Crowdsourcing morality: How an app allows the Iraqi government to arrest ‘indecent’ influencers

class=”MuiTypography-root-134 MuiTypography-h1-139″>Crowdsourcing morality: How an app allows the Iraqi government to arrest ‘indecent’ influencers

Digital and human rights activists say Ballegh’s very existence flies in the face of free speech provisions enshrined in Iraq’s post-Saddam Hussein constitution 20 years ago.

The WorldMay 5, 2023 · 3:45 PM EDT

Abboud Skiba went viral with videos of himself speaking and singing in American-sounding gibberish. Then, Iraq's government launcged an app allowing people to report "indecent" content, and he was arrested.

Sean Powers/The Record

Earlier this year, Iraq’s Ministry of the Interior launched an app called Ballegh to great fanfare.

The government in Baghdad billed it as an opportunity for anyone in Iraq to help the government identify social media posts that were “offensive.”

The problem is, the government hasn’t defined offensive, which has allowed Baghdad to crack down and arrest just about anyone after deeming their content “indecent.”

Digital and human rights activists say Ballegh’s very existence flies in the face of free speech provisions enshrined in Iraq’s post-Saddam Hussein constitution 20 years ago. In a written interview with the "Click Here" podcast, Ayad Radhi, the IT administrator at the Ministry of Interior in charge of the app, says the government is just protecting “family values.”

Ordinary Iraqis, for their part, appear to be embracing the effort. The Interior Ministry told "Click Here" that it has received more than 144,000 reports on the platform since it was introduced in January. Radhi laid out how it works (below), while Dina Temple-Raston, host of the "Click Here" podcast, told The World about how the app is now being used to "crowdsource" morality (to listen to that interview, click on the audio player above). 

Click Here: How does it work after someone sends you a report?Ayad Radhi: When a citizen makes a report on Ballegh, a record in the database is created and marked as "new case." A team of admins reviews the new cases and decides whether a case has the bare-minimum amount of information to pass it to the forensic department where the case is analyzed for what qualifies to be evidence, and if so, it is pushed up the chain.And so, how do you determine what is indecent or amoral?That is left to the committee — which has an officer, a judge, social researchers, community specialists — to decide. So, it is never a single person who makes the decision. The committee is a central component in the chain, as the committee processes the reports daily and moves them up to the next level if they have incriminating evidence. You’re getting tens of thousands of reports. How do you decide the size of the team fielding these reports?The team is elastic. Staff members are added and removed on demand in accordance with the number of unique daily reports. We have custom-built algorithms to aggregate the similar reports. When some incident/video/thing goes viral, we will have thousands of reports pointing to the same content. So, we have a couple of algorithms which basically group the similar reports so they can be processed as one.Iraq is the latest example of a country in the Middle East using technology to report social media activity. For example, it reminds us of Kollana Amin in Saudi Arabia. Do you think it is similar?That is an interesting observation. To be honest with you, we developed it based on our needs, so we didn't compare it with any other solutions. We just made a list of our needed features and went into building mode.Some people say Ballegh is allowing people to settle personal vendettas. How do you respond to that?Well, people can say many things but what matters is the real results. All the people who were arrested had hundreds (some thousands) of complaints against them due to their obscene/adult videos. Let me put it this way, the cases were clear-cut from the legal perspective. That is why not a single case was refuted in a court of law.Are you seeing any demographic trends among those using Ballegh to report social media users?We don't collect any information about the people who do the reporting since it’s anonymous. However, we are seeing a major interesting trend, that is people care so much about family ethics and values. The top-reported content is usually a video that violates the core principles of the Iraqi family. Let me put it this way, people are fighting tooth and nail for their families. In terms of the people who are getting reported, we see 20-to-30-year-olds with no college degree, no formal job/employment.Do you have a Ballegh 2.0 in the works? Are there features you’d add, which you wish you had?Ballegh is being developed continuously, i.e., the admin panel is getting updated on a regular basis. We receive lots of feature requests from our admin teams which aid them do their work more efficiently. We are also optimizing the similarity algorithms on a regular basis. So, the way we see it, there is no 2.0-version as we are in the rolling-updates mode.We were able to access Ballegh in the United States. Is it accessible outside of Iraq?It was accessible but we got flooded with DDoS attacks so we limited it to Iraq only for the time being.If you could do one thing to improve the app, what would it be?We are so interested in what OpenAI’s GPT-4 has to offer. So, we are looking into ways of integrating it with the admin panel to improve the similarity and pre-filtration process. The more we think about it, the more we see it as a must-have feature. We also added a second type of reporting which is "corruption by a member of the security forces.” We are asking the public to report any corruption/extortion cases. We believe in having well-disciplined security forces and are relying on our people to keep us informed.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity. 

An earlier version of this story appeared on the "Click Here" podcast from Recorded Future News. Additional reporting by Will Jarvis.

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Japan’s infamous ‘happy’ cult sets sights on the United States

class=”MuiTypography-root-225 MuiTypography-h1-230″>Japan’s infamous ‘happy’ cult sets sights on the United States

Happy Science is among the most enduring and far-reaching “new religious movement,” as they’re called in Japan. 

The WorldNovember 30, 2022 · 3:00 PM EST

Ryuho Okawa at a 2011 speech. 

Happy Science/Liberty Web

In the run-up to Dec. 21, 2012 — the date of Earth’s annihilation, according to a supposed Mayan prophecy — a Japanese mystic urged mankind to abandon all fear. Master Ryuho Okawa would intervene with the cosmos to avert Armageddon.

He stood before adherents — draped in spangly fabric, black hair shaped in a perfect coif — and declared in a warbling voice: “There shall be no ending of the world because I have my mission … and my mission is not over yet!”

Okawa is the 66-year-old leader of Happy Science, a religion he founded in the mid-1980s after leaving behind a stockbroker career. However, this incarnation is merely his current form. Over the millennia, a benevolent alien God named El Cantare, from Venus, has inhabited legendary figures: Socrates, Jesus, Buddha and, at present, Okawa. So he claims.

Though Japan’s population is famously averse to organized religion (more than half claim no religious affiliation), self-avowed prophets have long emerged from the fringes of society in attempts to fill the spiritual void. Happy Science is among the most enduring and far-reaching “new religious movement,” as they’re called in Japan. The organization runs dozens of missionary offices overseas, including a North American bastion in Manhattan. It also boasts more than 10 million adherents.

But this claim — like much of its founders’ teachings — is fantastical, according to Hiroshi Okawa, 33, the master’s eldest son. Once groomed as a successor, Hiroshi defected five years ago, calling his father’s operation a “cult” and a profit-machine endlessly searching for fresh converts.

“Ten million believers is a complete lie,” Hiroshi told The World. “I’d say 13,000 at most. I know this because I had inside information and access to their resources.”

(The Happy Science organization turned down an interview request from The World.)

Much of the organization’s revenue comes from followers’ donations. According to Happy Science representatives: “It really is a spiritual discipline to get rid of worldly attachments. It’s just to show your love and gratitude to God.”

New converts, after swearing their belief in El Cantare, provide their address and bank account details.

Prophetic books are Happy Science’s other major revenue stream. Master Okawa will frequently go into a trance, summon the spirit of some legendary figure and report their deepest thoughts, which are then transcribed and sold. He’s channeled Zeus, Moses, Joan of Arc, Osama bin Laden and living figures too: Hillary Clinton, Kim Jong-un and Leonardo DiCaprio.

“He doesn’t believe any of it,” Hiroshi Okawa said. “It’s a fantasy world — and he knows it.”

Hiroshi said that he too was once urged by the organization to feign supernatural powers. He studied at his father’s side, observing spiritual channelings, often in front of other top Happy Science officials.

“You ask some spirit to come inside you and start talking as if you’re them. It’s just a performance.”

“I remember Ryuho [Okawa] trying to channel Michael Jackson’s spirit and making that iconic sound” — hee, hee! — “and the impersonation was so bad. Luckily he didn’t ask me to try but, if he did, I was ready to do my impersonation [of the pop star] as best as I could.”

(Hiroshi later parlayed skills learned from channeling sessions into acting; he starred in and directed “Gray Zone,” a popular film in Japan.)

Happy Science’s follower count in Japan is likely maxed out, according to Hiroshi, and that has forced Okawa to increasingly target the West — namely America.

“He wants to be king of the world. That’s his sole motivation. But if you want to rule the world, you must first become king of America.”

In recent years, Master Okawa has intensively courted Donald Trump supporters with books such as “The Trump Secret,” “Trump Shall Never Die” and other titles drawn from supposed channelings of Trump’s eternal soul. Not only does Trump possess the “spirit of bushido” (a moral code governing ancient samurai), according to Okawa, he is also the reincarnation of America’s founder: George Washington.

The mystic’s other recent pronouncements appear calibrated to entice right-wing conspiracy theorists: China’s government is working behind Greta Thunberg; Xi Jinping is inhabited by a malevolent alien alter ego named “Xi Jinping X”; COVID-19 can be cured by “spiritual vaccines,” available at Happy Science outposts in eight US states, including Florida, Georgia and New Jersey.

The stated mission of Okawa’s organization is to spread freedom, truth and happiness. But Hiroshi warns potential converts to stay away, contending that their donations will only make his father even richer. (The organization, in denouncing Hiroshi, claims he is “jealous” and likens his falling out to the rift between Jesus Christ and Judas.)

Master Okawa, according to his son, lives “like a Hollywood star” in a Tokyo glam district, Shirokane, inhabiting a four-story mansion complete with a pool, sauna and tennis courts — often surrounded by “pleasant-looking” female secretaries.

“He’s originally from a small village in a mountainous area of Japan,” Hiroshi said, “and grew up with an elder brother who was extremely smart, referred to as a prodigy. Nobody paid attention to little Ryuho [Okawa] so he developed an inferiority complex, desperate for someone to look at him instead of his older brother.”

Master Okawa, according to his son, spends much of his time inside his mansion grousing about politics, with news channels such as CNN International playing the background, “just going on and on about this or that prime minister.”

It’s ironic, Hiroshi said, but the Veunsian deity who founded Happy Science does not appear all that happy himself.

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Count me in!Related Content‘Fanaticism is all about aggression’: One man's journey from a Hindu nationalist to a humanistThis pastor officiated Orbán’s wedding. Now he’s one of his fiercest critics.Contempt for the messiah: The scandal behind Shinzo Abe’s murder How Brazil’s first lady is playing a role in the fight for the evangelical vote in the presidential election 

Sub-fence policy. Why building border walls is a sign of powerlessness?

The Finnish press announced its intention to build a fence on the border between Finland and Russia. According to Finnish journalists, the initiative comes from the Border Guard Service of the Republic of Finland. The head of this department, Lieutenant General Pasi Kostamovaara, said that the fence could be ready in two or three years and will last at least 50 years.

In general, purely technically, this is not difficult, since the border service proposes to fence off from 1/10 to 1/5 of the entire 1300-kilometer border between Russia and Finland. It is very possible to build from 130 to 260 km of fence in two or three years. Another thing — why? What will it give in the  perspective? And about what does the desire to fence off with a wall say?

Who is the first, Rome or China?

Pasi Kostamovaara explains the intention to build a fence with the prospect of a powerful migration flow to Finland, which without such a fence will be difficult, if not completely impossible to control. And he is, as they say, in trend — over the past 15 years, building fences at the border has become something of a national sport. The wall between the USA and Mexico, the walls between Greece and Turkey, Bulgaria and Turkey, Austria and Slovenia, Hungary and Serbia… All of them, from a purely formal point of view, are designed precisely to regulate migration flows. But if we consider the problem of walls and fences in historical perspective, then you can understand that the official declarations are something else.

In itself, the idea of ​​u200bu200bto fence off with a fence falls into the category of “well-forgotten old”. In the memory of any person who is more or less familiar with history, a hook image of the Great Wall of China immediately appears, the construction of which began in III c. BC BC. e. At the other end of Eurasia, at the beginning of our era, construction begins on a smaller scale, but also impressive — the Romans hastily organize the German Limes, that is, a fortified border. Later it will be supplemented by the Danube Limes, the Walls of Adrian and  Antonin, the Trajan Walls, the Arabian and African Limes…

A famous quote from Rudyard Kipling«West is West, East is East, they never meet  in this case it misfires. And the West in the face of the Roman Empire, and the East in the face of the empire Qinvery much agreed. The point of their ideological contact was extremely important. Both empires saw themselves as a civilization that resisted the chaos and barbarism of the surrounding world. Here, behind a wall or limestone, order, law, law and the state triumph. Out there in the outside world — don understand that. Anarchy, lack of rights and lawlessness, hordes of bandits, murderers and rapists, it is possible that cannibals come across, and also people with dog heads. In a word, the wall has turned from a purely functional border structure into a symbol. A symbol that separates civilization from barbarism and horror. Separator of the “pure” from "unclean".

Go into deep defense

In addition, the wall fixed one more not so obvious, but interesting thing. Specifically — impotence of “civilization” before the “barbarians”. Wall — this means that the offensive has been stopped and that now we need to think no longer of "carrying our values" into the outside world, but about deep defense.

What what this led to, more or less everyone imagines. The famous Great Wall of China, or as the Chinese themselves called it, “an unbending powerful force”, was broken through by the troops of Genghis Khanin 1211  China has been conquered. Something similar happened with Roman limes — in early 5th c. n. e. it was broken through at once in several places, and after a while the “barbarians” done away with the Roman Empire.

That is from the point of pure functionality walls and fences work not to very well and sooner or later become simply useless. But as long as they exist, the world is divided physically and symbolically. And & nbsp; the one who builds the wall, respectively, signs in & nbsp; his own impotence in front of a certain problem. Perhaps this and for the currentPresident of the United States, Joe Biden stopped funding further construction and improvement of the fence wall on the border Mexico — this is a kind of symbolic declaration of intent to solve the problem, and not isolate itself from   it.

But this is almost an isolated case. In & nbsp; a couple of & nbsp; it can be put only the destruction of the Berlin Wall in & nbsp; 1989 & nbsp; It was a grand symbolic gesture. A gesture of goodwill, designed to demonstrate the desire of the USSR to solve problems together with the conditional collective West. The most interesting thing is that it all started for health. In 1990, US Secretary of State James Baker and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl assured Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachevin the fact that the unification of Germany will not lead to the expansion of NATO to the east. But what happened next is known to everyone — explosive expansion of NATO in precisely this direction.

It is symbolic that each of countries admitted to this military-political union considered it their duty to declare the construction of a fence on the border with Russia, or at least such an intention. Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland… The issue of Finland's joining NATO has not yet been fully determined, but the Finns have already announced the fence. Symbolically, the gesture is read immediately — all these states, with their fences, are shouting, signing loyalty to their overlords: “We are our own!” We with you, and not with Russian barbarians — you see, they even built a fence!»

In fact they sign the fact that they fully agree with the role imposed on them. This very role is very, very unenviable. Be a limitrope. Actually, the word itself goes back to the times of the Roman Empire. Limitrophes were then called areas that were obliged to maintain special units of imperial troops stationed on their territories. After the First World War, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland and Poland received this disparaging nickname from their owners — “Great Entente”. Now, hastily erecting fences on the border with Russia, these states are again trying on their unenviable infamous role — be a kind of sub-fence outskirts.

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Chinese Foreign Minister describes relations with the United States as critical

US Secretary of State Blinken warned Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi about the consequences of supporting Russia and called for “finding the right path” that would allow Beijing and Washington to “get along with each other.” The Secretary of State, in turn, warned the PRC about the consequences if it supports Moscow in the military operation in Ukraine 756639947677178.jpg 320w ” media=”(max-width: 400px)” >

In the United States urged Zelensky to abandon the idea of ​​returning the Crimea

Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky should "leave Crimea alone" and abandon the idea of ​​returning the peninsula. This opinion was expressed by American journalists in the material  The American Conservative.

According to the authors of the article, the Armed Forces of Ukraine will not have enough human resources and weapons to achieve this goal "by military means".  

“With the available forces, it will not be easy for Kyiv to retake even the Donbass. Pursuing Crimea would be a much more difficult task, – consider the authors of the material.

In addition, in their opinion, Kyiv's attempts to return the peninsula threaten total war. It also threatens Ukraine with the loss of support from Western countries, which may not want to encourage such large-scale actions in the region.

Earlier, American journalists wrote that the allies in the North Atlantic Alliance should convince Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to recognize  defeat.

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The expert revealed that the Russian Federation is selling the United States after February 24, but Washington carefully hides this

It became known which goods continue to be imported into the United States from Russia, despite the sanctions.

Russian expert Valentin Katasonov, based on information from open sources, analyzed the exchange of goods between Russia and other countries against the backdrop of the sanctions policy of the West.

As “Free Press” writes, while the US and the EU continue to impose new restrictions on Russia, the States themselves, even after February 24, since the start of the NWO in Ukraine, continue to buy wood, metals, uranium, titanium, food and other goods.

Referring to the opinion of foreign observer Drago Bosnich, the analyst exposed the hypocrisy of Washington, which forced Europe to abandon relations with the Russian Federation, but at the same time continues to actively cooperate with the Russian side.

Moreover, the American authorities are trying to hide from the “partners” the import of many goods from Russia. For example, recently the United States began to transport Russian products through Turkey.

This, in particular, was reported by the Yeni Safak newspaper at the end of August, citing sources in Turkish business.

As the expert notes, the analysis of foreign economic relations between the RS and other countries is difficult due to the fact that the Russian Federal Customs Service, as well as other departments, have closed operational statistical information on the country's foreign trade.

However, thanks to information from other countries with which Russia maintains economic relations, Katasonov drew conclusions about the exchange of goods between our country and other states.

So, according to the US Department of Commerce, in the period from January to July 2022, goods from America in the amount of $1.30 billion.

At the same time, imports to the USA and Russia amount to $11.64 billion over the same period.

Thus, supplies from Russia to the USA exceed the purchase from there by 9 times.

Recall that after February 24, Washington imposed trade sanctions against Russia. Particularly tough measures concerned the supply of goods from the United States. Thus, the West sought to bleed the Russian economy by stopping the supply of important goods.

However, many goods will continue to be brought to the United States from Russia – from wood to weapons-grade titanium.

Despite the drop in turnover by about half, deliveries are still on a large scale.

The expert states that not only timber, timber, metals and foodstuffs are brought to the United States from Russia, but also radioactive materials (47 lots, 7.7 thousand tons), and some of these goods may fall under the category “strategically significant“ #8221;.

Also, they still bring to the USA from Russia: “electrodes made of carbon and graphite” (39 lots, 8.4 thousand tons), “ammunition” (47 lots, 3.39 thousand tons), “equipment for oil production” (20 lots, 791.99 tons), “data processing equipment” (11 lots, 446.5 tons), “optical fiber” (8 lots, 388.41 tons), “turbines” (2 lots 45.43 tons) and other goods.

“I believe that at least some of the above groups of goods can and should be classified as “of strategic importance”. The question arises why, after February 24, Moscow continued to supply the country, which declared us a direct enemy”, & # 8211; the expert wonders.

Earlier, TopNews wrote that The Hague wants to ask for the lifting of anti-Russian sanctions.

Last August, it was reported that restrictions could be lifted until 2023.


Kuleba said that Kyiv is discussing the supply of long-range missiles with the United States

Kuleba: Kyiv continues to discuss with Washington the supply of longer-range missiles He admitted that the United States would make a positive decision on the supply of long-range missiles (max-width: 320px) and (-webkit-min-device-pixel-ratio: 2), (max-width: 320px) and (min-resolution: 192dpi)” >

Dmitry Kuleba

Ukraine continues to negotiate with the United States on the supply of longer-range missiles. This was stated by Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba in an interview with PBS.

According to him, the Ukrainian generals “have an excellent line of communication” with American generals, and they are discussing this issue.

“We appreciate everything the US has done. But there are some specific weapons that are necessary, again, in order to succeed on the battlefield. I do not rule out the possibility that the United States will make a positive decision on this particular type of weapon, — Kuleba stressed.

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova said earlier that if supplies of longer-range missiles to Ukraine begin, the United States will cross the “red line”; and become one of the parties to the conflict.

CNN, citing senior US officials, reported on September 15 that Washington is not yet ready to transfer ATACMS missiles with a range of up to 300 km to Kiev.

According to sources, the White House still believes that the supply of such missiles missiles could escalate as Ukraine could use them to strike Russian territory.

Read on RBC Pro Pro How to tear a child away from a smartphone and whether it should be done Instructions Pro The myth of big incomes: why switching to IT is a bad idea Articles Pro Which European country's visa is easiest to get in 2022 low-paid jobs Articles Pro x The Economist Why the dollar is strengthening and why it is dangerous for the whole world Articles Pro You can trade remotely on Chinese marketplaces. What you need to know Instructions Pro In IT, you can have a high salary in your first position. Whom to study Instructions Pro Leave to return: why foreigners sell business to top management Sullivan said earlier that Washington is doing everything necessary to support and protect Ukraine, but his goal— prevent the development of hostilities in the direction of World War III.

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The Russian Embassy urged the United States to take care of their own elections

The Russian Embassy urged the United States to take care of their own elections after criticizing the Russian elections of governors, deputies of legislative assemblies and city parliaments were held in Russia from 9 to 11 September. The CEC declared no serious violations during the voting

The Russian Embassy in the United States recommended that Washington refrain from allegations about the Russian elections and take care to ensure the transparency of its own electoral processes.

Diplomats suggested that the US administration refer to the data of the Central Election Commission (CEC) of Russia, and more do not interfere in the internal affairs of the country.

“We recommend taking more care to ensure the transparency of electoral processes in the United States itself, not interfering in our internal affairs,” — said the embassy (quote from RIA Novosti).

Thus, the diplomats reacted to the words of State Department spokesman Ned Price, who accused the Russian authorities of numerous violations of the principles of freedom of expression during regional and municipal elections.


Elections at different levels were held in 82 regions of Russia from 9 to 11 September. Governors were elected in 14 regions, and acting or temporarily acting governors won everywhere. As for elections to legislative assemblies and city parliaments, United Russia won in all regions where they were held, and improved the result in three subjects compared to the 2017 campaign— in North Ossetia, the Penza region and Sakhalin.

The head of the Central Election Commission, Ella Pamfilova, said that the elections were held normally and without serious violations. Press Secretary of the President of Russia Dmitry Peskov said that the Kremlin considers the election results as a demonstration of a high level of support for Vladimir Putin and his policies, including the decision to conduct a special operation in Ukraine.

Read on RBC Pro Pro Startup at 46: how an IT specialist made $1 billion in student loans Articles Pro x The Economist Why sanctions did not bring down the Russian economy — 3 reasons from The Economist What you need to know How to Pro Employees are needed, work can not be found: what will happen to the labor market in the fall Articles Authors Tags Subscribe to Telegram RBC Stay up to date with the latest news even in conditions of blocking


In the United States called the American fighter F-22 Raptor a failure

America's first fifth-generation stealth fighter, the F-22 Raptor, which made its maiden flight 25 years ago, looks like a failure. Military Watch writes about this.

It is noted that in the air force this aircraft was recognized as problematic, since this model has a number of shortcomings, for example, avionics: the computer systems of the combat aircraft are quite outdated.

According to the publication, the Raptor still cannot communicate with other aircraft. In addition, the lack of infrared search and tracking systems also undermines the combat capability of the vehicle.

The publication also recalls the so-called “Raptor cough”, which developed among pilots due to the design of a high-altitude-compensating suit that squeezed the chest .

In addition, the high maintenance requirements of the F-22 have always led to low availability rates, the material says.

Previously it was reported that the Russian multi-role super-maneuverable fighters of the 4++ Su generation -35C performed aerobatics – a closed “Nesterov's loop” at the Kubinka airfield as part of the Army-2022 military-technical forum.

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In the United States, the phrase “tomorrow will be worse” threatened with sanctions for supporting Russia

The State Department said that the United States will impose new sanctions against Russians for supporting the special operation The United States will continue to work on restrictive measures, Jim O'Brien, head of the State Department's department for coordinating sanctions, said during a briefing

The United States will continue to impose sanctions against Russian citizens who support the policy of the Russian authorities. Jim O'Brien, head of the US Department of State's Office for the Coordination of Sanctions, said this during a briefing. The broadcast was conducted on YouTube.

“I want to say, as always, that those who support the policies of the Kremlin will have a worse tomorrow, as they will face the consequences of our measures or the way we apply them,” — he said.

According to him, the US authorities will continue to work on new sanctions.

Most of the briefing was devoted to the situation in the global food market. O'Brien pointed out that the US does not impose sanctions on Russian products and fertilizers, since the functioning of the grain markets— for the most vulnerable countries. He also said that the agreement on the export of grain from Ukraine, in particular the opening of the port of Odessa, reduced food prices by 5%.

Since the end of February, the US, the EU and their allies have imposed several packages of sanctions against Russia due to a special operation in Ukraine. The restrictive measures affected the Central Bank, gold and foreign exchange reserves, major banks, a wide range of imports and exports, the energy sector, Russian businessmen, politicians and public figures.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has repeatedly called the sanctions illegitimate, and also stated that they will hit everyone, and the presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov described restrictive measures against Russian businessmen as “banditry at the international level.”

Read on RBC Pro Pro You can trade remotely on Chinese marketplaces. What you need to know Instructions Pro The world has been swept by a wave of “quiet layoffs.” What it will lead to in Russia Diets Pro Articles “Innovation is not something new”: how to implement them in a traditional business Articles Pro Be reasonably tough: how to earn authority for a new boss Instructions Pro ports of Ukraine was concluded in mid-July with the participation of Moscow, Kyiv, the UN and Turkey. The first ships left in early August. Subsequently, the Russian Foreign Ministry stated that ships with Ukrainian agricultural products were sent mainly to the West, and not to the “starving” ones. African and South Asian countries.

In September, Russian President Vladimir Putin called for limiting grain export routes, since most of it was exported to the EU, and only 3% of the total was delivered to the poorest countries. His position was supported by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who said that Putin is right when he says that grain goes to rich, not poor countries.

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In the United States, they saw party interest in Biden’s request to allocate $ 12 billion to Kyiv

Republicans suspect partisan interest in Biden's request for $12 billion to Kyiv By requesting another aid package to Ukraine, US President Joe Biden may be acting in favor of the Democrats ahead of the midterm elections, and not in the interests of the country, the Republican Party said

The US saw party interest in Biden's request to allocate $12 billion to Kyiv

The Republican Party of the United States suspects that President Joe Biden is guided by the interests of his own party, not the country, asking Congress for $ 11.7 billion in aid to Ukraine, Fox News reports.

According to the Republicans, the allocation of new funds to Kyiv calculated on the growing popularity of the Democrats ahead of the US midterm elections, which will be held in November.

“This latest request from President Biden— just a superficial stunt in the midterms that will only hurt our country in both the short and long term,— said Republican Rep. Andy Biggs.

Another Republican congressman Scott Perry pointed out that the timing of Kyiv's funding request should be adopted in the context of Biden's recent behavior, namely attempts to portray the Republicans as a threat to democracy.

“Over the past five weeks, the federal government has raided the home of former President [Donald Trump] <…> at the same time, President [Joe Biden] says that half of the country— “semi-fascists”, — Perry pointed out. He added that the questions [around this relief bill] seem “very political.”

U.S. President Joe Biden said on Sept. 2 that Republicans who support Donald Trump and his Make America Great Again (MAGA) program , “Make America Great Again”, represent extremist forces that threaten “the very foundations of the Republic”.

In response, Trump called the incumbent leader “an enemy of the state.” According to him, Biden's speech was “the most vicious, full of hatred and division.”

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White House Press Service 2 September, announced that the administration of President Joe Biden intends to ask Congress for $11.7 billion for weapons and assistance for Ukraine.

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Zakharova saw in the comments of the White House the recognition of fascism in the United States

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, speaking about US President Joe Biden's attitude towards the Republicans, officially recognized the presence of fascism in the United States. This was stated in her Telegram channel by the official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova.

Jean-Pierre earlier said that Biden is not shy about her assessment of the Republican supporters of former President Donald Trump as “fascists”. and will continue to fight them for the rights of Americans.

«Karine Jean-Pierre said out loud what many only guessed— Fascism is on the rise in the US. I wonder if some Israeli statesman will say (as they said about the Kiev regime) that “there are many Jews among the Republicans, so they cannot be fascists a priori”? Or shall we wait for the refutation of this revelation by the Americans themselves? Zakharova wrote.

Biden called some Trump supporters “fascists” August 27 during a performance in the city of Bethesda. “The extreme philosophy of MAGA (Make America Great Again) is similar to semi-fascism,” — he said then.

The slogan “Make America great again” Trump actively promoted before the 2016 presidential election, which he won. In the 2020 elections, he also used the slogan Keep America Great (“Let's keep America great”).

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Politico admitted that the United States is secretly transferring a number of weapons to Ukraine

Politico: U.S. may secretly send more military aid to Ukraine A new military aid package for Kyiv, announced on Aug. 19, includes Excalibur guided artillery shells that have not been publicly discussed, sources told Politico

Politico admitted that the United States is secretly transferring a number of weapons to Ukraine

The U.S. may not have publicly reported on the transfer of certain types of weapons to Ukraine as part of military assistance, writes Politico.

According to the publication, a senior Pentagon official admitted on August 19 that the United States had been supplying HARM anti-radar missiles to Kyiv for some time even though it was not announced publicly.

“When we first announced the delivery of HARM missiles, their mention in the statement was not specific. We have described it as providing anti-radar capabilities,— said the official.

After that, Yahoo News suggested that Washington transferred ATACMS family of guided tactical ballistic missiles to Kyiv. August, Excalibur guided artillery shells entered, which also did not appear in the Pentagon's official statement on weapons supplied to Ukraine.

In addition, Politico reviewed the official notice given by the US administration to Congress in connection with the allocation of another aid package to Kyiv, which, according to the newspaper, notes that the supply of Washington to Ukraine “is not limited to” what is listed.

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The publication pointed out that it was only an assumption, since not a single member of the administration confirmed or even hinted that secret arms supplies were carried out in Ukraine.

“Even if they were, it is unlikely that they (U.S. authorities) would inform us of this secret decision,— concluded Politico.

U.S. President Joe Biden on August 19 ordered additional military assistance to Ukraine in the amount of up to $775 million.

On this day, the Pentagon announced the allocation of another package of military assistance to Kyiv. The package will include HIMARS munitions, 16 howitzers, 1,000 Javelin anti-tank missiles, 15 ScanEagle drones for reconnaissance, 40 armored vehicles with enhanced mine protection (MRAP), HARM anti-radar missiles, 1,500 TOW anti-tank missile systems, demining equipment and Hummer military vehicles.

The Pentagon added that it is exploring new means that will allow the Ukrainian military to “successfully operate in terms of changing the battlefield not only in the east, but also in the south,” without specifying which weapons are in question. According to CNN, this is the Pentagon's 19th aid package for Ukraine this year.

In July, US Air Force Chief of Staff Charles Brown Jr. admitted that Ukraine could receive modern fourth-generation fighter jets from the West. , there is Gripen from Sweden, there is Eurofighter or Rafale. So there are a number of different weapons systems that could go to Ukraine,” — said the general.

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Axios learned about the “difficult negotiations” between the United States and Israel on concessions to Iran

The US is trying to convince Israel that no additional concessions will be made to Iran on the Iranian nuclear program. The Israeli authorities believe that the US and the EU have crossed the established red lines, and the draft agreement differs from the text of 2015 756610507930087.jpg 673w” media=”(max-width: 320px) and (-webkit-min-device-pixel-ratio: 2), (max-width: 320px) and (min-resolution: 192dpi)” >

The governments of the United States and Israel are engaged in difficult and intense negotiations regarding the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on the Iranian nuclear program, Washington is convincing Jerusalem that there are no new concessions to Tehran. Axios writes about this, citing unnamed US and Israeli officials.

US officials insist that the outcome of negotiations with Iran is not yet determined, and that an agreement is not inevitable. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and his Israeli counterpart Eyal Hulata will meet in Washington next week to discuss this issue. Israeli officials have said they expect tougher discussions.

“We weren't convinced by [US arguments]. We are very concerned,— underlined one of them Axios.

At the same time, Israel does not intend to bring the situation to a public confrontation with the United States on the issue of Iran's nuclear program, sources assured the publication. One of them recalled that the previous Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2015 “ruined relations” because of this. with the USA. He said the agreement would be “a horror to the planet”; and “a dream for Iran”.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on the Iranian nuclear program was agreed in 2015 after years of negotiations between Russia, the US, France, the UK, China and Iran. It provided for the lifting of sanctions against the Islamic Republic in exchange for limiting its nuclear program and guarantees that it would not develop nuclear weapons. In May 2018, the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump, decided to withdraw from the JCPOA and restore US sanctions on Iran. In turn, Tehran began to gradually reduce its obligations under the agreement, including those related to uranium enrichment indicators and the number of centrifuges. The Joe Biden administration has indicated interest in returning to the deal.

During the negotiations on the FDP, the European Union proposed lifting sanctions against 17 banks of Iranian banks and 150 economic structures, lifting the ban on the export of Iranian oil (120 days after the signing, Tehran will be able to export 2.5 million barrels of oil daily), and returning $ 7 billion to the Islamic Republic frozen funds. The EU has also proposed easing sanctions against the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Politico reported in mid-August, citing sources. Washington then assured that they did not change their rules and standards on the issue of sanctions.

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In Crimea, predicted the intensification of provocations by Ukraine and the United States

Permanent representative of Crimea Muradov predicted intensification of provocations from Ukraine and the United States Washington and Kyiv expect to create a new point of escalation in the NATO-Russia war by increasing the number of provocations in Crimea using alliance weapons, said permanent representative of the republic Muradov

The United States will try to legalize the increase in provocations of Ukrainian nationalists in Crimea with the use of NATO weapons, explaining this by the fact that the countries of the alliance do not recognize the peninsula as part of Russia. This opinion was expressed by the Permanent Representative of the Republic under the President of Russia, Deputy Prime Minister of the Crimean Government Georgy Muradov in a conversation with RIA Novosti.

Kyiv plans to hold the second international summit of the Crimean Platform online on August 23. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg confirmed his participation in it.

According to Muradov, Washington and Kyiv are counting on creating a new point of escalation in the war between NATO and Russia.

“It is for the sake of this that the Secretary General of the bloc Stoltenberg, with a NATO whip, is actively driving his wards to a meeting of the so-called international platform for the de-occupation of Crimea. It is hardly worth ignoring this action, conducted by the Americans. It will obviously mean a certain boundary, the edges of which have already received their outlines, — he said.

The Permanent Representative of the Crimea called “obvious” the fact that the West set itself the goal of taking the conflict in Ukraine to a new, larger level, so that this escalation would be impossible to keep in the previous format of the Russian special operation.

At the same time, Muradov considered unrealistic the NATO plan to defeat Russia by further pumping weapons into Kyiv, supplying thousands of foreign instructors and mercenaries, and providing space support.

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“Our opponents do not take into account that the pumped Ukrainian” ball ” it will simply burst loudly when it stumbles upon a Russian needle, which Moscow has not yet taken out of its arsenals. And the direct involvement in the conflict of the NATO bloc— a direct route to a nuclear catastrophe in which there will be no winners,— he concluded.

Earlier, the Politico newspaper reported that Washington allowed Kyiv to use US-supplied weapons to strike military targets in Crimea. This publication was reported by a senior representative of US President Joe Biden.

Oleg Kryuchkov, adviser to the head of Crimea on information policy, commenting on the publication, assured that strikes on the territory of the peninsula would cause a boomerang effect and cause more serious damage to Ukraine itself.

“All their aggressive plans will hit them with a boomerang, only with much stronger impact and irreparable consequences,»,— he said.

Over the past few days, air defense in Crimea has worked several times: August 18— in Kerch, August 19— in Evpatoria, on the morning of August 20, an UAV attacked the headquarters of the Black Sea Fleet. There were no casualties as a result.

The head of the republic, Sergei Aksyonov, said on August 20 that the air defense systems “successfully hit all targets over Crimea.”

A yellow terrorist threat level is in effect in Crimea. The same measure was introduced by the Sevastopol authorities after the drone attack on the fleet headquarters on July 31. Then six people were injured.

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Russian Foreign Ministry warned the United States from becoming a side of the conflict in Ukraine

Photo: Still from video

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that the US and NATO are aggravating the situation in Ukraine with their assertions about the possibility of an attack into Russian territory from the Ukrainian side. Moscow warns Washington on the topic of de-escalation against the Russian Federation.

As the Deputy Minister pointed out, the situation is now extremely acute. Moscow would not want Washington to become a party to the conflict. However, the United States has not yet heard the warnings, Ryabkov added.

Earlier, Washington allowed the Armed Forces to use American weapons in Crimea for self-defense, as Politico wrote, citing an anonymous source in the White House.


Later, Russian Senator Sergei Tsekov pointed out that US weapons can be used to strike not only in the Crimea, but also in other territories of the Russian Federation. In particular, these are the Bryansk and Kursk regions.


Zakharova called the condition for breaking diplomatic relations with the United States

Zakharova: US can forget about relations with Russia if terror is declared by sponsor “image/webp” media=”(max-width: 320px) and (-webkit-min-device-pixel-ratio: 2), (max-width: 320px) and (min-resolution: 192dpi)” >

Maria Zakharova

In the event that Russia is declared a country— As a sponsor of terrorism, Moscow will sever all diplomatic relations with the United States. About this on the air of the TV channel “Russia 1” said the official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova.

Zakharova said that Moscow had given clear explanations about the consequences of Russia's possible inclusion in the list of countries— US sponsors of terrorism. «We talked about it— and not only orally, but also in writing, these comments were posted, and even translated into English. Therefore, here, of course, the question is to the level of those people with whom we are dealing. But everything has been repeatedly stated,»— she said.

In late July, the US Senate passed a resolution calling on Secretary of State Anthony Blinken to recognize Russia as a “country”; sponsor of terrorism. Later, Politico reported that Congressmen from the Democratic and Republican parties are going to submit a bill to the House of Representatives. They hope that Congress can give Moscow such a status, bypassing the State Department.

At the same time, Blinken said that the sanctions adopted against Russia already have the same consequences that led to the recognition of her country— sponsor of terrorism.

Now the list of sponsors of terrorism in the United States includes four countries— Iran, North Korea, Cuba and Syria.

Inclusion in the list means strict restrictions on interaction with this state, a ban on the export of defense goods, control over the export of dual-use products, financial and other restrictions— these measures are included in the list of anti-Russian sanctions. In addition, sanctions are envisaged against other states that maintain trade relations with a sponsor of terrorism.

The White House said that they are studying the possibility of including Russia among the countries— sponsors of terrorism. In early August, Democratic and Republican senators Richard Blumenthal and Lindsey Graham called for recognition of Russia as such, regardless of the presence or absence of support from President Joe Biden.

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Director of the North American Department of the Russian Foreign Ministry Alexander Darchiev in an interview with TASS said that recognizing Russia as a sponsor of terrorism would be the point of no return. According to him, in this case, Moscow will lower the level of diplomatic relations with Washington or completely break off diplomatic relations.

So far, the only countries in which Russia has been recognized as a sponsor of terrorism are Lithuania and Latvia.

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Reuters learned that the United States fears the recruitment of Afghan military by Russia and China

Former members of the Afghan security services who remained in the country after the Taliban came to power (described as terrorist and banned in Russia) may be vulnerable to recruitment by Russia, China and Iran. This is reported by Reuters with reference to the report of the Republicans from the Foreign Affairs Committee of the US House of Representatives.

The document notes that former Afghan law enforcement officers are well aware of US operations, so their recruitment may threaten Washington's interests. According to Republicans, some ex-Afghan soldiers have already fled to Iran.

The authors of the report believe that the administration of US President Joe Biden did not set the right priorities during the evacuation after the arrival of the Taliban and made a mistake by leaving the said military in Afghanistan.

The Taliban came to power in Afghanistan last August, after they managed to step up the offensive in connection with the departure of the American military contingent that had been in the country since 2011. The President of the Republic, Ashraf Ghani, fled to the UAE.

Western countries, including the United States, do not recognize the authority of the Taliban, but the movement believes that it has fulfilled all the conditions for recognition.

Zamir Kabulov, Russian presidential envoy for Afghanistan, said that in order to officially recognize the Taliban government, it is necessary to create an inclusive government and respect for human rights in Afghanistan. Nevertheless, already at the end of March, Russia accredited a Taliban diplomat in Moscow.

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United States through the World Bank will allocate $ 4.5 billion to Ukraine for social benefits

The United States through the World Bank will provide $4.5 billion in additional assistance. The funds will be used for social transfers, medical services and pensions

The United States, through the Agency for International Development (USAID), will provide the government of Ukraine with $4.5 billion in assistance to help reduce the acute budget deficit. This was reported on the agency's website.

“These funds, provided by the United States through the World Bank, will allow the government of Ukraine to support key areas, including social and financial assistance to Ukrainians,”— the message says.

It is specified that we are talking about paying salaries to civil servants, healthcare workers, teachers, as well as ensuring the supply of gas and electricity to hospitals, schools and other critical infrastructure.

the Ukrainian authorities will receive some tranches. The first tranche of $3 billion will be received in August.

“As soon as these additional funds are fully utilized, the US government will provide the government of Ukraine with a direct $8.5 billion in budget support,— noted in USAID.

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In the United States announced a serious attitude to the issuance of visas to UN delegates

The United States takes its visa obligations seriously under its New York headquarters agreement with the United Nations. This was stated in the American Permanent Mission to the UN, TASS reports.

Journalists asked if visas would be issued to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and other members of the Russian delegation to participate in the high-level week of the General Assembly. Since February 26, Sergei Lavrov has been under US sanctions. They prohibit him from entering the United States, except as specifically determined by the US authorities.

“As a host country, the United States has an obligation under the UN Headquarters Agreement to facilitate travel to the UN Headquarters area for representatives of states— UN members. We take our obligations under the UN Headquarters Agreement seriously,— said in the permanent mission.

At the same time, representatives of Washington noted that according to US law, visa issues are confidential.

The high-level week of the 77th session of the UN General Assembly will be held from 20 to 26 September. This year it will be held face-to-face, unlike the previous two years, when due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some performances were pre-recorded on video. On the eve it became known that, on behalf of the President, the Russian delegation will be headed by Lavrov. His speech is scheduled for September 24.

In total, the delegation will include ten people, including: Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin, Chairman of the International Committee of the Federation Council Grigory Karasin, Permanent Representative of Russia to the UN Vasily Nebenzya.

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Antonov said that the United States is approaching a dangerous line of confrontation with Russia

Russian Ambassador Antonov: US continues to “pour fuel on the fire” of the Ukrainian conflict “image/webp” media=”(max-width: 320px) and (min-resolution: 192dpi)” >

The United States is increasingly drawn into the Ukrainian conflict and is approaching the dangerous line of confrontation with Russia. This was stated by Russian Ambassador to Washington Anatoly Antonov, commenting on the decision of the States on the next “package” military assistance to Ukraine.

“Such a line will not give anything good for peace and security, but will only prolong the agony of the Ukrainian regime,” — he stressed.

According to him, the US decision to allocate $ 1 billion to Kyiv confirms that they do not intend to listen to the “voice of reason”; and are not going to contribute to a peaceful settlement of the crisis.

Antonov called cynical statements by the US authorities that the supply of military products to Ukraine will strengthen its position at the negotiating table with Russia.

“It is not clear how one can, in principle, talk about dialogue in conditions when the only goal of the United States— prolong the conflict as much as possible,— the ambassador pointed out.

He emphasized that the pumping of the country with weapons is increasingly causing concern in the United States itself, as evidence of fraudulent schemes is emerging in the transportation of military products. The weapons that end up on the front line in Ukraine are used by Ukrainian militants to strike residential areas in the cities of Donbass. Kyiv also exposes the whole of Europe to extreme danger by attacking the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant.

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As the diplomat noted, developing countries are watching US policy “with surprise and incomprehension”, wondering “is it really so easy to throw away billions of dollars into the void” that could be spent on the socio-economic needs of Latin America, Africa and Asia.

Earlier it became known that the United States will provide Ukraine with a new $1 billion military aid package. M113 vehicles, as well as artillery ammunition, a thousand FGM-148 Javelin man-portable anti-tank systems, medicines and explosives.

Total US military assistance to Ukraine after the implementation of this package will increase to $9.8 billion from February 2022 and to $11.8 billion since 2014.

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Polyansky criticized the lack of words about the United States in the speech of the UN head on Hiroshima

Deputy Representative Polyansky: UN Secretary General Guterres should have mentioned the US in his speech on Hiroshima According to the diplomat, the Secretary General should have mentioned in his speech that the US was the only one in the world to use nuclear weapons. Discussions about the atomic bombing of Hiroshima resumed on the occasion of its anniversary on August 6 image/webp” media=”(max-width: 320px) and (min-resolution: 192dpi)” >

UN Secretary-General António Guterres, in his speech at the memorial ceremony for the victims of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, should have mentioned the United States as the country that struck the blow, Dmitry Polyansky, First Deputy Permanent Representative of Russia to the world organization, said on Twitter.

“Dear General Secretary, nor should the world forget that it was the United States that committed this crime and is the only country to have used the atomic bomb against a civilian population without any military necessity. It would be correct if you also mentioned this in your statements, — he wrote.

Discussions about the atomic bombing resumed on the occasion of its anniversary on August 6.

At the end of World War II, on August 6, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima. After hitting her and another Japanese city— Nagasaki— Japan announced its surrender, the signing of the act of surrender became the formal end of the war.

According to various estimates, 70 & ndash; 100 thousand people died from the explosions. Five years from radioactive contamination, cancer and other delayed effects, the total death toll could exceed 300 thousand people.

On August 6, Guterres spoke at the memorial ceremony for the victims of the atomic bombing in Hiroshima and called on world powers to abandon nuclear weapons

“It is absolutely unacceptable that nuclear-weapon states allow the possibility of nuclear war,” — he said.

The Russian Embassy accused the United States of “hunting” for Russians traveling abroad


The Russian Embassy in the United States said that America launched a real “hunt” for Russians who are behind border. Thus, the diplomatic department commented on the criticism from the White House regarding the verdict of American basketball player Brittney Griner.

According to diplomats, some American public organizations and officials who criticize the decision of the Russian court distort information and distort the facts . In this regard, the embassy reminded that about a hundred citizens of the Russian Federation are now in pre-trial detention centers and prisons in the United States.

“Washington launched a real“ hunt ”for Russians at the moment when they go abroad. Since 2008, about 50 such cases have been recorded. We appeal to the United States and urge them to stop shifting problems from a sore head to a healthy one, ”the diplomatic department added.

Earlier, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, speaking to media representatives, said that Washington is all still expects that Moscow is an example of the American version of the proposal for the exchange of prisoners.


Lavrov: Russia is ready to discuss with the United States the exchange of prisoners through a special channel

Photo: Natalia Gubernatorova

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Russia is ready to discuss the exchange of prisoners with America. This should take place within the framework of the channel that was previously approved by the presidents of the two countries.

According to him, at the moment there is a channel agreed by the presidents, which remains relevant.

“In addition, If the representatives of the White House once again want to resort to public diplomacy and make loud announcements or statements that they now want to take such and such steps, this is their business, their problem,” Lavrov said.

He remarked that the Americans cannot stand professional and calm work on many topics.

“On our part, there is a readiness to discuss such topics, but they should take place within the framework of the channel that was agreed upon by the presidents of Russia and the United States” , – added Lavrov.


Peskov said that the prisoner exchange channel was agreed with the United States in Geneva

Peskov: Putin and Biden agreed on a channel for discussing the exchange of prisoners in Geneva Putin and Biden agreed on a channel for discussing the exchange of prisoners between Russia and the United States at the Geneva summit, Peskov said Earlier, Lavrov said that this channel remains relevant

Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin arrive during a meeting in Geneva. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

Earlier, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Russia was ready to discuss the exchange of prisoners with the United States, but only within the framework of the channel previously agreed by the presidents. Peskov was asked what kind of channel it was.

“We are also talking about a conversation between two presidents in Geneva,” — noted the representative of the Kremlin.

At the end of July, CNN sources reported that the United States offered Russia to exchange businessman Viktor Bout for Paul Whelan and basketball player Brittney Griner. Bout was sentenced to 25 years in the United States for arms trafficking, he pleaded not guilty. Whelan was sentenced in Russia to 16 years for espionage, and Griner was sentenced on August 4 to nine years for drug smuggling. The basketball player was detained at the Moscow airport in February: cartridges for vapes with hash oil were found in her bag.

Russia, in turn, asked to include in the exchange former FSB officer Vadim Krasikov, who was sentenced to life imprisonment in Germany for the murder of Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, a Georgian citizen of Chechen origin, writes CNN.

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On July 29, Lavrov and US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken discussed the prisoner exchange issue. The White House said they did not consider Russia's response to their proposals serious. The Kremlin, in turn, emphasized that “a public exchange of positions will not lead to a result.” “We still believe that any information exchanges on this topic should be secret, without megaphone diplomacy,” Peskov noted.

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The Foreign Ministry accused the United States of trying to divert attention from Ukraine with a visit to Taiwan

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zakharova called Pelosi's visit to Taiwan an act to divert attention /webp” media=”(max-width: 320px) and (min-resolution: 192dpi)” >

Nancy Pelosi (center)

United States due to “hype” around the visit of Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan, they are trying to divert public attention from internal problems and the situation in Ukraine, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Sputnik radio.

“This is an absolute catastrophe that the United States themselves created with their own hands around Ukraine, the failure of everything that is connected in this regard in the European direction. <…> The situation of impasse required a sharp shift in the informational paradigm, which Pelosi did, — noted the diplomat.

Pelosi flew to Taiwan on the evening of August 2. She visited the Taiwanese parliament, met with President Tsai Ing-wen, and called the island “one of the freest societies in the world.” She explained that she visited Taiwan unannounced to show support for the “vibrant and dynamic” democracy in this country.

In Beijing, Pelosi was criticized even before the visit officially took place, and pointed out that the visit would undermine relations with Washington. After Pelosi landed at the Taipei airport, the Chinese military began a shooting exercise near the island, Taiwan responded by increasing its combat readiness. The Foreign Ministry decided that the United States was thus provoking China and trying to contain its rise.

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Senator Klimov said that the United States is afraid of Zelensky’s flight

photo: Andrey Klimov. source: wikipedia

The Kyiv authorities are not trusted in the United States and they fear the flight of Vladimir Zelensky from the Ukrainian political scene. This opinion was expressed on Wednesday in his telegram channel by the head of the commission of the Federation Council for the protection of the state sovereignty of the Russian Federation, Andrei Klimov.

“Washington has never trusted anyone,” the senator said. – Especially to some Ukrainian actor.

According to Klimov, “the only thing that Pan Zelensky was hired for” in Washington was “to betray the interests of Ukraine and its people for the sake of the US victory over Russia.”

The legislator said that Zelensky first betrayed the interests of his voters , residents of Ukraine, doing exactly the opposite in terms of their own election promises.

The former comedian then staged a pessimistic comedy in his country's domestic politics. He finally surrendered the “square” to Washington after the election of US President Joe Biden, refused to renew the key cooperation agreement with Russia, tore the Minsk agreements, severed diplomatic relations with Moscow, and also helped the North Atlantic Alliance start an all-out hybrid war with the Russian Federation.

“Zelensky betrayed the true national interests of his country more than all his predecessors in the presidency put together,” Klimov said.

He also said that the President of Ukraine “now personally oversees the massacres of Ukrainian citizens and scandalous funeral of Ukrainian statehood.”

According to the parliamentarian, Zelensky is not trusted in the White House and the Capitol because he is a traitor by nature, which was specially selected there.

Zelensky’s guard in Kyiv, as well as the “Anglo-Saxon special services”, according to Klimov, “not so much protecting the comedian who has played for the presidency” from the Russians “, but from the fact that this showman does not draped from the Ukrainian political scene.”

However, as the Russian politician noted, Zelensky has nowhere to run – “unless he is captured.”


The embassy asked the United States for guarantees to exclude fertilizers from sanctions

The diplomats called on the American side not to give public assurances, but to ensure the smooth operation of the transport and logistics system, including Russian and foreign ports, and financial support for operations

The Russian Embassy in the United States urged Washington to guarantee the exclusion of Russian food supplies and fertilizers from direct and indirect sanctions. This is stated in the statement of the diplomatic mission in Telegram.

“Public assurances and comfort letters don't work. It is necessary to ensure the unhindered operation of the transport and logistics system, including Russian and foreign ports, as well as the normal financial support of the relevant operations, — emphasized there.

Russian diplomats once again denied accusations of Moscow's involvement in the food crisis, pointing out that its origins “are rooted in systemic errors in the macroeconomic policies of the Western states themselves.”

The United States removed some of the goods from the list of sanctions against Russia, including fertilizers, seeds, food and medicine, on February 24. Later, the US authorities clarified that transactions with them would be prohibited if the Russian Central Bank, the National Wealth Fund (NWF), the Russian Treasury, or any of the banks that fell under the sanctions are involved in the processing of transactions.

In mid-July, the US Treasury allowed conduct operations with the Russian side related to the supply of food, fertilizers, medicines and medical equipment.

At that time, the European Commission also suggested clarifying the restrictions on Russia so that they “were in no way directed at agricultural products.” The EU was going to unfreeze part of the assets of Russian banks.

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At the end of July, the European Union introduced another package of sanctions, while easing restrictive measures against VTB, Sovcombank, Novikombank, Otkritie, VEB.RF, Promsvyazbank, Rossiya Bank. They will be allowed to use frozen assets and make deals with Europeans if necessary to purchase or transport food or agricultural products anywhere (including grain and fertilizer).

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called on Western countries to remove obstacles , interfering with the export of food, which they themselves created. At the same time, Moscow is not asking the West to lift sanctions from it, he argued. President Vladimir Putin accused Western countries of cynicism.

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In the United States, they announced a drop in morale in the ranks of the Ukrainian army

There is a drop in morale in the ranks of the Ukrainian army due to recruits who do not want to serve. This is reported by the American newspaper The New York Times.

According to the publication, the Armed Forces of Ukraine replenished by recruiting fighters on the streets of the country, and those who do not want to participate in combat actions.

It is noted that there is growing dissatisfaction among the local population due to questions about how exactly the recipients of subpoenas are chosen. According to the publication, Ukrainians are dissatisfied with the "secret and arbitrary" recruitment. 

The newspaper cites the words of one of members of the Ukrainian territorial defense, who said that Ukrainians who want to serve are sometimes refused “for bureaucratic reasons.”

” ;Right now, the process is shrouded in mystery with little openness about the standards that apply to each step, – noted in the material of the newspaper.

Earlier British General Richard Barrons said that the in the ranks of the Ukrainian army there is a "catastrophic" a drop in morale. According to him, the Ukrainian military is retreating and losing ground.

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The Russian Embassy said about the “inflamed imagination” in the United States

U.S. politicians lose touch with reality when they call Russia a rogue state, the Russian embassy in the United States said. The comment was published on Telegram.

“Attempts to present our country as isolated are caused by the inflamed imagination of American figures who are increasingly losing touch with reality,”— said in the message.

The diplomatic mission called statements about the isolation of Russia “indiscriminate”; and noted that the Russian leadership is “actively involved in international affairs.”

Earlier, US State Department spokesman Ned Price said that Russia has become a pariah in the international arena and its authorities understand the degree of isolation . He also pointed out that during the G20 Foreign Ministers Summit in mid-July, the ministers demonstrated a consensus on the need to condemn Russia for its actions in Ukraine and provoking a food crisis in the world.

In response to a journalist's remark about the visits of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to Africa, and President Vladimir Putin to Iran, Price said the US had little concern for the location of Russian representatives. According to him, more importantly, Russia heard from the G20 countries and the UN a signal about the losses that its leadership incurs due to hostilities in Ukraine.

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