By On April 18, 2018

Trump undercutting ambassador plays right into Comey's tease about the worst Russia narrative

  1. Trump undercutting ambassador plays right into Comey's tease about the worst Russia narrative CNN
  2. Trump contradicts himself, claiming Russia inquiry not behind Comey firing The Guardian
  3. Comey: There are things about Russia probe that public doesn't know yet The Hill
  4. Full coverage
Source: Google News Russia | Netizen 24 Russia


By On April 18, 2018

Russia's RT faces 7 new investigations in UK

A peek into Russia's mysterious spy machine A peek into Russia's mysterious spy machine

The United Kingdom is launching seven new investigations into Russia's state-controlled TV channel, RT.

UK broadcasting regulator Ofcom said on Wednesday it had concerns about potentially unbalanced coverage on RT's news and current affair shows.

Ofcom said it had received complaints about RT content in the wake of a nerve agent attack on former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal in March in the British city of Salisbury.

"We have observed a significant increase in the number of programs on the RT service that warrant investigation," it said in a statement.

The regulator warned last month that it was considering whether RT was "fit and proper" to hold a broadcast license following the Salisbury incident.

Ofcom has the power to impose fines or revoke RT's license if it finds that the channel broke broadcasting standards on impartiality and fairness.

Britain has accused Russia of attempting to murder Skripal and his daughter. Russia has repeatedly denied involvement in the attack, seeking to blame Britain instead.

An Ofcom official told CNN it also has concerns about RT's coverage of recent events in Syria.

Ofcom added that RT's record on UK broadcasting rules was not notably worse than other broadcasters.

"We are pleased to see that Ofcom has acknowledged RT's compliance record has been in line with other broadcasters -- putting to bed any of the salacious political statements and challenges made against our channel," RT said in a statement.

"Our editorial approach has not changed since the events in Salisbury, and we will be directly addressing this matter with the regulator," it added.

Related: How Russian retaliation could hurt America

RT's UK broadcast licenses were granted to ANO TV Novosti, which is financed and controlled by the Russian government.

When Ofcom first said it was reviewing the license in the wake of the Salisbury attack, RT accused the regulator of "doing away with any concept of press freedom in the UK."

Moscow responded by threatening to ban all British media from Russia if RT was pulled off the airwaves.

Related: US sanctions are killing this oligarch's business

Ofcom noted that it had previously found some serious problems with RT coverage in 2014 related to Ukraine and Syria.

"Where RT's compliance function has failed previously, it has tended to be in matters relating to Russia's foreign policy," it said.

CNNMoney (London) First publish ed April 18, 2018: 11:25 AM ETSource: Google News Russia | Netizen 24 Russia


By On April 18, 2018

Trump, contradicting his own words, denies firing Comey over Russia probe

  1. Trump, contradicting his own words, denies firing Comey over Russia probe CNN
  2. Trump claims he didn't fire Comey over Russia investigation Politico
  3. Trump claims he didn't fire Comey because of Russia investigation The Hill
  4. Comey says Trump 'morally unfit to be president,' possibly susceptible to Russian blackmail Washington Post
  5. Full coverage
Source: Google News Russia | Netizen 24 Russia

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By On April 18, 2018

Russia blocks Google, Amazon IP addresses in bid to ban Telegram

&times &times &times &times Sergei Konkov | TASS | Getty Images

Russia's state communications regulator on Tuesday said it had blocked IP addresses owned by Google and Amazon, saying they were being used by the Telegram messaging service which Moscow moved to ban this week.

Russia's Roskomnadzor watchdog began blocking Telegram, a messaging service popular in Russia, on Monday after it refused to comply with a court order to grant state security services access to its users' encrypted messages.

Roskomnadzor's head Alexander Zharov said it had blocked 18 sub-networks and a significant number of IP-addresses belonging to Google and Amazon , the Interfax news agency reported.

"We have currently informed both companies that a significant number of IP addresses located in the clouds of these two services have fallen under the block on the basis of the court ruling (to block Telegram)," Zharov was quoted as saying.

Blocking the IP addresses has prevented Russian internet users from accessing Telegram and other services that route content through Google and Amazon servers.

Some users have circumvented the block by using virtual private networks, which make it seem as though they were accessing the internet from another country.

Zharov told Interfax that Roskomnadzor hoped it would receive "legally meaningful" responses from Amazon and Google by Wednesday.

The U.S. companies did not immediately respond on Tuesday to a request from Reuters for comment on the Russian move.

'Digital resistance'

Telegram CEO Pavel Durov called on Tuesday for "digital resistance", saying he was prepared to give out millions of dollars worth of grants in bitcoin digital currency to individuals and companies that run proxies and VPNs to support internet freedom.

Writing on his Telegram channel, Durov said there had not been a significant drop in users of the service in Russia since the ban took effect because users were using VPNs and proxies to access the messe nger. He also thanked Apple, Google, Amazon and Microsoft "for not taking part in political censorship".

Durov, a pioneer of social media in Russia, left the country in 2014 and has become a vocal critic of the Kremlin's policies on internet freedom.

Telegram is widely used in countries across the former Soviet Union and Middle East. Durov said on Tuesday that Russians account for about 7 percent of its users.

As well as being popular with journalists and members of Russia's political opposition, Telegram has also been used by the Kremlin to communicate with reporters and arrange regular conference calls with President Vladimir Putin's spokesman.

On Monday the spokesman's office asked journ alists who were previously subscribed to a chat in Telegram to switch to a chat that had been set up in a different messaging service, ICQ, which is part of the Russian technology group.

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Source: Google News Russia | Netizen 24 Russia


By On April 18, 2018

Russia rejects UN resolution for independent Douma investigation

The suspected chemical attack in Douma was met with air strikes by the US, France and the UK [File: AFP]
The suspected chemical attack in Douma was met with air strikes by the US, France and the UK [File: AFP]

Russia has rejected France's proposal at a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) meeting that called for the launch of an independent investigation over an alleged chemical attack that struck the former rebel-held town of Douma in Syria's Eastern Ghouta.

The rejection on Tuesday came during the sixth UNSC emergency meeting on Syria since the suspected chemical attack claimed the lives of at least 85 people on Apr il 7, according to medical personnel.

The alleged attack was met with "triple assaults" by the US, France and the UK, through coordinated strikes on three presumed chemical facilities run the government.

WATCH: 'It had a rotten smell': Douma 'chemical attack' survivors speak (2:20)

Vassily Nebenzia, Russia's ambassador to the UN, said the idea of establishing a mechanism to determine responsibility for the use of chemical weapons is "futile" since Washington and its allies already identified who the "culprits" are, referencing the US-led attack on Syria.

Russia had called for the latest UNSC meeting to discuss the humanitarian situation in Raqqa, which has been under the Syrian Democratic Forces' control since they reclaimed it from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as IS IS) last year.

Nebenzia laid blame on the US and members of its coalition fighting ISIL in the region for the destruction of Raqqa.

But amid rising tension, Kelley Currie, deputy US ambassador for economic and social affairs, described Russia's call as an attempt to deter focus away from the "atrocities" committed by the Syrian government.

Both Russia and its ally, President Bashar al-Assad's government, have denied using chemical weapons in their war against armed opposition groups in Syria.

Although a UN security team was able to access and visit Douma on Tuesday, a chemical weapons fact-finding mission scheduled to probe the site of the alleged attack is still awaiting entry.

According to a UN source who spoke to Reuters News Agency, inspectors from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons' (OPCW) who arrived in Syria some days ago have postponed their entry to the site as a result of reported gunfir e.

The delay comes a day after Syria's UN Ambassador Bashar al-Jaafari told UNSC members that the OPCW would begin probing the alleged poison gas attack on Wednesday.

Nebenzia also warned that the West's military actions have set aside the possibility of a political solution to Syria's war, not in its eighth year.

"Before the air strikes, we noted the readiness of the Syrian government to participate in the Geneva negotiations," Nebenzia said.

"Now, these efforts have been set back considerably."

His remarks came as French ambassador Francois Delattre and British ambassador Karen Pierce urged the council to restart UN-brokered peace talks.

INSIDE STORY: Will strikes deter Assad from using chemical weapons? (25:10)

SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies

Source: Google News Russia | Netizen 24 Russia


By On April 18, 2018

Russia: White House Says No New Sanctions For Now

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Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, speaks during a Security Council meeting on Friday. On Sunday, she said new Russian were forthcoming, only to be contradicted by the White House. Julie Jacobson/AP hide caption

toggle caption Julie Jacobson/AP

Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, speaks during a Security Council meeting on Friday. On Sunday, she said new Russian were forthcoming, only to be contradicted by the White House.

Julie Jacobson/AP

Russia said Wednesday that it has received word that the U.S. has no plans for further sanctions after confusion over the issue involving U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, who announced fresh sanctions only to be contradicted by the White House.

Russia's official TASS news agency quoted a source in the foreign ministry as confirming, "the United States has informed the Russian embassy that there will be no new sanctions for now."

On Sunday, Haley, appearing on CBS' Face the Nation, said the U.S. was ready with a new round of economic sanctions on Russia for its backing of Syrian President Bashar al Assad's alleged use of chemical weapons.

President Trump, who was reportedly watching as Haley made the remarks, "grew angry, according to an official informed about the moment. As far as he was concerned, he had decided no such thing, " The New York Times reports.

What ensued was something of a public spat between Haley and Larry Kudlow, the White House economic adviser.

Kudlow said of Haley "There might have been some momentary confusion about that," a remark that apparently did not sit well with the ambassador, who issued a statement of her own to Fox News: "With all due respect, I don't get confused."

As The Associated Press notes, "The White House had been struggling to explain Haley's remarks amid reports that [the president] put the brakes on the new sanctions. Several administration officials have disputed that characterization, saying Haley was out of the loop."

The news agency says:

"The feud appeared to quiet down after ... Kudlow called Haley to apologize Tuesday afternoon, a White House official said. The official spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to describe private di scussions.

Earlier Tuesday, Kudlow told reporters during a briefing in Florida that Haley 'got ahead of the curve' when she said the U.S. would be slapping new sanctions on Russia on Monday in retaliation for the country's support for Syria's Assad government after its latest suspected chemical attack."

Also ahead of the curve appeared to be Russia's Kommersant newspaper â€" a publication known for deep sources within the Russian government. The paper published an April 15th report â€" the same day Haley made her public remarks on sanctions â€" claiming to US Ambassador to Russia John Huntsman had also delivered a formal letter to Moscow warning of impending new U.S. penalties over "support of the Syrian regime."

Source: Google News Russia | Netizen 24 Russia