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#Ukraine: Soldiers in #Dzerzhinsk feel #abandoned, expect #Kremlin-backed fighters to attack soon


A Ukrainian soldier reloads his weapon in front of an armored personnel carrier in Donetsk Oblast on Nov. 24. © Anastasia VlasovaA Ukrainian soldier reloads his weapon in front of an armored personnel carrier in Donetsk Oblast on Nov. 24. © Anastasia Vlasova.

Oleg Sukhov, Kyiv Post+.

DZERZHINSK, Ukraine – Spoil tips rise as high as mountains above the horizon where, not far across the field, pro-Kremlin insurgents are amassing troops with more heavy weaponry and fighters coming from Russia.

Ukrainian soldiers of the 57th brigade at checkpoints around Dzerzhinsk, a small city near insurgent-held Horlivka in Donetsk Oblast, say a separatist offensive is imminent but they have little at their disposal to withstand it. They feel abandoned by the state, which they say has left them in the middle of nowhere in an open field without any means of survival.

Olexiy Dmytrashkovsky, a spokesman for the Ukrainian government’s anti-terrorist operation’s headquarters, dismissed these reports as false. He said by phone that the soldiers in Dzerzhinsk were sufficiently supplied with food and clothing by the army. Dmytrashkovsky said, however, that inspectors would be sent to Dzerzhinsk to check the situation.

Several soldiers said that they were unhappy with both political and military leadership, but did not want to be identified because of the sensitivity of the issue.

“The whole General Staff should be fired,” one of them said. “And (President Petro) Poroshenko is the biggest disappointment in the whole post-Maidan period.”

He described Poroshenko’s Sept. 5 Minsk cease-fire deal as a disaster that allowed insurgents to build huge fortifications and to prepare for an offensive. A second soldier agreed, saying that they were not allowed to shoot back when they were shelled by separatists despite the cease-fire.

“(Russians) have brought so much equipment that sooner or later it has to be used,” the first soldier said. Apart from supplying weapons, Russia is moving in more and more fighters.

Given their professionalism, those on the front-line are likely to be Russian regular troops, as opposed to mercenaries, the first soldier said. He added that he had seen signs of infighting between local insurgents and Russian troops, which had been apparently shooting at each other.

The second soldier said that his unit had killed a Russian fighter with an Omsk paratroopers shoulder patch, a Chechen fighter and a man with Berkut riot police insignia when they approached a Ukrainian checkpoint.

But Ukrainian forces have few weapons to resist an assault by Russian and insurgent troops and badly need heavy military equipment and an infrared camera, the first soldier said. “We are like blind kittens at night without a camera,” he said.

The first soldier also said that the Defense Ministry had supplied almost no food and no clothing, and most of what they had had been given to them by volunteers. He added that his unit resembled a gang of 20th century anarchist leader Nestor Makhno because they wore ragtag clothing, as opposed to regular military uniforms.

Holes in summer pants, dilapidated boots and no socks used to be a common sight at Ukrainian checkpoints surrounding Dzerzhinsk, say volunteers who supply the army. They also say that soldiers did not have enough underwear and lacked binoculars before volunteers supplied them.

The first soldier said the situation contrasted sharply with the Interior Ministry’s National Guard, which is supplied relatively well. “Compared with the National Guard, we’re like a stepchild or ugly duckling,” he said.


Kyiv Post.

#Russia: #Putin Bans Publication of Bomb-Making Instructions


The illegal preparation of explosive materials and creation of explosive devices will now warrant a prison term of between three and six years, as well as fines of up to 200,000 rubles.The illegal preparation of explosive materials and creation of explosive devices will now warrant a prison term of between three and six years, as well as fines of up to 200,000 rubles. – Wikicommons.

Allison Quinn, The Moscow Times.

President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday signed into law amendments imposing a ban on the publication of instructions on making explosives.

The updated legislation prohibits mass media and online resources from publishing any information on how to make bombs or explosive devices, whereas previously websites containing such information would simply be blocked after inclusion in a federal registry.

Individuals who violate the legislation face fines of between 4,000 and 5,000 rubles ($88-$110), and enterprises will be hit with fees of between 800,000 rubles and 1 million rubles, according to a copy of the amendments posted on the government’s legal information website.

The amendments also toughened other areas pertaining to explosives.

The illegal preparation of explosive materials and creation of explosive devices will now warrant a prison term of between three and six years, as well as fines of up to 200,000 rubles. Groups found guilty of these charges face up to eight years behind bars. Organized criminal groups face up to 12 years in prison and fines of up to 500,000 rubles for the same charges.

Previously, the charges carried a maximum prison sentence of five years.

The ubiquity of bomb-making information on the Internet was thrust into the spotlight in the wake of the Boston bombings last year, when it emerged that the perpetrators allegedly used instructions from a widely available online magazine run by jihadists.

Prior to that, the issue of banning the publication of such information had polarized lawmakers in various Western countries for decades, with some arguing that such information is already widely available in public libraries and thus should not be prohibited on the Internet.

The amendments signed by Putin on Tuesday appear to be aimed at preventing the spread of such information on Russia’s social networks, where numerous profiles and communities have been set up that cater to extremists.

The significance of social media in extremist activities has come to the forefront as the Islamic State has released numerous recruitment and training videos, many of which are in Russian.


The Moscow Times.

#ISIS stones 2 ‘gay men’ to death in Syria


ISIS (ISIL)The United Nations said this month the ISIS had carried out several executions by stoning of women in Syria it accused of adultery.

AFP | Beirut.

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group stoned two men to death in Syria Tuesday after claiming they were gay, a monitor said, in the militant organization’s first executions for alleged homosexuality.

“The ISIS today stoned to death a man that it said was gay,” the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, adding that the victim was around 20 years old.

He was killed in Mayadeen in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor, near the border with Iraq.

The Britain-based Observatory said ISIS claimed it found videos on his mobile phone showing him “practicing indecent acts with males.”

In a separate incident on Tuesday, an 18-year-old was also stoned to death in Deir Ezzor city after the group said he was gay, the Observatory said.

Activists on social media said that the dead men were opponents of ISIS and that the group had used the allegation as a pretext to kill them.

The United Nations said this month the ISIS had carried out several executions by stoning of women in Syria it accused of adultery.

The militants proclaimed a “caliphate” in June after seizing swathes of Iraq and Syria.

Activists say ISIS carries out regular public executions — often beheadings — in areas it controls.


Al Arabiya News.

Reuters: #France postpones decision on delivery of #Mistral carriers


The Mistral-class assault warship Sevastopol (L), the second of two mammoth Mistral helicopter carriers, is docked on Nov. 21, 2014 near the Russian training ship, Smolny (R), in the western French port of Saint-Nazaire after being taken overnight from its dry dock. © AFPThe Mistral-class assault warship Sevastopol (L), the second of two mammoth Mistral helicopter carriers, is docked on Nov. 21, 2014 near the Russian training ship, Smolny (R), in the western French port of Saint-Nazaire after being taken overnight from its dry dock. © AFP

Reuters.

France suspended indefinitely on Tuesday delivery of the first of two Mistral helicopter carrier warships to Russia, citing conflict in eastern Ukraine where the West accuses Moscow of fomenting separatism.

Russia’s Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov told RIA news agency Russia would not for now pursue claims against France over non-delivery, but expected the contract to be fulfilled.

“We are satisfied with everything, it’s the French who are not satisfied. We will wait patiently,” Borisov was quoted as saying. “Everything is laid down in the contract, we will act in accordance with the letter of the contract as all civilized people do.”

France has been under pressure for months from its Western allies to scrap the 1.2 billion euro ($1.58 billion) contract, but faces potential compensation claims if it breaches terms. Suspension of contracts is a sensitive issue at a time when France is finalizing other military deals.

“The President of the Republic considers that the situation in the east of Ukraine still does not permit the delivery of the first BPC (helicopter carrying and command vessel),” said a statement from President Francois Hollande’s office.

“He has therefore decided that it is appropriate to suspend, until further notice, examination of the request for the necessary authorization to export the first BCP to the Russian Federation.”

An aerial view shows the Mistral-class helicopter carrier Vladivostok constructed for Russia at the STX Les Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard site in the port of Montoir-de-Bretagne near Saint Nazaire, western France, September 22, 2014. CREDIT: REUTERS/STEPHANE MAHEAn aerial view shows the Mistral-class helicopter carrier Vladivostok constructed for Russia at the STX Les Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard site in the port of Montoir-de-Bretagne near Saint Nazaire, western France, September 22, 2014. CREDIT: REUTERS/STEPHANE MAHE

The United Nations says over 4,300 people have been killed in a pro-Russian separatist insurrection in eastern Ukraine which the West says Moscow has promoted. Russia for its part denies any involvement but accuses the Ukrainian military of using indiscriminate violence against civilians.

(Reporting by Elizabeth Pineau and Gabriela Baczynska; Editing by Alexandria Sage and Ralph Boulton).


Reuters.

To Stop #ISIS, #Britain Is Set to Stop Free Speech


The proposed is meant to silence or force into exile anyone advocating violent jihad in the UK or waging it outside..

British Home Secretary, Theresa MayBritish Home Secretary, Theresa May

Nico Hines, The Daily Beast.

LONDON — Britain has had enough: the government will announce radical plans to end centuries of free speech on Wednesday in an unprecedented terror crackdown that would force Internet companies to monitor users; restrict the movement of suspects and ban extremist speakers from public forums.

Theresa May, the Home Secretary, said the security services had foiled 40 plots to kill thousands of people in the last ten years, including the attempted assassination of an ambassador, plans to blow up the stock exchange, plots to bring down several flights and gun attacks that might have resembled the assault on a Nairobi shopping mall  last year.

After years of bitter feuding within the government, the Prime Minister’s patience finally has snapped. The voice of a British ISIS terrorist calling on “brothers” in Western countries to commit domestic atrocities has helped to convince senior officials that concerns about civil liberties and freedom of speech can no longer be allowed to interfere with security operations.

If the measures are passed by Parliament, a raft of institutions will be forced to attempt to prevent radicalization actively for the first time. Universities, prisons, schools and local councils will be legally required to monitor those in their care and try to interdict extremist speakers and would-be terror recruiters.

Throughout its 800-year history, Cambridge University has guarded jealously its absolute right to free speech. After an investigation into extremists on British university campuses last year, a spokeswoman defiantly told me: ”There’s complete freedom for students to invite who they want.”

That freedom would be ended by Conservative government proposals, which will require speakers to be vetted by the university. Government ministers would have the power to overrule the university and obtain court orders to stop speakers addressing students if they felt there was a risk of radicalization.

Human rights groups said the measures were “draconian” and counter-productive. “Politicians resort to high talk and rushed legislation in an attempt to look tough in the face of terrorism,” said Shami Chakrabarti, director of the human rights group Liberty. “Another chilling recipe for injustice and resentment by closing down the open society you seek to promote.”

A former government security advisor told The Daily Beast that senior Conservative Party figures had been split over the level of intervention and severity of the curbs on freedom of speech. Ultimately, as this source put it, those who wish to “drain the swamp” defeated those who would wait for the “crocodiles to reach the boat.”

May, the tough Home Secretary who is favorite to succeed David Cameron as party leader, said there was now no alternative but to tackle potential terrorists before they acted. ”This legislation is important, the substance is right, the time is right and the way in which it has been developed is right,” she said. ”It is not a knee-jerk response to a sudden perceived threat. It is a properly considered, thought-through set of proposals that will help to keep us safe at a time of very significant danger.”

”We are engaged in a struggle that is fought on many fronts and in many forms,” said May. “It is a struggle that will go on for many years. And the threat we face right now is perhaps greater than it ever has been—we must have the powers we need to defend ourselves.”

As well as restricting freedom of speech, the sweeping new powers would also curtail the free movement of suspected terrorists, who could be stopped from leaving the country, or from returning to the country or even forced to live in in a sort of internal exile away from their associates.

Police and Border Force officers will be granted new powers to seize passports and tickets from British citizens at ports and airports if they believe they are traveling to engage in terror-related activities. British citizens would also be barred from returning to the country if the authorities suspect they have been involved in terrorism abroad, effectively leaving them stateless.

Suspected jihadis who have been allowed to return to Britain are likely to be the subject of toughened monitoring measures, which can force them to move to another part of the country, live at a specified address, and even ban them from using the Internet.


The Daily Beast.

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