Russia Says Hopes For U.n. Resolution On Syria This Week

Russia has filed piracy charges against Greenpeace activists who tried to board an offshore drilling platform in the Arctic owned by state-controlled natural gas company Gazprom. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)(Credit: AP) MURMANSK, Russia (AP) Russia filed piracy charges Tuesday against Greenpeace activists who tried to climb onto an offshore drilling platform in the Arctic owned by the state-controlled gas company Gazprom. The activists are on a Greenpeace ship, the Arctic Sunrise, which was seized last week by the Russian Coast Guard and towed Tuesday into a port near Murmansk. It was unclear how many of the 30 activists on board face piracy charges, which carry a potential prison sentence of up to 15 years and a fine of 500,000 rubles (about $15,500). The Investigative Committee, Russias federal investigative agency, said it would question all those who participated in the protest and detain the more active among them. Two activists tried to climb onto the Prirazlomnaya platform on Thursday and others assisted from small inflatable boats. The Greenpeace protest was aimed at calling attention to the environmental risks of drilling for oil in Arctic waters. When a foreign vessel full of electronic technical equipment of unknown purpose and a group of people calling themselves members of an environmental rights organization try nothing less than to take a drilling platform by storm, logical doubts arise about their intentions, Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said in a statement. He said the activists posed a danger to the work of the oil platform. Such activities not only infringe on the sovereignty of a state, but might pose a threat to the environmental security of the whole region, Markin said. Greenpeace insists that Russia had no right under international law to board its ship. One activist told The Associated Press that the Coast Guard officers hit and kicked some activists when they stormed the vessel. The Arctic Sunrise was anchored Tuesday in a small bay near Severomorsk, the home port of Russias Northern Fleet, 25 kilometers (15 miles) north of Murmansk.

Ian McKellen On Russia’s Anti-Gay Law And Whether The Sochi Olympics Should Be Boycotted

The rise in government abuse is archaic. Hosing teenagers with pepper spray? Beatings? Mother Russia?” Click here for the full story. Elton John In spite of Russia’s anti-gay legislation, the Rocket Man has vowed not to cancel his forthcoming Moscow performance. “As a gay man, I cant leave those people on their own without going over there and supporting them,” he said. “I dont know whats going to happen, but Ive got to go.” Read the full story here. Cher The legendary singer-actress said she turned down the chance to perform at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi because of Russia’s anti-gay law. “I cant name names but my friend called who is a big oligarch over there, and asked me if Id like to be an ambassador for the Olympics and open the show,” Cher told Maclean’s writer Elio Iannacci. “I immediately said no. I want to know why all of this gay hate just exploded over there.” Click here for the full story. Blake Skjellerup The New Zealand speed skater, who is openly gay, told HuffPost Live’s Josh Zepps that a boycott would hurt the athletes themselves more than Russia. “I don’t support a boycott at all,” he said.

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He gave no details. INSPECTORS RETURN Russia has been the Syrian government’s strongest backer during the conflict that has killed more than 100,000 people since 2011, delivering arms and, with China, blocking three Western-backed resolutions intended to put pressure on Assad. The U.S.-Russia deal for Syria to abandon chemical weapons was a rare exception to their disagreements over the conflict. It prompted U.S. President Barack Obama to hold back his request for Congressional approval to strike Syria to punish Assad for an August 21 sarin gas attack Washington says killed more than 1,400 people. Damascus denies it was the perpetrator. The United States and its Security Council allies Britain and France blame Assad’s forces for the attack. Russia says it believes rebels staged it to provoke military intervention, and has described a report by U.N. chemical inspectors as biased. Russia has said there is evidence indicating rebels were behind other alleged chemical attacks in Syria. It has called for investigation of all such claims and the consideration of more sources of evidence about the August 21 attack. U.N. officials have said the U.N. investigators will return to Syria in the next few days. Ryabkov said they were expected to travel to Damascus on Wednesday, and suggested that pressure from Moscow had played a role.

Russia to file piracy charges against Greenpeace activists for Arctic protest

“Such activities not only infringe on the sovereignty of a state, but might pose a threat to the environmental security of the whole region,” Markin said. The oil platform, the first offshore rig in the Arctic, was deployed to the vast Prirazlomnoye oil field in the Pechora Sea in 2011, but its launch has been delayed by technological challenges. Gazprom has said it was to start pumping oil this year, but no precise date has been set. Greenpeace insisted that under international law Russia had no right to board its ship and has no grounds to charge its activists with piracy. “Peaceful activism is crucial when governments around the world have failed to respond to dire scientific warnings about the consequences of climate change in the Arctic and elsewhere,” Greenpeace International executive director Kumi Naidoo said in a statement. “We will not be intimidated or silenced by these absurd accusations and demand the immediate release of our activists,” he added. One Greenpeace activist told The Associated Press that Coast Guard officers hit and kicked some activists when they stormed the Greenpeace vessel. The Arctic Sunrise was anchored Tuesday in Kulonga Bay near Severomorsk, the home port of Russia’s Northern Fleet, 25 kilometres (15 miles) north of Murmansk. Greenpeace, which had limited contact with those on board, said they were all fine and that some made calls to friends and family. Diplomats were allowed to board the Arctic Sunrise for two hours to meet with activists from their countries. Late Tuesday, the activists were driven to the Investigative Committee’s headquarters in Murmansk for several hours of questioning, and after 2 a.m.

Russia eyes ship-building ventures with Indian cos

Founder Ben Nelson at the Minerva Project headquarters

He added that his country has been cooperating with Indian state and private manufacturers for decades and transferring technology without any hindrance. India’s new Defence Procurement Procedure 2013 aims to balance the competing requirements of expediting capital procurement and developing a robust indigenous defence sector. “Many private Indian shipyards came to us for cooperation. All that is needed now is to finalize specific, concrete projects. We are prepared, technically, “he said. Russian agency also needs to finalise one Indian shipyard for the maintenance of INS Vikramaditya, India’s largest aircraft carrier, being built by Russia. Russian officials said that the aircraft carrier would reach Indian shores by February 2014. For the guarantee period of one year, Russia would be responsible for the maintenance of the ship and later Indian authorities would take over. Rosoboronexport is confident of winning the tender for six submarines with a total value of $11.8 billion. Komardin said that among the models having high potential in the Indian market are the Project 11,356 frigates, which have long been successfully operated by the Indian Navy, Amur-1,650 diesel-electric submarine and a variety of naval weapon systems. Russians still remain the largest defence suppliers to the 13-lakh-strong Indian armed forces but feel that the Indian procurement policy is cumbersome and time consuming.