Russia Withdraws Its Membership Of Council of Europe

<SUNBIGHT>~Europe~Nkwo~17th March,2022 @ 00:02 WAT

RUSSIA on Wednesday ceased to be a member of the Council of Europe after over a quarter of a century of membership in the pan-European rights body, the council said in a statement.

Moscow announced Tuesday that it was quitting the council, ahead of the formal decision taken Wednesday by the body’s committee of ministers to expel Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

In a hugely symbolic moment, the flag of Russia was lowered and removed from its staff outside the Council of Europe headquarters in Strasbourg, eastern France, at around 1430 GMT.

The flags of the 46 remaining member states were kept flying.

The committee of ministers, the body’s main decision-making organ, decided “the Russian Federation ceases to be a member of the Council of Europe as from today, after 26 years of membership”.

Russia joined the Council of Europe on February 28, 1996.

On Tuesday, the council’s Parliamentary Assembly had agreed that Moscow could no longer be a member of the body, hours after Russia announced it would pull out.

The Russian foreign ministry said it had “no regret” about leaving and claimed that EU and NATO member states had turned the organisation into an “instrument for anti-Russian policies”.

The so-called “Ruxit” from the Council of Europe means that Russia will no longer be a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights, and its citizens will no longer be able to file applications to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

The leaders of the Council of Europe, including Secretary General Marija Pejcinovic Buric, said in a statement that Russian authorities were depriving “the Russian people of the benefit of the most advanced human rights protection system in the world”.

It is only the second time in the history of the council that a member state has announced its exit, after Greece walked out temporarily in the late 1960s.

Russia was suspended from all its rights of representation a day after tens of thousands of troops entered Ukraine on February 24.

Not using the death penalty is a precondition of COE membership, and former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev, now deputy national security council chief, had evoked bringing back capital punishment if Russia left the body.■

[Courtesy: AFP]

NATO Allies send reinforcements to the eastern flank

<SUNBIGHT>~Europe~Orie~15th March,2022 @ 14:24 WAT

IN response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, NATO Allies have increased readiness and vigilance across Europe to shield NATO against any aggression.

In recent weeks, Allies have deployed thousands more troops to the eastern, central and south eastern part of the Alliance, with more placed on standby.

We have deployed the NATO Response Force for the first time. NATO has about 130 jets at high alert and there are more than 120 Allied ships at sea, from the High North to the Mediterranean.

NATO’s core task is to keep our thirty nations safe and will continue to do what it takes to protect and defend every inch of NATO territory.■

Anonymous launches attacks against Russia and pledges support for Ukraine against ‘Kremlin’s brutal invasion’

<SUNBIGHT>~Europe~Orie~27th February,2022 @ 18:47 WAT

HACKING group Anonymous has said that it will support Ukraine in its fight against Russia, and has already claimed an attack on the state-controlled TV network Russia Today.

Russia launched a “full-scale invasion” of Ukraine yesterday, with explosions reported near Kharkiv, Kramatorsk, Mariupol, as well as the capital Kyiv.

There have been 137 deaths and 316 injuries of Ukrainian civilians and soldiers reported so far.

While the fight on the ground was happening, Russia Today’s servers were taken offline. The broadcaster has been criticised for putting out “propaganda” to the extent that the UK government has asked media regulator Ofcom to review its output.

Anonymous claimed credit for the attack, posting on Twitter that it took down the “propaganda station … in response to Kremlin’s brutal invasion”. The group did not respond to The Independent’s request for comment.

At the time of the tweet RT was briefly unavailable, before returning online without images.

Currently, the broadcaster is online and appears to be operating as normal.

“After the statement by Anonymous, RT’s websites became the subject of a massive DDoS attack from nearly 100 million devices, mostly based in the US”, RT told The Independent in a statement.

“Due to the hack there were temporary website access limitations for some users, yet RT promptly resolved these issues.”

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks are performed by overwhelming websites with junk traffic to render them unreachable. Similar attacks were performed on the websites of Ukraine’s defence, foreign, and interior ministries ahead of Russia’s invasion.

Anonymous is often motivated by political causes, such as supporting the protests after the death of George Floyd in 2020 and its declaration of ‘war’ on the Turkish government in 2015 due to the belief it was working with Isis.

However, due to the nature of the Anonymous group, it can sometimes be difficult to verify their attacks as anyone can claim to be a member of the community without revealing their identity.■

[Courtesy: Adam SMITH// Independent UK]

Russia/Ukraine War: Supreme Allied Commander of NATO Official Statement

<SUNBIGHT>~Europe~Eke~26th February,2022 @ 16:49 WAT

Statement from General Tod D. Wolters, Supreme Allied Commander Europe

❝OVER the past few months, NATO Allies and European partners have remained unified in opposition to threats against peace and security in Europe. In response to Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine, the Alliance has operationally aligned its maritime, land, air, space, and cyber forces to defend our NATO sovereignty.

With the response plans approved by the North Atlantic Council and in line with the evolving security environment, we are now employing elements of the NATO Response Force.

This is an historic moment and the very first time the Alliance has employed these high readiness forces in a deterrence and defence role. They represent a flexible, combat credible force that can be employed in multiple ways and we are utilizing fully their inherent agility.

These deterrence measures are prudent and enhance our speed, responsiveness and capability to shield and protect the one billion citizens we swore to protect.

We are grateful to our allies Canada and the United States for their recent commitments to deploy an additional 7,460 troops, including an armored brigade combat team, artillery units, a naval frigate, and surveillance aircraft, to support this Alliance-wide effort.

As NATO establishes this enhanced vigilance on the Alliance’s eastern flank, Allied military forces will posture and exercise to increase our readiness and interoperability. Your soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines stand ready to protect every meter of Allied territory.

We admire the courage and tenacity of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and citizens in defending their country.

The Alliance remains steadfast in our collective commitment to shield and protect each other. Moving forward, we are prepared to leverage the strength of all our forces to defend the Alliance❞■

Ukraine’s President Zelenskiy calls on citizens to fight, promises weapons

<SUNBIGHT>~Ukraine~Eke~26th February,2022 @ 14:11 WAT

UKRAINIAN President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Thursday called on all citizens who were ready to defend the country from Russian forces to come forward, saying Kyiv would issue weapons to everyone who wants them.

Russia launched an all-out invasion of Ukraine by land, air and sea on Thursday, the biggest attack by one state against another in Europe since World War Two and confirmation of the worst fears of the West.

Zelenskiy urged Russians to come out and protest against the war.■

[Courtesy: Global Village]

‘No choice but to invade Ukraine to defend Russia’, says Vladimir Putin

<SUNBIGHT>~Russia/Ukraine~Nkwo~25th February,2022 @ 01:34 WAT

HOURS after launching a full-scale military action against Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday clarified said that Kremlin had no other choice but to “invade” its neighbour’s borders, according to AFP.

“What was happening left us with no choice,” the Russian leader said during a televised meeting with business representatives, adding that “we had no other way of proceeding”.

The remarks are in stark contrast to what was said earlier by the Russian leader that Moscow had no plans of launching a full-scale invasion.

Putin also said his country wanted to remain part of the world economy and had no plans to harm it.

“Russia remains part of the world economy,” he said.

“We are not going to damage the world economic system which we are part of,” he said, adding he also did not want Russia to be excluded from the international economic community.

“It seems to me that our partners should understand this and not set themselves the task of pushing us out of this system,” he added.

The attack triggered Western warnings of unprecedented sanctions against Russia as NATO, EU and G7 leaders condemned the attack and vowed to hold Moscow accountable.

Russian airstrikes hit military installations across the country as ground forces moved in from the north, south and east, forcing many Ukrainians to flee their homes to the sounds of the bombing.

Across Ukraine, at least 68 people were killed, including both soldiers and civilians, according to an AFP reported citing Ukrainian official sources.

Britain said it is freezing the UK assets of Russian elites in banking and arms manufacturing, sanctioning five more oligarchs and banning Aeroflot from its airspace, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Thursday.

The US government also imposed sanctions on two Russian banks, Moscow’s sovereign debt, several oligarchs and other measures.

Germany had earlier announced it would block the pipeline from opening for deliveries.■

[Courtesy: WION]

Press Brief: NATO Defense Ministers met over Russia

<SUNBIGHT>~Brussels~Eke~18th February,2022 @ 02:31 WAT

ON February 16 and 17, #NATO Defence Ministers met in #Brussels to address Russia’s 🇷🇺  continued military build-up in and around Ukraine 🇺🇦

NATO remains prepared for dialogue but will not compromise on core principles:
➡️ the right of each nation to choose its own path;
➡️ and the ability to protect and defend its Allies.

“NATO has sent concrete written proposals to Russia, on transparency, risk reduction and arms control. We have yet to receive a response.

I reiterate my invitation to Russia to meet again in the NATO-Russia Council. NATO” said Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at a press conference.

On the first day of the meetings, Ministers also welcomed the progress made on burden-sharing, with the seventh consecutive year of increased defence spending by European Allies and Canada 🇨🇦

On the second day, NATO Defence Ministers met with close partners Ukraine and Georgia 🇬🇪

They addressed the following points:
➡️ the continued threat of Russian aggression;
➡️ the deteriorating security situation in the Black Sea region;
➡️ and NATO’s strong political and practical support for both countries.

Allies confirmed that NATO’s door remains open.

“Any decision on NATO membership is for NATO Allies and aspirant countries to take; nobody else,” said Secretary General.

NATO Allies restated their strong support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of both Georgia and Ukraine.

“We cannot accept a return to an age of spheres of influence, where big powers bully, intimidate, or dictate to others. There can be no decisions about Ukraine without Ukraine; and no decisions about Georgia without Georgia,” the Secretary General highlighted.

In the final session of this ministerial, NATO Defence Ministers also met with the Defence Ministers of Finland 🇫🇮 and Sweden 🇸🇪 and with the High Representative of the European Union 🇪🇺 for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission.■

[Courtesy: NATO Official Facebook]

RUSSIA PLEADS FOR PEACE IN AFGHANISTAN AS ANTI-TALIBAN FORCES EMERGES

RUSSIAN INTEL DISCOVERS ANTI-TALIBAN FORCES AT NORTH OF KABUL 

■ Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister disclosed on Thursday that anti-Taliban forces led by deposed Afghan vice-president Amrullah Saleh and Ahmad Massoud were gathering in Panjshir Valley.

Massoud is the son of a slain anti-Taliban fighter. Panjshir Valley  lies in the north of Kabul. 

Lavrov addressed the press in Moscow after his meeting with the Libyan Foreign Minister. He said “The Taliban doesn’t control the whole territory of Afghanistan,”

“There are reports of the situation in the Panjshir Valley where the resistance of Afghanistan’s vice president Mr Saleh and Ahmad Massoud is concentrated,” he added. 

The Foreign Minister reiterated the Russian government call for an inclusive dialogue involving all political players in Afghanistan in order to form a “representative government” 

While the United States and its NATO ally countries rushed to evacuate their citizens from Kabul, Russia insisted that its embassy will continue to function. 

Reports monitored by Sunbight Media established that the Russian government is seeking contact with the Taliban jihad group in an effort to avoid instability spilling over to neighbouring ex-Soviet states. 

The spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova at her weekly press briefing said that the Taliban are “actively restoring order” and have demonstrated their “intent to dialogue”. 

Even as the jihad group is still banned and listed in Russia’s Terrorists Watch, the spokeswoman also said that the Taliban are “ready to take into account the interest of citizens, including… women’s rights”. 

In a monitored state television broadcast earlier this week, the Russia’s ambassador to Afghanistan Dmitry Zhirnov stated that his meeting with the Taliban in Kabul was “positive and constructive”.●

IMO-BORN BECOMES BEST MEDICAL GRADUATE IN RUSSIA

Chukwudi Olewuezi

CHUKWUDI OLEWUEZI BAGS BEST GRADUATING MEDICAL STUDENT IN RUSSIA

■ The trending news at the moment is about Chukwudi Justin Olewuezi from Umuoye Enyiogugu of Aboh-Mbaise in Imo state who has become the best graduating Medical Doctor from Siberian State Medical University in Tomsk-Russia.

He is also the first foreign student in the 133-years history of the Russian Medical School to make distinctions in all his medical course which includes Anatomy, Biochemistry, Biology, Medicine, Surgery, Pharmacy, Pathology, Physiology, etc.

He made a perfect CGPA of 5.0/5.0.

CONGRATULATIONS TO CHUKWUDI FROM SUNBIGHT MEDIA! ●