and anger at the west, whose politicians he said "call something white today and black tomorrow".
He was frequently interrupted by applause and at the end of the speech signed documents together with the de facto leader of Crimea, Sergei Aksyonov – who came to power after seizing the local parliament at gunpoint last month – to absorb the territory into Russia.
Putin recognised Crimea as an independent state late on Monday evening, making it easier to incorporate into the Russian Federation than if it were still Ukrainian territory. Kiev has said it will never give up its claim to Crimea, but is unable to respond to Russia militarily due to the huge disparity in their respective martial forces.
Ukrainian politician Vitali Klitschko, who will stand in presidential elections in May, called on Tuesday for Ukraine to sever diplomatic ties with Russia.
Announcing the suspension of joint naval exercises with Russia and of export licences for military items to Moscow, the British foreign secretary, William Hague, said Putin had chosen the "route of isolation". The US vice-president, Joe Biden, said the world had rejected Russia's "flawed logic" and threatened further sanctions.
"In the hearts and minds of people, Crimea has always been and remains an inseparable part of Russia," said Putin, who added that ethnic Russians had found themselves isolated from the motherland when the Soviet Union collapsed, both in Crimea and elsewhere.
"Millions of Russians went to sleep in one country and woke up living abroad, as a national minority in former republics of the union. The Russian people became one of the biggest, if not the biggest, split-up nation in the world."
Putin aired a list of foreign policy grievances going back to 2000, saying "we were cheated again and again, with decisions being taken behind our back", and insisted that it was ludicrous to claim the precedent of Kosovo – which was recognised by the west as an independent country following its secession from Serbia – as unique.
"How would our colleagues claim its uniqueness? It turns out because during the Kosovo conflict there were many human casualties. What, is that supposed to be a valid legal argument?" he asked.
With the annexation of Crimea considered a fait accompli, Kiev and the west are now looking with anxiety to eastern Ukraine, where a number of protests by elements of the Russian-speaking population have ended in violence and led the Russian foreign ministry to speak about the possible necessity of "defending" Russian speakers there.
"Don't believe those who try to frighten you with Russia and who scream that other regions will follow after Crimea," said Putin on Tuesday, going some way to allaying those fears. "We do not want a partition of Ukraine. We do not need this."
However, he reiterated his belief that Moscow feels the Kiev government is illegitimate, and also referenced long-held Russian fears of encirclement by the west.
"I do not want to be welcomed in Sevastopol by Nato sailors," said Putin, speaking of the Crimean port where Russia's Black Sea fleet is based. The city has special status within Crimea, and officially, Russia will welcome two new nations into its fold: Crimea, and the city of Sevastopol.
In Crimea itself, thousands gathered in Sevastopol to watch Putin's speech on a big screen in the main square and broke into the Russian national anthem when it was over. In the Crimean capital, Simferopol, men on ladders removed the large gold Ukrainian-language lettering on the regional parliament.
It is expected that in the coming months Crimea will switch to the rouble and introduce Moscow time and the Russian visa system. Russia will begin ratification of the treaty to formalise Crimea's annexation within days.
The grab of Crimea went ahead despite the US and EU announcing sanctions against several top Russian officials on Monday. On Tuesday the foreign ministry responded angrily to the sanctions and said reciprocal measures would be introduced.
"Attempts to speak to Russia in the language of force and threaten Russian citizens with sanctions will lead nowhere," said the ministry's statement.
"The adoption of restrictive measures is not our choice; however, it is clear that the imposition of sanctions against us will not go without an adequate response from the Russian side."

Patriarch says Kosovo is "Serbian Jerusalem"

BELGRADE -- Patriarch Irinej has said the anti-Serb violence in Kosovo in March 2004 was an attempt to destroy the root of the Serb people and erase their existence there.
The head of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) spoke during an event in Belgrade late on Monday, organized to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the incidents known in Serbia as the "March pogrom."
Despite that attempt, the SPC remained as a spiritual oasis that brings hope to the Serbian people in Kosovo, Irinej added.

"As long as Kosovo is in our hearts, minds and songs, it will be ours, because hope dies last," Irinej stated, adding that the Jews had fostered such a hope for 2,000 years and managed to go back to Jerusalem in the end.

Kosovo is to Serbia what Jerusalem is to the Jews, and without Kosovo, Serbia is like a body without a head or a heart, he stressed.

"Europe sees, knows and tolerates the fact that those responsible for a terrible crime against the Kosovo Serbs have not been punished, so as a start, the exiled must be allowed to return to their homes," he noted.

Those who control the world and boast about democracy and human rights must find a fair solution for Kosovo and not let crime and force triumph, Irinej remarked.

Dean Sima Avramović also addressed the forum, organized by the Belgrade University Youth and Faculty of Law, and said that Serbs still had strong foothold in Kosovo that the pogrom failed to destroy.

Legally speaking, Serbs have three strong arguments on which to base their demands that the international community cannot ignore, and those are: restitution, reconstruction and repatriation, Avramović said.

"It is very important for the SPC and its churches to stay in Kosovo, because the Serb communities living around those churches will then survive as well," he pointed out.

Serbia's Minister without Portfolio in charge of Kosovo Aleksandar Vulin was also at the commemoration.

Turkey has threatened to block the Bosphorus if Russia attacks Ukraine!

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the phone and warned of the consequences of the conflict with Ukraine.
According to him, the last meeting of the honorary leader of the Crimean Tatars Mustafa Cemil and Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan discussed Reydzhepa threat Crimean Tatars in connection with the aggressive policy of Russia , which is organized and has organized a separatist referendum March 16, 2014 .

Rikthimi i pronave në bregdet - Top Channel Albania - News - Lajme

People of Himara towards civil disobedience, for the right of ownership

Civil Society of Himara has protested this time, in the Parliamentary Committees for the right of ownership. They have shown for the last time, a draft proposal for amending the Law 7501, but political parties still do not receive the right to undertake the human rights, that of ownership.

Top Channel TV

A 20-year problem over property ownership has caused debates at the Parliamentary Commission of Productive Activities, where they discussed the initiative of Parliament Member Fatmir Mediu, who asked an amend of the ownership of the agricultural land without compensation.

This amend foresees that properties which have been confiscated or nationalized in southern tourism areas should be returned to those who owned them before 1945.

“There is a gangrene with the property issue. Law 7501 is not touched because it was used to share property according to political and corruptive interests. Deep agricultural areas were taken to be given to agricultural specialists who have never had any relation with those lands, and today they are owners of farms. They enjoy the privilege of being the owner of a land that they don’t even see where it is, but they only profit abusively, by not allowing the legitimate owners to profit. Drivers of directors, agricultural experts who live in cities and directors of agricultural enterprises have taken the best lands”, declared the Republican Party leader, Fatmir Mediu.

Abuses were noticed at the official documents of the Himara Municipality and of the Supreme State Audit, as it has been admitted by the Vlore Court. Mediu declared that 100% of the documents issued by documents for giving agricultural lands have been illegal.

The Chairman of the Commission, Eduard Shalsi, declared that the chaos created with the property cannot be resolved with a law amend.

“Every effort to resolve it with these methods will be failed without unifying the institutions and without digitalizing accurate information. The property issue will continue deteriorating”, Shalsi declared.

According to Shalsi, the ownership problems will increase the bill that the Albanian tax payers will have to pay, based on the verdicts of the Strasbourg Court. 

Greece: Right-Wing Golden Dawn Expels Lawmaker

Greece's extremist right-wing Golden Dawn party has expelled one of its lawmakers from its parliamentary ranks, calling on him to resign his seat and allow it to be taken over by another party member.
The party said Tuesday it was expelling Stathis Boukouras, but did not give a reason. If Boukouras refuses to give up his seat, Golden Dawn will be left with 16 seats in the 300-member parliament.
Boukouras is among several Golden Dawn officials, including the party's leader, who are in jail pending trial on charges of participating in a criminal organization. Authorities began a crackdown after last year's fatal stabbing of an anti-fascist musician by a Golden Dawn supporter in Athens.
On Saturday, another lawmaker left the party, claiming he was shocked by allegations of violent activity.

Greece: 7 Migrants Die in Boat Sinking, 8 Rescued

Authorities in Greece said Tuesday they had recovered the bodies of seven immigrants, including two children, who drowned overnight when a boat sank in the eastern Aegean Sea after traveling illegally from nearby Turkey.
The Merchant Marine Ministry said eight other people were rescued near the island of Lesvos. Two of the dead were found in the water off the coast of the island, while the other five were recovered from their semi-sunken boat.
Authorities were still searching for two more migrants believed missing from the boat. Three coast guard vessels, a helicopter and private boats were involved in the search.
The migrants' nationalities were not immediately known.
The ministry said the boat sank in good weather about 1.5 miles (2.4 kms) off Lesvos, which is very close to the Turkish coast. The alarm was raised by a small Turkish boat that picked up two survivors in the dark.
Greece is a major transit point for illegal immigration from Asia and Africa into the European Union. Many make the journey to Greek islands from the nearby Turkish coast in small boats that are often overloaded and unseaworthy. In January, 12 immigrants drowned when a boat overturned near the eastern Greek island of Farmakonissi

Putin signs Crimea's admission to RF, mentions Kosovo

MOSCOW -- Russia and Crimea have signed a treaty of accession of the Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol to the Russian Federation, Voice of Russia has reported.
Crimea and Sevastopol are joining Russia as two separate regions, President Vladimir Putin said.
The treaty was signed after Putin addressed the Russian parliament in Moscow on Tuesday.

In his address, Putin recalled that Sunday's referendum in Crimea saw a turnout of 82 percent and while more than 96 percent of those voted in favor of joining Russia.

It would have been "a betrayal to leave Crimea in trouble, and the U.S. has no right to decide the fate of Crimea," he stated, Itar-Tass reported.
He also "stressed that Russia has vital interests in Crimea."

Russia does not intend to take other regions after Crimea, and respects Ukraine's territorial integrity, Putin also said, according to the Russian news agency.

He noted that his country "welcomes cooperation with NATO - but does not want it at its borders."

Putin thanked the Chinese leadership "for considering the Ukrainian situation in its full historical complexity."

"The U.S. says that Kosovo precedent is a unique case, so why do they think that Crimea's situation is not unique?," Putin asked, and concluded: "These are not double standards, this is outright cynicism."

As for the new, pro-Western authorities in power in Kiev since the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovych, Putin said there is now "no legitimate political leadership in Ukraine, there is no one to deal with."

He said that while he understood that "people who went to Maidan with peaceful slogans protested against corruption and poverty," what then transpired was "nationalists executing a coup, trying to revise the language policy, which would have undermined the rights of minorities."

"The Russian-speaking population in Ukraine faced constant humiliation," the president stressed, according to Itar-Tass.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Kosovo: militant cynicism of the Western democracy

Kosovo: militant cynicism of the Western democracy

The Western world is literally going hysterical in their attempts to deny the Crimean population its free demonstration of will to return the region to its historic motherland –Russia. However, not too long ago Washington and the European capitals adamantly supported Kosovo's will to separate from Serbia despite the fact that there were significantly fewer reasons for that.

What is the reason for that? Is it caused by the fact that for the West the notions of international law, historic justice and the multi-polar nature of the world are simply an empty sound that only calls for a condescending smile?
The stories of Crimea and Kosovo clearly showed the following: the principle of double standards (the phrase is worn-out, but accurate) is something the West sticks to fully and consistently.
In essence, over the past few decades its main efforts were channeled into one direction: to dominate over the diversity of cultures, points of view, social and political models of society. In the case of an active standoff, they are to be subordinated: the elite – with money, everybody else – with arms. A special type of “geopolitical racism” appeared. Only this paradigm allows us to explain what appears to be an illogical and inconsistent position of the Western countries in some regions with similar problems. Readiness to act upon the instructions of “Big Brother” or its lack thereof becomes the main driver of their further destiny.
The support of the West of Kosovo's separation from Serbia in 2008 should have been demonstrative and instructive for everybody. Nobody paid attention to any resolutions regarding territorial integrity of states, or the UN basic legal norms. It was considered to be purely irrelevant that Serbia viewed Kosovo as their national symbol of national integrity and unity (some battles took place there that determined Serbia's destiny, and some important holy objects are located here). But by completely violating the international norms the West never brought its project to completion, points out Vladimir Bruter, a political analyst.
“The decision made by the Court in the Hague regarding the separation of Kosovo was incomplete in its nature. From the point of view of international law there can be no procedure for the formation of new states because no constitution in the world explains how states split from each other and how they cease to exist. It is simply common sense. By acknowledging Kosovo and promising various bonuses to Serbia in exchange for its acknowledgement, the West is trying to justify the existing situation, but there is no legal solution to-date.”
Actually, the main promise made to Belgrade is a promise to have Serbia join the EU. What that entails, one can see based on the examples of the new entrants to the EU. But that is not the most important thing. The entire conflict in Yugoslavia and the support of Kosovo had one characteristic feature: in most of cases Western judges and politicians accused ethnic Serbs of crimes, including war crimes, and blamed them for everything. Is that related to the historic, spiritual and geopolitical ties between Serbia and Russia, which the West in a manic way keeps viewing as its main threat? The question mark here can be removed. And it's high time to clarify who is a real threat for whom. Over the last few decades it was Washington and the European capitals that initiated the aggression in various places of the world.
Boris Shmelev, the head of the Center for Russia's External Policy, points out that in Kosovo's case the West with the help of the UN violated not only international norms, but also its own decisions, as well as the institution of international law itself, thus creating a dangerous precedent.
“Serbia's constitution clearly defined Kosovo as a part of the consolidated country. It was written that the head of the state was obligated to do everything to preserve the territorial integrity of Serbia. Nobody had the right to agree to Kosovo's separation from Serbia. Resolution 1244 of the UN Security Council signed in June 1999, which summed up the results of the NATO aggression against Yugoslavia, clearly pointed at the fact that Kosovo was an integral part of Yugoslavia, which consisted of Serbia and Montenegro. But the West went as far as giving up all the documents and supporting the separatists in Kosovo.”
This is truly an amazing integrity. It resulted in the appearance of Europe's map of one of the most criminalized territories with a questionable future. The current situation with the referendum in Crimea showed that from the point of Kosovo's separation from Serbia the so-called developed Europe became even less independent from Washington. It was the Europeans, not the US citizens who live far away from them, that suffer from the dubious projects like the one in Kosovo. But the EU stubbornly continues to play the role of employee and the messenger of its boss across the ocean.
As soon as it came to light that on March 14 the United States prepared a firm resolution for the UN Security Council regarding the situation in Ukraine, the European diplomats literally tried to snatch microphones from each other to express their disapproval of Moscow, which allegedly had claims for an integral part of Ukraine – Crimea. It seemed that as their statements grew louder and more uncompromising, the brighter their political future appeared to them.
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