China's Y-20 heavy transport aircraft has made its debut at the "Peace Mission 2021," a counter-terrorism military exercise for Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states.
The Y-20 aircraft arrived in Russia's Orenburg on Friday for the exercise, which will be held from Sept. 11 to 25.
The participants are from eight SCO member states, including China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, India, Pakistan, and Uzbekistan.
Since its deployment in the PLA air force, Y-20 heavy transport aircraft have participated in multiple missions including the transportation of medical personnel and supplies to COVID-19-hit areas in the country and other humanitarian relief tasks.
Designed and manufactured by the state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), the Y-20 has a maximum takeoff weight of around 200 tonnes.
It made its maiden flight in January 2013, and joined China's air force on July 6, 2016.
Y-20 is officially codenamed "Kunpeng," after a mythical bird that could fly vast distances.
Produced by Xinhua Global Service
Today, on the 8th of July, a meeting was held in the Turkmen capital with the delegation of the Russian Federation headed by the Chairman of the Committee for External Relations of Saint Petersburg Ye.Grigoryev, who arrived to Turkmenistan on a working visit.
The Turkmen side at the meeting was represented by the Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan Rashid Meredov and the Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers, Chairman of the Supreme Control Chamber of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedov.
As is known, cooperation of Turkmenistan with the regions of the Russian Federation steps out as one of the important mechanisms of bilateral relations. In this context, the positive dynamics of the development of Turkmen-Russian relations which are of strategic character is highlighted.
During the talks, the parties have noted the perspectives of collaboration in the fields of trade, digital technologies, innovative economy and interaction among commercial structures of the two countries.
The parties have also noted the efficiency of regular meetings of representatives of state and private sectors of national economies of Turkmenistan and Russian Federation. It was also mentioned that the economic interaction of the two countries involves wide range of spheres, beginning from energy sector, covers perspective directions in the industry, transport sector, infrastructure construction and others.
Within the framework of the visit Russian delegation have also held a number of meetings with the heads of the line ministries and departments.
BEIJING, June 28 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a joint statement Monday, officially deciding to extend the China-Russia Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation.
The announcement came during talks between the two heads of state via video link.
Hailing the upcoming 20th anniversary of the signing of the treaty, Xi said in Beijing that the treaty has established the idea of enduring friendship, which conforms to the fundamental interests of the two countries as well as the themes of peace and development.
The treaty is a vivid example of fostering a new type of international relations and building a community with a shared future for humanity, he said.
Putin said the treaty demonstrates the willingness of enduring friendship between the two peoples. The relevant principles and spirit established by the treaty have played an important and unique role in the long-term and sound development of Russia-China relations.
"Russia is satisfied with the unprecedented high level of current China-Russia ties as well as comprehensive and steady development of bilateral cooperation," he said.
The treaty extension will lay a more solid foundation for the long-term bilateral ties development, Putin said.
"On the treaty's basis, China-Russia relations have developed rapidly in various fields, covering politics, the economy, and culture over the past 20 years. The relationship between the two countries has also upgraded to a comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for the new era," said Li Ziguo, director of the Department for European-Central Asian Studies of the China Institute of International Studies.
FIRMLY MOVING TIES FORWARD
"Under the guidance of the treaty, the two countries will continue to make concerted efforts and firmly move forward despite the difficulties and obstacles ahead," Xi said.
He referred to the current China-Russia ties as "mature, stable, and solid" and able to "withstand the test of any change in the international situation."
The two sides support each other on issues concerning each other's core interests and have carried out effective strategic coordination, safeguarding the common interests of the two countries, he said.
The outcomes of pragmatic cooperation, with increasing quality and quantity, are fruitful, he added.
He called on the two sides to comprehensively summarize their experiences of past successes and create top-level designs for new objectives and tasks in various fields to inject new meaning into the treaty.
The two sides agreed to continue maintaining close high-level exchanges, strengthening vaccine cooperation, expanding bilateral trade, and expanding cooperation in low-carbon energy, digital economy, agriculture and other fields and promote the alignment of the Belt and Road Initiative with the Eurasian Economic Union.
"The secret to the strong development of bilateral ties lies in upholding the principles of mutual respect, equality, mutual benefit, and win-win cooperation, and not targeting any third party. Practical cooperation also provides a strong impetus for the development of ties," Li said.
The Russian president warmly congratulated the Communist Party of China (CPC) on its 100th anniversary of founding, saying that Russia cherishes the history of exchanges with the CPC and is willing to strengthen inter-party exchanges.
It is hoped that China will continue to make new achievements in economic and social development and play a more significant role in international affairs under the leadership of the CPC, Putin said.
Xi expressed appreciation for the congratulations and support to the CPC centennial from Putin and various fields in Russia. He said that China firmly supports the strong measures taken by Russia to maintain its long-term stability and firmly supports Russia in managing its own affairs.
Putin vowed to continue deepening strategic mutual trust and strengthening strategic coordination with China. He said they should continue to firmly support each other in safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity and respect each other's chosen systems and development paths.
He also called for deepening practical cooperation, increasing people-to-people exchanges, and strengthening coordination in international affairs to advance bilateral ties.
In the joint statement, Russia speaks highly of China's concept of building a community with a shared future for humanity, referring to the concept as "being conducive to enhancing global solidarity and jointly tackling challenges."
Russia supports the "Global Initiative on Data Security" proposed by China, and the two countries vowed to formulate feasible measures in tackling threats in international information security, according to the joint statement.
The two sides oppose the politicization of sports. Russia supports China's hosting of the Beijing 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, the statement said.
UPHOLDING TRUE MULTILATERALISM
Noting their close coordination in international affairs, Xi said the two countries have jointly safeguarded true multilateralism and global fairness and justice.
"China and Russia have injected positive energy into the international community. The two sides have set an example of a new type of international relations through their close cooperation, as the world is entering a period of turbulence and change, and human development confronts multiple crises," Xi said.
The two heads of state pledged to jointly and firmly safeguard the international system with the United Nations as the core and the international order based on international law. They also pledged to protect global strategic security and stability, support and practice true multilateralism, oppose interference in other countries' affairs under the guise of "democracy" and "human rights," and resist unilateral coercive sanctions.
Both sides agreed to jointly promote the common human values of peace, development, equity, justice, democracy, and freedom, strengthen solidarity and coordination, and work together to tackle common challenges and promote building a community with a shared future for humanity.
The two sides also voiced opposition to stigmatizing and politicizing acts regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and virus origin tracing.
During the talks, the two heads of state also expressed concern about the recent acceleration of the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan by the United States and NATO and the increasingly complicated and severe security situation in Afghanistan, vowing to jointly maintain regional peace, security, and stability.
2020 Compilation Report on the human rights violations in the Russia-occupied territories of Georgia
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia prepared 2020 Compilation Report on the human rights violations in the Russia-occupied territories of Georgia, which is based on the documents adopted within the international organizations.
The Report covers the difficult human rights situation in the Russian-occupied Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions, including the facts of discrimination, violations of the right to life and health, right to native language education, illegal detentions, kidnappings.
The Report aims to update the international community on the human rights violations in the Russian-occupied Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions.
2020 Compilation Report on the human rights violations in the Russia-occupied territories of Georgia was prepared in English and is available at the link below.
All responsibility for the Gakheladze case rests with Russia taking its aggressive actions to overweigh in importance the international support for Georgia – Lasha Darsalia
According to him, Russia never takes such steps spontaneously. Rather, it is following its own plan. “The maximum escalation of the situation is part of the hybrid war Russia is waging against Georgia and this war has its foreign-political and domestic dimensions” – the Deputy Minister said.
According to Lasha Darsalia, by undertaking aggression and attempts of destabilizing the situation, Russia tries to overweigh in importance the international support for Georgia and the fact that the Russia-Georgia conflict is currently one of the key items on the international agenda. The Deputy Minister added that “this support is further reaffirmed by the fact that the OSCE Chairman-in-Office discussed the issue of Georgia during his visit in Russia, the U.S. Secretary of State also mentioned Georgia in his conversation with Lavrov. I’d also like to recall up to 70 international resolutions and reports recently adopted, including on the human rights situation in the occupied territories, and most importantly, the Strasbourg Court’s judgment holding Russia responsible for the occupation of the Georgian territories and exercising effective control there, on the one hand, and on the other, for grave human rights violations taking place on the ground, which means Russia’s responsibility for ethnic cleansing” – Darsalia said.
Press and Information Department MFA
Strasbourg, 04.02.2021 - The German Federal Government’s Special Representative for the German Presidency of the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers, State Minister Michael Roth, the President of the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly, Rik Daems, and the Secretary General of the 47-nation Council of Europe, Marija Pejčinović Burić, have today made the following statement concerning the sentencing of Aleksey Navalnyy:
“We deeply regret the recent decision of a Moscow court to sentence Aleksey Navalnyy to a prison term. This decision is based on a criminal conviction which the European Court of Human Rights, in its Navalnyye v. Russia judgment of 17 October 2017, found to have been arbitrary and manifestly unreasonable and, as a consequence, in violation of Articles 6 and 7 of the European Convention on Human Rights, to which Russia is a party. We call upon the Russian authorities to abide by their international obligations under the Convention.
The massive, and partly violent, arrests of protesters and journalists at the recent demonstrations all over Russia are also alarming. We refer to the statement of the Council of Europe’s Human Rights Commissioner in this regard. Freedom of assembly, freedom of expression, the right to liberty and security and the right to a fair trial are fundamental rights guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights. These rights must be strictly respected.
We call on the Russian authorities to fully investigate all reported abusive actions against peaceful protesters and journalists, and to bring those responsible to justice, in order to live up to Russia’s obligations as a member state of the Council of Europe.”
The Directorate of Communications of the Council of Europe
The President of Turkmenistan made a video statement at the International Forum for Northern Economic CooperationFriday, 30 October 2020 19:22
On October 30, 2020, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov made a video statement at the International Forum for Northern Economic Cooperation which took place in Seoul in the format of a videoconference.
The heads of states, renown political figures, representatives of academic circles, leadership of ministries and departments of trade-economic, healthcare, education, communication and high-tech sectors, representatives of non-governmental organizations and private sectors of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Mongolia, the Republic of Korea and other countries participated to the Forum in remote mode.
During his video address to the participants of the Forum, the President of Turkmenistan emphasized that considers the given event as a well-timed initiative aimed at long-term development of international economic, trade and investment cooperation in Eurasia.
The head of state shared his vision on the creation of new plans and strategies for comprehensive development on the Eurasian space and added that “in Turkmenistan we call it the revival of the Great Silk Road, thus emphasizing the historical continuity of the unique nature of relations between the nations living here and the states located alongside”. It was underlined that the given format is intended to contribute to the geo-economic processes along the routes of East-West and South-North.
During his address, the President of Turkmenistan especially underlined the importance of diversification of cooperation on the regional and worldwide scales. He told about the efficiency of Turkmen-Korean relations, gave examples of a number of joint projects in the oil and gas, as well as gas chemical industries with active participation of the Korean companies.
Amongst the main topics of discussion on the Forum were the changes originated from the coronavirus pandemic and further promotion of North economic cooperation. In this regard, it is vital to note that under the leadership of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, Turkmenistan stands for the constructive international cooperation and calls for the application of scientific diplomacy tools for strengthening the collaboration in the area of healthcare and scientific research between the countries of the world.
The Republic of Turkey provided significant medical equipment and medicines to Georgia, including respirators, PCR diagnostic kits and personal protective equipment in order to support the country in its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The donation of the Republic of Turkey is aimed at assisting the population of Georgia during the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular those who are affected by the Russia-Georgia conflict. This is especially important against the background, when the humanitarian situation in Georgia’s occupied territories has been further deteriorated amid the pandemic. Consequently, a large part of the humanitarian aid will be directed for addressing the needs of the people affected by the existing conflict between Russia and Georgia.
The Agreement between the Governments of Georgia and the Republic of Turkey on Donation in the Field of Healthcare was signed by the Deputy Minister of Health of Turkey Emine Alp Meşe and the Ambassador of Georgia to Turkey Giorgi Janjgava.
Twelve years have passed since Russia invaded the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. August 7 is a somber reminder of the thousands who have suffered and continue to suffer in the wake of Russia’s invasion. Today, we remember residents forced out of their homes and forced to live as internally displaced persons. We remember innocent civilians who died because the de facto authorities closed the Administrative Boundary Lines (ABL) and denied them access to emergency medical care. We remember families torn apart and robbed of their livelihoods by illegal “borderization” activities. As the whole world grapples with the effects of COVID-19, Georgia also suffers from the loss of trade between communities now cut off by arbitrary lines, further hampering economic recovery.
In the past year, we also witnessed a major Russian-led incursion, attempting to control hundreds of meters of additional Georgian territory at Chorchana-Tsnelisi. Russia continues to violate the conditions of the 2008 ceasefire agreement. Russian “border” guards detain civilians and use violence along the ABL, including recently shooting a Georgian citizen. Russian-led security forces continue to encroach deeper into Georgian territory, trying to expand the occupied territories meter by meter.
Russia’s responsibilities under the 2008 ceasefire agreement are clear: Russia must withdraw its forces to pre-conflict positions and allow unfettered access for the delivery of humanitarian assistance. We also call again on Russia to reverse its recognition of the so-called independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. It is essential for hundreds of thousands of IDPs and refugees to be able to return safely and with dignity to their homes. The United States' commitment to our friends and partners in Georgia remains steadfast. We stand with the people of Georgia and join them in calling for these communities, divided by Russian aggression, to be united once again.
US Embassy Tbilisi, Georgia
“Americans can create biological weapons”, “Georgia deliberately infects mosquitoes and sends them to Russia”, “Data on mass deaths in Georgian laboratory published”.
These are not lines from an apocalyptic Hollywood thriller, but examples of Russian media reports about the Richard Lugar Center for Public Health Research, located on the outskirts of Tbilisi. The laboratory is a partnership project between Georgia and the United States. But the centre’s activities for some reason worry Russia, which is spreading disinformation and propaganda about the laboratory.
“In September 2018, the whole world was talking about Russia’s use of the Novichok nerve agent in the UK. At the same time, Russia began to talk about the Lugar laboratory as a place where the United States allegedly produced biological weapons for use against the Russian Federation,” says Sopo Gelava, a researcher at the Georgian Media Development Fund.
If you type “Lugar Lab” into Google or YouTube search engines, you will see that most of the frightening news about it is produced by Russian media. To counter these myths, the Lugar laboratory opened its doors and showed what was going on inside.
“More Russian journalists visited the laboratory than Georgian ones,” says Paata Imnadze, Scientific Director at the National Centre for Disease Control and Public Health of Georgia.
But even regular tours of the laboratory did little to change the Russian media narrative. For example, the Russian news agency Sputnik described the “open day” at the laboratory in a dismissive and suspicious way.
Of course, not a single one of the “sensational” statements by Russian media about the Lugar laboratory was true. All of them were disproved by health experts. But these statements achieved the desired effect – 20% of Georgians believe that the laboratory contributes to the spread of epidemics. This is how disinformation works in the post-truth era.
Disinformation = mistrust, chaos, panic
In 2017, the European Union launched the EUvsDisinfo.eu online portal to counter disinformation from Russia. It is published in three languages - English, Russian and German. The site has a disinformation database, which so far contains nearly 8,000 examples of disinformation starting from 2015.
Half of the disinformation messages were directed against six countries – all former Soviet republics – Azerbaijan (31), Armenia (80), Moldova (132), Belarus (252), Georgia (345), and Ukraine (3,193), which Russia wanted to keep in its sphere of influence.
Many of the examples of disinformation used against these countries are aimed at causing panic, undermining the domestic political situation, intimidating, or increasing military tension (in the case of Ukraine). Often the messages look simply absurd, often they are naked lies or they twist information. But their poor quality doesn’t make them less effective.
“Ukraine faced the highest level of disinformation during the annexation of Crimea by Russia and the invasion of Donbass. These were hybrid propaganda tools in the media and social networks,” says Kristina Zelenyuk, political commentator for the Ukrainian portal Segodnya.
According to the Armenian media expert Samvel Martirosyan, the disinformation market is vast. It employs professionals who are constantly looking for new tools and methods of manipulating people.
“Now you can sow panic in a few hours using social media. Information spreads so fast that it’s almost impossible for people to identify disinformation,” says Samvel.
In March 2020, the European External Action Service published a special report, “COVID-19 Disinformation” with a special chapter dedicated to “pro-Kremlin disinformation”.
In February-March 2020 alone, the EUvsDisinfo database registered over 110 examples of coronavirus disinformation distributed by pro-Russian media. These examples were in line with the Kremlin’s traditional strategy of sowing mistrust and chaos, aggravating crisis situations and public concern. Moreover, misinformation directed at the Russian audience described the virus as a form of foreign aggression. It claimed that coronavirus originated from secret American or Western laboratories. Disinformation for domestic audiences focused on conspiracy theories about “global elites” which deliberately use the virus as a tool to achieve their goals.
Many fake and manipulative news based on shocking conspiracy theories gradually change the perception of information. At first, people simply don’t react to disinformation, then they react to it but don’t believe it, and then, due to the frequency and volume of such materials, they start to believe fake or misleading narratives. This is the goal that organisations and countries that manipulate information are trying to achieve.
“Disinformation is a terrible threat. It concerns not only those who are poorly educated or not well versed in politics. In fact, everybody is under attack,” says Alexander Starikevich, editor-in-chief of the Belarusian ‘Solidarity’ internet portal.
Critical thought ambassadors against fake news
The news agenda in our digital world changes so fast that people simply do not have time for deep analysis of events. That’s why fakes and manipulation are often perceived as real news. Different media, organisations dedicated to exposing fakes, as well as volunteers, are all working on deconstructing fake narratives.
“But this work should not be limited to a small group of people. The whole of society should benefit from it. We must educate it,” says Samvel Martirosyan.
Young people are effective helpers in the fight against disinformation. This is the opinion of Anina Tepnadze, director of the Georgian online media platform On.ge.
In her view, young people know more about disinformation and they are more sceptical. Therefore, they can teach their parents and neighbours how to consume information properly.
“But to engage young people, they should receive a clear message that it is really important, that this is not only ‘their problem’, but an issue for everyone. Then young people can be good ambassadors of truth,” says Tepnadze.
In the view of Alexander Starikevich, to prevent people from believing disinformation, we need to start teaching critical thinking from nursery-school age.
He points out that it is difficult to work with people who have already formed their worldview. “Their reaction is frequently ‘Why are you lecturing me? I understand everything myself.’ But there will always be a part of the audience that is open to explaining, and you need to work with them,” says Starikevich.
There are, however, more radical methods of fighting disinformation – for example, using legislation. Saadat Mammadova, head of the news department of the Azerbaijani CBC television channel, believes that it is necessary to adopt international legislation or a charter to solve the problem of fake news.
“Fake News is turning into a national security issue, a tool that can destabilise the world, and it's time to consider it in the security context,” stresses Mammadova.
Bloggers against disinformation
The growing popularity of social networks has led to the emergence of bloggers as competitors to the traditional media. These bloggers gather large audiences. Bloggers can be good helpers in countering disinformation.
Samvel Martirosyan believes that “people often trust bloggers more than traditional sources of information. Given this degree of trust, opinion leaders can jointly stop waves of disinformation and rumours.”
The popular vlogger from Moldova, Dorin Galben, believes that social networks have become a “nest” of fake news that needs to be unmasked. “Our role [as bloggers] is to reach out to as many people as possible, inform them about the phenomenon of fake news and the impact that ‘fake news’ can have on the future of the country and its citizens,” he adds.
Azerbaijani blogger Seymur Kazimov also speaks about the responsibility of opinion leaders. He believes bloggers should deconstruct fakes and disinformation, and counter them publicly.
“Bloggers need to publicly highlight examples of fake publications of friends or acquaintances, or people they follow. Specific examples always work better than theory,” says Anton Motolko, who is a blogger and civic activist from Belarus. “The first and most important thing is not to become a source of fake distribution ourselves. There is a golden rule here: if you suspect it is a fake, don’t publish it,” he adds.
Georgian TV presenter and blogger Zura Balanchivadze advises to look carefully at the headlines. This frequently helps determine if a particular piece is a lie. “Fake news often has sensationalist headlines or features strong exaggeration. Also, analyse those sites where you see dubious information – ask what type of content these resources usually publish,” adds the blogger.
“Blatant lies are easy to spot. But half-truths or manipulation of facts are harder to discern. Consult with experts in different fields. Learn to distinguish facts from subjective opinions. Do not take everything at face value. Always doubt, think and ask questions,” advises Roman Vintoniv, TV presenter and vlogger from Ukraine.
How to spot fake news
We asked journalists and bloggers from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Belarus, Moldova, and Ukraine to share advice on how not to become a victim of disinformation. From their answers we have compiled a list of rules that will help us not to fall victim to manipulation.
ü Always check several sources of information. These can be the media, social networks, or experts. But several sources are a must.
ü You should not rely on information from little-known websites. Look for the same information on trusted, serious and professional news websites.
ü Fake news often comes either from newly-created social media accounts which are thin on content, or from accounts that are imitating well-known news media but on closer inspection are fake.
ü If you are unsure of the information, do not spread it. This will help you avoid becoming a polluter of information flow.
ü Trust yourself, tune in to your common sense. It’s difficult to manipulate a thinking person.
Author: Viktor Kischak