8 NATO ships shadowed Russian aircraft carrier ‘Kuznetsov’ in Mediterranean

The first-ever combat mission of the only Russian aircraft carrier has drawn much attention from NATO, the chief of the Russian Navy said.

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A group of Russian warships headed by aircraft carrier ‘Admiral Kuznetsov’ was deployed to the Mediterranean Sea in mid-October to assist in the Syrian mission.

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“It’s the first time since the aircraft carrier was built that we use our Navy aviation in a combat environment. Of course, it draws attention, particularly from NATO members,” Admiral Vladimir Korolyov told Rossiya 24 news channel.

“Up to eight ships shadowed us as we passed Great Britain. But there were no violations of the international laws of the sea,” he added.

The ‘Admiral Kuznetsov’ is accompanied three other Russian warships and several support ships. The Su-33 and MiG-29 warplanes the carrier has on board have been used to attack terrorist targets in Syria’s Idlib and Homs governorates.

READ MORE: Watch Su-33 fighter take off Russian carrier ‘Kuznetsov’ in majestic 360 video (RT EXCLUSIVE)

According to Korolyov, the Russian carrier group’s mission was not hampered by NATO effort to deny it resupplying in Malta and the Spanish enclave Ceuta near Morocco.

“All our missions, including the one of the aircraft carrier groups, are planned to be independent in terms of supplies and transit logistics. So there were and will be no issues with that,” he said.

The Russian pilot naval mission in the Mediterranean sparked media hype in some Western nations, particularly in the UK, where reports depicted the passage of the Russian warships as a significant threat to national security.

The mission has been marred by the embarrassing loss of two fighter jets. One went down in November, when arrestor gear on the carrier broke down and the deck crew failed to fix it before the aircraft ran out of fuel. The second one this week slid off the deck during landing, when the arrestor gear line snapped and failed to stop the aircraft. In both incidents the pilots ejected and were rescued from the sea.

‘In French presidential elections, it will be Marine Le Pen’s to lose’

National Front (FN) leader Marie Le Pen is speaking to the issues that people are concerned about. In other words, the declining standard of living, the lack of real job creation, Jack Rasmus, Professor of Political Economy at St. Mary’s College, told RT.

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The French political landscape is heading for some dramatic changes as former Prime Ministers Alain Juppe and Francois Fillon are heading for the second round of the Republican primaries following a national vote.

Ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy has already been eliminated from the running.

Meanwhile, polls in the build-up to the primaries showed National Front (FN) leader Marie Le Pen ahead in the first round of next year’s vote.

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Le Pen has said that if she wins the presidential elections, the world will become a safer place, as France will cooperate with both US President-elect Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“The forces at work in these various elections are ideas, forces which could bring about my election as the president of France next May,” Le Pen said last week.

Fillon, 62, has based his campaign on a program of economic reform – dumping France’s controversial 35-hour week, increasing the retirement age, and cutting public spending, in an effort to spark economic rejuvenation.

RT:  We saw the U.S. media absolutely fail with their predictions in the election there. Are people in France feeling disillusioned with their political establishment?

Jack Rasmus: I think there are a lot of similarities going on here, just as there were with Trump and Brexit in England. What you’ve got is a lot of working class and small business folks who are just fed up with the policies of the last decade, which have emphasized trade and tax benefits for the rich, the concentration of income and the loss of jobs with which people can sustain themselves. What you see are these sectors of society protesting. This is a protest vote, a change vote. And even this primary vote in France with Sarkozy is a small signal of the same thing happening over there. I think Le Pen is in a very strong position here because people are just rejecting the old parties associated with the old policies. They don’t really care how extreme some of their positions may be. We saw that with Trump. No one cared about some of his outrageous statements. All they cared about was that this seemed like he’s going to make a change.

RT:  We saw Sarkozy concede defeat in the primaries – does he simply not represent a change, something new? Will politicians like Sarkozy have difficulty appealing to voters – no matter what they say now?

JR: I don’t think there will be any change by any of the parties and their policies, which are classically neo-Liberal anywhere in continental Europe right now. They are on the same track to defeat here as the people protest that track. All of the Republican candidates are associated with the policies of the past, just as Hollande and the Socialist Party is pretty much defunct now. It doesn’t matter who they put up. Nobody is going to vote for the Socialists. It’s really going to be Le Pen’s election to lose, I think.

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RT:  The acting prime minister of France recently claimed that Le Pen is likely to win the coming election. Why does he see a victory for the far-right in France?

JR: She’s speaking to the issues that people are concerned about. In other words, the declining standard of living, the lack of real job creation. A lot of these jobs are part-time, temp contract jobs you can’t make a living off of them. A lot of the youth can’t find jobs at all; they’re stuck in these low-paid, part-time service employment… so they’re not really addressing those real issues. And of course, when someone comes along like Le Pen, or Trump or the UKIP Party in Britain and says, ‘Look, we’re going to change.’ And it doesn’t matter how detailed they get or don’t get about the details of the change. It’s just here is someone that will give us something different, we can’t up with what we’ve got anymore.

Obama, EU leaders agree to keep anti-Russian sanctions over Ukraine

US President Barack Obama and EU leaders have agreed to keep anti-Russian sanctions in place for a further year over the situation in Ukraine.

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President Obama, who is on his final official visit to Europe, met with the leaders of Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the UK on Friday.

Among the main topics on the agenda were extending sanctions against Russia, cooperation within the framework of NATO, the rise of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) in Iraq and Syria, and possible new anti-Russian sanctions over Moscow’s actions in Syria.

Read more
Obama in Berlin: Russia is military superpower

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“The leaders agreed on the necessity of working collectively to move the transatlantic agenda forward, particularly on bringing stabilization to the Middle East and North Africa, as well as securing diplomatic resolution to the conflicts in Syria and eastern Ukraine,” the White House said in the statement.

READ MORE: Russian sanctions cost Italy €7bn and up to 200,000 jobs – Italian MP

“The leaders also affirmed the importance of continued cooperation through multilateral institutions, including NATO,” the White House added.

Sanctions won’t stop Russia from improving its dialogue and ties with other countries, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

“We [Russia] have never initiated sanctions. These [sanctions] don’t prevent us from building dialogue and continuing the dialogue on matters that are of interest to us, to Russia,” Peskov said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and outgoing US President Obama are likely to talk informally on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific summit in the Peruvian capital of Lima, Peskov said on Friday.

“The two administrations have not agreed on any separate meetings, but we can assume that President Putin and President Obama will cross paths on the sidelines of the forum and will talk,” Peskov said.

READ MORE: EU’s dialogue with Russia should be ‘correct and pragmatic’ – Italian FM

Also on Friday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg gave a speech at an event hosted by the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF), where he said that Europe and the United States “are close economic and trade partners” and mentioned potential threats for the alliance.

“Russia, breaking international law. Turmoil in North Africa and the Middle East. The refugee and migration crisis. International terrorism. Hybrid warfare. And cyber-attacks,” said Stoltenberg, listing the perceived dangers.

McCain to Trump: Don’t You Dare Make Peace with Russia!

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by DANIEL MCADAMS

Sit down. This is going to shock you. (Not).

We reported yesterday on the telephone call between US president-elect Trump and Russian president Putin, where the current and future presidents discussed the need to set aside differences and look to more constructive future relations. With serious observers of this past year’s increasing tensions between US and Russia openly worrying about a nuclear war breaking out, with some 300,000 NATO troops placed on Russia’s border, with sanctions hurting average businesspersons on both sides, a normal person might look at the slight thaw in Cold War 2.0 as an early positive indicator of the end of the Obama Era.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) begs to differ. 

In a blistering statement he released today responding to the Trump/Putin telephone call, Sen. McCain condemned any efforts by President-elect Trump to find common ground with Putin. 

Any claim by Putin that he wants to improve relations with the US must be vigorously opposed, writes McCain. He explains:

We should place as much faith in such statements as any other made by a former KGB agent who has plunged his country into tyranny, murdered his political opponents, invaded his neighbors, threatened America’s allies, and attempted to undermine America’s elections. 

Interesting that Republican McCain has taken to using the Hillary Clinton campaign line (the one that lost her the election) that somehow the Russians were manipulating the US electoral process. The claim was never backed up by facts and Hillary’s claim that some 17 US intelligence agencies agreed with her was shown to be a dangerous and foolish lie.

Why is Putin not to be trusted, according to McCain?

Vladimir Putin has rejoined Bashar Assad in his barbaric war against the Syrian people with the resumption of large-scale Russian air and missile strikes in Idlib and Homs. Another brutal assault on the city of Aleppo could soon follow.

What McCain doesn’t say is that unlike US troops in Syria, the Russians are invited by the Syrian government and operate according to international law. Oh yes, and they are also fighting al-Qaeda and ISIS, which has sought to overthrow Assad for the past five years.

Maybe McCain is just really sensitive after meeting with al-Qaeda and ISIS in Syria?

As rumors swirl from Washington about neocons sniffing out top jobs in the incoming administration, it would serve president-elect Trump well to reflect on he true nature of the neocon beast…

State Dept dismisses question from RT, says won’t treat it like other media

RT has asked the US State Department for specific information concerning allegations that Russia is targeting hospitals in Syria. The response was a reiteration of those allegations and a refusal to treat RT in the same way as other media outlets.

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During Wednesday’s State Department briefing, spokesman John Kirby accused Russia of the bombing of “five hospitals and at least one mobile clinic in Syria.” RT’s reporter Gayane Chichakyan asked Kirby to specify the details of the alleged incidents, including their location.

Kirby said that he doesn’t know the exact locations.

“I’m not making those accusations, I’m telling you that we’ve seen reports from credible aid organizations,” Kirby said, refusing to clarify any details on the alleged attacks or even give the list of the “many Syrian relief agencies” on which the State Department relied.

He went on with his criticism of the reporter.

“Here’s a good question: Why don’t you ask your Defense Ministry what they are doing? You work for Russia Today [RT], and so why shouldn’t you ask your government the same kind of questions that you are asking me?” Kirby told RT on Wednesday.

The official US response prompted Matt Lee, a correspondent from the AP news agency, to intervene.

“Please be careful about saying ‘your Defense Ministry’ and things like that – she’s a journalist, she’s just like the rest of us are,” he pointed out.

“From a state-owned outlet!” Kirby interrupted, adding, “I’m not going to put Russia Today on the same level with the rest of you who are representing independent media outlets.”

shamanahaboolist

Hahaha she wiped the floor with him.
David Jones

This is the guy that Sen John McCain called an ‘Idiot.” He also questioned how it was possible that he could be a Rear Admiral in the US Navy. Ha! Ha!
MudВuтт's Pratfall Disaster

She asked him questions about lies he was repeating. He could not answer them. End of story.
Robert Tube

Good god is it January 20th yet?
Stendec

This is proper journalist

 

Putin & Trump discuss Syria and US-Russia relations in phone call – Kremlin

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US President-elect Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin have held their first telephone call, in which the two leaders discussed Syria and agreed to improve and develop bilateral ties, the Kremlin said in a statement.

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In their telephone conversation, the two leaders agreed that they share a common view on uniting efforts in the fight with the common enemy number one – international terrorism and extremism,” the Kremlin said in a statement published on its website late Monday. The Kremlin added that Putin and Trump also discussed ways to settle the Syria crisis.

Putin and Trump paid special attention to the importance of establishing a stable basis for bilateral relations by developing trade and economic ties between the two countries and working toward “constructive cooperation,” the Kremlin said.

The president and the president-elect agreed to keep in contact by telephone and have discussed the idea of meeting in person.

Next year, Russia and the US will celebrate 210 years since the beginning of their diplomatic relations, which might motivate them “reversing towards pragmatic, mutually beneficial cooperation that would satisfy the interests of both countries, promote stability and safety around the world,” the statement also says.

Trump’s team has issued a statement saying Putin congratulated the US president-elect on his election victory.

Trump is “very much looking forward to having a strong and enduring relationship with Russia and the people of Russia,” the statement said.

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Russian parliament speaker Vyacheslav Volodin told NTV Channel on Sunday that Putin and Trump share views on a wide range of matters which might “radically change the situation” in US-Russia relations.

“Putin and Trump have numerous common points and shared views,” Volodin said.

He noted that outgoing President Barack Obama had ignored Russia’s initiatives and deliberately “whipped up tensions, therefore contributing to the growing animosity” between the two countries, while Trump might assume a far different attitude toward Russia.

READ MORE: Putin on Trump victory: Russia is ready to restore relations with US

“If Trump brings his promises to life, it will radically change the situation. We have only seen Trump as a candidate but we are yet to see what [kind of] president he will be,” the Duma speaker said.

Earlier Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Moscow didn’t plan to contact President-elect Trump before his inauguration in January 2017, but he couldn’t entirely rule out the possibility of such contacts, including letters, telephone calls and meetings. Peskov’s statement came in response to speculations that Donald Trump’s team had contacted Russian officials on numerous occasions.

End of ‘liberal non-democracy’: Hungarian PM Orban hails Trump victory

Viktor Orban, Hungary’s maverick PM, says Donald Trump’s US election victory marks an end of a two-decade period of “liberal non-democracy” in the West.

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“This is the second day of a historic event, in which Western civilization appears to successfully break free from the confines of an ideology,” Orban told a conference organized by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

“We are living in the days where what we call liberal non-democracy – in which we lived for the past 20 years – ends, and we can return to real democracy,” said Orban, without explicitly referring to Trump’s election win.

Orban, a billionaire investor turned politician, is not unlike Trump. He is conservative, often criticized for choosing pragmatic solutions over those based on values, and skeptical over globalization and the dangers it poses to his home country.

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He was the first European politician to express a preference for the Republican nominee in the American election over Democrat Hillary Clinton. In July he called Clinton’s foreign policy plans “deadly” for Hungary, while Trump’s skepticism over immigration was “vital” for Budapest. In his Thursday speech, Orban dismissed fears that Trump’s surprise victory would be disastrous for the West.

“We can call problems by their name and find solutions not derived from an ideology but based on pragmatic, creative thinking rooted in common sense,” Orban said.

“We are two days after the big bang and still alive,” he said. “What a wonderful world. This also shows that democracy is creative and innovative.”

Orban added that Trump’s victory represented a change in global popular thinking just like the unexpected “leave” vote during the Brexit referendum in the UK did.

“Brexit is not a tragedy, even remotely,” Orban said. “It is not a defeat, but an attempt by a great nation to make itself successful in other ways than what everyone else had considered the path to success.”

Earlier Orban called Trump’s victory “great news” in a Facebook post.

The Hungarian PM is a vocal critic of some EU policies, most noticeably its open doors policy to asylum seekers and the plan to resettle them across union members. He ordered the erection of a barbed wire fence along Hungary’s southern borders to stop the inflow of refugees through the Balkans.

He also called for the restoration of the EU’s ties with Russia, calling Brussels’ anti-Russian sanctions hurtful for Europe and pointless in terms of pressuring Moscow.