Russian President Vladimir Putin cautioned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a phone call Thursday against comments he made following Tuesday’s chemical attack on the town of Khan Sheikhoun in Syria’s northern Idlib province. Netanyahu, after the attack said that he was “shocked and outraged”, by the attack, which killed dozens of people. “There’s no, none, no excuse whatsoever for deliberate attacks on civilians and on children, especially with cruel and outlawed chemical weapons”. Russia, an ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad, claimed that the incident was the result of a Syrian airstrike on a rebel weapons storehouse. Assad said that “Israel is doing its best to support these terrorists in every place the Syrian Army advances”. He warned that any operation undertaken by foreign militaries without Syrian government approval would be considered an invasion.
Russians in St. Petersburg on Tuesday paid tribute with flowers and candles to the victims of a deadly blast at a metro station a day earlier, which killed 14 people. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu extended his condolences to Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying “the people of Israel stand with Russia on this difficult day”. In an action of solidarity with the victims of the bombing, the Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality lit up the facade of city hall with the colors of both the Russian and the Israeli flags. Nethanyau said that for him this gesture is a really beautiful thing. Also Nir Sadan, a resident of Tel Aviv said that “Here in Israel we know this kind of problem and I feel sorry for Russia that this terrible thing happened”. Russia has been on alert against attacks on its soil in reprisal for its military intervention in Syria, where Moscow’s forces have been supporting troops loyal to President Bashar Assad. The Islamic State group has repeatedly threatened revenge attacks.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has talked to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin by phone about the recent developments in Syria late Thursday, RIA news agency reported. The two leaders agreed to increase military coordination in Syria against the Daesh terrorist group, the Kremlin said in a statement. During their conversation, the two leaders also discussed the Astana process and exchanged views on the upcoming Turkey-Russia High Level Cooperation Council (HLCC) meeting in March. A statement released by the Turkish General Staff later on Thursday said that Russian jets mistakenly targeted Turkish soldiers near Syria’s al-Bab leading to the death of three soldiers and injuring 11 others. The wounded Turkish soldiers were transferred to a nearby hospital after initial medical treatment. A bomb mistakenly hit a building, in which Turkish soldiers were located, while a Russian warplane was targeting Daesh positions in al-Bab, the statement elaborated. Russian authorities also stated that the incident was an accident, expressing their grief and condolences, it added. Both Turkish and Russian parties have launched an investigation regarding the incident.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed a ceasefire agreed by Bashar al-Assad’s regime and opposition groups, as well as the upcoming Astana talks, in a phone conversation on Dec. 29. Erdoğan and Putin exchanged their views on the ceasefire agreement that is set to begin on Dec. 30, which could be brokered by the joint efforts of Ankara and Moscow as guarantor countries. The two leaders also spoke about the upcoming Astana talks expected to be held between the al-Assad regime and the opposition groups with the objective of facilitating a political transitional process to end six years of unrest in Syria. Turkey, Iran and Russia signed a joint declaration on Dec. 20 to launch a new process that would provide a nationwide cease-fire and a resolution to the conflict through political means.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed during talks on Thursday and Friday to start discussing a “special system” for conducting “joint economic activities” on the four islands of the northern territories.
The Japanese government intends to use such economic collaboration to eventually resolve the issue of the northern territories and conclude a peace treaty with Russia. However, similar ideas have not come to fruition in the past, so twists and turns are expected in designing the system.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin wrapped up a two-day meeting on Friday afternoon, but -closely watched- talks on the territorial issue between their nations appeared to make little progress.
“We agreed to start negotiations on a ‘special system’ to conduct ‘joint economic activities’ on the four islands [of the northern territories],” Abe said during a joint press conference held at the Prime Minister’s Official Residence in Tokyo after the talks on Friday.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and visiting Russian President Vladmir Putin held talks on Thursday evening to seek common ground on the longstanding issue of the northern territories and set a course for the conclusion of a peace treaty between the two nations.
The meeting took place at a hot spring ryokan inn in the city of Nagato, Yamaguchi Prefecture, which is Abe’s home turf and a part of his constituency.
Anonymous CIA sources have declared to the NBC that Russian President Putin would be directly involved in the hacking events in favor of the election of Trump for President. These sources claim that Russian hackers would have access to the computers of the Democratic National Committee to carry on Putin’s personal vengeance against Hilary Cliton. Between the two there isn’t a good relationship from the days when Hilary was Secretary of State and Putin Prime Minister. The Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov said Russian Press Agency TASS that the rumors published by NBC News are not founded.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signaled that a breakthrough is unlikely on the thorny Northern Territories issue during his visit to Japan starting Dec. 15.
Putin’s hard-line stand stems from Japan’s decision two years ago to join other Group of Seven nations in imposing sanctions against Russia after it annexed Crimea in Ukraine.It may also be due in part to the upcoming inauguration of Donald Trump as U.S. president. The billionaire property developer has repeatedly praised Putin. The Russian leader made clear that Japan’s decision to impose sanctions remains a major barrier towards progress in negotiations as it shattered trust between the two countries.”Japan joined in the sanctions against Russia,” he said. “How are we going to further economic relations at a higher level amid such sanctions?”
Japan has disregarded U.S. opposition to a planned bilateral summit between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Tokyo next week, diplomatic sources said. Last month, Washington repeatedly conveyed its objection to the Abe-Putin meeting in the capital out of concern that it might relieve pressure on Moscow by the Group of Seven economies, but on Thursday Japan formally announced the summit for Dec. 16, as well as another meeting in Yamaguchi Prefecture the previous day.