Posts Tagged ‘Lavrov’

U.S. Repositioning Aircraft Over Syria as Tensions Rise

June 19, 2017

WASHINGTON — The U.S. military said on Monday it was repositioning its aircraft over Syria to ensure the safety of American air crews targeting Islamic State, as tensions escalate following the U.S. downing of a Syrian military jet on Sunday.

“As a result of recent encounters involving pro-Syrian Regime and Russian forces, we have taken prudent measures to re-position aircraft over Syria so as to continue targeting ISIS forces while ensuring the safety of our aircrew given known threats in the battlespace,” said Lieutenant Colonel Damien Pickart, a spokesman at U.S. Air Forces Central Command.

(Reporting by Phil Stewart)

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Russia To Target U.S. and Coalition Aircraft Over Syria

June 19, 2017

Russia steps up rhetoric after U.S. fighter shoots down Syrian government jet

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June 19, 2017 10:33 a.m. ET

MOSCOW—Russia escalated tensions with the United States Monday, promising to actively track U.S. and coalition aircraft over Syria with air defense systems and warplanes, the country’s defense ministry said.

In a statement released Monday, the Russian military said it would treat U.S. and coalition operating west of the Euphrates Rivers as “aerial targets,” but stopped short of threatening a shootdown.

“In regions where the…

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Russia warns US-led coalition over downing of Syrian jet

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Defence ministry says planes flying west of Euphrates will be treated as targets and that it has suspended safety agreement with US

A US navy F/A-18 Super Hornet
The Pentagon confirmed that a US Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet had shot down a Syrian warplane on Sunday. Photograph: US DoD handout/EPA

Russia’s defence ministry has said it will treat any plane from the US-led coalition flying west of the Euphrates river in Syria as a potential target, after the US military shot down a Syrian air force jet on Sunday.

The ministry also said it was suspending a safety agreement with Washington designed to prevent collisions and dangerous incidents in Syrian airspace.

According to the Pentagon the Syrian jet in question had dropped bombs near US partner forces involved in the fight to wrest Raqqa from Islamic State (Isis) control. It was the first such US attack on a Syrian air force plane since the start of the country’s civil war six years ago.

In an apparent attempt at deescalation, Viktor Ozerov, the chairman of the defence and security committee at the upper chamber of Russian parliament, described the defence ministry’s statement as a warning. “I’m sure that because of this neither the US nor anyone else will take any actions to threaten our aircraft,” he told the state-owned RIA Novosti news agency. “That’s why there’s no threat of direct confrontation between Russia and American aircraft.”

Ozerov said Russia will be tracking the coalition’s jets, not shooting them down, but he added that “a threat for those jets may appear only if they take action that pose a threat to Russian aircraft”.

The deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov, said the US strike “has to be seen as a continuation of America’s line to disregard the norms of international law.

“What is this if not an act of aggression? It is, if you like, help to those terrorists that the US is fighting against, declaring they are carrying out an anti-terrorism policy.”

The Russian response increases the risk of an inadvertent air fight breaking out between US and Russian warplanes in the skies above Syria.

The US military confirmed that a US Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet had shot down a Syrian SU-22 on Sunday. The US said the Syrian jet had dropped bombs near Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters who are aligned with US forces in the fight against Isis. Damascus said its plane had been on anti-Isis mission.

Col John Thomas, a spokesman for US Central Command, said there were no US forces in the immediate vicinity of the Syrian attack but that the SDF was under threat for more than two hours.

The growing risk of a direct confrontation between the US and Russia follows a decision by Donald Trump to grant his military chiefs untrammelled control of US military strategy in Syria.

Tensions have also been bubbling between Washington and Moscow over efforts to dislodge Isis from its Raqqa stronghold.

Russia, a staunch supporter of Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, has been pressing the US to make the removal of Isis a joint land and air operation, but discussions over Syria’s long-term political future appear to have ground to a halt, leaving the US military to operate in a political vacuum.

The SDF, an alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters working alongside western special forces, said it would take action to defend itself from Syrian warplanes if attacks continued.

The Trump administration has promised to improve arms supplies to the SDF after it concluded that it was the force most capable of freeing Raqqa from Isis.

In a sign of how complex the Syrian peace process has become, Russian-sponsored peace talks in Astana, Kazakhstan, are scheduled to resume on the same day – 10 July – as talks convened by the UN in Geneva.

The Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, announced the date on Monday in the knowledge that it would coincide with the UN schedule. He also said that the UN’s Syria envoy, Staffan de Mistura, would take part.

A spokesman for de Mistura said “the subject is currently being discussed”.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/19/russia-target-us-led-coalition-warplanes-over-syria

Russia halts US aviation cooperation over downing of Syrian jet

June 19, 2017

AFP, Reuters and The Associated Press

© Omar haj kadour, AFP | A Syrian army jet fires rockets over the village of Rahbet Khattab in Hama province on March 23, 2017.

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2017-06-19

The Russian defence ministry said Monday that it was halting aviation cooperation with the United States after the US downed a Syrian government warplane on Sunday, a move one Russian official described as a clear “act of aggression”.

The Russian defence ministry said it was halting cooperation with Washington within the framework of the Memorandum on the Prevention of Incidents and Ensuring Air Safety in Syria, effective immediately. It also accused the United States of not using the proper communication channels before shooting down the Syrian army jet.

“The command of the coalition forces did not use the established communication channel for preventing incidents in Syrian airspace,” the ministry said, adding that Moscow “ends cooperation with the American side from June 19”.

Moreover, any coalition aircraft flying to the west of the Euphrates will be treated as targets, the defence ministry said.

“Any flying objects, including planes and drones of the international coalition, discovered west of the Euphrates river will be tracked as aerial targets by Russia’s air defences on and above ground.”

URGENT: Russian military halts Syria sky incident prevention interactions with US as of June 19 – Moscow https://on.rt.com/8f9g pic.twitter.com/w27zQsyy5y

RT

@RT_comCoalition’s airborne objects in Russian Air Force’s Syria missions areas to be tracked as targets – Moscow https://on.rt.com/8f9g  pic.twitter.com/PHqYQjI6Yo

Voir l'image sur Twitter

Russia previously suspended the memorandum of understanding on air safety in April to protest against US airstrikes launched in response to a suspected chemical attack.

Russia’s deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov, on Monday firmly condemned the United States for shooting down the Syrian plane, calling it an “act of aggression”.

“This strike has to be seen as a continuation of America’s line to disregard the norms of international law,” Ryabkov told journalists in Moscow on Monday, the TASS news agency reported. “What is this if not an act of aggression?”

Ryabkov said the Kremlin had also warned the United States not to use force against the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a longtime Moscow ally.

A Syrian jet plane

The incident marked the first time an American fighter jet had taken down a Syrian warplane, which Washington accused of attacking US-backed fighters.

The tensions come as the US-led coalition and allied fighters battle to evict the Islamic State (IS) group from its Syrian stronghold of Raqqa.

>> Read more: MSF says 10,000 Syrians flee Raqqa as battle for the city nears

The Syrian jet was shot down after regime forces engaged fighters from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance battling IS jihadists with US support, in an area close to Raqqa. The American F/A-18E Super Hornet shot down the Syrian SU-22 around 7pm as it “dropped bombs near SDF fighters” south of the town of Tabqa, the coalition said in a statement.

It said that several hours earlier, regime forces had attacked the SDF in another town near Tabqa, wounding several and driving the SDF from the town.

The coalition said the Syrian warplane had been shot down “in accordance with rules of engagement and in collective self-defence of Coalition partnered forces”.

Syria’s army disputed the account, saying its plane was hit while “conducting a mission against the terrorist Islamic State group”.

It warned of “the grave consequences of this flagrant aggression”.

International imbroglio

The SDF entered Raqqa for the first time earlier this month and now holds four neighbourhoods in the east and west of the city.

In a further escalation of military action in Syria, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard said it launched a series of missiles into Syria on Sunday in revenge for deadly attacks on its capital that were claimed by the Islamic State group. It said the missiles were “in retaliation” for a June 7 attack on the parliament complex and the shrine of revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini that killed 17 people.

Assad has focused his forces further east, to the oil-rich province of Deir Ezzor, which is largely under IS group control and where government forces are besieged in part of the provincial capital.

Outside of coalition operations, US forces have only once directly targeted the regime – when Washington launched air strikes against an airbase it said was the launchpad for an alleged chemical attack that killed more than 80 civilians in April.

The Kremlin denounced those US strikes as an “aggression against a sovereign state in violation of international law”.

Syria’s war began in March 2011 with anti-government protests but has since spiralled into a complex and bloody conflict that has killed more than 320,000 people and become a proxy war for regional powers as well as ensnaring the United States and Russia.

Interfax reported that Ryabkov and the US under secretary of state, Thomas Shannon, would meet in St Petersburg on June 23 to discuss persistent tensions in bilateral ties.

(FRANCE 24 with AP, AFP and REUTERS)

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The Syrian SU-22 fighter bomber was shot down by an American F18 Super Hornet after it had dropped bombs near the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces north of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil)-held city of Raqqa in northern Syria.

The US, which has special forces troops in the area, had earlier sent a warning to the Syrian military to stop targeting the forces and called on Russia to rein in its ally, but they were ignored.

Russia, which intervened militarily to back the Syrian regime in 2015,on Monday condemned the US action, saying it flouted international law.

“It is, if you like, help to those terrorists that the US is fighting against, declaring they are carrying out an anti-terrorism policy,” Sergei Ryabkov, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, said, adding it was a “dangerous escalation”.

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Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the international affairs committee in Russia’s upper house of parliament, said: “It is hard for me to choose any other words but these: if you [the US] can’t help you should at least not interfere. As your ‘efforts’ once again do nothing but help the militants.

“You are fighting the wrong party: it is not the Syrian army that perpetrates terror attacks in European capital cities.”

See the whole report:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/06/18/us-forces-shoot-syrian-jet-first-time-move-described-self-defence/

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Russian diplomat: U.S. downing of Syrian warplane is ‘support of terrorists’: TASS

June 19, 2017

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Moscow sees the downing of a Syrian government warplane by the United States as an “act of aggression and support of terrorists”, TASS news agency quoted Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov as saying on Monday.

(Reporting by Maria Kiselyova; Writing by Dmitry Solovyov)

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The truth is, the U.S. has communicated with Russia and Syria many times not to fly in a threatening manner in certain areas. The consequences of Syria’s Russian-supported actions are clear. Russia’s answer is more fake news and propaganda. Peace and Freedom Editor

Russia’s Lavrov calls on U.S. to respect Syria’s integrity — After U.S. Shoots Down Syrian Jet

June 19, 2017
Reuters

The United States should respect Syria’s territorial integrity and refrain from unilateral actions in this country, Russian news agencies quoted Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as saying on Monday.

Lavrov made his remarks after a U.S. warplane shot down a Syrian army jet on Sunday in the southern Raqqa countryside, with Washington saying the jet had dropped bombs near U.S.-backed forces and Damascus saying the plane was downed while flying a mission against Islamic State militants.

Lavrov also said that a new round of peace talks on Syria in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana would tale place on July 10.

(Reporting by Maria Kiselyova; Writing by Dmitry Solovyov)

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U.S. Says It Shot Down Syrian Aircraft

Move marks the first time coalition forces have struck a regime plane in the nation’s civil war

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Updated June 18, 2017 11:01 p.m. ET

An American warplane shot down a Syrian government jet on Sunday, the Pentagon said, marking the first time in Syria’s civil war that a U.S. pilot has struck a regime plane and signaling an increased willingness by the Trump administration to directly challenge President Bashar al-Assad and his allies.

On Sunday, the U.S. military said it had shot down the Syrian SU-22 after regime forces twice attacked members of American-backed…

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Pentagon: US shoots down Syrian aircraft for first time

In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, shows warplanes inside the Kweiras air base, east of Aleppo, Syria, Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2015. (SANA via AP)

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The U.S. military on Sunday shot down a Syrian Air Force fighter jet that bombed local forces aligned with the Americans in the fight against Islamic State militants, an action that appeared to mark a new escalation of the conflict.

The U.S. had not shot down a Syrian regime aircraft before Sunday’s confrontation, said Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman. While the U.S. has said since it began recruiting, training and advising what it calls moderate Syrian opposition forces to fight IS that it would protect them from potential Syrian government retribution, this was the first time it resorted to engaging in air-to-air combat to make good on that promise.

The U.S.-led coalition headquarters in Iraq said in a written statement that a U.S. F-18 Super Hornet shot down a Syrian government SU-22 after it dropped bombs near the U.S. partner forces, known as the Syrian Democratic Forces. The shootdown was near the Syrian town of Tabqa.

The U.S. military statement said it acted in “collective self defense” of its partner forces and that the U.S. did not seek a fight with the Syrian government or its Russian supporters.

According to a statement from the Pentagon, pro-Syrian regime forces attacked the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces-held town of Ja’Din, south of Tabqah in northern Syria, wounding a number of SDF fighters and driving the SDF from the town.

Coalition aircraft conducted a show of force and stopped the initial pro-regime advance toward the town, the Pentagon said. Following the pro-Syrian forces attack, the coalition called its Russian counterparts “to de-escalate the situation and stop the firing,” according to the statement.

A few hours later, the Syrian SU-22 dropped bombs near SDF fighters and, “in collective self-defense of coalition-partnered forces,” was immediately shot down by a U.S. F/A-18E Super Hornet, the Pentagon said.

“The coalition’s mission is to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria,” the Pentagon said, using an abbreviation for the Islamic State group. “The coalition does not seek to fight Syrian regime, Russian or pro-regime forces partnered with them, but will not hesitate to defend coalition or partner forces from any threat. ”

U.S. forces tangled earlier this month with Syria-allied aircraft in the region. On June 8, U.S. officials reported that a drone likely connected to Iranian-supported Hezbollah forces fired on U.S.-backed troops and was shot down by an American fighter jet. The incident took place in southern Syria near a base where the U.S.-led coalition was training Syrian rebels fighting the Islamic State group.

An Army spokesman at the Pentagon said at the time that the drone carried more weapons and was considered a direct threat, prompting the shootdown.

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Associated Press writer Lolita C. Baldor contributed to this report.

Egypt Foreign Minister Says Libyan Militant Camps Direct Threat

May 29, 2017

CAIRO — Militant training camps in Libya are a direct threat to Egypt’s national security, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said on Monday.

Speaking at a joint press conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Shoukry said the latest attacks on Egypt’s Christians prove that Libyan militants are able to target Egypt.

Shoukry added that Egypt’s ongoing military operations are in full coordination with the Libyan National Army.

(Reporting by Ahmed Aboulenein; Writing by Eric Knecht; Editing by Giles Elgood)

Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has reportedly been identified as a “person of interest” in “Russia Investigation”

May 20, 2017

A former FBI Director is heading the probe

By Andrew Buncombe, Mythili Sampathkumar New York
The Independent

jared-probe.jpg

Mr Kushner is accompanying Mr Trump on his first official foreign visit Getty

Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has reportedly been identified as a “person of interest” in the ongoing investigation into possible ties between Russia and Donald Trump’s campaign.

The Washington Post said a senior adviser to Mr Trump was among people investigators wanted to speak to. A New York magazine reporter then said the person in question was Mr Kushner, 36, who is married to Mr Trump’s eldest daughter and who flew out of Washington on Friday night to accompany the President on his first official foreign trip.

The Post said the person under investigation was close to the President, but did not identify them. However, the number of people who fit such a profile would be very small.

NYmag reporter says that WH official identified as a “person of interest” in Russia investigation is Jared Kushner https://twitter.com/yashar/status/865659133969575936 

Yashar Ali, a contributor to New York magazine said on Twitter: “It’s Jared Kushner. Have confirmed this with four people. I’m not speculating.”

The White House did not immediately respond to calls and emails from The Independent seeking comment. The Trump Organisation, which controls the President’s financial interests, also did not respond to queries.

White House officials have previously acknowledged contacts between Russian officials and Mr Kushner, as well as with Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

The revelation came just two days after the Justice Department announced that former FBI Director, Robert Mueller, had been appointed special counsel to lead the investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Reports suggest the investigation also appears to be entering a more overtly active phase, with investigators shifting from work that has remained largely hidden from the public to conducting interviews and using a grand jury to issue subpoenas. The intensity of the probe is expected to accelerate in the coming weeks, the Post said.

Trump denies that he urged Comey to close Flynn investigation

It said investigators remained keenly interested in people who previously wielded influence in the Trump campaign and administration but are no longer part of it, including former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

The report was published as Mr Trump travelled to Saudi Arabia on the first leg of a trip abroad that the White House hopes will shift attention away from the political firestorm triggered by his firing last week of former FBI Director James Comey.

Now we know why Jared Kushner insisted that James Comey be fired. Kushner was a focus of the FBI investigation. Who’s the “nut job” now?

Mr Comey was previously leading the probe.

His firing and news reports that Mr Trump had previously asked Mr Comey to stop investigating Mr Flynn led critics to charge that Mr Trump may have improperly sought to hamper the FBI probe.

“As the President has stated before – a thorough investigation will confirm that there was no collusion between the campaign and any foreign entity,” White House spokesman Sean Spicer said in a statement in response to the Post’s report.

Separately, the New York Times reported on Friday that Mr Trump told Russian officials at a White House meeting last week that firing Mr Comey relieved “great pressure” that the president was facing from the ongoing probe into Russia and the election.

“I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job,” Mr Trump said, according to the Times, which cited a document summarising the meeting and which was read to the newspaper by a US official. “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.”

Mr Trump met Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russia’s Ambassador to Washington  in the Oval Office the day after he fired Mr Comey.

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Earlier this year, the White House issued a statement saying Mr Kushner had volunteered to testify before the Senate intelligence committee in relation to its Russia investigation.

“Mr. Kushner will certainly not be the last person the committee calls to give testimony, but we expect him to be able to provide answers to key questions that have arisen in our inquiry,” said a statement from the Senate intelligence committee.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/jared-kushner-russia-investigation-trump-song-in-law-probe-person-interest-a7745916.html

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Trump Says National Security Advisor General McMaster is “A Pain”

May 18, 2017

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National security advisor H.R. McMaster

  • President Trump’s National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster was put forward this week to answer questions about the classified Russia leak report 
  • McMaster, however, hasn’t had the full approval of the president, and according to the New York Times, was labeled ‘a pain’ 
  • The Army general’s appointment to the position, following Michael Flynn, was greeted as a good thing by D.C. insiders, but he’s annoyed President Trump  

President Trump’s National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster has been made the face of one of the trio of scandals the White House is currently reeling from.

When the Washington Post broke the news Monday night that Trump had slipped highly classified information about ISIS to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak – whose conversations with ex-National Security Advisor Michael Flynn had gotten him sacked – it was McMaster who the White House sent out to address the controversy.

But the pick of McMaster is interesting because, as the New York Times and Bloomberg reports, Trump hasn’t gotten along with the Army general, even going as far as labeling him ‘a pain.’   

President Trump (pictured) hasn't warmed to his second National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, even going as far as to label the general 'a pain,' the New York Times wrote

President Trump hasn't warmed to his second National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster (pictured), even going as far as to label the general 'a pain,' the New York Times wrote

President Trump  hasn’t warmed to his second National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster (above), even going as far as to label the general ‘a pain,’ the New York Times wrote

 National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster (pictured) was chosen to brief reporters Tuesday on the Washington Post story that said President Trump had revealed highly classified information about ISIS to Russia 

 National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster (pictured) was chosen to brief reporters Tuesday on the Washington Post story that said President Trump had revealed highly classified information about ISIS to Russia

National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster was also the first White House official out Monday to talk about the Washington Post story, which he furiously denied 

National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster was also the first White House official out Monday to talk about the Washington Post story, which he furiously denied

After Trump dismissed Flynn in February, Washington applauded the president’s pick of McMaster.

As Bloomberg View’s Eli Lake put it, McMaster was a ‘well-respected defense intellectual, praised by both parties, lending a steady hand to a chaotic White House.’

‘The grown-ups are back,’ Lake wrote, chronicling the collective sigh of relief coming from D.C. insiders looking at the White House.

But to Trump, McMaster was the guy who replaced his friend Flynn, who had been alongside the president on the campaign trail, speaking at the Republican National Convention and singing the businessman praises as a campaign surrogate.

As Lake noted, McMaster came into the position with ‘one strike against him.’

Other strikes began to add up, Lake reported, as McMaster tried to get Trump to drop the term ‘radical Islamic terrorism,’ a term Republicans love, which was part of the president’s first big speech before Congress.

Trump did not take the phrase out.

More recently, the president was annoyed that McMaster had called his South Korean counterpart to assure him that Trump’s threat to make the Asian country pay for its own missile defense system was not actually U.S. policy, Lake reported.

Trump then called McMaster screaming, Lake said, saying the general was undercutting efforts to get South Korea to pay its fair share.

More generally, the New York Times noted, McMaster had tried to gently correct Trump when the president strayed too far from talking points on issues where national security was involved.

This move has ‘chafed’ the president, who continues to lament the dismissal of Flynn.

This week, however, Trump may have extracted some revenge by dangling McMaster in front of packs of hungry reporters, having him knock down a news report that the president later, basically, confirmed.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4515154/Trump-calls-McMaster-pain.html#ixzz4hQJHvSc2
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Putin ‘ready to provide recording’ of Lavrov-Trump exchange — But he’s not helping the U.S. with North Korea, Increases trade

May 17, 2017

AFP

© POOL/AFP / by Yuri KADOBNOV with Maria ANTONOVA in Moscow | Vladimir Putin joked that Lavrov hadn’t passed on the information

SOCHI (RUSSIA) (AFP) – 

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that Moscow could provide a recording of a controversial exchange between Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US President Donald Trump that has plunged the White House into turmoil.

His comments were the first since Trump was hit with accusations that he shared secrets while meeting Lavrov in Washington, the latest crisis to hit the White house amid existing investigations into whether Trump’s aides colluded with Moscow during the campaign.

Putin said he was pleased with Lavrov’s visit to Washington last week but mocked the idea that Trump had shared secrets during the meeting, calling the allegations “political schizophrenia” and saying people spreading them are either “dumb” or “corrupt.”

“We can see that political schizophrenia is developing in the United States,” Putin told reporters after talks with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni in the southern Russian city of Sochi.

“I cannot otherwise explain the accusations of the president that he handed Lavrov some sort of secrets,” Putin added.

“If the US administration finds it possible, we are ready to provide a recording of the conversation between Lavrov and Trump to the US Congress and Senate,” Putin said.

Although Putin used the Russian word for audio recording at the press conference, his foreign policy aide Yuri Ushakov said that “audio is not made” at such meetings.

“There is a recording kept by a special person present at conversations,” Ushakov clarified to Russian news agencies.

Citing unnamed sources, the Washington Post reported that Trump had shared intelligence with Lavrov regarding an Islamic State group terror threat related to the use of laptop computers on airplanes.

According to sources cited in the report, that intelligence came from a US ally who had not authorised Washington to pass it on to Moscow.

– ‘Simply dumb’ –

The fresh US crisis sank the dollar early Wednesday as well as Hong Kong stocks amid worries that Trump’s economy-boosting and tax-cutting agenda could be derailed, with some experts mentioning possible impeachment.

As news emerged that Israel was the initial source of the intel, it attempted to contain the fallout from the scandal, with Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman saying security ties would continue to be “unprecedented” in scope.

A US administration official confirmed to AFP on condition of anonymity that the original intelligence came from Israel, which was initially reported by the New York Times.

British PM Theresa May meanwhile said Trump is free to decide what to discuss with White House visitors, while stressing that London’s relationship with Washington was “the most important defence and security relationship” around the world.

Putin mocked the idea that Trump went off-script to share secrets with the Russians, saying he could issue a “reprimand” to Lavrov since the minister hadn’t passed on the information.

“(Lavrov) didn’t share these secrets with us — neither with me nor with the representatives of the Russian security services. That is very bad of him,” Putin said to sniggers from the audience including Lavrov himself.

– ‘Absolute right’ –

The visit had already generated its share of scandal after Moscow released pictures of the closed-door Oval Office meeting showing Trump and Lavrov grinning after White House officials presumed they would not be made public.

Trump’s National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster denied the president caused any security lapses while Trump himself insisted he had the “absolute right” to share “facts pertaining… to terrorism and airline flight safety” with Russia.

Adding to the confusion, Russian senator Alexei Pushkov on Wednesday tweeted that “US media were hysterical with Trump because he told us about IS plans to detonate our passenger plane.”

Putin on Wednesday also slammed critics who spread allegations about Trump’s ties with Russia.

“What else will the people generating such drivel and nonsense think of next?” he said. “They are shaking up their internal politics while using anti-Russian slogans.”

“They either don’t understand that they are hurting their own country, and then they are simply dumb, or they understand everything and then they are dangerous and corrupt people,” Putin added.

by Yuri KADOBNOV with Maria ANTONOVA in Moscow
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Putin ‘ready to provide recording’ of Lavrov-Trump exchange in White House

May 17, 2017

AFP

© RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY/AFP/File | US President Donald J. Trump (left) poses with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov during a meeting at the White House in Washington, DC on May 10, 2017

SOCHI (RUSSIA) (AFP) – Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that Moscow could provide a recording of the exchange between Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US President Donald Trump, who is accused of sharing classified intelligence.

“If the US administration finds it possible, we are ready to provide a recording of the conversation between Lavrov and Trump to the US Congress and Senate,” Putin said during a press conference.

He mocked the idea that Trump went off-script to share secrets with the Russians, saying he could issue a “reprimand” to Lavrov since he hasn’t passed on the information.

Putin said on Wednesday that  Trump had not passed any secrets onto Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov during a meeting in Washington last week and that he could prove it

Putin said on Wednesday that Trump had not passed any secrets onto Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov during a meeting in Washington last week and that he could prove it

It isn’t at all clear that the Russians would be able to produce a document that would disprove a bombshell Washington Post report that said President Trump passed on highly classified information to Lavrov during the meeting.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4514632/Vladimir-Putin-says-prove-Trump-did-not-pass-Russia-secrets.html#ixzz4hLYiBZL4
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“(Lavrov) didn’t share these secrets with us — neither with me nor with the representatives of the Russian security services. That is very bad of him,” Putin said to sniggers from the audience as he answered questions after talks with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni in the southern Russian city of Sochi.

Citing unnamed sources, The Washington Post reported that Trump had shared intelligence with Lavrov regarding an Islamic State group terror threat related to the use of laptop computers on airplanes.

According to sources cited in the report, that intelligence came from a US ally who had not authorised Washington to pass it on to Moscow.

Putin slammed critics who spread allegations about Trump’s ties with Russia.

“What else will the people generating such drivel and nonsense think of next?” he said. “They are shaking up their internal politics while using anti-Russian slogans.”

“They either don’t understand that they are hurting their own country, and then they are simply dumb, or they understand everything and then they are dangerous and corrupt,” Putin added.

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Republicans reject Putin’s offer to share transcripts of Trump’s meeting with Russian officials

Both Republicans and Democrats have dismissed Putin’s offer to help US politicians  ascertain whether Mr Trump did share highly classified intelligence with Moscow.

“The idea that we would accept any evidence from President Putin is absurd,”  Susan Collins a Republican senator from Maine told CNN.

“Its credibility would be less than zero,” Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said on CBS.

Adam Kinzinger, a Republican congressman was even more passionate:  “I don’t talk to murderous dictators,” he said on CBS.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/05/17/vladimir-putin-ready-provide-record-donald-trumps-meeting-russian/