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Зеленский отправил в отставку главкома ВСУ Валерия Залужного. Новым главнокомандующим назначен Александр Сырский

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Владимир Зеленский отправил в отставку главкома ВСУ Валерия Залужного. Новым главнокомандующим Вооруженных сил Украины назначен командующий Сухопутными войсками генерал-полковник Александр Сырский. Об этом президент Украины написал в своем телеграм-канале.

“Встретился с генералом Валерием Залужным. Поблагодарил за два года защиты Украины. Обсудили, в каком обновлении нуждаются Вооруженные силы Украины. Обсудили также, кто может находиться в обновленном руководстве Вооруженных сил Украины. Время для такого обновления – именно сейчас. Предложил Валерию Федоровичу и дальше быть в команде”, – написал Зеленский.

Он также отметил, что сегодня к руководству Вооруженными силами Украины приступает новая управленческая команда.

“Я хочу, чтобы видение войны было единым и у наших воинов в Работино или Авдеевке, и в Генеральном штабе и Ставке. Я провел десятки разговоров с командирами разного уровня. В частности, сегодня говорил с бригадными генералами Андреем Гнатовым, Михаилом Драпатым, Игорем Скибюком и полковниками Павлом Палисой и Вадимом Сухаревским. Все они рассматриваются на руководящие должности в армии и будут служить под руководством наиболее опытного украинского командующего. У него есть успешный опыт защиты – провел Киевскую оборонную операцию. Он также имеет успешный опыт наступления – Харьковской освободительной операции. Я назначил генерал-полковника Сырского главнокомандующим Вооруженными силами Украины”, – сказал Зеленский.

Залужный, в свою очередь, отметил, что провел с президентом Украины “серьезный и важный разговор”.

“Задания 2022 года отличаются от задач 2024 года. Поэтому все должны измениться и адаптироваться к новым реалиям. Чтобы победить тоже вместе. Принято решение о необходимости изменения подходов и стратегии”, – подчеркнул Залужный.

В комментарии “Суспільне” глава Минобороны Украины Рустем Умеров заявил, что “сегодня одобрили решение сменить руководство ВСУ”.

“Война не остается одинаковой. Война меняется и требует перемен. Боевые действия 2022-го, 2023-го и 2024-го – это три разных реальности. 2024 год принесет новые изменения, к которым должны быть готовы. Нужны новые подходы, новые стратегии. Сегодня было принято решение о необходимости смены руководства Вооруженных сил Украины. Искренне благодарен Валерию Федоровичу [Залужному] за все достижения и победы”, – написал Умеров в своем фейсбуке.

Александр Сырский – уроженец России, в Украине живет с 1980 года. Первое военное образование получил в Московском высшем общевойсковом командном училище. Затем окончил Академию Вооруженных сил Украины и Национальную академию обороны Украины. Командовал Сухопутными войсками ВСУ с 2019 года. В феврале 2022 года Сырский руководил обороной Киева, за что впоследствии ему было присвоено звание Героя Украины.


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Владимир Зеленский назначил Александра Сырского командующим ВСУ

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Сырский, возглавлявший сухопутные войска Украины с 2019 года, сменил на этом посту Валерия Залужного

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Putin Assures Jewish Leaders On Hostages Held By Hamas; ‘Specific Results Achieved…’ | Watch

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Published on Feb 08, 2024 02:14 PM IST

Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Moscow is working on freeing hostages held in captivity by Hamas in Gaza. Putin said this after meeting Russia’s chief rabbi, Berel Lazar, and the head of the Federation of Jewish Communities, Alexander Boroda, in the Kremlin. Putin claimed that Moscow had achieved “specific results” in its diplomatic efforts using its contacts within Hamas’s political wing. Watch this video to know more. #putin #hamas #hostages #moscow #kremlin #vladimirputin #russia #hostagedeal #jews #jewishcommunity #rabbi #berellazar #alexanderboroda #hamasleadership #israel #us #hostagerelease #palestine #twostatesolution #antonyblinken #mahmoudabbas Hindustan Times Videos brings all the News for the Global Indian under one umbrella. We break down news from across the globe from the unique lens of a Rising India. Tune in for Explainers, Opinions, Analysis and a 360 degree view of big events in India and the World which impact your present and future. Follow the Hindustan Times Channel on WhatsApp for News Alerts, Top Stories and Editor picks. Join Us Today – https://www.bit.ly/3PQ4kSv Subscribe to the Hindustan Times YT channel and press the bell icon to get notified when we go live. Visit our website https://www.hindustantimes.com/ Follow us on Twitter https://twitter.com/htTweets Follow us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/hindustantimes


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Why are EU and US unable to reconcile Yerevan and Baku? Analysis

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The Western stance

The Karabakh conflict risks falling into oblivion, and this, at least, does not contradict the interests of the West in the South Caucasus region. Taking over the role of the main moderator of negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan, Brussels aimed to construct the entire dialogue based primarily on the principle of the countries’ territorial integrity. This meant that official Yerevan had to recognize Nagorno-Karabakh as part of Azerbaijan, which, indeed occurred.

However, current events are unfolding differently from the anticipated scenario. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has long been unwilling to resume negotiations on Western platforms. Meanwhile, the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict remains unresolved. With Baku’s reluctance to engage in talks, there is a significant risk of renewed hostilities, despite warnings from Western partners about their unacceptable nature.

Missed opportunity

October 5, 2023, could have marked a significant moment in the history of Armenia-Azerbaijan relations. A five-party meeting was scheduled in Granada, Spain, facilitated by European Council President Charles Michel. Alongside the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron were slated to attend. While the Armenian Prime Minister arrived in Spain, Ilham Aliyev declined to participate, citing France’s perceived bias. He also proposed inviting the president of Turkey, a suggestion opposed by Paris and Berlin.

This refusal sparked a period of turmoil in the negotiation process between Yerevan and Baku. However, this was just one aspect of the issue. In Granada, the leaders of the two conflict-ridden nations in the South Caucasus were meant to sign a declaration acknowledging mutual territorial integrity. Yet, only Pashinyan’s signature appeared on the document.

Consequently, Armenia fulfilled the expectations of its Western partners by recognizing Nagorno-Karabakh as part of Azerbaijan, without receiving anything in return. Aliyev not only refrained from signing the document acknowledging Armenia’s borders but also made statements afterward that could only be interpreted as territorial claims.

Success for the West and a setback for Russia

The outcomes of the 44-day Karabakh war in 2020 appeared to bolster Russia’s influence in the South Caucasus region. Through Moscow’s mediation, a trilateral ceasefire declaration was inked, effectively designating Russia as the guarantor for its enforcement. Just days following the cessation of hostilities, the Russian peacekeeping force was deployed to the territory of the unrecognized republic.

Following the war, the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan made multiple visits to the Kremlin and even endorsed two additional agreements. It appeared that Moscow had notably augmented its sway in the region and had effectively ensnared Yerevan. However, everything shifted with the onset of the Ukrainian crisis.

A few months into the Ukrainian conflict, the European Union visibly heightened its engagement in the Karabakh issue. While Moscow grappled with military matters, Brussels primed itself to assume the lead mediator role between Yerevan and Baku. And they succeeded in their endeavor.

In 2022-2023, the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan primarily convened in Brussels and other European capitals for their meetings. Consequently, the war of 2020, which was supposed to strengthen Russia’s influence, initiated another process: the Kremlin’s retreat from the region.

Demand for Armenia to “lower the bar”

“Today the international community is telling us: lower your bar a little on the status of Nagorno-Karabakh, and you will ensure greater international consolidation around Armenia and Artsakh. Otherwise, says the international community, please don’t count on us – not because we don’t want to help you, but because we can’t help you”.

This statement marked a turning point for Armenian society, signaling a departure from the previous pursuit of international recognition for Nagorno-Karabakh, as was the case before the 2020 war. By then, negotiations had begun to shift towards Western involvement, with the prime minister explicitly referring to European partners when mentioning the “international community.”

It’s evident now that Armenia has not just lowered its ambitions but completely relinquished its stance on the Nagorno-Karabakh issue. However, it never gained consolidation around itself.

Why did the West prioritize the principle of territorial integrity over the right to self-determination in the context of the Karabakh conflict? Before the 2020 war, Azerbaijan had offered Karabakh significant autonomy within its borders. However, post-war, Baku changed its stance, refusing to discuss any status for the region. Concurrently, the West became highly invested in a definitive resolution to the Karabakh issue, with emerging realities suggesting that such a resolution would hinge on upholding the principle of territorial integrity.

The eventual resolution of the Karabakh conflict rendered the presence of Russian peacekeepers in the region obsolete, a goal pursued by Brussels and Washington from the outset. This outcome materialized as anticipated.

While the peacekeeping contingent remains in Karabakh, the withdrawal of Russian forces from the region seems imminent following the exodus of nearly the entire Armenian population. The peacekeeping mission’s mandate expires in 2025, and Azerbaijan appears unwilling to extend it. And there are all formal grounds for this.

Has the confrontation ended?

Once Azerbaijan secured verbal and written acknowledgment from Armenia, recognizing Nagorno-Karabakh as part of Azerbaijan, Baku lost interest in Western platforms. Ilham Aliyev has boycotted several meetings and consistently declined invitations to attend events in Brussels or Washington. Instead, the Azerbaijani leader extends invitations to his Armenian counterpart to meet in Russia.

The primary focus of negotiations has shifted away from Nagorno-Karabakh to the delimitation and demarcation of the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan, along with the so-called “Zangezur corridor” issue.

“Zangezur corridor” refers to a route that would link Azerbaijan with its exclave, Nakhichevan. The Azerbaijani authorities insist that the road should not be under Armenian control.

Baku is well aware that it stands to gain the most from negotiations on these matters if they occur in Moscow. Russia aligns with Azerbaijan on these issues, driven by its own strategic interests. Specifically, Russia seeks to assert control over the road passing through Armenian territory.

“Our Western counterparts prefer a peace treaty between Azerbaijan and Armenia to be signed exclusively on their soil. This is a fact. Also factual is Azerbaijan’s readiness to sign it on Russian territory, where the initial efforts to end the conflict and establish a comprehensive system of interaction to address all issues began. As for Yerevan’s readiness for this, I am uncertain, although signals in that regard have been sent to the Armenian capital for some time.”

This statement by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov accurately portrays not only the Kremlin’s stance on the negotiations but also Armenian-Azerbaijani relations.

Paradoxically, Yerevan is actively seeking to avoid and clearly wary of activating its strategic ally. It is becoming increasingly evident this could result in significant losses.

On the contrary, Armenian authorities anticipate increasing involvement from the West and are making progress in this regard. Specifically, they have succeeded in boosting the number of civilian observers from the EU mission tasked with patrolling the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.

The primary concern now revolves around whether Baku will initiate military action. Many in Armenia are convinced that it’s only a matter of time, and under favorable weather conditions, the border will become turbulent once again.

However, whether events will unfold according to this scenario will largely hinge on the stance of the European Union and the United States. Will Brussels and Washington be capable and inclined to rein in Baku’s ambitions? This question remains unanswered at the moment.

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South Caucasus Turns Away From Russia Toward Middle East

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Rapid geopolitical change is curtailing Russian power in the South Caucasus, boosting the influence of Middle Eastern countries and bookending the region’s “post-Soviet” history.

The South Caucasus is undergoing a geopolitical transformation. The war in Ukraine and the effective resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan mean that the region is entering a new age. Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia have gradually become more confident on the world stage, with each trying to limit its dependence on Russia by diversifying its foreign policy.

Georgia has boosted relations with the European Union, China, and—to some extent—the United States, while Azerbaijan has sought closer ties with Turkey, Israel, Central Asia, and a number of European countries. Having gone through the traumatic loss of Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenia has pushed for closer engagement with the EU, rapprochement with Turkey, and even military links with India and some European states.

Instead of an arena for competition between Russia and the West, the South Caucasus has turned into a highly congested geopolitical space, with up to six major powers vying for influence. We are not, however, just witnessing the end of the post-Soviet period. We are witnessing the end of exclusive Russian influence in the South Caucasus, which has been the status quo for almost two hundred years.

The decline of Russian power has led to the reemergence of close links between the South Caucasus and the broader Middle East. Indeed, geography favors such a connection. Russia lies across the formidable Caucasus mountains, and Middle Eastern states have long regarded the South Caucasus as a natural continuation of their own territories.

The deepening ties are visible in growing trade, investment, energy infrastructure, and railways that link the South Caucasus to two large neighboring powers: Turkey and Iran.

Turkey is a key ally of Azerbaijan, and also enjoys close links with Georgia, while Armenia has Iran’s backing. In particular, Turkey has been pushing for the development of east-west connectivity that cuts through the traditional Russia-sponsored north-south infrastructure. The successful completion of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway is one example; another is the push by Baku and Ankara to open a new route via Armenia’s southernmost province of Syunik.

Iran, too, has scored significant victories. In October, it inked a deal with Baku on a new transit corridor linking Azerbaijan to its exclave of Nakhchivan via Iranian territory. Tehran has also advanced work on the International North-South Transport Corridor, which runs from southern Iran to Russia via Azerbaijan and the Caspian Sea. Other initiatives involve the development of roads through Armenia, which could provide solid links between Iran and Georgia’s Black Sea ports of Poti and Batumi.

Energy infrastructure in the South Caucasus, too, is increasingly tied to the Middle East. Azerbaijan has become one of Turkey’s major gas suppliers, covering about 16 percent of the country’s needs in 2022, while Iran and Armenia have agreed to extend their gas trade agreement through 2030.

The civil war in Syria showed how political and military developments in the Middle East impact the South Caucasus. For instance, residents of the Pankisi Gorge in Georgia volunteered to fight with radical Islamist groups in Syria and Iraq, sparking fears of terrorism spreading. Syria is also one of few countries that has recognized the independence of Georgia’s separatist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. And the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War of 2020 allegedly saw Syrian soldiers fighting for Azerbaijan.

Even beyond security, Armenia and Georgia have built robust relations with other prominent Middle Eastern countries. Saudi Arabia recently agreed to establish diplomatic relations with Armenia, which has also expanded its ties with other Gulf states. Similar trends are visible in Georgia’s relations with nations like Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Jordan.

Other actors like Israel are also playing an increasingly active role. Israel’s relations with Azerbaijan are especially noteworthy, with the two states enjoying close military ties. Azerbaijan used high-tech Israeli weaponry to devastating effect in the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War, and, more recently, in September 2023, when it reclaimed full control over the disputed region. Azerbaijan is also a major supplier of oil to Israel, meeting as much as 40 percent of the country’s demand.

Azerbaijan’s links with the Middle East mean that flare-ups between Israel and Iran could have local consequences. Iran has expressed concern about Israel allegedly using Azerbaijan for espionage activities, and Azerbaijan was one of just a few Muslim countries not to condemn Israel’s military operation in Gaza, sparking anger in Tehran.

With an end to Russian dominance in the South Caucasus, it’s clear that the region is growing closer to the Middle East. Historically speaking, this is actually a return to normal practice, with Middle Eastern powers traditionally the most influential in the region. For Iran and Turkey, Russian hegemony was always an aberration.

The process could yield benefits for the West. After all, shifting tectonic plates create opportunities for multiple actors to project power. But the EU and United States are limited by geographical distance, and the absence of significant economic levers. Turkey and Iran are both nearby, and eager to accrue more influence in the South Caucasus.


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Azerbaijan: Election over, Aliyev faces reputational challenge abroad

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Azerbaijan’s snap presidential election has exacerbated an authoritarian conundrum for the incumbent, Ilham Aliyev. In moving to cement his legacy at home as Azerbaijan’s unifier and builder of a modern state, he has inflicted additional damage to his country’s image abroad, as reflected by a deepening feud with the Council of Europe.

Aliyev cruised to victory in a vote February 7 that watchdog groups said was never genuinely competitive. Local observers believe the presidential election was more about Aliyev’s desire to bolster his regime’s legitimacy and solidify his place in the history books than about obtaining a mandate for the future. 

Aliyev did not make a secret of his motivation for moving the presidential election forward by a year: he wanted to take advantage of the popular euphoria generated by Azerbaijan’s Reconquista of Nagorno-Karabakh, which Azerbaijan’s military completed in 2023. In an interview with pro-government television channels, Aliyev linked the early election to his “epochal” victory in the second Karabakh war, which he cast as unprecedented in Azerbaijan’s history.

Aliyev appeared to secure his domestic political objective with a convincing margin of victory in the election. The central question moving forward is; what will be the final cost of victory, in terms of Azerbaijan’s international reputation?

The run-up to the presidential vote was marked by what rights activists described as an unprecedented crackdown on independent media and free speech. The chief target of repression was a media outlet, Abzasmedia, which saw many top editors detained. No longer able to work inside Azerbaijan, the outlet shifted operations to Berlin.

“For Aliyev, following the Karabakh victory, securing a win in the presidential election seemed like the final piece in his quest for absolute control over Azerbaijan,” said Leyla Mustafayeva, acting head of Abzasmedia. “His nationalist rhetoric, which had rallied the nation since the 2020 Karabakh victory, was already losing its immediate effect and power, particularly after Armenians were expelled from Karabakh [last year].”

To ensure his desired outcome in the election, Aliyev needed to “shield himself from scrutiny,” Mustafayeva said. Accordingly, the government took action to silence all critical voices inside the country. Abzas’ astute use of social media, including TikTok, made it a particular target of government ire, said Cavid Aga, an Azerbaijani writer and chronicler of social trends.

The crackdown extended beyond independent media that specialized in exposing instances of corruption and other forms of malfeasance. Activists and politicians not in lock step with the government’s Karabakh policies, including Gubad Ibadoglu, were also subjected to harassment and repression in recent months. 

“It was a time to clean house,” said opposition journalist Arzu Geybulla, referring to the pre-election crackdown. “You cannot have snap elections in the country when you are still having journalists bravely reporting on corruption.”

Opposition activist Afgan Mukhtarli, a former RFERL reporter who spent three years in prison after mysteriously disappearing from a Tbilisi street and showing up in Azerbaijan the next day, maintained the crackdown has backfired on Aliyev. 

“The relentless media crackdown, especially against Abzasmedia, has exposed the regime’s true nature to European institutions that had previously overlooked Aliyev’s authoritarian excesses,” Mukhtarli said. He added that one of Aliyev’s top priorities in the post-election period is likely to be damage control vis-à-vis the EU.

“He will strive to have the outcomes of his presidency recognized,” Mukhtarli predicted. “He will be compelled to make certain concessions and will go to great lengths to return to the Council of Europe.”

In the days leading up to the election, Aliyev showed no signs of backing down in an escalating dispute within the Council of Europe over Baku’s rights record. On February 2, Aliyev threatened to withdraw from several European institutions, including the Council of Europe and the European Court of Human Rights after the CoE’s Parliamentary Assembly indicated it would not recognize the mandates of Azerbaijan’s delegation.

Influential figures within the Council of Europe appear more tired of, than intimidated by the combative rhetoric coming from Baku. Frank Schwabe, a German MP who leads CoE’s socialists, democrats and greens group, characterized Azerbaijan as a classic “dictatorship,” featuring “great repression internally” while being guided by desire to “present a good image to the outside world.”

Schwabe’s uncompromising portrayal of Azerbaijan’s political practices suggests that Aliyev has a challenge on his hands if he wants to mend fences with the Council of Europe. 

“We must describe the real situation and not remain silent in the face of the dramatic deterioration in the human rights situation,” Schwabe said in a statement given to Eurasianet, referring to the CoE’s dispute with Baku. “The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has made it clear that it does not want to be fooled any further. Azerbaijan is committed to transparency. Being able to see and say what is happening is the task of the Council of Europe. Azerbaijan must make this possible. No ifs, ands or buts.”


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Putin says Russia is working to free hostages in Gaza conflict

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Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with government members via a video link in Moscow, Russia, February 7, 2024. Sputnik/Alexander Kazakov/Pool via REUTERS Purchase Licensing Rights, opens new tab
Feb 7 (Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin told leaders of Russia’s Jewish community on Wednesday that Moscow had achieved “specific results” in diplomatic efforts to free hostages caught up in Israel’s conflict with Hamas, Russian news agencies reported.

The agencies said Putin made the comments at a meeting with Russia’s chief rabbi, Berl Lazar, and the head of the Federation of Jewish Communities, Alexander Boroda. Putin said Russia had made use of its contacts with the political wing of Hamas.

“You know, since the situation became more tense in the Middle East, Russia has been doing everything to help people who became hostages,” Putin was quoted as saying.

“As is known, our Foreign Ministry worked through the political wing of Hamas and, on the whole, there have been specific results.”

Putin did not elaborate, according to the reported comments.

Moscow’s efforts, though directed at helping Russian nationals, also sought to help others, the president said.

“They include elderly people and their family members who survived the Holocaust,” he was quoted as saying.

“But I know, I understand, that it is vital to carry on with these efforts. And that is what we are doing.”

Russia, which has drawn closer to Israel’s arch-rival Iran since the outbreak of the nearly two-year-old Ukraine conflict, has restated its support for Palestinian statehood, and criticised Israeli military action in the Gaza Strip.

Moscow also has said the violence in the Middle East is a reflection of U.S. policy failures in the region.

Putin’s reference to Holocaust survivors comes a day after Russia’s foreign ministry told the Israeli ambassador, Simona Halperin, of its “negative reaction” to her criticisms of Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian policy.

Authorities criticised her “unacceptable comments” in an interview with Russian newspaper Kommersant in which she said Lavrov had played down the importance of the Holocaust and that Russia was too friendly with Hamas.

Reporting by Ron Popeski
Editing by Bill Berkrot

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Hillary Clinton reacts to announcement Carlson will interview Putin: He’s a ‘useful idiot’

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Hillary Clinton reacted to conservative commentator Tucker Carlson’s recent announcement that he had secured an interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin, calling the former Fox News pundit a “useful idiot”

In an interview with MSNBC’s Alex Wagner, the former first lady appeared unsurprised by the news and highlighted comments made previously by Carlson about the ongoing war in Ukraine. 

“He says things that are not true. He parrots Vladimir Putin’s pack of lies about Ukraine, so I don’t see why Putin wouldn’t give him an interview,” she said.

Carlson has publicly voiced his opposition to U.S. support for Ukraine, arguing that American cities have suffered as a result of Congress and the White House providing billions of dollars in aid to the country. 

During a video announcement posted on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, Carlson accused Western media of not “bothering” to try and interview Putin and urged people to watch the interview, saying that while they may not agree with what the Russian president says, as “free citizens,” it is important to “know as much as they can” and draw their own conclusions. 

Clinton, meanwhile, suggested that Carlson is a figure of ridicule within Russian media, going so far as to say that a position at a Russian outlet may be on the table for him.

“If you actually read translations of what is being said on Russian media, they make fun of him …he’s like a puppy dog”, Clinton said.

“I would not be surprised if he emerges with a contract with a Russian outlet, because he is a useful idiot.”

While Carlson has yet to confirm the details of when the interview will be published, this will be the first time a member of the Western media has been granted an interview by the Russian president since his invasion of Ukraine in 2022.  

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Israeli Hostages and Their Families Pay the Price for Netanyahu and Gallant’s Boasting – Israel News – Haaretz.com

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Haaretz | Israel News

Analysis |

Even if the prime minister and defense minister aim to weaken Hamas’ standing in the negotiation, their endless talk about Hamas leaders’ assassination seems to have replaced actions

Ravit Hecht

Feb 7, 2024 4:56 pm IST

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Feb 7, 2024 4:56 pm IST

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Once, not that long ago, when this country was not as disordered and broken as it is today, politicians would take credit for military actions and assassinations, only in retrospect, once they had actually happened.

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Putin says Russia is working to free hostages in Gaza conflict

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President Vladimir Putin told leaders of Russia’s Jewish community on Wednesday that Moscow had achieved “specific results” in diplomatic efforts to free hostages caught up in Israel’s conflict with Hamas, Russian news agencies reported.

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The agencies said Putin made the comments at a meeting with Russia’s chief rabbi, Berl Lazar, and the head of the Federation of Jewish Communities, Alexander Boroda. Putin said Russia had made use of its contacts with the political wing of Hamas.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, speaks to Chief Rabbi of Russia, Berel Lazar, second left, and President of the Federation of Jewish Communities Alexander Boroda at the KremlinRussian President Vladimir Putin, right, speaks to Chief Rabbi of Russia, Berel Lazar, second left, and President of the Federation of Jewish Communities Alexander Boroda at the Kremlin

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, speaks to Chief Rabbi of Russia, Berel Lazar, second left, and President of the Federation of Jewish Communities Alexander Boroda at the Kremlin

(Photo: Sergei Fadeichev / Sputnik / via AP)

“You know, since the situation became more tense in the Middle East, Russia has been doing everything to help people who became hostages,” Putin was quoted as saying. “As is known, our Foreign Ministry worked through the political

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משלחת של ארגון הטרור חמאס מגיעה להתייעצות במשרד החוץ הרוסימשלחת של ארגון הטרור חמאס מגיעה להתייעצות במשרד החוץ הרוסי

Senior members of the Hamas terror group visit Moscow as guest of the Russian Foreign Ministry last month

wing of Hamas and, on the whole, there have been specific results.” Putin did not elaborate, according to the reported comments.

Moscow’s efforts, though directed at helping Russian nationals, also sought to help others, the president said. “They include elderly people and their family members who survived the Holocaust,” he was quoted as saying. “But I know, I understand, that it is vital to carry on with these efforts. And that is what we are doing.”

Russia, which has drawn closer to Israel’s arch-rival Iran since the outbreak of the nearly two-year-old Ukraine conflict, has restated its support for Palestinian statehood, and criticiזed Israeli military action in the Gaza Strip and has said the violence in the Middle East is a reflection of U.S. policy failures in the region.

Putin’s reference to Holocaust survivors comes a day after Russia’s foreign ministry told the Israeli ambassador, Simona Halperin, of its “negative reaction” to her criticisms of Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian policy.

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שגרירת ישראל ברוסיה סימונה הלפריןשגרירת ישראל ברוסיה סימונה הלפרין

Israeli ambassador to Russia Simona Halperine

Authorities criticiזed her “unacceptable comments” in an interview with Russian newspaper Kommersant in which she said Lavrov had played down the importance of the Holocaust and that Russia was too friendly with Hamas.


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