June 22, 2014


Filed under: news — jaspar @ 10:14 am















Response to a journalist’s question about the peace plan in Ukraine 


22 June 2014, 12:30, Alexander Garden, Moscow 





QUESTION: How do you view the first day since the declaration [Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s declaration of a ceasefire]? 



VLADIMIR PUTIN: First, let us remember that we are talking about this matter on June 22, the day the Great Patriotic War began.  I think that what is happening in Ukraine is an immense tragedy.  People are being killed there, dying every day.  So many years after the start of the Great Patriotic War, blood is being spilt on the former Soviet Union’s soil and *this is a terrible thing*. 



The fact that President Poroshenko has declared a ceasefire is without question an important step towards reaching a final settlement, and perhaps is one of the most important conditions for this to happen.  Russia will certainly support these plans. 



But ultimately, it is the political process that is most important.  It is important that this ceasefire open the way to a dialogue between all of the parties to the combat, so as to find solutions that will be acceptable to all sides, 


in order to ensure that people in southeast Ukraine have no doubt that they are an integral part of the country, 


have the same rights as all other citizens, and 


know that these rights are guaranteed, including by Ukraine’s constitution. 



This requires a substantial and detailed dialogue.  This is the key to success. 



Unfortunately, objective monitoring shows that military operations have *not* ended, and just last night there was quite active artillery fire on the Ukrainian side. 


I cannot say who is actually responsible for this –-regular army troops or the so-called armed units representing right-wing forces, but this activity *is* happening. 



What is needed is for all military operations to stop.







Letter to Bashar Al-Assad from [Vrginia] Senator Richard H. Black 









Bashar Al-Assad, 

President of Syria, Damascus

April 1st, 2014 




Dear President al-Assad




I write to thank the Syrian Arab Army for its heroic rescue of Christians in the Qalamoun Mountain Range.  I am especially grateful for the spectacular victory at Yabroud, where the Syrian Arab Army and Air Force liberated Christians and other Syrians who had been held captive by terrorists for several years.  We are deeply grateful for the skill and valor displayed by Syrian troops who rescued the 13 nuns who were kidnapped and used as human shields by the cowardly jihadists at Yabroud. 




It is obvious that the war in Syria has largely been fought by vicious war criminals linked to al-Qaeda.  Groups like al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant routinely commit war crimes as a matter of official policy.  They proudly post YouTube videos showing mass executions of prisoners of war, beheadings of priests and other civilians, and even cannibalism.  In Aleppo, last June, al-Nusra boasted of forcing a mother to watch as they murdered her 14-year-old son by shooting him through the mouth and neck.  It is difficult to understand how any civilized nation can condone the actions of such bloodthirsty criminals. 




Clearly, the Syrian people have grown weary of seeing foreign mercenaries enter their land to fight against them.  Your people suffered the criminal acts committed by those jihadists, who came to rape and murder innocent Syrians.  Now, even some in the Western media are reporting that the rebels have lost the war —-that their cause has grown hopeless. 




Yet to this day, few Americans realize that the rebels in Syria are dominated by our arch-enemy, al-Qaeda.  They do not know that your enemies have sworn allegiance to the same organization that, on September 11, 2001, crashed jetliners into the Pentagon and the Twin Towers, killing over 3,000 innocent Americans.  Today, al-Qaeda-linked fighters use suicide bombs to murder helpless women and children in your country, just as they slaughtered helpless civilians here. 




I cannot explain how Americans, who suffered so grievously at the hands of al-Qaeda, were tricked into supporting the jihadists.  But I do know that many U.S. officials disagree with equipping and training the terrorists who penetrate your borders from the Kingdom of Jordan and through Turkey. 




The worst possible outcome would be for the rebels to seize the capital and raise the dreaded black flag of al-Qaeda over Damascus.  For that reason, the rebels have been denied advanced weapons.  Military planners know that the terrorists are deceitful and untrustworthy.  Nothing prevents them from turning antiaircraft missiles against civilian aircraft.  Were they were to seize control of Syria’s reported arsenal of 4,000 MANPADS, terrorists could turn airliners into fireballs at Dulles Airport, Heathrow, and LaGuardia, paralyzing commercial aviation across the globe.  Helping them to do so is an act of utter madness 




You have followed the practice of your father by treating with respect all Christians and the small community of Jews in Damascus.  You defended their churches and the Jewish synagogue, and you have permitted them to worship freely according to their beliefs.  I am grateful for that. 




By contrast, wherever rebels have seized control, they have acted as thieves, criminals and vandals.  They raped, tortured, kidnapped and beheaded innocent people.  They defiled the churches.  The terrorists imposed the loathsome “dhimmitude” tax on Christians and Jews, treating them as subhuman.  I pray that your army will drive the jihadists from Syria, so that Syrians of all faiths may live together in peace. 




Until then, I pray that the Syrian armed forces will continue to exhibit extraordinary gallantry in the war against terrorists.  Please convey my personal thanks to the Syrian Arab Army and Air Force for protecting all patriotic Syrians, including the religious minorities who face death at the hands of the foreign jihadists. 








Richard H. Black Senator of Virginia, 13th District













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