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Ex-German Chancellor in fix over ties with Putin

The pressure on Schroder to distance himself from Putin increased after the invasion of Ukraine…reports Asian Lite News

Germany’s centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) will on Mondau announce a decision on the possible expulsion of disgraced former Chancellor Gerhard Schrder from the party over his ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

An arbitration committee in the northern city of Hanover has been considering the decision for several weeks after 17 motions for expulsion were received from different chapters of the party, reports dpa news agency.

Schroder himself did not appear at hearings and did not send a lawyer.

The decision of the arbitration committee can be appealed within two weeks.

The former Chancellor, who was in office between 1998 and 2005, has been criticized for years for his involvement with Russian state-owned companies and is considered a close personal friend of Putin.

The pressure on Schroder to distance himself from Putin increased after the invasion of Ukraine.

In May, he finally announced that he would leave the supervisory board of the Russian energy giant Rosneft.

He also turned down a nomination for a supervisory board position at Gazprom.

But in a recent interview with private broadcaster RTL/ntv, Schroder once again refused to distance himself from Putin.

He also advocated putting the controversial Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea pipeline, which was put on hold in light on the Russian invasion, into operation.

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Putin, Erdogan to talk in Sochi, Russia

The two leaders will also discuss the war in Ukraine and a grain corridor deal, TRT added…reports Asian Lite News

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin are scheduled to meet on Friday in the seaside resort of Sochi.

Turkey’s planned military incursion to attack a Kurdish militia in northern Syria will top the agenda among other regional issues, dpa news agency reported citing Ankara’s state broadcaster TRT as saying.

Moscow had recently advised against such an offensive.

Ankara considers the US-backed Syrian Kurdish militia the People’s Defence Units (YPG) a terrorist group and suspects it is linked to domestic insurgents.

A Turkish offensive in Syria’s north has been on hold since 2019 following two ceasefire deals brokered by the US and Russia.

The two leaders will also discuss the war in Ukraine and a grain corridor deal, TRT added.

Turkey and the UN recently brokered the deal between Kiev and Moscow to resume grain exports from three Ukrainian ports.

According to the Kremlin, on the agenda is also the potential sale of unmanned combat drones from NATO member Turkey to Russia.

Shortly after the start of the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, Erdogan said he would not rule out arms deals with Russia.

Turkey maintains close ties with both Ukraine and Russia and sees itself as a mediator between the two neighbours.

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Saudi Crown Prince, Putin discuss ways to strengthen ties

The phone call came days after US President Joe Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia on July 15…reports Asian Lite News

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud and Russian President Vladimir Putin held a phone conversation to review bilateral ties, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Putin made the call to the Saudi Crown Prince on Thursday, during which the two leaders discussed ways to strengthen bilateral ties in various fields, the report was quoted as saying by Xinhua news agency.

They also reviewed the most prominent regional and international issues as well as their respective efforts to ensure security and stability, according to the report.

The phone call came days after US President Joe Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia on July 15.

ALSO READ-Biden raised Khashoggi murder with Saudi Crown Prince

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Modi talks with Putin, reiterates need for dialogue on Ukraine

The leaders agreed to maintain regular consultations on global and bilateral issues…reports Asian Lite News

In a phone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi reiterated India’s long-standing position in favour of dialogue and diplomacy on the Ukraine issue.

India has been consistent in its stand since Russia launched its military operation in Ukraine on February 26. Prime Minister Modi has called for dialogue and diplomacy during talks with major world leaders over the past few months.

“In the context of the ongoing situation in Ukraine, Prime Minister reiterated India’s long-standing position in favour of dialogue and diplomacy,” the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) after Friday’s phone call.

According to the PMO, the two leaders also reviewed the implementation of the decisions taken during President Putin’s visit to India in December 2021. “In particular, they exchanged ideas on how bilateral trade in agricultural goods, fertilizers and pharma products could be encouraged further,” the PMO said.

The leaders agreed to maintain regular consultations on global and bilateral issues.

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Putin slams NATO’s ‘imperial ambitions’, warns Finland, Sweden

Moscow’s relations with Helsinki and Stockholm would inevitably sour over their NATO membership, he added…reports Asian Lite News

Russian President Vladimir Putin has condemned NATO’s “imperial ambitions”, accusing the military alliance of seeking to assert its “supremacy” through the Ukraine conflict.

The Russian leader also said on Wednesday that he would respond in kind if NATO deployed troops and infrastructure in Finland and Sweden after the two Nordic countries join the military alliance.

Putin made his comment a day after NATO member Turkey lifted its veto over the bid by Finland and Sweden to join the alliance when the three nations agreed to protect each other’s security.

Helsinki and Stockholm joining NATO marks one of the biggest shifts in European security in decades.

“With Sweden and Finland, we don’t have the problems that we have with Ukraine. They want to join NATO, go ahead,” Putin told Russian state television after talks with regional leaders in the central Asian ex-Soviet state of Turkmenistan.

“But they must understand there was no threat before, while now, if military contingents and infrastructure are deployed there, we will have to respond in kind and create the same threats for the territories from which threats towards us are created,” he said.

Moscow’s relations with Helsinki and Stockholm would inevitably sour over their NATO membership, he added.

“Everything was fine between us, but now there might be some tensions, there certainly will,” Putin said.

“It’s inevitable if there is a threat to us.”

Putin also denied that Moscow’s forces were responsible for a missile raid on a crowded shopping centre in the Ukrainian town of Kremenchuk earlier this week, in which at least 18 people were killed and many remain missing in the rubble.

“Our army does not attack any civilian infrastructure sites. We have every capability of knowing what is situated where,” Putin told a news conference in the Turkmenistan capital of Ashgabat.

“I am convinced that this time, everything was done in this exact manner,” Putin said.

Ukraine accuses Russia of targeting the shopping centre and civilian shoppers.

Putin made his comment as NATO on Wednesday branded Russia the biggest “direct threat” to Western security after its invasion of Ukraine. The military alliance also agreed on plans to modernise Kyiv’s beleaguered armed forces, saying it stood fully behind Ukrainians’ “heroic defence of their country”.

“President Putin’s war against Ukraine has shattered peace in Europe and has created the biggest security crisis in Europe since the Second World War,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told a news conference.

“NATO has responded with strength and unity,” he said.

US President Joe Biden announced more land, sea and air force deployments across Europe, including a permanent army headquarters with accompanying battalion in Poland – the first full-time US deployment on NATO’s eastern fringes.

Top US intelligence official Avril Haines said on Wednesday the most likely near-term scenario for the war is a grinding conflict in which Moscow makes only incremental gains but no breakthrough on its goal of taking most of Ukraine.

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It would be disgusting to see Boris ‘naked’: Putin

As they sat down for talks amid tensions over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, Johnson jested that G7 leaders could take their clothes off to “show that we’re tougher than Putin”….reports Asian Lite News

Vladimir Putin has hit back at western leaders who mocked his athletic exploits, saying it would be ‘disgusting’ if Britain’s Boris Johnson tried to emulate his topless appearances in front of the camera, media reports said.

Speaking during a visit to Turkmenistan, the Russian President also taunted his advisories over their ‘lack of machismo’ — when asked about western leaders joking about him at the G7 summit on Sunday.

As they sat down for talks amid tensions over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, Johnson jested that G7 leaders could take their clothes off to “show that we’re tougher than Putin”.

“Jackets on? Jackets off? Shall we take our clothes off�?” the British leader said while bantering with the other leaders.

“We all have to show that we’re tougher than Putin,” he said, Daily Mail reported.

Canadian premier Justin Trudeau joked that the Western leaders should emulate the Kremlin leader’s naked torso pictures with a “bare-chested horseback riding display”.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen replied: “Oh yes. Horseback riding is the best.”

Putin, 69, hit back during the summit, body shaming his foes and telling reporters: “I don’t know exactly how far they wanted to get undressed, above or below the waist. But I think, either way, it would be a disgusting sight.”

He claimed that, unlike him, the Western leaders abused alcohol and did not do sports to keep in shape.

Putin, who claims to be a martial arts black-belt and fitness fanatic, said: “Recall Pushkin�who said: ‘One might be all about business, yet still take care of the beauty of one’s nails.’ I certainly agree with that.”

ALSO READ: Boris urges NATO allies to boost military spending

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Lavrov in Turkey to discuss Ukraine grain exports

As Ukraine receives multiple-launch rocket systems and more sophisticated weapons, Moscow has vowed that it will retaliate by pushing its enemies further away…reports Asian Lite News

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, who is in Ankara along with a high-level Russian military delegation, will be meeting his Turkish counterpart M Cavusoglu with not just the situation in Ukraine but also Syria on his mind.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had recently announced the launch of a new military operation in northern Syria, a move which has been opposed by Moscow, Washington and also New Delhi.

As reported by IndiaNarrative.com last week, while India has highlighted “acts of external players” contributing to the inability to tackle terrorism in Syria, Russia said that it “received with alarm” reports of Turkey’s new military operation in northern Syria which could allow Ankara to take 600 km of the Syrian-Turkish border under its control.

“Such a step, in the absence of the consent of the legitimate government of the Syrian Arab Republic, would constitute a direct violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic (SAR), and would provoke an additional escalation of tension in this country,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova had said on Thursday.

Around Ukraine, while Lavrov has said that he would not like to comment on Ankara playing any role in the issue of normalizing the situation, he insisted that his visit would take forward the telephone conversation held between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently.

MOSCOW, March 5, 2020 (Xinhua) — Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) meets with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Moscow, Russia, on March 5, 2020. Russia and Turkey agreed Thursday on a ceasefire in the de-escalation zone in Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib, after talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan which lasted for about six hours. (Sputnik/Handout via Xinhua/IANS)

“President Putin outlined in detail how to unblock food supplies from the Black Sea ports mined by Ukrainians, from the ports of the Sea of Azov controlled and cleared by the Russian Federation. Of these, there are reliable routes through the Kerch Strait to the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles,” said the Russian foreign minister before leaving for Ankara.

Russia has maintained that its military has been declaring humanitarian corridors in the Black and Azov Seas for the exit of foreign ships, which are being “held hostage” by the Ukrainian authorities.

“In order for ships to use these corridors, the Ukrainians must clear mines. Our Turkish colleagues declared their readiness to help in this. I think our military will agree on how best to organize this, so that through the minefields that need to be removed, the ships go to the open sea. Further, we guarantee – independently or with Turkish colleagues – their fine-tuning to the straits and further to the Mediterranean Sea,” said Lavrov.

As Ukraine receives multiple-launch rocket systems and more sophisticated weapons, Moscow has vowed that it will retaliate by pushing its enemies further away.

“The more long-range systems are supplied to the Kyiv regime, the further we will move the Nazis away from the line from which the threats to the Russian population of Ukraine and the Russian Federation come from,” said Lavrov.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has already warned of destroying those military facilities in Ukraine that have not yet been targeted by the Russian forces if Kyiv continues to receive supply of Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS) from the West.

Lavrov said that the newly supplied weapons to Ukraine are capable of hitting targets not only near the border, but also “more remote regions” of the Russian Federation.

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Russia will strike targets so far left intact, Putin warns

The Ukrainian military already has Soviet- and Russian-designed Grad, Smerch, and Uragan systems of the same kind, he said…reports Asian Lite News

Russia will hit targets it has so far not struck if long-range missiles are delivered to Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned.

“If they are supplied, we will draw the appropriate conclusions and use our weapons, which we have enough of, in order to strike at those objects that we have not yet struck,” Putin told Russia 1 in an interview.

The Russian president noted that the shipment of US-made multiple-launch rocket systems confirmed by President Joe Biden on Tuesday is unlikely to bring anything new to Kiev’s forces.

The Ukrainian military already has Soviet- and Russian-designed Grad, Smerch, and Uragan systems of the same kind, he said.

Berlin might provide Kiev with submarines, the Ukrainian Parliament’s Chairman, Ruslan Stefanchuk, claimed during a visit to Germany amid the ongoing Russian military operation in his country.

Ahead of a meeting with German Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht on Friday, the head of the parliament said the “supply of the most modern equipment to Ukraine” and speedy decision-making on the matter will bring “common victory” over Russia closer.

Stefanchuk expressed hope that IRIS-T surface-to-air missile systems will be promptly delivered to Ukraine.

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Putin may meet Erdogan on Monday

Russian frigate Admiral Gorshkov successfully test-fired a Tsirkon hypersonic cruise missile from the Barents Sea, the Defence Ministry said…reports Asian Lite News

Russian President Vladimir Putin is planning to hold a meeting with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Sputnik on Sunday. Earlier in the day, the Turkish president announced his plans to talk with Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Monday.

“Yes, it (the conversation with Erdogan) is planned,” Peskov said. (ANI/Sputnik)

Test-launch of Tsirkon hypersonic missile

Russian frigate Admiral Gorshkov successfully test-fired a Tsirkon hypersonic cruise missile from the Barents Sea, the Defence Ministry said.

The missile on Saturday hit a naval target about 1,000 km away in the White Sea and the flight of the projectile corresponded to the designed parameters, Xinhua news agency quoted the Ministry as saying.

The Tsirkon missile has been test-fired several times from the Admiral Gorshkov frigate and a nuclear-powered submarine.

President Vladimir Putin said the Tsirkon missile is capable of flying at Mach 9 or nine times the speed of sound and striking a target over 1,000 km away.

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Putin slams Finland’s NATO bid

Russia’s decision to suspended electricity supplies to Finland is being seen as an early sign, however…reports Asian Lite News

Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned his Finnish counterpart that joining Nato and abandoning Finland’s neutral status would be a “mistake”, the media reported.

He told Sauli Niinisto there was no threat to Finland’s security.

The exchange came during a phone call made by the Finnish president, ahead of a formal request which Finland is expected to announce very soon.

Sweden has also indicated its intention to join the Western alliance, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the BBC reported.

Finland shares a 1,300-km (810-mile) border with Russia. Until now, it has stayed out of Nato to avoid antagonising its eastern neighbour.

Putin did not make a specific threat of retaliation over Finland’s move, but the Russian foreign ministry has indicated there will be retaliation.

Russia’s decision to suspended electricity supplies to Finland is being seen as an early sign, however.

In its statement, Russian energy supplier RAO Nordic mentioned problems with payments.

Finland national grid executive Reima Paivinen told the BBC the Russian suspension had not caused any problems.

He said Russian imports accounted for around 10 per cent of national supply, adding that they could be replaced from alternative sources.

Following the phone call between Niinisto and Putin on Saturday, the Kremlin said the Russian leader had stressed the “end of the traditional policy of military neutrality would be a mistake since there is no threat to Finland’s security”.

It added: “Such a change in the country’s political orientation can have a negative impact on Russian-Finnish relations developed over years in a spirit of good neighbourliness and co-operation between partners.”

Niinisto said he had told Putin how recent moves by Russia, along with the invasion of Ukraine, “have altered the security environment of Finland”.

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