Єрмак залучається в специфічних, часто критичних для президента моментах – Пристайко

Міністр закордонних справ розповів в інтерв’ю Радіо Свобода, яким є розподіл функції між ним та радником президента Андрієм Єрмаком

Зеленський закликав 14 жовтня «не створювати картинку для російського телебачення»

Президент України Володимир Зеленський закликав правоохоронців поважати мирний протест і гарантувати його безпеку під час анонсованих на 14 жовтня акцій. Про це він написав на своїй фейсбук-сторінці.

Окрім того, він звернувся і до учасників акцій, аби ті не піддавались на провокації тих, «хто дуже хоче створити красномовну картинку для російського телебачення».

«14 жовтня у столиці буде багато ветеранів і добровольців. Розумію ваш острах щодо подальшого врегулювання ситуації на Донбасі. Ви цілком справедливо не хочете, щоб те, за що ви воювали, виявилося марним. І не допустите, щоб пам’ять про загиблих бойових побратимів і посестер було зраджено. Обіцяю вам як президент України і верховний головнокомандувач Збройних сил, що і я ніколи цього не допущу», – зазначив президент.

Раніше в МВС повідомили, що 14 жовтня в День захисника України по всій країні заплановано близько 300 масових заходів, зокрема в Києві ветерани та добровольці подали заявки на п’ять акцій.

14 жовтня відзначають День захисника України.

У жовтні 2014 року його своїм указом запровадив тодішній президент Петро Порошенко. Одночасно був скасований указ про запровадження в Україні Дня захисника Вітчизни, який відзначали 23 лютого. Із 2015 року День захисника України визначили державним святом.

Дату обрали невипадково – 14 жовтня відзначається День українського козацтва, Покрова Пресвятої Богородиці й річниця створення Української повстанської армії.

Hunter Biden Defends His Ukraine, China Business Deals

Hunter Biden, the son of former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, on Sunday defended his work in Ukraine and China after calls by President Donald Trump that the two countries investigate his business dealings, pleas that have engulfed Trump in an impeachment inquiry.

The younger Biden, whose father is one of the leading Democratic candidates seeking to face Trump in the 2020 presidential election, said in a statement issued by his lawyer that despite Trump’s accusations of improprieties while he was a board member of the Burisma energy company in Ukraine for five years, no foreign or domestic law enforcement agency has accused him of any wrongdoing.

Hunter Biden left the Burisma board last April and said, without giving an explanation, that he would leave the board of China’s BHR (Shanghai) Equity Investment Fund Management Company at the end of October.

Published accounts say that he was paid as much as $50,000 a month to serve on the Burisma board, although his Sunday statement did not mention the salary he received. The younger Biden’s lawyer, George Mesires, said the position with the Chinese investment firm was unpaid, but that Hunter Biden two years ago invested $420,000 for a 10% equity stake in the firm, which he still holds, although has not received any return on his investment.

“Hunter undertook these business activities independently,” Mesires said. “He did not believe it appropriate to discuss them with his father, nor did he.”

But Trump in a late July call to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy asked for “a favor,” that Ukraine investigate the younger Biden’s business activities there and Joe Biden’s efforts while he was President Barack Obama’s second in command to get a Ukrainian prosecutor dismissed, a demand that by numerous accounts did not relate to Burisma’s activities and at the time was supported by other Western countries. Trump subsequently publicly asked China to investigate the younger Biden.

With disclosure of Trump’s demands by an U.S. intelligence community whistleblower, and the White House’s subsequent release of a rough account of the Trump-Zelenskiy call confirming the U.S. leader’s call for a Ukrainian investigation, Democrats in the House of Representatives opened an impeachment inquiry against Trump. The elder Biden says Trump “has convicted himself,” and “should be impeached.”

Mesires said that when Hunter Biden “engaged in his business pursuits, he believed that he was acting appropriately and in good faith. He never anticipated the barrage of false charges against both him and his father by the president of the United States.”

The lawyer said that if Joe Biden is elected president, Hunter Biden “will readily comply” with any White House strictures on “purported conflicts of interest, or the appearance of such conflicts,” along with refraining from serving on any boards of foreign companies or working for them.

Until Sunday, the younger Biden had remained silent as Trump called him “a loser” with few business skills and assailed him at a political rally last week for being kicked out of the U.S. Navy Reserve in 2013 for cocaine use.

“Hunter, you know nothing about energy,” Trump said. “You know nothing about China. You know nothing about anything, frankly. Hunter, you’re a loser.”

On Sunday, Trump tweeted, “Where’s Hunter? He has totally disappeared! Now looks like he has raided and scammed even more countries!”

Where’s Hunter? He has totally disappeared! Now looks like he has raided and scammed even more countries! Media is AWOL.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 13, 2019

 

Українські позиції на Донбасі обстріляли 7 разів за добу – штаб

Позиції українських вій ськових на Донбасі обстріляли 7 разів протягом поточної доби, втрат немає, повідомляють увечері у штабі Операції об’єднаних сил.

Угруповання «ДНР» на своїх ресурсах заявило про 28 обстрілів їхніх позицій за добу, представники «ЛНР» натомість заявляють про відстутність обстрілів 13 жовтня.

Обстріли в зоні конфлікту на Донбасі тривають, попри оголошене там від 21 липня перемир’я. Сторони звинувачують одна одну в порушеннях режиму тиші.

Збройний конфлікт на Донбасі триває від 2014 року після російської окупації Криму. Україна і Захід звинувачують Росію у збройній підтримці бойовиків. Кремль відкидає ці звинувачення і заявляє, що на Донбасі можуть перебувати хіба що російські «добровольці».

За оцінками ООН, станом на 31 грудня 2018 року, унаслідок збройного конфлікту на Донбасі загинули від 12 тисяч 800 до 13 тисяч людей.

Al-Shabab Mortar Attacks Hits Area Around Mogadishu Airport

Seven people were wounded after a mortar attack by al-Shabab militants hit the area around Mogadishu airport on Sunday, Somali witnesses and officials say

The mortars landed on the heavily-guarded Halane area of the airport that houses the African Union and United Nations Mission in Somalia.

Witnesses told VOA Somali that six mortars were fired at the vicinity just after 1pm local time.

The al-Shabab militant group claimed responsibility for the attack.

The Special Representative of the U.N. Secretary-General for Somalia, James Swan, confirmed that the mortars landed inside the U.N. and AMISOM facilities.

 “I am appalled by this blatant act of terrorism against our personnel, who work together with the Somali people on humanitarian, peace building, and development issues,” Swan said in a statement. “There is no justification for such despicable acts of violence, and the United Nations remains determined to support Somalia on its path to peace, stability and development.”

Al-Shabab uses mobile vehicles that transport mortars from one location to another. The mortars are then dissembled immediately after being fired and hidden in the bush or in a car, according to security sources.

Al-Shabab attacked the same facility with mortars earlier this year injuring two United Nations staff members and a contractor.

The attack on Sunday comes a day before Somalia marks the deadliest terrorist attack in Somalia and in Africa.

October 14 is the second anniversary of the truck bomb in Mogadishu that killed 587 people and injured hundreds of others.

Pakistan PM Says Ready to Host Iran-Saudi Peace Talks

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan held talks Sunday with leaders in Iran to formally begin a diplomatic offensive he said was aimed at defusing the neighboring country’s escalating tensions with Saudi Arabia and the United States.

Khan told a joint news conference after his “wide-ranging consultations” with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani that his country’s close ties with both Tehran and Riyadh go a long way back and Islamabad will do its utmost to prevent a conflict between the two Islamic countries.  

“We recognize that it’s a complex issue. But we feel that this can be resolved through dialogue,” Khan stressed and announced he plans to travel to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday to further his peace mission.

“I have been very encouraged talking to you Mr. President. I feel encouraged and I go in a very positive frame of mind to Saudi Arabia and we will act as a facilitator. We would like to facilitate talks [between Tehran and Riyadh],” Khan said.

The Pakistani leader noted his country has previously hosted Saudi Arabia and Iran for talks to help them iron out mutual differences and it is ready to do it again.

For his part, Rouhani said he agreed with Khan that regional tensions must be settled through political talks, promising to assist Pakistan in its peacemaking efforts.

“I told Mr. Prime Minister that we openly welcome any goodwill gesture by Pakistan to promote regional  peace and stability,” the Iranian president stressed.

US-Iran tensions

Khan emphasized his peace Middle East mission is “purely a Pakistan initiative”, though he acknowledged the United States also has a role in it. He also has said previously that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman has asked him to help mediate tensions with Iran.

“When we were in New York, President Trump spoke to me and he wanted us to facilitate some sort of a dialogue between Iran and the United States… I know there are difficulties but whatever we can do we will be happy to facilitate,” Khan said while referring to his last month’s meeting with Trump on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly.

Rouhani said he discussions with Khan also focused on how Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers could be restored to its previous status and ultimately fully implemented.

Last year, Trump unilaterally withdrew from the 2015 agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and reimposed sanctions on Iran, prompting the Shi’ite Muslim nation to gradually reduce its stated commitments to limit controversial uranium enrichment operations.

“We emphasized as a key point that the United States should return to the JCPOA and lift the sanctions,” Rouhani said.

Washington and Riyadh blame Tehran for being behind last month’s strikes against key Saudi crude oil processing facilities, which fuelled regional tensions. Iranian officials deny the charges.

Iran-aligned Houthi rebels in Yemen, which are fighting a Riyadh-led military coalition, took responsibility for the September 14 attacks.

Rouhani noted he also conveyed his concerns to Khan regarding Friday’s missile attack on one of Iranian oil ships near the port of Jeddah. The Iranian leader said his country  has “clues” and will continue investigations to determine who the culprit is behind the attack before coming up with a “proper response.”

Pakistan’s challenges

Khan met Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei before concluding his one-day official visit to Tehran.

Khan explained Pakistan is promoting peace because it can ill-afford another regional conflict at a time when it is already dealing with security and economic challenges stemming from the 18-year-old war in neighbouring Afghanistan. The Pakistani prime minister has lately also facilitated peace talks between the U.S. and the Taliban to help bring an end to the Afghan war.

Pakistan has traditionally relied on financial assistance and import of oil on deferred payments from Saudi Arabia to support its troubled economy. Pakistani military troops are also stationed on Saudi soil to train local forces. More than 2.5 million of Pakistanis are living and working in the kingdom.

However, with its large Shi’ite minority and a nearly 900-kilometer border with Iran, Pakistan has stayed neutral in Middle East tensions. It declined a Saudi call a few years back to join the military alliance fighting the Houthi insurgents in Yemen.

 

74 Migrants Rescued off Libyan Coast, 110 Others Turned Back

Humanitarian groups on Sunday said they have rescued 74 migrants on a rubber boat in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Libya while Tunisian authorities reported blocking a smuggling boat carrying 110 migrants from setting off for Italy.

Doctors Without Borders and SOS Mediterranee said their Ocean Viking ship rescued the migrants Sunday morning about 50 miles (80 kilometers) off the Libyan coast near an oilfield. The groups said six children were among those rescued.

Tunisia’s Interior Ministry said three coast guard boats pursued the smuggling boat after it left Friday night from the city of Sfax. Officers shouted through loudspeakers at the boat and passengers threw projectiles that injured two officers and broke windows.

The coast guard eventually forced the boat back toward Tunisia and rescued 25 migrants who had jumped into the sea.

Meanwhile, three small boats carrying migrants reached Italian shores on Sunday. ANSA, the Italian news agency, said two boats – one carrying 15 people, the other 11 – landed on the island of Lampedusa. The agency says a third boat with 15 Tunisians aboard landed in southern Sicily.

 

Indian Officials Arrest VOA & RFA Freelancers

Indian police and intelligence agencies detained a freelancer for the Voice of America’s Tibetan service as he arrived in Chennai Friday (October 11) to cover the informal summit between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

A freelancer for Radio Free Asia’s Tibetan service was also detained.  Both VOA and RFA are part of the U.S. Agency for Global Media.

Cyaltsen Choedak for VOA and Pema Ngudup for RFA, were held for more than 40 hours, first at the Chennai railway station, then at a police station and finally at two guesthouses before they were released.

 

Australian Minister Slams Chinese Communist Party

One of Australia’s most senior government ministers has accused the Chinese Communist Party of behaving in ways that are “inconsistent” with his country’s values. Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton warned Canberra would work to counter foreign interference in Australian universities, as well as cyber espionage.

Peter Dutton’s comments are some of the most uncompromising language yet from an Australian government minister on the perceived threat posed by China.

Tensions between Canberra and Beijing have risen in recent times because of allegations of cyber attacks by China, and that it has meddled in Australia’s domestic politics. There’s also been friction over the detention of a Chinese-Australian writer in Beijing, and differences over Chinese territorial claims in the South China Sea.

Australia also has concerns about Chinese interference in its universities, including allegations that students who have supported democracy protests in Hong Kong have been harassed or monitored by Chinese agents on campus.

Peter Dutton said Australia must be wary of China’s ambitions.

“My issue is with the Communist Party of China and their policies to the extent that they are inconsistent with our own values, and in a democracy like ours we encourage freedom of speech, freedom of the expression of thought, and if that is being impinged, if people are operating outside of the law then whether they are from China or from any other country we are right to call that out,” he said.

The comments prompted a stinging response from the Chinese government.

A Foreign Ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang, told a press conference that he hoped “Australia will reject the Cold War mentality and bias, and work to advance bilateral relations and mutual trust.”

The Chinese Embassy in Canberra said it rejected “Mr Dutton’s irrational accusations … which are shocking and baseless.”

Australia is a liberal, middle-ranking world power. China is its biggest trading partner by some distance, and three of the main pillars of the Australian economy, mining, tourism and education, rely heavily on demand from China.

The challenge for Australia, which has a close military alliance with the United States, is to be able to criticize and challenge China while maintaining a key trade relationship that has underpinned its recent prosperity.

 

Burkina Faso Mosque Attack Claims 16

Armed men stormed a mosque in the volatile north of Burkina Faso as worshippers were at prayer, killing 16 people and sending residents fleeing, security sources and locals said Saturday.

The attack on the Grand Mosque in the town of Salmossi on Friday evening underscores the difficulties faced by the country in its battle against jihadists.

One source said 13 people died at the scene and three succumbed to their injuries later. Two of the wounded are in critical condition.

“Since this morning, people have started to flee the area,” one resident from the nearby town of Gorom-Gorom said.

He said there was a “climate of panic despite military reinforcements” that were deployed after the deadly attack.

Although hit by jihadist violence, many Burkinabes oppose the presence of foreign troops — notably from former colonial ruler France — on their territory.

French President Emmanuel Macron shakes hands with Burkina Faso’s President Roch Marc Christian Kabore in Lyon, France, Oct. 9, 2019, during the meeting of international lawmakers, health leaders and people affected by HIV, Tuberculosis and malaria.

Terrorism, foreign military

On Saturday, a crowd of about 1,000 people marched in the capital Ouagadougou “to denounce terrorism and the presence of foreign military bases in Africa.”

“Terrorism has now become an ideal pretext for installing foreign military bases in our country,” said Gabin Korbeogo, one of co-organizers of the march.

“The French, American, Canadian, German and other armies have set foot in our sub-region, saying they want to fight terrorism. But despite this massive presence … the terrorist groups … are growing stronger.”

Jihadists arrive in 2015

Until 2015, the poor West African country Burkina Faso was largely spared violence that hit Mali and then Niger, its neighbors to the north.

But jihadists, some linked to Al-Qaida, others to the so-called Islamic State group, started infiltrating the north, then the east, and then endangered the southern and western borders of the landlocked country.

Combining guerrilla hit-and-run tactics with road mines and suicide bombings, the insurgents have killed nearly 600 people, according to a toll compiled by AFP.

Civil society groups put the number at more than 1,000, with attacks taking place almost daily.

Burkina’s defense and security forces are badly equipped, poorly trained and have shown themselves to be unable to put a halt to the increasing violence.

France has a force of 200 in Burkina Faso but also intervenes frequently as part of its regional Barkhane operation.

Almost 500,000 people have fled their homes because of the violence, according to the U.N. refugee agency, which has warned of a humanitarian crisis affecting 1.5 million people.

Almost 3,000 schools have closed, and the impact on an overwhelmingly rural economy is escalating, disrupting trade and markets.