News Summary

The Vostok Report

The news to September 23

Photo sourced from DBDuophotography

Photo sourced from DBDuophotography

Russian border guards are towing a Greenpeace ship to an Arctic port, where its activists could face charges for a protest on an oil rig owned by the Gazprom energy giant.

The Arctic Sunrise ship, which Russian security forces have controlled since storming the vessel in a dramatic helicopter operation on Thursday, is to arrive in the Russian far northern port of Murmansk on Tuesday, the group and officials said. Russia’s powerful Investigative Committee said the crew may have committed piracy, which carries a prison term of up to 15 years in Russia.

Source: SBS

An Armenian court has sentenced former presidential candidate Vardan Sedrakian to 14 years in jail for the attempted murder of a rival in the February election. At the sentencing hearing on September 23, Sedrakian again insisted he was innocent.

The leader of Armenia’s Union of National Self-Determination Party, Paruyr Hairikian, survived a shooting attack in Yerevan on January 31.

Source: RFE/RL

The Soyuz-FG carrier rocket with the Soyuz TMA-10 spacecraft was rolled out to its launch pad on Monday ahead of the planned manned mission to the International Space Station. The rocket is to blast off from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan early on September 26 to take new ISS crew members to the orbital station.

The main crew comprises Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kotov and Sergei Ryazansky and NASA astronaut Michael Hopkins, while the backup crew are Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev of Russia and NASA astronaut Steven Swanson.

Source: RIA Novosti

The Kremlin has warned Ukraine that if the country goes ahead with a planned agreement on free trade with the EU, it faces inevitable financial catastrophe and possibly the collapse of the state.

Russia is making a last-minute push to derail the integration agreement, which is due to be signed in late November. Instead, Moscow wants to lure its neighbour into its own alliance, a customs union with Belarus and Kazakhstan that critics have referred to as a reincarnation of the Soviet Union. Russia has made it clear that Ukraine has to choose between the two options and cannot sign both agreements.

Source: The Guardian

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Sunday the US is “blackmailing” Moscow over a UN resolution on Syria that could allow the use of force.

“Our American partners are starting to blackmail us: if Russia does not support a resolution under Chapter VII in the UN Security Council, then we will stop the work in the Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in the Hague,” Lavrov said in a Channel One interview. Lavrov said “this is an absolute withdrawal from” what had been agreed with US Secretary of State John Kerry earlier this month. “Our Western partners are nervous as they understand: if Chapter VII is mentioned, this is a chance to get a justification from the UN Security Council for their unilateral actions,” Lavrov said.

Source: RIA Novosti

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych says he is seeking a way to have his political opponent, former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, released from prison.

But speaking in the Black Sea resort of Yalta on September 20, Yanukovych said the matter of granting amnesty to Tymoshenko, who is currently serving a seven-year prison sentence, was “not easy.”

Source: RFE/RL

A former ethnic Albanian rebel commander turned politician has been acquitted of war crimes during the 1998-99 Kosovo conflict. Fatmir Limaj, a former senior commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK), is a close ally of Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, himself also a former UCK commander.

Limaj stood accused of killing and torturing Serbian prisoners at a UCK-run detention camp. The charges were based mainly on diaries and testimony of a former prison guard who became the main witness in the case before he was found dead in Germany.

Source: RFE/RL


Unreasonable critique of Kant leads to man being shot in Russian shop

An argument over the theories of the 18th-century philosopher Immanuel Kant ended in a man being shot in a grocery store in southern Russia.

RIA news agency quoted police in the city of Rostov-on-Don as saying a fight broke out between two men as they argued over Kant, the German author of Critique of Pure Reason, without giving details of their debate.

Source: The Guardian


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