Russian Foreign Ministry on Syria, Political Prisoners and Sanctions

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August 11, 2018
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August 12, 2018

Russian Foreign Ministry on Syria, Political Prisoners, and Sanctions

by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.orgHome – Stephen Lendman)

Commenting on Syria, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman  Maria Zakharova (MZ below) called “the situation…tense,” despite continued positive developments in the country.

US-supported terrorists in southwest Syria are largely eliminated, control over the country’s borders with Jordan and Israeli-occupied Golan restored.

Infrastructure is being rebuilt in liberated areas. Tens of thousands of refugees are returning home.

“With the elimination of terrorists near the Golan Heights, the UN Disengagement Observer Force received an opportunity to resume patrolling in the Ubur post area, which was interrupted in 2014. Syrian and Russian military are deployed along this UN demarcation line,” MZ explained.

Aided by Russian airpower, Syrian forces are combatting US-supported terrorists “in western Idlib, as well as in the mountainous areas in northern Latakia province” – prelude for a larger-scale campaign to follow. 

Earlier and more recently, Russian nationals were arrested in America on false charges, held as political prisoners, part of US political war on the Kremlin.

On July 15, Maria Butina was falsely charged with being an unregistered Russian agent. In detention, she’s being abusively mistreated, pressuring her to confess to false accusations against her.

MZ: “We are taking all possible measures to improve the conditions of her confinement, where she has faced outright discrimination on the part of the US authorities.” 

“This Russian woman is being subjected to overt psychological pressure, including frequent searches of her cell, denial of medical assistance, as well as various restrictions that do not apply to other prisoners.”

“It is quite obvious that all these steps are being taken in an attempt to force Butina to plead guilty. It stands to reason because all the accusations against our citizen are clearly contrived and based on social media messages taken out of context.”

“Therefore, we demand an immediate end to the criminal prosecution of Maria Butina, a victim of the internal politics of the United States, and her release.”

Days earlier, Russian nationals Maxim Suverin, Nikolay Tupikin, Stanislav Lisitsky, and Alexey Livadny were arrested and detained, dubiously charged with fraud and money laundering – targeted for being Russian nationals in America at the wrong time.

Russia’s embassy in Washington and New York consulate are doing all they can to help their nationals in US custody – political prisoners in America, along with others targeted earlier.

US sanctions war on Russia continues, new restrictions announced last week – related to the March Skripal incident in Salisbury, UK Moscow had nothing to do with.

The Theresa May regime “refuse(s) to cooperate with Russia” on this issue, said MZ, adding:

“(D)espite the absence of any evidence whatsoever, the (Trump regime) hiding behind some notion of allied solidarity, considered it necessary to introduce odious new sanctions” – effective August 22.

They include “a ban on the sale of military and dual purpose goods and a denial of government loans or other financial assistance.” 

“The demands that have been made as a condition for the sanctions to be lifted are patently unacceptable to us.” 

“And this is just the first phase. We are being threatened with” tougher sanctions in November. Congressional legislation may add still more.

Trump regime hardliners are “deliberately seeking to further aggravate bilateral relations that have already been reduced to almost zero through its own efforts.” 

“Instead of earnestly searching for ways to improve relations, as discussed during the recent summit in Helsinki, the US administration has done everything to make the situation even more complicated.”

“Russia has repeatedly warned that talking to us from a position of strength and in the language of ultimatums is futile and pointless. We will consider counter measures to this most recent unfriendly move by Washington.”

What’s going on begs the question. Why hasn’t the Kremlin responded to false arrests and imprisonment of its nationals by doing the same thing to US nationals in Russia – agreeing to swap them for the release of its own citizens.

Why hasn’t Vladimir Putin abandoned the illusion of hoped for improved relations with the US – unattainable because Trump regime and bipartisan congressional Russophobes reject the idea.

Why hasn’t he recalled his ambassador to Washington and expelled Trump’s envoy to Russia.

The only language the US understands is toughness. It disgracefully considers Russia its main enemy. 

Much as he wants improved bilateral relations, Trump is powerless to change things.

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Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard University. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. After working seven years as a marketing research analyst, he joined the Lendman Group family business in 1967. He remained there until retiring at year end 1999. Writing on major world and national issues began in summer 2005. In early 2007, radio hosting followed. Lendman now hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network three times weekly. Distinguished guests are featured. Listen live or archived. Major world and national issues are discussed. Lendman is a 2008 Project Censored winner and 2011 Mexican Journalists Club international journalism award recipient.