Tag Archives: Russia

Oops, They Did it Again: Russia Invades Ukraine

Russian-Tanks-In-Ukraine-AGain

For what I believe is now the 50th time, Russia has once again invaded Ukraine. Russian military tanks, artillery, air-defense systems, and combat troops have reportedly entered eastern Ukraine over the past two days.

“Across the last two days we have seen the same thing that OSCE is reporting. We have seen columns of Russian equipment, primarily Russian tanks, Russian artillery, Russian air-defense systems and Russian combat troops entering into Ukraine,” Gen. Philip Breedlove, NATO’s top commander, said.

Gen. Breedlove expressed concern that the border between the former Soviet allies was now “completely wide open,” allowing Moscow to potentially bolster rebels in eastern Ukraine who are continuing to pick fights with government troops despite a so-called ceasefire. Nothing says ceasefire like sending in tanks!

The ceasefire agreed by the pro-Russian rebels and government forces more than two months ago is pretty much non-existent now. Amid fears of a return to full-scale fighting, Ukraine is redeploying troops in the east.

And once again, Russia is denying the whole thing. A Russian Defence Ministry official, Gen.-Maj. Igor Konashenkov, said in Moscow that “there were and are no facts” behind such statements and Russia had given up paying attention to such accusations by NATO.  Moscow also denied sending in troops and armour back in August but said some Russians may have been there as volunteers during their holidays and some soldiers may have gotten lost and “accidentally” crossed the border. Come NATO, how many times do they have to say it?! They were tourists taking a family vacation in a tank!!

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Tim Cook Is Proud To Be Gay But Russian Politician Vitaly Milonov Is Even Prouder To Be Homophobic

Vitaly Milonov Bans Tim Cook

Vitaly Milonov, a conservative lawmaker from the ruling party in Russia, has declared that Apple CEO Tim Cook should be given a lifetime ban from entering Russia because he could have AIDS… or Ebola.

Last week Tim Cook revealed publicly for the first time that he was gay in an essay for Businessweek.

“While I have never denied my sexuality, I haven’t publicly acknowledged it either, until now. So let me be clear: I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me,” Cook said.

“Of course, I’ve had the good fortune to work at a company that loves creativity and innovation and knows it can only flourish when you embrace people’s differences.”

But not everyone is so open to embracing differences. Vitaly Milonov, a city legislator from St Petersburg who has gained a reputation in Russia for his homophobic stance and instigation of various anti-gay laws, claims that the Apple CEO would bring “Ebola, AIDS and Gonorrhea” if he was allowed into the country.

“What could he bring us? The Ebola virus, AIDS, gonorrhea? They all have unseemly ties over there,” Milonov said. “Ban him for life.”

Milonov also accused Cook of trickery, saying, “He’s like an artist, who at first popularized himself and then revealed himself to be gay.”

Despite his fear of contracting Ebola from the gays, the Russian politician admitted that he himself was still using the iPhone 6 and had no plans to stop doing so.

“The phone should not be blamed. It was created by Steve Jobs, who was a normal guy. After Jobs’s death another manager took over. They come and go, maybe he will get AIDS tomorrow,” Milonov stated.

Steve Jobs was a normal guy? Well, there goes any credibility Milonov might have had left.

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Russian Sex Geckos Die in Orbit

Geckos in Space

Russia’s space agency has confirmed that the five geckos, launched into space to test the effects of zero gravity on gecko sex, have died.

The deaths of the sex geckos were discovered when the Foton-M4 satellite carrying the geckoes returned to earth on Monday – with five dead geckos. With four female lizards and one male on board, Russian scientists had hoped to learn how zero gravity would affect the sexual habits of geckos (a very important study). Instead they learned that geckos don’t fare so well in space. The space lizards appeared to have frozen to death after a heating system malfunction, but the Russians won’t confirm an official cause of death.

“We can say with confidence that they died at least a week before the landing because their bodies were partly mummified,” said an official from Russia’s Institute of Medical and Biological Problems.

John Oliver must be devastated. Back in July, when Russia first reported that it had lost contact with the satellite, John Oliver issued a call on his HBO show “Last Week Tonight,” to save the five gecko cosmonauts. With the hashtag #GoGetThoseGeckos, Oliver urged viewers to write letters to Russian President Vladimir Putin to rescue the lost sex geckos.

On a positive note, the Russians listened to the pleas of the public and they did go get those geckos. But on a not-s0-positive note, they were dead.  #fuckthegeckosdied

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Current Event Cat of the Day: Ukraine Seeks NATO Membership

Current Event Cat - Has Nato

Amid the ongoing effort to subdue the pro-Russian rebels in the eastern part of the country, Ukraine has decided it wants to join NATO after all – which is kind of like trying to get home insurance when your house is already on fire.

In an attempt to regain control of eastern Ukraine and establish stronger ties with the West, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk has submitted a proposal to Parliament to put the country on a path towards NATO membership.

Ukraine may be denied NATO coverage due to a pre-existing condition (a bad case of the Russians), but if they do join, it will surely piss off Russian President Vladimir Putin. Russia was quick to denounce Ukraine’s moves to join NATO as well as NATO’s plan to turn up the heat in Eastern Europe.

NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said ahead of the Western military alliance’s two-day summit in Wales that opens on Thursday that the growing Russian threat meant NATO must create a bigger presence in Eastern Europe. NATO is expected to endorse the creation of a new military force of some 4,000 troops capable of moving on only about eight hours’ notice.

“The bottom line is you will in the future see a more visible NATO presence in the East,” says Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

“We must face the reality that Russia… considers NATO an adversary,” he told reporters. “We cannot afford to be naive.”

While Ukraine was busy asking NATO for help, Russia was busy denying their military support of the pro-Russian insurgency. Although Ukraine and the West have repeatedly accused Russia of direct involvement in Ukraine, with NATO saying last week that Russia had more than 1,000 of its troops deployed in Ukraine and 20,000 massed along the border, Russia continues to deny sending troops. And when Ukraine released a video of Russian paratroopers it says it captured within its eastern border, Russia was quick with an excuse. Russian military responded by saying the men had crossed an unmarked portion of the border “by accident”.

But not everyone was buying that – especially Canada. In its most aggressive act since 1812, Canada’s NATO delegation sent out a tweet in map-form to the Russian soldiers “who keep getting lost and ‘accidentally’ entering Ukraine”.

Canada NATO

The Russian NATO delegation then returned fire with a tweet from its official account. On their map the Crimean Peninsula is labelled “Russia” and the conflict-ridden area in eastern Ukraine is conveniently absent.

Russia NATO

I guess ownership is TBD… ?

Meanwhile, more than a million people have left their homes because of the escalating conflict in eastern Ukraine and some 2,600 people have been killed since the violence erupted. But there’s nothing like a little Twitter diplomacy to lighten the mood!

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Current Event Cat of the Day: MH17

Current EVent Cat - MH17

All 298 people on board flight MH17 died when it crashed over the pro-Russian rebel-held area in eastern Ukraine on July 17. The good news is that CNN will have enough material for the next 3-6 months. The bad news is… everything else.

Since the tragedy, the US and other nations are growing increasingly suspicious of Russian complicity in the crash.

Secretary of State John Kerry said “it’s pretty clear” the missile that downed the commercial jetliner came from “a system that was transferred from Russia.”

As for Vladimir Putin, he pointed his finger at the pro-Western government in Ukraine, arguing Ukraine’s crackdown on separatist rebels stoked tensions that led to the disaster.

“I believe that if military operations had not resumed in eastern Ukraine on June 28, this tragedy probably could have been avoided,” Putin said, referring to the end of a 10-day-old cease-fire.

Interesting theory. And how can you not trust a guy who kills his political rivals?

Putin’s involvement aside, there has also been international outcry over the way rebels have handled the whole situation. Pro-Russian rebels have delayed access to the site, allowed untrained volunteers to comb through the area, and even seized the remains of MH17 victims and stored them in train cars, much to the dismay of the international community.

John Kerry said on television on Sunday, “Drunken separatists have been piling bodies into trucks and removing them from the site. What’s happening is really grotesque and it is contrary to everything President Putin and Russia said they would do.”

Pro-Russian rebels have since allowed Dutch investigators to examine bodies from the crashed MH17 flight at a railway station in eastern Ukraine, but internatonal investigators are still being denied full access to the wreckage at the accident site.

Meanwhile, heavy fighting broke out between the Ukrainian military and pro-Russian rebels on Monday – the first fight since Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down. Ukrainian military tanks reportedly launched an assault in Donetsk in an attempt to break the separatists’ hold of the city.

All in all, you know it’s a rough situation when it’s eclipsing an onslaught of Israeli air strikes and a (mainly civilian) Palestinian death toll of 500.

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Crocodile vs. Portly Accountant… And Other News

Crocodile vs Accountant

Performing crocodile ‘injured by portly accountant’ in Russian circus accident! You can’t make headlines like that up.

A crocodile for the Soviet Circus was injured Tuesday after the company’s 260-pound accountant fell on it. Apparently the winner of the crocodile vs. portly accountant fight was the portly accountant. After the circus’ bus hit a pothole, the accountant fell on top of the Fedya, a two-meter long crocodile who was sleeping peacefully on a blanket. Fedya was feared for dead but after a three-hour vomiting session, he appeared to be doing better. The accountant only suffered minor injuries and was issued a reprimand for not wearing a seatbelt… and probably for eating too much. Independent 

Rob Ford EscaladeEven when he’s locked up in “rehab”, Toronto mayor Rob Ford still finds a way to use up police resources. Ford’s black Cadillac SUV was seized on Tuesday after Bracebridge police pulled over a 36-year-old woman and arrested her for drunk driving – at 2:30 in the afternoon. The police released a statement saying Lee Anne McRobb of Muskoka Lakes Township was the “lone occupant was found to be impaired by alcohol.” A source at the rehab facility where Ford is receiving treatment told CBC News that McRobb had previously been a patient there, but was discharged in the past five or six days. The two have since become Facebook friends. Still no word on why she was driving Rob Ford’s car, but you know Ford’s at a top-notch rehab facility when their discharged patients wind up in the drunk tank. CBC News

Thailand Coup CrazyOk… so it’s definitely a coup now. After declaring martial law on Tuesday, Thailand’s army denied they were staging a coup d’etat. How can it be a coup if the caretaker government remained in charge? Well, things have escalated a bit since Tuesday. Following months of political turmoil, the Thai military has officially announced it has taken control of the country and suspended the constitution, making it the 19th real or attempted coup since the monarchy fell in 1932. Army General Prayuth Chan-Ocha went on television to announce he’s taken over as prime minister, and to make him extra popular, he also imposed a 22:00 to 05:00 curfew, along with a ban on political gatherings and suspension of normal television programming. BBC News

911 Memorial RestaurantA 9/11 restaurant is leaving a bad taste in New Yorkers’ mouths – and it’s not because the food sucks. The Pavilion Cafe, run by Danny Meyer’s Union Square Events, is set to open in the summer in the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. The menu is expected to offer “an array of local, seasonal fare in a relaxing and comfortable environment.” The restaurant insists they’re not opening for commercial reasons but rather to “create a thoughtful experience and bring our hospitality [to the museum and visitors].” The museum’s hospitality was on display Tuesday night when a VIP dinner was held for wealthy donors to the museum. The VIPs partied near the “remains depository,” where 8,000 unidentified body parts are stored, leaving victim’s families a little peeved. “To have a festive occasion on human remains, it’s repulsive, it’s repugnant,” said construction worker John Feal, a Ground Zero volunteer and activist for 9/11 first responders. NY Post

Moose at TimsIn ultra Canadian news, a northern Ontario man found a baby moose on the side of the highway and did what any red-blooded Canadian would do and brought it to Tim Hortons. “She still had the umbilical cord and was still wet when I found her,” Stephan Michel Desgroseillers. “The wolves would have got to her.” After stopping to share a Tim Hortons coffee and some timbits with the baby moose, Desgroseillers eventually took the 25-pound baby moose to the Wild at Heart Animal Shelter where he is currently being cared for. Canoe

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Next Up: Russia Plans to Annex the Moon

Soviet Cities on the Moon

Turns out annexing Crimea was just practice for something far more important – taking over the Moon.

Nearly a half-century after the US won the Space Race, Russia is ready to take another crack at lunar exploration. Determined to start (and win!) round two of the Space Race, Russia is planning to put a manned colony on the Moon by 2030 and is racing to dispatch the first robotic rovers to explore the Moon’s surface within two years. And why not? Putin’s already snatching up old Soviet territories, might as well throw the Moon in there too.

According to a leaked draft of a government document that Izvestia newspaper claims to have obtained, the first stage of the ambitious “Colonize the Moon” project may start as soon as two years from now.

The Concept of Russian Lunar Program outlines a three-step plan toward manning the Moon.

  • Step 1: Send four automated rovers to the Moon and check out the Moon’s natural resources.
  • Step 2: Send manned missions to the Moon’s orbit and check things out further.
  • Step 3: Send cosmonauts to the selected site on the moon’s surface to survey the area and set the infrastructure for an initial colony using local resources. Also, set up an Earth monitoring observatory… possibly entitled the Kosmic-intelligence Gathering Building.

The leaked document stressed the importance of speedy lunar exploration, saying Russia needs to step up their game because “leading space powers will expand and establish their rights to convenient lunar footholds to ensure future opportunities for practical use” in the next 20-30 years. And while the program envisages some kind of international cooperation on the project, it emphasized that the “independence of the national lunar program must be ensured regardless of the conditions and the extent of the participation in it by foreign partners.”

In other words, Russia, and Russia alone, will claim dominance over the Moon. Although *technically* America already dominated the Moon back in 1969 with the clever use of a flag – and if Russia ever tried to remove the flag, well then…. I guess NASA would get some more funding?

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Current Event Cat of the Day: Pro-Russian Separatists and Their Pro-Russian Vote

Current Event Cat - Pro Russian Rebels

Despite a weak effort on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s part to postpone any independence referendums in Ukraine, pro-Russian separatists went ahead with the “self-rule” referendum and the results were decidedly pro-Russian.

Last week, in a possible attempt to appease the West, Putin called for a postponement of the independence referendums in eastern Ukraine in order to create the conditions necessary for dialogue. But the pro-Russian separatists in the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk decided to go ahead with the vote anyways.

So while Putin spent his weekend attending a giant Soviet-style parade in Moscow’s Red Square and travelling to newly annexed Crimea to check out some of Russia’s warships and bask in the loving patriotic chants of Crimeans, rebel leaders in Donetsk and Luhansk geared up for a hastily put together self-rule referendum.

The leader in Donetsk, Denis Pushilin, said the decision to proceed with the vote had been unanimous.

“We just voice what the people want and demonstrate through their actions,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian authorities (along with the US and the EU) say they will disregard the results, calling the referendums an illegal farce with no legal consequences for Kiev.

And the results of the illegal referendums are in… and the pro-Russian separatists have declared a resounding victory in their favour!

According to the pro-Russian leaders,who counted up the votes without the help of international election monitors, roughly 89% of Donetsk voters and 96% of Luhansk voters opted for sovereignty in the Sunday elections.

Cue more violence and further sanctions on Russia, who Ukraine is accusing of orchestrating the unrest in a possible attempt to grab another chunk of the crumbling country.

But before Donetsk and Luhansk can go full Crimea, they must first ask Putin whether or not Russia will “absorb” them. So far the Kremlin has shown no immediate intention of annexing eastern Ukraine, although they still haven’t pulled back their 40,000 troops from the border. Either way, Donetsk and Luhansk had better ask Russia extra nicely to take them in – because neither region could survive economically on their own.

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Current Event Cat of the Day: Putin Backs Down… A Bit

Current Event Cat - Softer Stance Putin Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin has pulled his forces back from the border and endorsed Ukraine’s presidential election on May 25 as a step “in the right direction”.

Speaking on Wednesday during a meeting with the Swiss president, President Putin appeared willing to keep his promise not to invade Ukraine (for now).

“We’re always being told that our forces on the Ukrainian border are a concern. We have withdrawn them. Today they are not on the Ukrainian border, they are in places where they conduct their regular tasks on training grounds,” Putin said.

After a tumultuous week that involved pro-Russian militants wreaking havoc in Odessa while Ukrainian officials scrambled to reclaim what’s left of the eastern region of the country, killing at least 30 pro-Russian separatists in the process, Putin now appears willing to make some concessions – with a few conditions of course.

Putin urged pro-Russian activists in southeastern Ukraine to cool it, suggesting that the series of independence referendums planned for this weekend should be called off “in order that conditions necessary for dialogue are created”. Instead, he gave his approval to the May 25 presidential election in Ukraine, calling it a “step in the right direction.”

BUT Putin made it clear that the vote would decide NOTHING unless the rights of “all citizens” were protected.

“I would like to stress that… while they are a move in the right direction, [the election] will not decide anything if all the citizens of Ukraine fail to understand how their rights are protected after the elections are held,” Putin said.

The Kremlin says it will protect the rights of the largely Russian-speaking people in south and east Ukraine against what it calls an undemocratic, Euro-wannabe government in Kiev.

Of course, protecting the rights of Ukraine’s Russian-speaking population was kind of their rationale for annexing Crimea, so who knows what will happen…

UPDATE: NATO and the Pentagon say Putin is pulling a fast one on them and there is no indication that Russia has withdrawn its forces from its border with Ukraine. Oh Putin!

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Insane in the Ukraine: Pro-Russia Mobs Seize Buildings and Declare Donetsk a People’s Republic

ukraine-donetsk-protests-referendum

Russia’s sinister plot to get the whole Soviet gang back together is unfolding very quickly. After pro-Russian protesters took control of government buildings on Sunday, they declared the Ukrainian city of Donetsk a “people’s republic”.

Over the weekend pro-Russian groups in Donetsk, Luhansk, and Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine occupied a number of government buildings, protesting against the new, less Russian interim government in Kiev. Things went one step further in Donetsk when protesters proclaimed independence called for a referendum on secession from Ukraine by May 11.

Ukrainian officials were not too pleased at the rapid deterioration of their country.  In response to the unrest, Ukrainian leaders, including the interior minister Arsen Avakov, accused Moscow and ousted pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych of inciting “separatist disorder.”

“Putin and Yanukovych ordered and paid for the latest wave of separatist disorder in the east of the country. The people who have gathered are not many but they are very aggressive,” Avakov wrote on Facebook.

Interim President Oleksandr Turchynov also condemned the seizure, calling the unrest an attempt by Russia to “dismember” Ukraine.

Following the government building seizures, Ukraine sent in a bunch of security officials to  Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv to try and calm things down, but it didn’t stop the protesters from proclaiming the Donetsk region independent and demanding a secession referedum. Pro-Russia activists are even asking Russian President Vladimir Putin to send “peacekeeping troops” to the region.

“Without your support, without the support of Russia, it will be hard for us to resist the Kyiv junta on our own,” one activist said.

Russian troops remain within 30km of the border and NATO says up to 40,000 Russian soldiers have mobilized and present a distinct threat to Ukraine – so maybe the pro-Russian activists will get lucky.

However, according to Moscow, Putin has no intention of invading. But… he does reserve the right to protect the rights of ethnic Russians, which pretty much leaves the door open for an invasion at any time.

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