U.N. Votes 141-5 for Russia to End its Aggression

Matthew 24:6 “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet.”

Important Takeaways:

  • Impotent U.N. Sidelined as Chief Guterres Hits Russia with List of Demands
  • The veteran Portuguese politician spoke after an emergency General Assembly session called for the withdrawal of all Russian troops. The resolution was entirely symbolic and is not legally binding nor enforceable at any level, AP reports.
  • The vote on the “Aggression against Ukraine” resolution was 141-5, with 35 abstentions. It was moved and approved under the shadow of Russia bombarding Ukraine’s second-largest city and besieging two important ports, all while a huge convoy of Russian military vehicles stood poised outside the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv.
  • “We don’t have a moment to lose,” he said. “The brutal effects of the conflict are plain to see … It threatens to get much, much worse.”
  • China was among the 35 countries which abstained in the vote, while just five — Eritrea, North Korea, Syria, Belarus and of course Russia — voted against it.

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Orphanage and Kindergarten Targeted as Russia Enters Kyiv

Matthew 24:6 “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet.”

Important Takeaways:

  • Russian Forces Attack Kindergarten in Ukraine, Casualties Reported: Officials
  • “Today’s Russian attacks on a kindergarten and an orphanage are war crimes and violations of the Rome Statute,” he said in a statement on Twitter. “Together with the General Prosecutor’s Office we are collecting this and other facts, which we will immediately send to the Hague.”
  • The unedited photo shows at least two dead persons prostrated on the ground,” said Grozev on Twitter.
  • The news comes amid reports that Russian troops descended on the streets of Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv on Friday, and a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “special military operation” in Ukraine.
  • Ukraine’s ministry of defense called on citizens to prepare Molotov cocktails to fight off invading Russian troops, as Russian forces appeared to have infiltrated a residential district of Kyiv.

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Russia adds 7,000 troops to the border despite claiming withdrawal

Matthew 24:6 “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet.”

Important Takeaways:

  • US: Russia Adds Troops Near Ukraine Despite Drawdown Claims
  • As Ukrainians waved flags in a show of defiance of a feared Russian invasion, the United States reported that Moscow had added as many as 7,000 troops to forces stationed along the tense border — a warning that contradicted Kremlin declarations that military units were being pulled back.
  • Western allies maintained that the threat of an attack was strong, with an estimated 150,000-plus Russian troops surrounding the country on three sides.
  • The U.N. Security Council is scheduled to hold its annual meeting on the Minsk agreement on Thursday. Russia, which holds the rotating council presidency this month, will chair the meeting.

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Ukraine denies report of Russian troop buildup near its borders

KYIV (Reuters) – Ukraine’s defense ministry on Monday denied a media report of a Russian military buildup near its border, saying it had not observed an increase in forces or weaponry.

The Washington Post said at the weekend a renewed buildup of Russian troops near the Ukrainian border had raised concern among some officials in the United States and Europe who are tracking what they consider irregular movements of equipment and personnel on Russia’s western flank.

“As of November 1, 2021, an additional transfer of Russian units, weapons and military equipment to the state border of Ukraine was not recorded,” the Ukrainian defense ministry said in a statement.

In Washington, the Pentagon said it was aware of public reports about “unusual activity.”

“We’re certainly monitoring the region closely as we always do so and as we’ve said before, any escalatory or aggressive actions will be of great concern to the United States,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said.

This spring, Moscow alarmed Kyiv and Western capitals by building up tens of thousands of troops along the border with Ukraine, though it later ordered them back to base.

Relations between Kyiv and Moscow have plummeted since 2014, when Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula and a war broke out between Ukrainian troops and Russian-backed separatist forces in eastern Ukraine, which Kyiv says has killed 14,000 people.

(Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; Additional reporting by Idrees Ali and Phil Stewart in Washington; Editing by Mark Trevelyan and Sandra Maler)

Trump officials rush to Turkey as Moscow advances to fill Syria void from U.S. retreat

Trump officials rush to Turkey as Moscow advances to fill Syria void from U.S. retreat
By Tuvan Gumrukcu

ANKARA (Reuters) – The Trump administration dispatched its top officials to Turkey on Wednesday for emergency talks to try to persuade Ankara to halt an assault on northern Syria, while Russian troops swept into territory abandoned by Washington in a sudden retreat.

Robert O’Brien, White House national security adviser since last month, arrived in Turkey aiming to meet Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Wednesday. Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are expecting to meet the following day with President Tayyip Erdogan.

The administration is trying to contain the fallout from Erdogan’s decision to send forces last week to attack Syrian Kurdish militia that were Washington’s close allies.

Erdogan again insisted there would be no ceasefire, and said he might call off a visit to the United States next month because of the “very big disrespect” shown by U.S. politicians.

He also denounced the United States for taking the “unlawful, ugly step” of imposing criminal charges against a Turkish state bank over allegations it broke sanctions on Iran.

Turkey’s assault, launched after a call between Erdogan and President Donald Trump, forced Washington to abandon a strategy in place for five years and pull its troops from northern Syria.

It has spawned a humanitarian crisis, with 160,000 civilians taking flight, a security alert over thousands of Islamic State fighters abandoned in Kurdish jails, and a political maelstrom at home for Trump, accused by congressional leaders, including fellow Republicans, of betraying loyal U.S. allies, the Kurds.

Syrian government forces, backed by Washington’s adversaries Russia and Iran, have meanwhile taken advantage of the power vacuum left by retreating U.S. troops to advance swiftly into the largest swath of territory previously outside their grasp.

Trump played down the crisis on Wednesday, saying the conflict was between Turkey and Syria and that it was “fine” for Russia to help its ally Damascus. Sanctioning Turkey would be better than fighting in the region, he said.

Washington announced sanctions to punish Turkey on Monday, but Trump’s critics said the steps, mainly a steel tariffs hike and a pause in trade talks, were too feeble to have an impact.

A day later U.S. prosecutors’ charges were unveiled against Turkey’s majority state-owned Halkbank for taking part in a scheme to evade Iran sanctions. Washington says the case is unrelated to politics. Halkbank denies wrongdoing and called the case part of the sanctions against Turkey.


The Turkish advance, and Washington’s need to swiftly evacuate its own forces, have brought the two biggest militaries in NATO close to confrontation on the battlefield. Washington has complained about Turkish artillery fire near its troops.

In the latest potential flashpoint, U.S. military aircraft made a “show of force” over the border city of Kobani after Turkish-backed fighters came close to American troops there, a U.S. official said.

Pence said Erdogan had promised Trump by phone that Turkey would not attack Kobani, a strategically important border city where U.S. forces first came to the aid of Kurds against Islamic State, which massacred Kurdish civilians there in 2014.

Erdogan said he had not broken his promise to Trump: “Mr Trump’s remark on Kobani was ‘Don’t strike there’,” Erdogan told reporters late on Tuesday. “We said that we had only done an encircling operation there at the moment.”


Washington’s hasty exit has created a land rush between Turkey and Russia – now the undisputed foreign powers in the area – to partition the formerly U.S.-protected Kurdish area.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the eight-year Syrian war, said on Wednesday Russian troops had crossed the Euphrates River to advance to Kobani’s outskirts.

Lebanon’s al-Mayadeen TV reported that Russian-backed Syrian forces had also set up outposts in Raqqa, the one-time capital of Islamic State’s caliphate, which the Kurds captured in 2017 at the peak of their campaign with U.S. support.

Hours after Washington announced its pullout on Sunday, the Kurds made a rapid deal with Washington’s adversaries, the Russia- and Iran-backed government of President Bashar al-Assad.

Russia-backed Syrian troops have swiftly moved across the breadth of the Kurdish-held area including Manbij city, a target of Turkey which U.S. forces said on Tuesday they had quit.

Reuters journalists traveling with Syrian government forces on Tuesday entered Manbij and saw Russian and Syrian flags on buildings nearby. Russian state media said on Wednesday Syrian government forces had occupied bases abandoned by U.S. troops.

Erdogan, due in Moscow later this month, said he had told President Vladimir Putin that Russia could move forces into Manbij, provided that the Kurdish YPG militia was cleared out.

Erdogan says Trump approved his plan for a “safe zone” about 30 km (20 miles) inside Syria. Trump says he did not endorse the plan but Washington could not stay to police the Middle East.

“They say ‘declare a ceasefire’. We will never declare a ceasefire,” Erdogan told reporters. “Our goal is clear. We are not worried about any sanctions.”

The Turkish campaign shows no sign of abating on the ground, with most fighting so far around two border cities, Ras al Ain and Tel Abyad. A Reuters cameraman in the Turkish border town of Ceylanpinar reported the sound of heavy gunfire just across the frontier in Ras al Ain, which Turkey’s Defence Ministry had earlier said its forces controlled.

(Additional reporting by Mert Ozkan; Writing by Dominic Evans and Peter Graff; Editing by Alison Williams)

Exclusive: Russia builds up forces in Syria, Reuters data analysis shows

The Russian Navy's missile corvette Mirazh sails in the Bosphorus, on its way to the Mediterranean Sea, in Istanbul, Turkey

By Jack Stubbs and Maria Tsvetkova

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia has built up its forces in Syria since a ceasefire collapsed in late September, sending in troops, planes and advanced missile systems, a Reuters analysis of publicly available tracking data shows.

The data points to a doubling of supply runs by air and sea compared to the nearly two-week period preceding the truce. It appears to be Russia’s biggest military deployment to Syria since President Vladimir Putin said in March he would pull out some of his country’s forces.

The increased manpower probably includes specialists to put into operation a newly delivered S-300 surface-to-air missile system, military analysts said.

The S-300 system will improve Russia’s ability to control air space in Syria, where Moscow’s forces support the government of President Bashar al-Assad, and could be aimed at deterring tougher U.S. action, they said.

“The S-300 basically gives Russia the ability to declare a no-fly zone over Syria,” said Justin Bronk, a research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in London.

“It also makes any U.S. attempt to do so impossible. Russia can just say: ‘We’re going to continue to fly and anything that tries to threaten our aircraft will be seen as hostile and destroyed’.”

Russia’s Defence Ministry did not respond to written questions. A senior air force official, speaking on condition of anonymity, dismissed talk of an increase in supply shipments.

But data collated by Turkish bloggers for their online Bosphorus Naval News project, and reviewed by Reuters, shows reinforcements sent via Russia’s “Syrian Express” shipping route from the Black Sea increased throughout September and have peaked in the last week.

The data shows 10 Russian navy ships have gone through the Bosphorus en route to Syria since late September, compared with five in the 13-day period before the truce — from Aug. 27 to Sept. 7.

That number includes The Mirazh, a small missile ship which a Reuters correspondent saw heading through the Bosphorus toward the Mediterranean on Friday.

Two other Russian missile ships were deployed to the Mediterranean on Wednesday.

Some of the ships that have been sent to Syria were so heavily laden the load line was barely visible above the water, and have docked at Russia’s Tartus naval base in the Western Syrian province of Latakia. Reuters has not been able to establish what cargo they were carrying.

Troops and equipment are also returning to Syria by air, according to tracking data on website FlightRadar24.com.

Russian military cargo planes flew to Russia’s Hmeymim airbase in Syria six times in the first six days of October — compared to 12 a month in September and August, a Reuters analysis of the data shows.


Russia sent its air force to support the Syrian Army a year ago when Moscow feared Assad was on the point of succumbing to rebel offensives. U.S.-led forces also carry out air strikes in Syria, targeting Islamic State positions.

Aerial bombardments in the past two weeks, mainly against rebel-held areas in the Syrian city of Aleppo, have been among the heaviest of the civil war, which has killed more then 300,000 people in 5-1/2 years.

Since the collapse of the ceasefire in September, acrimony between the United States and Russia has grown and Washington has suspended talks with Moscow on implementing the truce.

U.S. officials told Reuters on Sept. 28 that Washington had started considering tougher responses to the assault on Aleppo, including the possibility of air strikes on an Assad air base.

“They (Russia) probably correctly surmise that eventually American policy will change,” Bronk said, commenting on the analysis of the tracking data.

“They are thinking: ‘We’re going to have to do something about this, so better to bring in more supplies now … before it potentially becomes too touchy’.”

The FlightRadar24.com data shows Ilyushin Il-76 and Antonov An-124 cargo planes operated by the Russian military have been flying to Syria multiple times each month. It offers no indication of what the aircraft are carrying.

But the Il-76 and An-124 transporters can carry up to 50 and 150 tonnes of equipment respectively and have previously been used to airlift heavy vehicles and helicopters to Syria.

State-operated passenger planes have also made between six and eight flights from Moscow to Latakia each month. Western officials say they have been used to fly in troops, support workers and engineers.

Twice in early October, a Russian military Ilyushin plane flew to Syria from Armenia. Officials in Yerevan said the planes carried humanitarian aid from Armenia, a Russian ally.

Russia’s Izvestia newspaper reported last week that a group of Su-24 and Su-34 warplanes had arrived at the Hmeymim base in Syria, returning Russia’s fixed-wing numbers in the country to near the level before the drawdown was announced in March.

(Additional reporting by Hasmik Mkrtchyan in Yerevan and Murad Sezer in Istanbul, Writing by Jack Stubbs, Editing by Christian Lowe and Timothy Heritage)