Friday, April 18, 2014

An U.S. expert for the Albanian National Security Strategy

The Draft security strategy, Robin Sakoda: Must Establish priorities

TIRANA- drafting national security strategy should initially set priorities. This has been expressed the U.S. expert Robin Sakoda Foreign Policy Commission. Sakoda, who has been closely involved with the drafting of the Strategic Defense Analyses previous Parliament, located in Tirana for a work visit. U.S. expert will provide assistance in drafting national security strategy.

During his speech at the Commission, Sakoda expert said that should highlight the problems and means of protection and then continue with the steps to develop a strategy. "We have to look and highlight problems, and to highlight what are the means of defense. Power of Albania is quite valuable though limited. You are an ally of the U.S., and we are interested in a good security strategy. It will be difficult, because everyone has their opinions. But I would like everyone to think and act for the benefit of the national interest. Albanian experts have achieved a lot in recent months, in the drafting of this strategy. Failing strategy can not be called a failure, but will work hard, so it is not done. Each state has its strength, and means that ministries need to work harder, "said Sakoda.

U.S. expert Robin Sakoda, will be in Albania on dates April 15 to 19, and will have meetings at the Ministry of Works Foreign and Defense Ministry and other institutions involved in drafting the National Security Strategy of Albania.

Related

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Former Director of NIS Albania

Fatos Klosi : Greek Church, more dangerous than the Albanian Islamist
image

Former chairman of the National Intelligence Service Fatos Klosi, in a newspaper interview in "Illyria Newspaper" in the U.S., spoke about the problem of Islamic extremism risk . He said the problem now is different than it was in the early 90s .

"Today the problem is much another! Other! The problem today seems to become more massive. More massive and is among the Albanians. And I say, that is far more dangerous situation! For these Albanians indoctrinated in this way, when the return of course" they are dangerous now... ...

Anyway, Klosi says that despite the problem of Islamic extremism is great, the Greek Church interventions are even more serious problem. "Another problem is all! Perhaps the most serious problem that the first intervention in the problems of the Greek Church,inside the Albanian Orthodox Church, but this has not been given due attention. No Service because the service has had this problem, namely chasing. But for me the problem is even more serious. Orthodox Church in general has been very strong support from the Greek government, which has not the Muslim community, which is supported by any state. So, given that the Church is behind Greece, given our problem not spoiled by the Greeks, for they are those who have the right of veto if NATO, or the European Union, Greece was considered, even has dared and said that our road to the European Union passes from Athens, which reminds us that the history of the former Belgrade.

Albanian state for me did not take this problem very seriously and has made many concessions to the Greek Church. More concessions ! Since the acceptance of Janullatos ( His Beatitude Anastasios Janullatos , Archbishop of Tirana , Durres and All Albania. Yrs ) , which normally had the full right not to accept.

There was no hurry to come here a priest, really very knowledgeable, very real, a true intellectual, who organized the Church of Albania. Let's organize a bit more slowly, but as you say, keep the look ... Today is unfortunately part of the Greek Church! All investments made ​​with funds coming from outside, from Greece. Investments are very important and show the money come from.

Whether for large buildings that have made ​​and are making more. If maintaining an institution that is not so small, huh ? We saw Përmet who were able to organize people. Why? Because, I said that Greece is always behind them. It is unfortunate that we are poorer than the Greeks and the nation itself has need immigration in Greece, there are people out there ... There are many factors associated with each other to give the Orthodox Church a position other than the Muslim Community. Is much poorer Muslim community, much divided, so there are groups that have "hand out", because it depends on where the money is Fluke et . Since the cash flows go toward these groups , the Muslim community will remain bad . Albanian state gives little things ended Klosi for the Illiria Newspaper.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

News from Greece 
 
Golden Dawn Hands Out ‘Greeks-Only’ Easter Meals

Golden Dawn-food

by Nikoleta Kalmouki - Apr 17, 2014

Golden Dawn-foodGolden Dawn distributed food to needy Greeks who could prove themselves as such outside the ultra-nationalist party’s Athens headquarters on Thursday morning.

Golden Dawn spokesman Ilias Kasidiaris said: “Our “terrorist organisation” is organising food distributions instead of having fun in villas.” When asked about a possible lifting of his parliamentary immunity, Kasidiaris merely wished the judges a happy Easter in response.

After the release of the secretly filmed video showing former cabinet secretary Panayiotis Baltakos in a “friendly”conversation with Ilias Kasidiaris, Greek Parliament and judicial authorities have proposed lifting Kasidiaris’ parliamentary immunity on charges of making and using an illegal recording. He is also accused of setting up a criminal organisation and illegal weapons possession.

Golden Dawn’s ‘Greeks-only’ food distributions have drawn widespread reactions over the party’s racist policies. In May 2013, Athens Mayor George Kaminis banned a soup kitchen organized by Golden Dawn and described the initiative as a “soup kitchen of hatred.” Piraeus Mayor, Vasilis Michaloliakos did likewise on December 20, 2013.
- See more at: http://greece.greekreporter.com/2014/04/17/golden-dawn-hands-out-greeks-only-easter-meals/#sthash.U8X32iSf.dpuf

Lavrov asks Kerry to back Ukraine 'federation' in Paris talks

© Photo: AFP
Text by FRANCE 24
Latest update : 2014-03-31

After US Secretary of State John Kerry met his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on Sunday, Russia called for the US to back greater independence for Ukraine's Russian-speaking regions in a federation.

Kerry and Lavrov met in the lavish residence of the Russian ambassador to France, seeking to hammer out a plan to end the crisis that was sparked when Moscow sent troops into Ukraine's Black Sea peninsula after the pro-Kremlin Kiev regime fell in February.
Lavrov said that he and Kerry agreed on the necessity to seek “points of tangency” with the US on the crisis.
But Kerry told a news conference that the US made clear it still considered Russian actions in Crimea to be "illegal and illegitimate".
"The US and Russia have differences of opinion about events that led to this crisis but both of us recognise the importance of finding a diplomatic solution and simultaneously meeting the needs of the Ukrainian people, and that we agreed on tonight," Kerry said.
"Both sides made suggestions of ways to de-escalate the security and political situation in and around Ukraine," he said.
Despite a massive troop build-up on Ukraine's borders, Lavrov has insisted Moscow has "absolutely no intention and no interest in crossing the Ukrainian border".
But he called on Western powers on Sunday to back a proposal for Ukraine's Russian-speaking regions to have greater powers in a "federal" and neutral Ukraine.
“We can't see any other way to ensure the stable development of Ukraine but to sign a federal agreement,'' Lavrov said, adding that he understood the United States was open to the idea.
US officials have been coy about their position on a federation and insist that any changes to Ukraine's governing structure must be acceptable to the Ukrainians.
Ukrainian officials are wary of decentralising power, fearing that its pro-Russia regions would oppose its Western aspirations and further divide the country.
Lavrov said the proposed "federal structure" would allow for greater regional autonomy and would bring "all Ukrainian political forces without exception, naturally excluding armed radicals" into the decision-making process.
Moscow's plan would also allow parts of Ukraine to declare Russian to be a second official language and secure more independence from Kiev – a move some analysts view as a bid to weaken the authority of what is likely to be a permanently pro-Western leadership.
The Ukrainian foreign ministry responded by calling on Moscow to stop pushing its “ultimatums”.
"We would like to urge Russia, before it presses its ultimatums on a sovereign and independent nation, to take note of the catastrophic state and complete powerlessness of its own ethnic minorities, including Ukrainians," it said in a statement.
The latest negotiations to resolve the worst East-West standoff in the post-Cold War era come after Russian President Vladimir Putin called US President Barack Obama late Friday to discuss a possible diplomatic resolution to the crisis.
US officials say the proposals Kerry and Lavrov are discussing include political and constitutional reforms for Ukraine as well as plans for the disarmament of its volunteer regional militias, allowing international monitors to ensure the rights of minorities and the start of a direct dialogue between Moscow and Kiev.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, REUTERS)

Lavrov: Russia, US, EU, Ukraine agree on de-escalation roadmap

Published time: April 17, 2014 16:26
Edited time: April 17, 2014 18:02
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov
Russia, the US, the EU and Ukraine have adopted a joint document on the de-escalation of the Ukraine crisis, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, after talks in Geneva. It calls for all illegal armed groups to lay down arms and a wide amnesty.
The document calls for an “immediate start of a nationwide national dialogue within the framework of the constitutional process, which must be inclusive and accountable,” Lavrov said.
The most important agreement reached during the talks, according to Lavrov, states that the Ukrainian crisis “must be resolved by the Ukrainians themselves concerning an end to the conflict” including those related to “detaining protesters, occupying buildings” and, in the long run “the start of true constitutional reform.”
“Among the steps that have to be taken are: the disarmament of all the illegal armed groups, and the return of all the occupied administrative buildings,” Lavrov told journalists at the Thursday briefing.
“An amnesty for all the protesters must take place, except of those who committed grave crimes,” the Foreign Minister added.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Montenegro denies conducting anti-Russian policy

PODGORICA -- The Montenegrin Ministry of Foreign Affairs has dismissed as "inappropriate" and "arbitrary" the criticism the country received from the Russian Federation.
(Tanjug, file)
(Tanjug, file)
The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday said the statements made by Montenegrin Prime Minister Milo Đukanović during his visit last week to the Unites States were "hostile" and "deeply disappointing."
"Everything that the prime minister stated publicly and in his talks with U.S. officials is in accordance with the national interests of Montenegro and its foreign policy orientation toward NATO and EU membership, and is not anti-Russian in tone," said the Montenegrin ministry.

Podgorica also "expressed confidence that relations and cooperation between the two countries will continue to grow in the spirit of centuries of tradition, and the sovereign right of each state to decide on its domestic development and foreign policy priorities."

The statement denied that Montenegro had introduced sanctions against Russia, saying that "in line with the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) with the EU, it joined sanctions against the former president of Ukraine and members of his regime."

Russia's strongly-worded reaction was prompted by Đukanović's statements related to the expansion of NATO.

"From the mouth of the Montenegrin prime minister calls were heard in the capital of the United States for as speedy as possible accession of Montenegro to NATO. In his address, Milo Đukanović also allowed for hostile statements at the expense of Russia, which in combination with Montenegro joining EU's sanctions against Russia caused deep disappointment," said the Russian MFA.

Đukanović was in Washington last week where he lobbied for U.S. support for Montenegro's bid to receive an invitation for membership during a NATO summit later this year.

Đukanović met with U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden and officials from the U.S. State Department, and gave a lecture at the Atlantic Council.

It was there that he spoke about "interdependence between the crisis in Ukraine and efforts to destabilize the Balkans" and noted that the region was "like a spare ground, where pro-NATO and anti-NATO policies are also coming into strong conflict."

"If successes in some other, seemingly remote areas, such as Syria, Iran, Ukraine, are to be understood as encouragement for an anti-NATO policy in the region, we must be additionally concerned about the future and stability of the Western Balkans, but also the credibility of NATO," said Đukanović.

According to him, "the signal from Ukraine should be interpreted in the right way." Đukanović also advised "boldly going into further expansion of the Euro-Atlantic zone of stability, especially in the Balkans."

"Montenegro recommends itself as someone who could be the next member, and be of use to the Alliance to, in that way as well, formulate its response to the Ukraine (crisis)," Đukanović was quoted as saying.

GREECE TO ASSIST IN SEARCH FOR CRASHED TURKISH JET

Greece to assist in search for crashed Turkish jet
ATHENS — Greece is to assist in the salvage operation of a Turkish fighter jet which crashed with its pilot in 1996 in the Aegean Sea, the Greek foreign ministry spokesperson Konstandinos Kutras said Tuesday.

Kutras said Turkish officials informed the Greek authorities about the searches in international waters off the island of Chios, adding that Greece was ready to contribute to the search and salvage efforts for the lost jet if need be.

An F-16 fighter jet, carrying two pilots, took off from a military base in the northwestern province of Balikesir and crashed somewhere around Chios island in the Aegean Sea during a training flight on October 8, 1996.

Lieutenant colonel Osman Cicekli survived with serious wounds while Captain Nail Erdogan is believed to have died in the crash.

Albanian arrested for alleged Syria recruitment

The Associated PressApril 15, 2014 


— Albanian police say they have arrested a 30-year-old man for allegedly recruiting men to enlist with Muslim rebel groups fighting in Syria.
A police statement said the suspect was taken into custody Tuesday and will face charges of recruiting for terrorist activities. If convicted, he could be imprisoned for at least 10 years.
Another seven Albanian Muslims, including two imams, were arrested following a crackdown a month ago and are facing similar charges.
About two-thirds of Albania's 3.2 million inhabitants are Muslims. The country's religious leaders have appealed to believers not to join rebel groups in Syria.
Scores of Albanians have gone to support Syrian rebels and at least two have died.

Read more here: http://www.thestate.com/2014/04/15/3389227/albanian-arrested-for-alleged.html#storylink=cpy

NATO to deploy ships, intensify Baltic & Mediterranean patrols 'due to Ukraine crisis'

Published time: April 16, 2014 11:15
Edited time: April 16, 2014 12:49
U.S. naval vessel "Monterey" leaves harbour to take part in Ukranian-NATO joint exercises in the the Black Sea port of Odessa June 15, 2011. (Reuters/Yevgeny Volokin)
U.S. naval vessel "Monterey" leaves harbour to take part in Ukranian-NATO joint exercises in the the Black Sea port of Odessa June 15, 2011. (Reuters/Yevgeny Volokin)
NATO is strengthening its military presence in the Baltic and Mediterranean due to the escalation of the Ukrainian crisis. The organization is to deploy ships and intensified aerial patrols in the region.
At a meeting of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council in Brussels, NATO approved a number of measures to strengthen security in Eastern Europe in connection with the growing crisis in Ukraine.
“Our defense plans will be revised and strengthened,” said Anders Rasmussen, Secretary General of NATO, to press in Brussels.
He added that NATO had not yet reached a decision about the possible deployment of troops in Eastern Europe.
“Today we agreed on a number of measures that can be implemented quickly. But more work needs to be done,” said Rasmussen. Elaborating on the measures that are to be taken, Rasmussen said that air policing aircraft will fly more sorties over the Baltic region and NATO ships would be deployed in the Baltic Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean.
“We all agree that a political solution is the only way forward,” Rasmussen told press. “We call on Russia to be part of the solution.”
In addition, he accused Russia of destabilizing Ukraine and amassing its troops along the country’s borders. He called on Moscow to “make clear” it does not support the violent actions of armed militia and pro-Russian separatists.
NATO has already been stepping up its presence in the region. Several warships have been deployed in the Black Sea over the last few days. They include the US missile destroyer Donald Cook, which carries helicopters and a crew of 300 and two more attack vessels.

US warship, USS Donald Cook, sails through the Bosporus in Istanbul, Turkey, on April 10, 2014, en route to the Black Sea. (AFP Photo/Bulent Kilic)
US warship, USS Donald Cook, sails through the Bosporus in Istanbul, Turkey, on April 10, 2014, en route to the Black Sea. (AFP Photo/Bulent Kilic)
Moscow has repeatedly denied Western allegations that it has a hand in the ongoing unrest in the south-east of Ukraine and said reports of Russian interference in the region are based on dubious information.

Furthermore, President Vladimir Putin has said the recent escalation in the Ukrainian crisis has brought Russia’s neighbor to the brink of civil war.

Kiev’s coup-appointed government announced the beginning of an “anti-terrorist” operation in the south-east of Ukraine on Monday. The move comes in response to ongoing unrest and violent protests in the region, rejecting Kiev’s interim authorities. Some more extreme elements are even calling for a Crimea-style referendum and possible separation from Ukraine.

Following months of deadly protests, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich was ousted and replaced by a self-appointed government on February 22. Russia slammed the coup-appointed government as illegitimate and said it had violated the Ukrainian constitution by setting elections for May 25.

Putin: Ukraine’s radical escalation puts it on edge of civil war

Published time: April 15, 2014 20:23
Edited time: April 16, 2014 11:33
Russian President Vladimir Putin.(RIA Novosti / Aleksey Nikolskyi)
Russian President Vladimir Putin.(RIA Novosti / Aleksey Nikolskyi)
The sharp escalation of the Ukraine crisis virtually puts the country on the brink of civil war, Russian President Vladimir Putin told German Chancellor Angela Merkel during a telephone call.
Follow RT’s LIVE updates on Ukrainian crisis.
Putin and Merkel discussed the upcoming Ukrainian crisis talks between Russia, Ukraine, the EU and the US, scheduled to be held on Thursday in Geneva.
Merkel’s press office noted that, despite some differences of opinion, the upcoming talks were the main focus of the telephone conversation.
"While there were differences in the interpretation of current events, preparations for the planned meeting in Geneva...were the focus of the talks," Merkel's office said in a statement.
Putin meanwhile expressed hope that the Geneva talks will help to de-escalate the situation, and return it to peaceful cooperation.
The president also reiterated the importance of stabilizing the Ukrainian economy, and ensuring the supply and transportation of Russian natural gas to Europe.
On Tuesday, Moscow urged international partners to condemn Kiev’s recent "anti-constitutional" actions in southeastern Ukraine, which it believes may lead to catastrophe.
“We are deeply concerned over the military operation launched by the Ukrainian special forces with support by the army. There have already been victims,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Russian diplomats called it a criminal offense for Ukraine to fight against its own people who demand that their lawful rights are preserved. “Current events demonstrate persistent unwillingness of Kiev’s authorities to organize a dialogue with Ukrainian regions, which is necessary for the country,” the statement reads.
The US has approached the situation from a different angle, justifying Kiev’s actions against anti-government protesters in the country's eastern region.

"The Ukrainian government has the responsibility to provide law and order and these provocations in eastern Ukraine are creating a situation in which the government has to respond," White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters on Tuesday.

Annie Machon, an analyst and former MI5 agent, believes the US has contributed to the escalation of the crisis in Ukraine.

State Department official Victoria Nuland boasted that since the fall of the Soviet Union, America has pumped about $5 billion into Ukraine to try and peddle influence in that country. So I don’t think there’s any doubt that Washington has been meddling with the internal politics of Ukraine and continues to do so. But I think this time they’ve miscalculated the wishes of the Ukrainian people,” Machon said.

The US has not been alone in supporting the military operation against anti-government protesters in Ukraine. Giving his reaction, Polish Foreign Minister Radoslav Sikorskii said that Warsaw agrees fully with the military operation in eastern Ukraine, RIA Novosti reports. He believes the Kramatorsk actions against “armed people” who “occupy airports” to be in line with the law.
Earlier in the day, Putin also spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. During the call Putin stressed that the escalation of the Ukraine crisis was the result of Kiev’s irresponsible politics, which ignored legitimate rights and the interests of the Russian-speaking population.
The two also discussed bilateral cooperation and other topics on the international agenda, including the negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program.

Goodbye, good luck to Ukraine?

By Frida Ghitis
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1153 GMT (1953 HKT)
A masked gunman stands guard near tanks in Slaviansk, Ukraine, on Wednesday, April 16. Ukraine has seen a sharp rise in tensions since a new pro-European government took charge of the country in February. Moscow branded the new government illegitimate and annexed Ukraine's Crimea region last month, citing threats to Crimea's Russian-speaking majority. And in eastern Ukraine, pro-Russian separatists have seized government and police buildings in as many as 10 towns and cities. A masked gunman stands guard near tanks in Slaviansk, Ukraine, on Wednesday, April 16. Ukraine has seen a sharp rise in tensions since a new pro-European government took charge of the country in February. Moscow branded the new government illegitimate and annexed Ukraine's Crimea region last month, citing threats to Crimea's Russian-speaking majority. And in eastern Ukraine, pro-Russian separatists have seized government and police buildings in as many as 10 towns and cities.
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Frida Ghitis: What will President Obama do about the Ukraine crisis?
  • Ghitis: He has four options, like stop making empty threats toward Russia
  • She says U.S. should impose real sanctions or else it looks like paper tiger
  • Ghitis: U.S. military intervention is slim; Obama could turn his back on Ukraine
Editor's note: Frida Ghitis is a world affairs columnist for The Miami Herald and World Politics Review. A former CNN producer and correspondent, she is the author of "The End of Revolution: A Changing World in the Age of Live Television." Follow her on Twitter @FridaGhitis. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.
(CNN) -- The mysterious, faceless green men have entered eastern Ukraine, looking much like they did last month in Crimea before Russia sliced off and swallowed that former province of Ukraine.
What will President Barack Obama do now?
Unlike Russia's Crimea invasion, the Ukrainian government is not rolling over as readily this time, vowing not "to let the Crimea scenario repeat." That is just what Russian President Vladimir Putin needs to justify an open military assault under the guise of "protecting" Ukraine's ethnic Russians. The possibility that war will break out is real.
Frida Ghitis
Frida Ghitis
U.S. officials are convinced that the disciplined militias -- who have taken over government buildings in more than half a dozen Ukrainian cities, wearing no identifying marks on their uniforms -- are Russian special forces or "paid operatives," deliberately stoking unrest, not part of a spontaneous groundswell of pro-Russia sentiment. Still, America's warnings of serious repercussions have fallen on deaf ears.
With the crisis continuing to escalate, Obama can choose between four courses of action.

more see:.................................   http://edition.cnn.com/2014/04/15/opinion/ghitis-ukraine-obama/index.html?iid=article_sidebar

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Kiev military op in eastern Ukraine LIVE UPDATES

Published time: April 15, 2014 14:19
screenshot from youtube video by Sergey Gakov
screenshot from youtube video by Sergey Gakov
Kiev authorities have reportedly started a military operation against the anti-government protesters in eastern Ukraine. Protesters say, the troops are storming some areas with the assistance of armored vehicles.

Tuesday, April 15

16:40 GMT:
The Ukrainian military and anti-government activists have started negotiations at the Kramatorsk airfield, which was earlier stormed and taken by armed forces, RIA Novosti reports.
16:28 GMT:
Moscow is seriously concerned by reports of people being killed in the military operation launched by Kiev in eastern Ukraine, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s commissioner for human rights, Konstantin Dolgov, told RIA Novosti.
16:28 GMT:

Nato chief calls on Russia to stop destabilising Ukraine

Anders Fogh Rasmussen says Russia should 'stop being part of the problem and start being part of the solution'
Anders Fogh Rasmussen
Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the Nato secretary general. Photograph: Geert Vanden Wijngaert/AP
The Nato chief, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, has joined the US and UK in issuing an urgent public call on Russia to de-escalate tensions in the Ukraine, as pro-Russia separatists remained in control of government buildings in the country's east.
"I call on Russia to de-escalate the crisis, to pull back its troops … to stop destabilising the situation and make clear it does not support the violent actions of pro-Russian separatists," Rasmussen said at a briefing of EU defence ministers. "Russia should stop being part of the problem and start being part of the solution."
He stressed that military action was not yet an option, but the UK and US have threatened Moscow with further sanctions unless they act to bring the Ukraine crisis under control.
The British foreign secretary, William Hague, warned Russia it faced being frozen out by the west for years if it did not stop destabilising Ukraine. He said London was prepared to take a financial hit from sanctions affecting business relations.
It followed a tense telephone call between Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin on Monday night in which the US president told his Russian counterpart that Moscow would face costs for its actions in Ukraine and should use its influence to get separatists in the country to stand down. The US has also deployed additional fighter aircraft to the Baltic states and Poland.
The German foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, added to the calls when he said on Tuesday that Russia should distance itself "from the violent and unlawful actions of pro-Russian demonstrators".
Pro-Russian protesters cemented their control of administrative buildings in at least nine cities in the east of Ukraine on Monday, refusing to abide by an order from the central government in Kiev to leave or face being forced out by an "anti-terrorist operation".
Early on Tuesday, separatists voluntarily surrendered the police headquarters in Kramatorsk that had been stormed by armed militants on Saturday, Ukrainian police said.
But protesters still controlled a string of buildings across the region, despite another central government announcement that it was acting to restore order in the restive region. The Associated Press reported that Ukrainian tanks were spotted on the move within 70km (43 miles) of one city controlled by pro-Moscow gunmen..............................................

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/15/russia-frozen-out-ukraine-crisis

Monday, April 14, 2014


Greece to receive 460 M113s from US

 IHS Jane's Defence Weekly

April 2014


The Greek Army has finalised the transfer of 460 M113A2 series armoured vehicles from the United States, delivery of which should be in batches in mid-2014.

The M113s are being transferred free of charge under the US Excess Defence Articles (EDA) programme, with Greece paying EUR4 million (USD5.5 million) for their transportation.

The vehicles will be inspected at the 304 Army Depot at Velestino before being forwarded to operational units.

Among the vehicles included in the transfer are M113A2 armoured personnel carriers, M577A2 command post vehicles, M901A2 Improved TOW launcher carriers, M106A2 mortar carriers, and M1059 smoke-generating vehicles.


Also in line for transfer later in the year are 320 Oshkosh HEMTT series trucks comprising M977 and -985 utility trucks and M978P1 fuel tankers.
Pentagon: Russian fighter jet repeatedly flew over US destroyer in Black Sea

Published time: April 14, 2014

Su-24 aircraft (RIA Novosti / Mihail Mokrushin)
Su-24 aircraft (RIA Novosti / Mihail Mokrushin)

The Pentagon said a Russian fighter jet made multiple close-range passes near an American navy destroyer. The warship was deployed in the Black Sea as Russian military monitored NATO’s systematic build-up of naval forces in the region.

The fighter appeared to be unarmed, US military said, calling the move “provocative and unprofessional”.

"This provocative and unprofessional Russian action is inconsistent with their national protocols and previous agreements on the professional interaction between our militaries," said Colonel Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman.

Pentagon defined the jet as a Russian Su-24 aircraft, or Fencer, which made 12 passes at low altitude near the USS Donald Cook that, at the time, was conducting a patrol in international waters in the western Black Sea, Reuters reported.

Earlier, a military official told AP that on April, 12, a Russian aircraft flew repeatedly within 1,000 yards of the USS Donald Cook at about 500 feet above sea level for over 90 minutes.

According to the official, the destroyer’s crew made several attempts to radio the Russian warplane requesting the reason for the manoeuvre. They then reportedly issued warnings to remain at a safe distance, however, there was no response from the Russian pilot.

A view of the destroyer USS Donald Cook is seen after it arrived at the Black Sea port of Constanta April 14, 2014. (Reuters / Bogdan Cristel)A view of the destroyer USS Donald Cook is seen after it arrived at the Black Sea port of Constanta April 14, 2014. (Reuters / Bogdan Cristel)

Pentagon confirmed the fighter jet was not armed with any aerial bombs.
A view of the destroyer USS Donald Cook is seen after it arrived at the Black Sea port of Constanta April 14, 2014. (Reuters / Bogdan Cristel)

USS Donald Cook, a destroyer equipped with the powerful Aegis missile defense system, entered Black Sea on April, 10.

The US Defense Department claimed the ship’s mission was “to reassure NATO allies and Black Sea partners” following the events in Ukraine.

On Monday, the USS Donald Cook entered waters of Romania.

Last week the Russian military considered the USS Donald Cook manoeuvre part of a systematic build-up of naval forces and accused NATO of violating the Montreux Convention on naval movements in the Black Sea.

“What we are seeing is that for the first time since 2008, NATO is creating a naval battle group outside Russian borders,” a Russian military source told Interfax news agency.

According to the treaty, warships from non-Black Sea states can only stay in the basin for up to 21 days consecutively. USS Taylor spent 11 more than that in the region in February and March.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry expressed “bemusement” over the move.

“Turkey [which administers the treaty] did not inform us about the overstay. We have expressed our concern to the Turkish and US side in a verbal note,” said a statement on the ministry website.
Albania police bust 12 migrants from Syria, Eritrea



13 April 2014 FOCUS News Agency

Albania police bust 12 migrants from Syria, EritreaPicture: Focus Information AgencyTirana. Albanian police busted 12 illegal migrants from Syria and Eritrea, online news edition Plus Info reported.

The special operation was carried out close to the border to Greece, in the Dropulsko Pole region.
The illegal migrants entered on the territory of Albania from Greece. They said they were heading at Montenegro as any of the EU member states was their final goal.

In the frames of two other operations, conducted in the same region, authorities busted other 14 illegal migrants, most of whom were from Somalia and Eritrea. .
Greek Frigate "Salamis" class "MECO 2000" has survived a wrong missile attack by Israeli navy
 

During naval exercises "Nobel Dina" with the participation of U.S. and Israeli forces, the Greek frigate, was handled with great speed from the pilot survey, while saving the ship from explosion

Haifa. A human error by the Israeli military, but also a sudden the driver speeds Greek frigate "Salamis", has survived Greek ship with 250 crew away from the explosion of an anti-missile naval.

Greek frigate, was walking with a low speed near the port of Haifa in Israel, on the evening of Saturday, when the ship's radar showed the frigate, were coming to an unidentified missile.

Wonderfully surprising movement of the Greek pilot, turning the ship 90 degrees with greater speed potential, has saved the ship, while the Greek fleet headquarters, asked detailed report about the incident.

defencenet.gr

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Basque town votes in referendum on independence from Spain

Published time: April 13, 2014 19:06
File photo. Thousands of people take part in a Basque separatist demonstration demanding autonomy for the Basque Country and Navarra province, in the northern Spanish Basque city of San Sebastian. (AFP Photo / Rafa Rivas)
File photo. Thousands of people take part in a Basque separatist demonstration demanding autonomy for the Basque Country and Navarra province, in the northern Spanish Basque city of San Sebastian. (AFP Photo / Rafa Rivas)
Citizens of Etxarri Aranatz in Navarre voted in an unofficial referendum on Sunday over whether they wished to be citizens of a separate Basque country and secede from Spain.
From 9am, nearly 2,500 eligible residents voted on the question: “Would you be a citizen of an independent Basque Country?”

The Basque country is made up of the regions of Álava, Biscay and Gipuzkoa, in Northern Spain. The area has had a long history of regional demands for autonomy along with Catalonia, and both regions have their own language.

Locals of Navarre celebrated over the course of the day with Basque songs and traditions. Support for Basque independence is particularly strong in Navarre.

“This is a significant and meaningful day today, not only for the Basques but also for the Catalans and also for all nations in Europe that actually are in the process of self-determination,” Anna Arqué, Catalan spokesperson for the 'European Partnership for Independence' (EPI) told RT.

Etxarri Aranatz is a town in the heart of Navarra and 40 km from Pamplona. The majority of its residents consider themselves Basque and speak the Basque language – which is only spoken by just over a quarter of all Basques.

While both Catalonia and the Basque Country have strong regional identities, they have very different roots and Catalonia’s language lies more strongly at the heart of its regional identity.

Last Tuesday, Spain rejected a proposal which would have allowed Catalonia to secede from Spain. The Spanish Congress debated a motion to allow Catalonia to be run by its regional government. Spain rejected the proposal - as anticipated - 299 votes against and only 47 in favor.

The United Left, Catalan pro-independence factions and Basque nationalists all supported the motion. A referendum is to be held on November 9.

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MEDITERRANEAN SEA (April 12, 2014) - The Hellenic navy ship HS Salamis (F 455) steams off the bow of the forward-deployed Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) during a search and rescue exercise as part of exercise Noble Dina, an annual multi-national exercise conducted with the Hellenic and Israeli navies. Donald Cook, homeported in Rota, Spain, is on a scheduled deployment supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Edward Guttierrez III/RELEASED

Qeparo waterfront - Vlora Albania



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ncbed--8V4A

After Draleo, now is Qeparo, prepared to build tourist village, by Rama`s Government

Simultaneously, demolition of houses in Drymades indigenous inhabitants, by the Albanian government is funding projects to build tourist villages in Qeparo and Draleo

According to the Deputy . Prime Minister of Albania , Niko Peleshi , the resort project in Qeparo, will start in two months , once the government to create public funds. This project has passed by the Albanian government , after being approved two other tourist villages in Draleo with 400 villas.



But are categorically against residents of the Himara Region , for which, the propaganda campaigns, not only continued with the presentation of projects in Tirana, but simultaneously have collapsed real indigenous inhabitants, which must have first passed through a process of right by the courts in Albania.

Meanwhile, The Himara Community and Diaspora, is developing a petition to the European and US higher authorities, to sensitize the Himara Region than  not only been taken from indigenous inhabitants the properties, but tjey serves as for extortion corruption of Mafia and politics.

Ukraine on brink of civil war after blood was spilt in east – Yanukovich

Published time: April 13, 2014 18:35
Edited time: April 13, 2014 19:19
Ousted President Viktor Yanukovych (AFP Photo)
Ousted President Viktor Yanukovych (AFP Photo)
Ukraine is a foot in the door to civil war, ousted President Viktor Yanukovich said in his address from Rostov-on-Don, where he has been residing for over a month after fleeing Kiev amid protests.
Blood was spilt today,” Yankovich told journalists referring to the events in the eastern city of Slavyansk. “Now our country finds itself in a totally new situation – with one foot in the door of a civil war. The Kiev junta has issued a criminal order to use armed forces and the army against the protesters."
"During my time in Kiev, we never used such methods against radicals or extremists,” he added.
Part of the responsibility for dragging the country into domestic war lays on the US, which brutally interfere in the situation and to point out what to do, Yanukovich said.
The ousted president declared that CIA director John Brennan visited Ukraine and it was after the meeting that the coup-imposed authorities in Kiev ordered a military operation in the country’s east.
Brennan “de facto sanctioned” the use of weapons and thus provoked the bloodshed, Yanukovich said. Earlier, sources told Interfax news agency that Brennan was paying a secret visit to Kiev.
In the event of a mass crackdown on protesters and use of force, the “new rulers” of Ukraine will carry full responsibility, the ousted President said, adding that the people of Ukraine will never accept “dictatorship” and “especially nationalists’ dictate.”
He has urged the country’s security forces not to obey “unlawful orders” and restrain from shooting at “people of Ukraine”.
You will never be forgiven,” Yanukovich said.
Ukraine is now “inexorably” heading towards bankruptcy and chaos, Yanukovich also warned in his speech. Holding a referendum is the only one way to avoid splitting Ukraine, the coup-deposed leader stressed.
Now there is an urgent question of the referendum, which can protect the country from split. This is the only solution," he said.
First, there should be a referendum, then a new constitution and only after those steps, parliamentary elections, Yanukovich clarified.
Residing in Rostov-on-Don since mid-February, Yanukovich refuses to accept his ouster, insisting that he remains the legitimate leader of Ukraine. He flew to Kiev amid the worst surge of violence in the country’s post-Soviet history.
The pro-Maidan opposition immediately capitalized on his absence from the city, dominating the parliament, which then voted to strip the president of his powers and announced early elections slated for May 25.

Ndërtimet pa leje në Dhërmi - Top Channel Albania - News - Lajme



smanalysis

Armed pro-Russian protesters seize city in eastern Ukraine

US announces Joe Biden will visit Kiev as unrest spreads, adding to fears that conflict could disrupt energy supplies across Europe
Crisis in Ukraine
An armed member of the disbanded Ukrainian riot police unit stands inside the Regional Interior Ministry building, seized by pro-Russian protesters. Photograph: Photomig/EPA
Armed separatists took control of a city in eastern Ukraine on Saturday and Kiev prepared troops to tackle what it called an "act of aggression by Russia", pushing the conflict between the neighbours into a dangerous new phase.
Pro-Russian activists carrying automatic weapons seized government buildings in Slavyansk, a town about 90 miles from the Russian border, and set up barricades on the outskirts of the city.
Meanwhile, the White House announced that vice president Joe Biden would travel to Kiev on 22 April to show support for the Ukrainian government. He will become the most senior US official to visit the country since the crisis began.
John Kerry, the US secretary of state, spoke by telephone to Russia's foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, according to the state department. An official said: "[Kerry] expressed strong concern that attacks today by armed militants in eastern Ukraine were orchestrated and synchronised, similar to previous attacks in eastern Ukraine and Crimea.
"Militants were equipped with specialised Russian weapons and the same uniforms as those worn by the Russian forces that invaded Crimea. The secretary made clear that if Russia did not take steps to de-escalate in eastern Ukraine and move its troops back from Ukraine's border, there would be additional consequences."
In Kramatorsk, 80km to the north, gunmen seized the police station after a shootout with police, a Reuters witness said. An organised military unit of over 20 men wearing matching military fatigues and carrying automatic weapon took over the building at about 5pm GMT after arriving on at least two buses. Video footage showed the men taking orders from a commander and shooting from automatic rifles as they approached the building.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/12/pro-russian-protesters-wind-up-tension-in-eastern-ukraine
Tirana, protest for Ilia Kareli, citizens clash with police





A group of citizens protested today afternoon, the square in front of the Pyramid in Tirana against torture filed against Albanian prisoners in Greece, Ilia escapement.

Albanian flags in hand, protesters sang the national anthem while have torn a Greek flag and then set fire.

The group of protesters held hands across the different banners which condemn the inhuman violence Greek prison guards and expressed appreciation for the slain Albanian Kume Kudret or otherwise known as Ilia in Greece escapement.

It took the intervention of the police for distributing protesters

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Russia sets 4 conditions in return for aid to Ukraine

Published time: April 12, 2014 10:48
Activists and communal workers dismantle the barricade set on Maidan square during the mass protests of pro-EU opposition against President Viktor Yanukovych regime in  Kiev on April 10, 2014. (AFP Photo / Sergei Supinsky)
Activists and communal workers dismantle the barricade set on Maidan square during the mass protests of pro-EU opposition against President Viktor Yanukovych regime in Kiev on April 10, 2014. (AFP Photo / Sergei Supinsky)
Ukraine should recognize Crimea’s independence, reform the country’s constitution, regulate the crisis in its eastern regions and guarantee the rights of Russian speakers if it wants to get financial help from Moscow, Russia’s finance minister has said.
“If Ukraine fulfils these four conditions, then Russia will be able to propose further steps on additional help both on financial and gas issues,” Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said after meeting with his German counterpart, Wolfgang Schauble, in Washington.
Deescalating tensions in eastern Ukraine should be peaceful, based on Ukraine’s legislation, “without discrimination against Russian-speaking population, without victims and bloodshed,” Siluanov said.
It is necessary for Ukraine to conduct constitutional reform, hold legitimate presidential elections and “form a government with which one may negotiate,” he said.

Finance Minister Anton Siluanov (RIA Novosti / Vladimir Fedorenko)
Finance Minister Anton Siluanov (RIA Novosti / Vladimir Fedorenko)
Ukraine’s gas debt is now estimated at over $2.2 billion. On Thursday, President Vladimir Putin wrote letters to the leaders of 18 European countries, including Germany and France, warning that Ukraine’s debt crisis had reached a “critical” level and could threaten transit to Europe. He also called for urgent cooperation, urging Russia’s partners in the West to take action.
According to German Chancellor Angela Merkel "there are many reasons to seriously take into account this message […] and for Europe to deliver a joint European response.”
In total, Moscow has subsidized Ukraine’s economy to the tune of $35.4 billion, coupled with a $3 billion loan tranche in December. Due to Ukraine’s gas debts, Gazprom revoked all discounts and is now charging $485 per 1,000 cubic meters of gas, a price Ukraine says it will not be able to pay.

Pro-Russian activists rally at a barricade outside the regional state administration in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk on April 11, 2014. (AFP Photo / Anatolii Stepanov)
Pro-Russian activists rally at a barricade outside the regional state administration in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk on April 11, 2014. (AFP Photo / Anatolii Stepanov)
The deteriorating economic situation is coupled with escalating tensions in Ukraine. The country’s Interior Ministry promised a harsh response to the riots in the east, especially in the “separatist regions” of Donetsk, Lugansk and Kharkov. The coup-appointed authorities said they would arrest all violators, "regardless of the declared slogans and party affiliation."
Eastern and southern Ukraine have been showing discontent with the new government in Kiev for weeks. Tensions escalated Monday when protesters in several cities started seizing local administration buildings. Major protests took place in the cities of Donetsk, Kharkov and Lugansk, while smaller actions and some clashes were reported in Odessa and Nikolayev.
After Donetsk activists proclaimed the region independent and demanded a referendum on its future status, Ukraine’s coup-imposed president Aleksandr Turchinov ordered the sending in of armed personnel and armored vehicles to the east.
At least 70 activists have been arrested in the course of the crackdown launched by Ukraine’s Interior Ministry in the eastern city of Kharkov. Most of them remain in prison, with 62 people detained for at least two months.

Sanctions are ‘co