Russia’s Putin Courts Ukraine While Attending Religious Festival

Russia Says U.S. Using Syria Chemical Weapons Deal To Seek U.N. Resolution Threatening Force Against Assad Government

14, 2013. (AP Photo / Larry Downing) | AP Get World Newsletters: Bashar Assad , Russia , Syria , Bashar Al-Assad , Sergei Lavrov , Chemical Weapons , Reuters , Syria Chemical Weapons , World News MOSCOW, Sept 22 (Reuters) – Russia on Sunday criticised what it said were Western attempts to use a Syrian chemical arms disarmament deal to seek a U.N. resolution threatening force against President Bashar al-Assad’s government. Syria has handed over information about its chemical arsenal to a U.N.-backed weapons watchdog, meeting the first deadline of the ambitious U.S.-Russia deal that averted the threat of Western air strikes. The U.N. Security Council is due to give its endorsement of the deal, but Moscow and Washington are divided over how to ensure compliance with the accord. U.S. President Barack Obama has warned that he is still prepared to attack Syria, even without a U.N. mandate, if Assad reneges on the deal. “They see in the U.S.-Russian deal not a chance to save the planet from significant quantities of chemical weapons in Syria, but as a chance to do what Russia and China will not allow, namely to push through a resolution involving (the threat of) force against the regime and shielding the opposition,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview with Russian state television posted on his ministry’s website. Lavrov also said Russia, which has used its veto to block Western efforts to use the U.N.

“There is tough competition going on for the global markets. And I am sure most of you realise that only by joining forces we can be competitive and win in this rather tough struggle,” Putin told a conference in Kiev on July 27. Putin was visiting Ukraine for the 1,025th anniversary of a mass baptism which marked the consolidation of Kievan Rus, the medieval state from which the Russian Empire later grew. He cited figures showing that while Russia’s trade with Ukraine fell 18 percent in the first quarter if this year, trade turnover within the Moscow-led post-Soviet Customs Union bloc grew by 2-3 percent. Russia, averse to Ukraine’s move towards the EU, has long urged Ukraine to join the Customs Union bloc. It has even hinted that Kiev could get a discount on Russian gas supplies on which Ukraine depends heavily but which it says are being sold for an “exorbitant” price today. Follow us But Kiev’s planned agreements on free trade and political association with the European Union, which it hopes to sign in November, will rule out the possibility of a trade deal with the Russia-led bloc. And although Putin said on Saturday that Moscow “will respect any choice made by our Ukrainian partners, friends and brothers”, Kiev cannot ignore the risk of retribution from Russia, the main market for Ukrainian exports, in the form of trade restrictions. BALANCING ACT While Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich showed no signs of having second thoughts regarding the EU deals, he tried to sweeten the pill. Yanukovich stressed Russia’s role as a “strategic partner” when he and Putin travelled to the southern port city of Sevastopol where Russia leases a base from Ukraine for its Black Sea navy. “We appreciate and value our friendship with Russia,” he said. In a more material move, he pledged that Ukraine, which has so far opposed Russia’s efforts to upgrade vessels in the ageing Black Sea navy, would give it the green light. “President (Yanukovich) said that the Ukrainian government would do everything it can to make sure that navy upgrade programmes are carried out,” his office said in a statement.

Tim Tebow Should Consider Opportunity to Play Football in Russia

It would essentially be an overseas tryout for teams looking into acquiring his services. Andy Lyons/Getty Images Tebow’s inability to show any consistency throwing the football is his biggest downfall. In three seasons, he has completed just 47.9 percent of his passes. To put that into perspective, his 47.9 percent for his career is six full points worse than Chad Henne’s league-worst 53.9 percent passing from last season. In two games in Russia, Tebow could have worked on his pocket passing skills and shown off what he’s got to NFL scouts. Scouts would have either been in attendance or closely monitoring both of his games, so Tebow’s refusal to play is interesting. It would have been an open tryout that could have potentially led to the furthering of his NFL careersomething he’s striving for. The owner of the Black Storm, Mikhail Zaltsman, questioned that drive to return to the NFL after Tebow turned down his offer. Clearly bitter about the decision, Zaltsman had this to say, via R-Sport : Unfortunately agents of Tim Tebow turn down our proposal.I hope that it’s Tebows agents fault that the contract wasnt signed and Tim couldnt do anything about it. If it was his decision its very upsetting. And in this case we dont want him in our team anyway. But wait, Zaltsman wasn’t finished. “We are looking for the people that pursue their dreams, not the ones who talk about it,” he said. What type of impact would playing in Russia have had on Tebow’s career?