Russia to send two planes with humanitarian aid to Syria

 The Russian Emergency Situations Ministry is preparing to send two planes with 44 tonnes of humanitarian aid to Syria.

"Consistent with the directives of the Russian president and government, it is planned to take humanitarian aid to the population of the Syrian Arab Republic suffering from hostilities," says a report published on the ministry website on Monday, Voice of Russia, Interfax .

Ilyushin Il-62 and Il-76 jets from the ministry will take aboard respectively 11.02 tonnes and 33.5 tonnes of humanitarian aid, the report said.

The date of the planes' departure to Syria has not been reported.


Lavrov, Kerry discuss crisis in Syria

 Speaking on the telephone Sunday, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his US counterpart John Kerry looked into ways to stop violence and start up a dialogue in Syria .

They also agreed to stay in contact and meet in person in the near future, according to Voice of Russia, Interfax

Meanwhile,The overdue meeting between Russia’s top foreign official Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry may be held in March, Lavrov’s deputy Sergei Ryabkov has told Russian media.

Mr. Ryabkov said no meeting in person would probably take place until the end of February, adding the US and Russia were talking over details.

“It’s not clear yet, what tours they will be on and whether their routes will cross,” Mr. Ryabkov noted.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said an agreement has been reached on talks with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry within in a few weeks.

"I know a tour of the Middle East is one of his nearest priorities. This is easy to understand. An agreement has been reached to hold talks within weeks. We will negotiate the venue and date additionally," Lavrov said on the "Sunday Night with Vladimir Solovyov" program on Rossiya-1 television on Sunday.

Russia’s foreign policy is independent, principled, not time serving, and for these reasons it attracts international recognition and respect. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke about this on Russian television Sunday.


India Renews its Opposition to Foreign Interference in Syria

NEW DELHI, (ST) - Indian National Security Adviser, Shiv Shankar Menon, confirmed that his country opposes any military intervention in Syria and India is against such interference and the solution must be Syrian with a complete cessation of violence.

 In a speech at the conclusion of the International Conference on Emerging Trends in West Asia and its Security Implications in the Region, Menon added that "India strongly supports the democratic aspirations of the people in West Asia but not to the extent of supporting the compulsive change of regimes ."

 "Societies can't be reordered from abroad through military force and we have only to look to the instability stemming from Libya to the coastal area and the crisis in Syria. " Menon said.

"The current challenges in the region prepared a  suitable atmosphere for extremist groups to exploit and pursue their agendas and stir regional instability and sectarian division,"  the adviser pointed out.

On the Arab-Israeli conflict Menon said: "Our support for peace in the Middle East is initially steady and India is the first non-Arab country to recognize the State of Palestine," adding that his country is against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in the region."

Sh. Kh.

Meteorite hits Russian Urals: Fireball explosion wreaks havoc, over 900 injured


Russia’s Urals region has been rocked by a meteorite explosion in the stratosphere. The impact wave damaged several buildings, and blew out thousands of windows amid frigid winter weather. Hundreds have sought medical attention for minor injuries.

Around 950 people have sought medical attention in Chelyabinsk alone because of the disaster, the region's governor Mikhail Yurevich told RIA Novosti. Over 110 of them have been hospitalized and two of them are in heavy condition. Among the injured there are 159 children, Emergency ministry reported.

Army units found three meteorite debris impact sites, two of which are in an area near Chebarkul Lake, west of Chelyabinsk. The third site was found some 80 kilometers further to the northwest, near the town of Zlatoust. One of the fragments that struck near Chebarkul left a crater six meters in diameter.

Service members from the tank brigade that found the crater have confirmed that background radiation levels at the site are normal.

A hole in Chebarkul Lake made by meteorite debris. Photo by Chebarkul town head Andrey Orlov.

A hole in Chebarkul Lake made by meteorite debris. Photo by Chebarkul town head Andrey Orlov.

Experts working at the site of the impact told Lifenews tabloid that the fragment is most likely solid, and consists of rock and iron.

A local fisherman told police he found a large hole in the lake’s ice, which could be a result of a meteorite impact. The site was immediately sealed off by police, a search team is now waiting for divers to arrive and explore the bottom of the lake.

Samples of water taken from the lake have not revealed any excessive radioactivity or foreign material.

Weather sattelite Meteosat 10 has taken an image of the meteriote shortly after entering the atmosphere.

Weather sattelite Meteosat 10 has taken an image of the meteriote shortly after entering the atmosphere.(Copyright 2013 © EUMETSAT)

Russian space agency Roskosmos has confirmed the object that crashed in the Chelyabinsk region is a meteorite:

“According to preliminary estimates, this space object is of non-technogenic origin and qualifies as a meteorite. It was moving at a low trajectory with a speed of about 30 km/s.”

According to estimates by the Russian Academy of Sciences, the space object weighed about 10 tons before entering Earth’s atmosphere.

According to preliminary reports, the worst damage on the ground in Chelyabinsk was at a zinc factory, the walls and roof of which were partially destroyed by an impact wave. The city's Internet and mobile service were reportedly interrupted because of the damage inflicted near the factory.


Neither Pretexts Nor Preconditions For Solving Crisis In Syria: Lavrov




MOSCOW,(ST)-Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has stated that there is no room for pretexts,allegations and preconditions as regards solving the crisis in Syria.

Lavrov made a statement today in which he underscored"if our priority is to save the peoples' lives …we should say now …the fighting operations must be ceased without preconditions,".

"any measure might taken by the Security Council against Syria will be promptly put into force for foreign intervention in the crisis,"Lavrov asserted.

In this context,Lavrov pointed out that the Syrian opposition is not coordinated and is working against the Syrian government in parallel with a number of terrorist groups,recalling that the US has designated one of these groups on black list that arose the "Doha coalition" protest.





Lavrov Calls for Quitting Doubled Standards in Dealing with Crisis in Syria

Conakry – Guinea, (ST) _ Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday called for abandoning doubled standards in dealing with the crisis in Syria. 

"Russia Today" online quoted for Lavrov, who is currently touring Africa, as saying in a press statement, following a meeting with his Guinean counterpart "Francois Fall" in the capital of Guinea, "Conakry" that "to avoid doubled standards one must stop taking them as a guide" explaining that the recent events concerning the so-called "Arab Spring" is but a "a good lesson" for those who resort to doubled standards.

Highlighting the situation in Mali, Lavrov stressed the need of further steps to be taken in this country, taking the position of the leadership in Mali, into account. 


Syrian leadership resignation no precondition for Syria peace talks – Russia

Russia will never agree to setting the Syrian leadership  resignation as a precondition for peace talks between the Syrian warring parties.

This came Tuesday in a statement by the head of Russian Duma’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Alexei Pushkov.

Mr. Pushkov said the Kremlin would never accept a “first Syria leadership's  resignation, then talks” formula. “I don’t think the Syrian leadership would agree to it either,” he added,according to the Voice of Russia.

Russia and France see more eye to eye on Syria, Russia’s Foreign Affairs Committee chief Alexei Pushkov told reporters on Wednesday.

Addressing the 17th meeting of the Russian-French inter-parliamentary committee, Mr. Pushkov said Russia’s Western partners were beginning to see that the Syrian leadership's   resignation wasn’t a silver bullet for the crisis in Syria.


Terrorists in Syria loot artifacts to raise money

As the crisis in Syria  nears its third year, the world community  warn that Syria’s historical sites face a new, more dangerous threat: a sophisticated network of smugglers and dealers looking to capitalize on the country’s cultural riches.To the caches of ammunition and medicines that they lug each day from this border city back into their homeland, Syrian terrorist groups  have added new tools to support their fight against the Syrian government,according to the Washington Post.

The terrorist groups , struggling to finance their effort, have joined an emerging trade in illicitly acquired Syrian artifacts and antiquities.

 “Some days we are against the government; others we are archaeologists,” Jihad Abu Saoud, a 27-year-old terrorist  from the Syrian city of Idlib, said in an interview in this northern Jordanian city. Saoud claimed to have recently uncovered tablets from the Bronze Age city of Ebla inscribed in the Sumerian script.

Since the onset of the crisis in Syria, the international community has expressed alarm over the fate of the country’s diverse heritage landmarks and stunning archaeological sites.

 “In light of previous experiences in situations of conflict, with respect to cultural heritage, the risk of looting and illicit trafficking of Syrian cultural objects appears to be high,” said Anna Paolini, head of the Jordan office of the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

The extent of the trade is unknown because of difficulties accessing historical sites in the country, according to UNESCO, which hosted a regional workshop in Amman on Sunday on protecting Syrian cultural heritage from trafficking. There are conflicting reports about the fate of artifacts from Syria, long a cultural crossroads.

Twelve of the country’s 36 museums have been looted, according to the France-based Association for the Protection of Syrian Archaeology. In a Jan. 22 report, however, the Syrian Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums said the bulk of the items have been accounted for and transferred to secure locations.

Only two pieces have been taken from display cases since the start of the conflict, the ministry reported: a bronze statue from the northwestern city of Hama dating to the Aramaic period and a collection of marble figurines and tablets from the museum at Apamea.

“This isn’t just the history of Syria but the history of mankind at stake,” said Maamoun Abdulkarim, head of the Syrian antiquities directorate. Before the crisis s, he said, plunderers “were digging at night. Now they are digging in broad daylight.”