Tag Archives: Putin

Furious Dutch prime minister tells Putin to exert his influence #MH17

Mark Rutte addresses Reporters.

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte has described as ‘disgusting’ pictures of Ukraine rebels digging through the possessions of people killed in disaster.

In a short news conference, Rutte said he had just had a ‘very intense’ phone call with Russian president Vladimir Putin. ‘I told him “time is running out for you to show the world that you have good intentions, that you will take responsibility”,’ Rutte said.

Putin now ‘has to show that he will do what is expected of him and will exert his influence,’ the Dutch prime minister said.

‘It is 35 degrees there. The bodies need to be recovered now. I want to see results, unhindered access and the repatriation of the victims.’


The phone conversation with Putin was ‘very personal’, the Dutch prime minister said.

‘I think the entire Dutch population knows people who directly or indirectly know someone who was on board. There were 80 people under the age of 18, of whom 23 were under the age of 12 and three were babies. It is too terrible for words.’

Images of rebels holding up children’s toys were ‘too disgusting for words’, Rutte said. Such action is also hindering the investigation into the crash, he said.


Earlier on Saturday, Dutch foreign minister Frans Timmermans met Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko in Kiev and told him the Netherlands was ‘angry, furious’ at the news that bodies were being dragged around the crash site, Reuters said.

‘Once we have the proof, we will not stop before the people are brought to justice. Not just the people who pulled the trigger but also those who made it possible. I think the international community needs to step up its efforts in this respect,’ Reuters quoted Timmermans as saying.

According to Dutch broadcaster Nos, Poroschenko in turn told Timmermans it is unacceptable that international experts are being denied access to the disaster zone.

‘We will not tolerate interference with the work of the commission and that those representatives of other countries do not have the possibility of conducting an objective investigation,’ Poroshenko is quoted as saying.


However, the separatists deny interfering, Nos television reports. It quotes ‘one of their commanders’ as saying they have promised the OSCE that they will not touch bodies or the remains of the plane.

As well as Dutch, Malaysian and Ukrainian researchers have arrived in the region to begin investigating the crash. Two German forensic pathologists are also on their way to Ukraine, as is a six strong-British team, Nos television said.

Malaysia Airlines released the full passenger list on Saturday. The Dutch death toll is now put at 193, out of 298 people on board the plane.

Rutte’s statement (Dutch only)


Rebel leaders in Ukraine feel ‘abandoned’ by Putin

A pro-Russian militant looks through the scope of his rifle during the storm of the regional police station in the centre of the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk on July 1, 2014.A pro-Russian militant looks through the scope of his rifle during the storm of the regional police station in the centre of the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk on July 1, 2014. © AFP

One of Russia’s best-known ultra-nationalists has claimed separatists fighting in Ukraine feel betrayed and abandoned by Vladimir Putin.

Aleksandr Dugin said he talks to some of the most prominent rebel leaders in east Ukraine “five to six” times a day by phone and that they share his disillusionment with the Kremlin.

The Australian

ZIK: #Russian tanks openly move to #Luhansk, eyewitness says

Russian tanks openly move to Luhansk, eyewitness says“While Olland, Putin and Merkel are persuading Poroshenko to extend the ceasefire, Russian tanks are openly being towed on platforms to Luhansk,” Denis Kazansky writes. [Archive Photo] © AFP

In broad daylight, terrorists are moving Russian tanks to Luhansk towed on platforms, journalist Denis Kazansky writes on Facebook today.

“Let me describe how Luhansk looks like today.

While Olland, Putin and Merkel are persuading Poroshenko to extend the ceasefire, Russian tanks are openly being towed on platforms to Luhansk, “he wrote.

The terrorists have used the unilateral ceasefire to regroup and strengthen their positions, media reports confirm.


Russia’s ‘#Gay #Propaganda’ Law One Year On Today

By Gabrielle Tétrault-FarberJun. 29 2014 20:54

LGBT rallyEvgeniy Isaev / Flickr: A photo from Moscow LGBT rally taken on June 12, 2012. Since the adoption of “gay propaganda” law, the violent attacks against LGBT people in Russia have increased.

In the year that has passed since Russia adopted a law banning “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations among minors,” the country’s LGBT community has witnessed the erosion of its rights and freedoms, human rights activists said.

Since President Vladimir Putin approved the so-called “gay propaganda” law on June 29, 2013, only four individuals have been fined for violating it, according to Tanya Lokshina, program director and senior researcher at Human Rights Watch Russia. But, Lokshina added, the rarity of the law’s formal enforcement inadequately reflects its broader consequences for Russia’s LGBT community.

“Only a few people were fined throughout the year and this might not seem to be much of a problem,” Lokshina said. “But the fines are not what this law is about. This law is not only contrary to Russia’s international obligations but has also contributed to anti-gay violence and to creating a hostile environment for LGBT people in the country. It has contributed to stigmatizing LGBT individuals as unnatural, perverse and as acceptable targets.”

Putin has distanced himself from the issue of LGBT rights in the country. In January, he said that he was “not prejudiced in any way” and that he even had gay friends. He has also said publicly that gays face no discrimination in Russia.

Since the adoption of the country’s “gay propaganda” law, Human Rights Watch has observed an increase in violent attacks carried out against LGBT people in Russia.

U.S. advocacy group Human Rights Campaign reported that at least two men were killed because of their sexual orientation in Russia in the summer of 2013 alone and that others had been assaulted, pelted with eggs and blinded in air gun attacks in the past year.  Continue reading

Eugene Melnyk, confident billionaire with Ukrainian roots, takes on Putin

Eugene Melnyk gives Ottawa Senators clothing to orphans he supports at a camp in Vorokhta in Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast. The gifts are organized by Help Us Help the Children, a charity established in Canada.Eugene Melnyk gives Ottawa Senators clothing to orphans he supports at a camp in Vorokhta in Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast. The gifts are organized by Help Us Help the Children, a charity established in Canada. One of four children born to Ukrainian parents from Chernivtsi Oblast, Melnyk tries to visit Ukraine annually at least and calls it “a beautiful country, with Kyiv at the cusp of being a world-class city.” Ironically, Melnyk’s maternal grandfather was the president of an industrial soccer league in Toronto when he was growing up. He thinks Ukraine’s biggest mistake was to give up its nuclear arsenal in 1994. If Ukraine still had the weapons, said Melnyk, “nobody would invade it right now. I would know where to point them.© Courtesy

Eugene Melnyk, the billionaire owner of the Ottawa Senators NHL hockey team, wants to hit Russia, the 2018 World Cup host, and FIFA, the tournament’s administering organization, where it hurts: in their pocketbooks.

Last month, he launched United with Ukraine, a grassroots organization dedicated to stopping Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine and its illegal occupation of the Crimean peninsula.

A primary component of the campaign, according to the 55-year-old Toronto native with Ukrainian roots, is an international boycott of the prestigious tournament’s sponsors. On June 5, it expanded its list of targets from the beer sponsor, Anheuser-Busch InBev, to Visa, Kia and Sony.

Anheuser-Busch InBev spokesperson Karen Couck told the Kyiv Post that “we are aware of the campaign and have reached out to the organizers. Decisions as to the location of the FIFA World Cup are made by the FIFA Governing Body without any sponsor consultation. We would be happy to facilitate a contact with FIFA, because we believe direct dialogue can be most effective in addressing concerns.”

But Melnyk said that even though Western nations are mulling additional economic sanctions to further punish Russia, another opportunity is to have FIFA strip Russia of its 2018 World Cup hosting rights, whose budget for the tournament stands at $20 billion. “Russia has illegally invaded a sovereign nation, broken international laws and is orchestrating daily terrorist activities within Ukraine. I do not believe Anheuser-Busch InBev, Visa, Kia Motors and Sony are companies that want to align or associate their brands with Vladimir Putin and Russia. These global companies and their once loyal customers have an important principled choice to make.”

Moscow officials, including the Russian president, have called Crimea a historic part of Russia and deny any involvement in the separatist movements in eastern Ukraine.

Melnyk’s strategy, thus, is to shame the World Cup’s corporate partners into dropping their support. If sponsors start to exit, then FIFA will be compelled to strip Russia’s hosting rights and conduct another vote.

Sponsors, he added, have an “economic and a public relations interest” in “protecting their reputations,” Melnyk told the Kyiv Post in a telephone interview.

Melnyk, who made his fortune in the pharmaceuticals industry, said he chose the campaign because “I’m on the other side of the ocean. I’m not living there (in Ukraine), and I can’t pick up a gun and fight.”

But he doesn’t trust FIFA will do the right thing on its own. He challenged the soccer governing body to live up to its mantra of using the power of football as a “unifying force…for social and human development…” By letting Russia host the event, FIFA is being “hypocritical,” he said.  Continue reading