International Military Tribunals to be Held in Mariupol, Ukraine!

The Russian Embassy in the US put out a statement at 10:47pm this evening, pertaining to the US State Department’s response to upcoming tribunal in Mariupol.

See full statement from the Russian Embassy below.

:ru::us: Comment by the Russian Embassy in the United States on the State Department's statement on the upcoming Tribunal in Mariupol :

:small_blue_diamond:We have taken note of another groundless accusations against our country related to the Tribunal over Ukrainian war criminals.

:small_blue_diamond:The upcoming Trial is aimed at bringing justice to war criminals, among which there are Nazis from the Azov Regiment. Washington is clearly afraid of making public the evidence of the inhumane acts committed by the members of this terrorist organization.

:exclamation:The International Tribunal in Mariupol can shed light on the true essence of the Kiev regime, of which the United States diligently creates a bright and heroic image. American citizens will finally learn that in reality, their government is helping those who purposefully kill and torture the Russian people of Donbass and Ukraine.

:small_blue_diamond:Russia fully complies with the Geneva Conventions and guarantees Ukrainian captives proper conditions of detention. The same cannot be said of the Kiev regime, which militants mistreated captured Russian soldiers.

Finally, if the US authorities have questions about what happened in Mariupol, they could discuss it with the administration of the Donetsk People's Republic. It is an independent state.”

Ahem… excuse me what? The US State Dept are talking about Russian Military tribunals for Nazis?

It was difficult to find but here is the statement from the US State Dept put out today:

“By planning to hold so-called ‘tribunals’ in Russia-controlled Mariupol against Ukraine’s brave defenders, the Kremlin is attempting to deflect responsibility for President Putin’s war of aggression and distract from overwhelming evidence of the atrocities Russian forces have committed in Ukraine.

The planned show trials are illegitimate and a mockery of justice, and we strongly condemn them. All members of Ukraine’s armed forces, including domestic and foreign volunteers incorporated into the armed forces, are entitled to prisoner of war status if they are captured and must be afforded the treatment and protections commensurate with that status, according to the Geneva Conventions.

We call on Moscow to comply with its obligations under international law. The United States will continue to firmly stand with the Ukrainian people as they defend their freedom.”

No way… the Biden Admin are already trying to delegitimize the tribunals because the Russian allegations for these war crimes go all the way up to the top, to include Biden himself for the production of chemical and biological weapons, as well as arming and assisting Nazi Ukrainian forces responsible for war-crimes and atrocities on civilians.

Russian MIL claimed that the US/Ukraine are terrified of the testimony to be given by Ukrainian POWs, because it will further cement and expose the crimes committed by the Kiev and Biden/DNC regimes.

As per usual, the Western media are complete radio silent on this subject, with the exception of Reuters, who puts out their one tiny article about it that doesn’t seem to get circulated. This came out yesterday at 6AM EST, and I don’t know of anyone in the community or the Western world who has mentioned it.

“GENEVA, Aug 23 (Reuters) - The U.N. human rights office expressed concern on Tuesday about plans by Russian-backed authorities to try Ukrainian prisoners of war (POWs) in the port city of Mariupol, possibly within days, saying such a process could itself amount to a war crime.

The Russian-backed authorities appear to be installing metal cages in a hall in Mariupol as part of plans to establish what they were calling an ‘international tribunal’, Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), told a briefing.”

So the international military tribunals are going down in Ukraine, just like Russia said they would. They are trying literal Azov Nazis for crimes against humanity, and the Biden admin don’t like it.

Russia have been extremely transparent in their reporting on Nazi war-crimes and attacks on civilians. While the Liberal Globalist leaders of the West continue to gloss over the fact that they are supporting literal admitted Nazi forces in Ukraine…

Another point of interest is if these are to be true “international military tribunals”, there would need to be multiple countries involved in overseeing the tribunals, and multi-lateral agreement amongst the contributing militaries. So who are the militaries?

I assume today’s Shanghai Cooperation Organization Defense Summit between all the highest ranking Military officials of Eurasia, had something to do with it. They did discuss US war crimes and crimes against humanity today.

In conclusion, tribunals are happening whether the West or the UN Rights Office likes it or not. Russia will start with Ukrainian POWs, and work their way up the chain. The reckoning has begun.

I don’t know when, if, or how the top players get involved, but Russia have begun their ascent. We’ve been waiting for Military tribunals for 6 years now. It may not be like we pictured it, but it appears something is finally happening.

Russia is not going to lose this war former British Army chief says

Ukrainian nuclear plant loses external power due to shelling, UN watchdog says

The Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine lost connection to its last external power line due to shelling while International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors were present, according to the United Nations's nuclear watchdog.

A statement from the IAEA on Saturday added that the facility is continuing to supply electricity through a reserve line. The ZNPP previously had four main lines providing external power, but three have been destroyed in the fighting. Only one of the six reactors is still in operation at the plant.

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FRANCE’S President Emmanuel Macron has called for action at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant (ZNPP) after it lost its last connection on Monday, September 5.

UPDATE 4.47 pm (September 5) – French President Emmanuel Macron and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky held talks about the situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant after it lost its last connection.

Considering that this report includes comments by French President Macron and Ukraine President Zelenskyy, expect it to include propaganda, lies and misguided blame.

Mr Macron said: “We returned to the situation at the Zaporizhzhia NPP and the mission of the International Atomic Energy Agency, which is stationed there.

“Preservation of the safety of nuclear installations can only take place through the withdrawal of Russian troops.”

Macron called for the Ukrainian sovereignty over the plant to be respected.

The President of France also reiterated his country’s full support for Ukraine to be restored to its most fundamental rights, starting with its sovereignty, security and territorial integrity.

He said that he was determined to “counter the fracturing of the world in the face of the consequences of the war and under the effect of Russia’s manipulation of information, and to continue to warn of the threat to the stability of the world that all relativism constitutes with regard to respect for the elementary norms of international law.”

ORIGINAL 3.22 pm (September 5) – Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant has lost its last connection, which also supplied the plant’s own needs, to Ukraine’s power grid, as per a statement from Energoatom on Monday, September 5.

Energoatom has announced that the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant has lost its last connection.

“On Monday, September 5, 2022, due to a fire caused by shelling, the 330 kV ZTPP – Ferosplavna power transmission line was disconnected, that is the last line linking the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) hub to the power system of Ukraine”, Energoatom said.

“As a result, power unit No. 6, currently powering the ZNPP’s in-house needs, was unloaded and disconnected from the grid.”

Earlier, as a result, the 750 kV ZNPP – Dniprovska, 330 kV ZTPP – Kakhovska and 330 kV ZTPP – Melitopol power transmission lines were damaged and disconnected. The ZNPP 750/330 kV autotransformer (AT) was also damaged.

Other lines of the ZNPP/ZTPP hub were damaged even earlier, according to Energoatom.

The Minister of Energy of Ukraine Herman Galushchenko reacted to the damage to the last power transmission line and the subsequent disconnection from the network of power unit No. 6 of the Zaporizhzhia NPP.

“The last line that connected it to the energy system of Ukraine – the 330 kV transmission line ZaTES – Ferosplavna – was disconnected due to a fire that occurred as a result of shelling,” he wrote on Facebook.

He noted that any repair work on the lines is currently impossible because fighting is going on around the station.

“The world is once again on the brink of a nuclear disaster. The de-occupation of the ZNPP and the creation of a demilitarized zone around it is the only way to ensure nuclear safety,” Galushchenko added.

As reported earlier, the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) in Ukraine, was reportedly operating at risk of violating radiation and fire safety standards.

The company said: “Currently, only Unit 6 remains in operation, supplying electricity to the Ukrainian power grid and supplying the Zaporizka NPP’s own consumers. The equipment and safety systems do not have any problems at this time.”

“We should note that on the evening of September 3, following extensive shelling by the Russian occupants, the contact line with the Ukrainian energy system was damaged. As a result, at 19:35 UTC Zaporizka NPP Unit 5 was disconnected from the electricity grid.”

The news followed a decision to establish a 10km demilitarised zone outside of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant comes after days of rising tensions with Russian forces, as reported on Friday, September 2.

Evil Killary Clinton says Ukraine "is now on offense. We have to keep supporting them, helping them".

This sounds more like money-laundering than anything else. Keep the money flowing, Killary.

Money laundering:

  1. The act of disguising the source or true nature of money obtained through illegal means.

Bullet Points: Scott Ritter- The main cause of the (Ukrainian) war is NATO EXPANSION

(Bullet Points: Scott Ritter- The main cause of the (Ukrainian) war is NATO EXPANSION)

Bullet Points: Scott Ritter "Trump wasn't smart"

Again!!! Ukrainian troop launch HIMARS missiles sunk Russian Warships when toward the Snake Island

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Four occupied Ukraine regions plan imminent ‘votes’ on joining Russia

‘Referendum’ announcements in Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson may indicate move to annex territories.

Four Russian-occupied regions in Ukraine have said they are planning to hold “referendums” on joining the Russian Federation in a series of coordinated announcements that could indicate the Kremlin has made a decision to formally annex the territories.

Moscow may be betting that a formal annexation would help halt Russian territorial losses, after a successful Ukrainian counter-offensive that has reclaimed large portions of territory in the Kharkiv region.

But Ukraine and the west have indicated that they will not recognise the annexations – and that Russia’s new territorial claims will not slow Ukraine reclaiming its sovereign land.

“These referenda are an affront to the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity that underpin the international system,” said White House national security adviser, Jake Sullivan.

“If this does transpire, the United States will never recognise Russia’s claims to any purportedly annexed parts of Ukraine.”

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said: “Russia, its political leadership, and all those involved in these ‘referenda’ and other violations of international law in Ukraine will be held accountable, and additional restrictive measures against Russia would be considered.”

The occupied Donetsk and Luhansk regions have said they are ready to hold “polls”, which will be universally viewed as rigged, as soon as this week, with announcements also made in Kherson and Zaporizhzhia. Some Russian media have reported that Vladimir Putin may deliver a speech on Tuesday evening on a potential annexation.

As Ukrainian troops begin making advances in the Luhansk region, Russia may be worried that it can’t win on the battlefield and threaten a potential escalation, including a formal declaration of war or even a nuclear attack, by claiming to defend its own territory.

“Everything that’s happening today is an absolutely unequivocal ultimatum to Ukraine and the west,” wrote Tatiana Stanovaya, an expert on Kremlin politics and founder of R.Politik. “Either Ukraine retreats or there will be nuclear war.”

“To guarantee ‘victory’, Putin is ready to hold referendums immediately in order to obtain the right (in his understanding) to use nuclear weapons to defend Russian territory.”

Also on Tuesday, the Russian state Duma passed new amendments to the legal code that directly refer to “mobilisation” and “martial law” and introduce criminal liability for desertion or wilful surrender during that period.

The Kremlin has so far resisted a full mobilisation, likely due to fear of a political backlash. Experts have also questioned whether a Russian mobilisation would have any immediate effect in terms of stopping a Ukrainian advance that has reclaimed more than 3,000 square miles in the past month.

“There’s one problem,” wrote Ekaterina Schulmann, a political analyst. “The administrative side of adding new territory takes time, mobilising and integrating mobilised troops takes time, and they’re assuming the opposing side is going to stop and wait – evidently, out of respect for the Russian legislative process.”

Now, however, it seems that the Kremlin may be willing to go further than before, including using nuclear blackmail in order to freeze the war and solidify its territorial gains in Ukraine.

The decision has not been publicly adopted by the Kremlin or Vladimir Putin. However, senior Russian officials, including the former president Dmitry Medvedev, have supported calls for the referendums.

In a post on his Telegram page, Medvedev, the deputy head of Russia’s security council, said the referendums would “completely change the vector of Russia’s development for decades”. They would also prevent a future Russian leader from reversing Russian support for the Ukrainian regions, he wrote.

“That is why these referendums are so feared in Kyiv and in the west,” he wrote. “That is why they need to be carried out.”

In a response, Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s foreign minister, wrote that the referendums would not prevent Ukraine from continuing to “liberate its territories”.

“Sham ‘referendums’ will not change anything,” wrote Kuleba. “Neither will any hybrid ‘mobilisation’. Russia has been and remains an aggressor illegally occupying parts of Ukrainian land. Ukraine has every right to liberate its territories and will keep liberating them no matter what Russia says.”

Pro-Kremlin pundits have welcomed annexations of new territory and an implicit threat that Russia is ready to begin a total war with the west over Ukraine.

“An immediate referendum is the Crimean scenario, it’s all in,” wrote Margarita Simonyan, the head of RT and a vocal supporter of the war. “Today there is a referendum, tomorrow –– recognition as part of the Russian Federation, and the day after tomorrow –– strikes on the territory of Russia become a full-fledged war between Ukraine and Nato with Russia, untying Russia’s hands in all respects.

“This week marks either the eve of our imminent victory or the eve of nuclear war,” she wrote.

The “referendums” are likely to be held in an environment of coercion with no independent monitoring or verification.

In Zaporizhzhia, the head of the occupation administration said they would go door-to-door with the police to encourage people “freed from Nazism” to vote. The “polls” were scheduled to open on Friday, he said.

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"...I'm not bluffing..."

Putin Accuses the West of Engaging in Nuclear Blackmail Against Russia, in a...

Putin warns West: Threat to resort to nuclear weapons ‘not a bluff’

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Western countries that his country's nuclear threats are "not a bluff" on Wednesday.

Putin issued the warning after accusing Western countries of resorting to "nuclear blackmail," despite no NATO countries threatening to use nuclear weapons. The threat comes as Russia's prospects in Ukraine are grim, with Putin's military losing thousands of square miles of territory to a Ukrainian counteroffensive.

"To those who allow themselves such statements regarding Russia, I want to remind you that our country also has various means of destruction, and for separate components and more modern than those of NATO countries, and when the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, to protect Russia and our people, we will certainly use all the means at our disposal," Putin said in a Wednesday address.

"It's not a bluff," he added.

Ukraine's counteroffensive has pushed Putin toward drastic measures, with Russia announcing a partial military mobilization late Tuesday. The policy will see the Russian military conscripting reservist civilians.

Fear of a wider mobilization has reportedly caused a mass exodus of young men fleeing Russia since the announcement. Flights from Russia to countries that do not require visas were completely booked Wednesday, according to The Telegraph.

Putin argues conscription is necessary to "protect our homeland, its sovereignty and territorial integrity, to ensure the security of our people and people in the liberated territories."

Putin's threats come less than a day before President Biden is scheduled to address the United Nations General Assembly. The White House says Biden will condemn Putin's "naked aggression" and make the case that Russia has violated the U.N.'s core tenets.

"He’ll offer a firm rebuke of Russia’s unjust war in Ukraine and make a call to the world to continue to stand against the naked aggression that we’ve seen these past several months," national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Tuesday.

"He will underscore the importance of strengthening the United Nations and reaffirm core tenets of its charter at a time when a permanent member of the Security Council has struck at the very heart of the charter by challenging the principle of territorial integrity and sovereignty," he added.

Plus Biden says that US troops will defend Taiwan if China invades...

Putin threatens nuclear weapons, says it's 'not a bluff'


Listen carefully to what Putin actually said.

He says we have different types of weapons which are more modern than Nato's and then he says that Russia will use all weapons systems available to them, which probably includes nuclear, however he did not use the word nuclear.

Address by Vladimir Putin Authorizing Partial Mobilization of Russian Armed...


The subject of this address is the situation in Donbass and the course of the special military operation to liberate it from the neo-Nazi regime, which seized power in Ukraine in 2014 as the result of an armed state coup.

Today I am addressing you – all citizens of our country, people of different generations, ages and ethnicities, the people of our great Motherland, all who are united by the great historical Russia, soldiers, officers and volunteers who are fighting on the frontline and doing their combat duty, our brothers and sisters in the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics, Kherson and Zaporozhye regions and other areas that have been liberated from the neo-Nazi regime.

The issue concerns the necessary, imperative measures to protect the sovereignty, security and territorial integrity of Russia and support the desire and will of our compatriots to choose their future independently, and the aggressive policy of some Western elites, who are doing their utmost to preserve their domination and with this aim in view are trying to block and suppress any sovereign and independent development centres in order to continue to aggressively force their will and pseudo-values on other countries and nations.

The goal of that part of the West is to weaken, divide and ultimately destroy our country. They are saying openly now that in 1991 they managed to split up the Soviet Union and now is the time to do the same to Russia, which must be divided into numerous regions that would be at deadly feud with each other.

They devised these plans long ago. They encouraged groups of international terrorists in the Caucasus and moved NATO’s offensive infrastructure close to our borders. They used indiscriminate Russophobia as a weapon, including by nurturing the hatred of Russia for decades, primarily in Ukraine, which was designed to become an anti-Russia bridgehead. They turned the Ukrainian people into cannon fodder and pushed them into a war with Russia, which they unleashed back in 2014. They used the army against civilians and organised a genocide, blockade and terror against those who refused to recognise the government that was created in Ukraine as the result of a state coup.

After the Kiev regime publicly refused to settle the issue of Donbass peacefully and went as far as to announce its ambition to possess nuclear weapons, it became clear that a new offensive in Donbass – there were two of them before – was inevitable, and that it would be inevitably followed by an attack on Russia’s Crimea, that is, on Russia.

In this connection, the decision to start a pre-emptive military operation was necessary and the only option. The main goal of this operation, which is to liberate the whole of Donbass, remains unaltered.

The Lugansk People’s Republic has been liberated from the neo-Nazis almost completely. Fighting in the Donetsk People’s Republic continues. Over the previous eight years, the Kiev occupation regime created a deeply echeloned line of permanent defences. A head-on attack against them would have led to heavy losses, which is why our units, as well as the forces of the Donbass republics, are acting competently and systematically, using military equipment and saving lives, moving step by step to liberate Donbass, purge cities and towns of the neo-Nazis, and help the people whom the Kiev regime turned into hostages and human shields.

As you know, professional military personnel serving under contract are taking part in the special military operation. Fighting side by side with them are volunteer units – people of different ethnicities, professions and ages who are real patriots. They answered the call of their hearts to rise up in defence of Russia and Donbass.

In this connection, I have already issued instructions for the Government and the Defence Ministry to determine the legal status of volunteers and personnel of the military units of the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics. It must be the same as the status of military professionals of the Russian army, including material, medical and social benefits. Special attention must be given to organising the supply of military and other equipment for volunteer units and Donbass people’s militia.

While acting to attain the main goals of defending Donbass in accordance with the plans and decisions of the Defence Ministry and the General Staff, our troops have liberated considerable areas in the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions and a number of other areas. This has created a protracted line of contact that is over 1,000 kilometres long.

This is what I would like to make public for the first time today. After the start of the special military operation, in particular after the Istanbul talks, Kiev representatives voiced quite a positive response to our proposals. These proposals concerned above all ensuring Russia’s security and interests. But a peaceful settlement obviously did not suit the West, which is why, after certain compromises were coordinated, Kiev was actually ordered to wreck all these agreements.

More weapons were pumped into Ukraine. The Kiev regime brought into play new groups of foreign mercenaries and nationalists, military units trained according to NATO standards and receiving orders from Western advisers.

At the same time, the regime of reprisals throughout Ukraine against their own citizens, established immediately after the armed coup in 2014, was harshly intensified. The policy of intimidation, terror and violence is taking on increasingly mass-scale, horrific and barbaric forms.

I want to stress the following. We know that the majority of people living in the territories liberated from the neo-Nazis, and these are primarily the historical lands of Novorossiya, do not want to live under the yoke of the neo-Nazi regime. People in the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions, in Lugansk and Donetsk saw and are seeing now the atrocities perpetrated by the neo-Nazis in the [Ukrainian-] occupied areas of the Kharkov region. The descendants of Banderites and members of Nazi punitive expeditions are killing, torturing and imprisoning people; they are settling scores, beating up, and committing outrages on peaceful civilians.

There were over 7.5 million people living in the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics and in the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions before the outbreak of hostilities. Many of them were forced to become refugees and leave their homes. Those who have stayed – they number about five million – are now exposed to artillery and missile attacks launched by the neo-Nazi militants, who fire at hospitals and schools and stage terrorist attacks against peaceful civilians.

We cannot, we have no moral right to let our kin and kith be torn to pieces by butchers; we cannot but respond to their sincere striving to decide their destiny on their own.

The parliaments of the Donbass people’s republics and the military-civilian administrations of the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions have adopted decisions to hold referendums on the future of their territories and have appealed to Russia to support this.

I would like to emphasise that we will do everything necessary to create safe conditions for these referendums so that people can express their will. And we will support the choice of future made by the majority of people in the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics and the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions.


Today our armed forces, as I have mentioned, are fighting on the line of contact that is over 1,000 kilometres long, fighting not only against neo-Nazi units but actually the entire military machine of the collective West.

In this situation, I consider it necessary to take the following decision, which is fully adequate to the threats we are facing. More precisely, I find it necessary to support the proposal of the Defence Ministry and the General Staff on partial mobilisation in the Russian Federation to defend our Motherland and its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and to ensure the safety of our people and people in the liberated territories.

As I have said, we are talking about partial mobilisation. In other words, only military reservists, primarily those who served in the armed forces and have specific military occupational specialties and corresponding experience, will be called up.

Before being sent to their units, those called up for active duty will undergo mandatory additional military training based on the experience of the special military operation.

I have already signed Executive Order on partial mobilisation.

In accordance with legislation, the houses of the Federal Assembly – the Federation Council and the State Duma – will be officially notified about this in writing today.

The mobilisation will begin today, September 21. I am instructing the heads of the regions to provide the necessary assistance to the work of military recruitment offices.

I would like to point out that the citizens of Russia called up in accordance with the mobilisation order will have the status, payments and all social benefits of military personnel serving under contract.

Additionally, the Executive Order on partial mobilisation also stipulates additional measures for the fulfilment of the state defence order. The heads of defence industry enterprises will be directly responsible for attaining the goals of increasing the production of weapons and military equipment and using additional production facilities for this purpose. At the same time, the Government must address without any delay all aspects of material, resource and financial support for our defence enterprises.


The West has gone too far in its aggressive anti-Russia policy, making endless threats to our country and people. Some irresponsible Western politicians are doing more than just speak about their plans to organise the delivery of long-range offensive weapons to Ukraine, which could be used to deliver strikes at Crimea and other Russian regions.

Such terrorist attacks, including with the use of Western weapons, are being delivered at border areas in the Belgorod and Kursk regions. NATO is conducting reconnaissance through Russia’s southern regions in real time and with the use of modern systems, aircraft, vessels, satellites and strategic drones.

Washington, London and Brussels are openly encouraging Kiev to move the hostilities to our territory. They openly say that Russia must be defeated on the battlefield by any means, and subsequently deprived of political, economic, cultural and any other sovereignty and ransacked.

They have even resorted to the nuclear blackmail. I am referring not only to the Western-encouraged shelling of the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant, which poses a threat of a nuclear disaster, but also to the statements made by some high-ranking representatives of the leading NATO countries on the possibility and admissibility of using weapons of mass destruction – nuclear weapons – against Russia.

I would like to remind those who make such statements regarding Russia that our country has different types of weapons as well, and some of them are more modern than the weapons NATO countries have. In the event of a threat to the territorial integrity of our country and to defend Russia and our people, we will certainly make use of all weapon systems available to us. This is not a bluff.

The citizens of Russia can rest assured that the territorial integrity of our Motherland, our independence and freedom will be defended – I repeat – by all the systems available to us. Those who are using nuclear blackmail against us should know that the wind rose can turn around.

It is our historical tradition and the destiny of our nation to stop those who are keen on global domination and threaten to split up and enslave our Motherland. Rest assured that we will do it this time as well.

I believe in your support.

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Russia, Ukraine Exchange Almost 300 Prisoners in Major Surprise Swap

Russia and Ukraine conducted a major and unexpected prisoner swap on Wednesday involving almost 300 people, among whom were 10 foreigners, as well as Ukrainian commanders who defended Mariupol in early 2022, marking the largest exchange between the two sides since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24.

The deal on Wednesday was reached with the help of Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

In the exchange, Russia released 215 Ukrainians, which included a large number of Azov fighters who sought to defend a besieged steel plant in the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol for months, before the group evacuated from the city in May in surrender to pro-Russia forces.

In return, Ukraine released 55 Russians and Ukrainians sympathetic to Russia, as well as Ukrainian Viktor Medvedchuk, the former leader of a banned Ukrainian pro-Russian opposition party who was facing treason charges.

The move comes after Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier on Wednesday announced a partial troop mobilization, saying he would use “all means available” in the event of a threat against Russia and its people. Putin’s announcement came amid recent defeats dealt to Russian troops as a result of a Ukrainian counteroffensive.

The head of the Ukrainian Presidential Office, Andriy Yermak, told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that 10 foreigners were among the 215 released by Russia. They comprise five British nationals, two U.S. nationals, as well as a Croatian, a Moroccan, and a Swedish national.

Saudi Arabia had brokered an arrangement that involved flying the 10 foreigners to Saudi Arabia. The mediation involved Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Two of the British nationals—Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner—and the Moroccan—Brahim Saadoun—had been sentenced to death by a court in the Donetsk People’s Republic in June after they were captured fighting for Ukraine.

The two U.S. nationals who were released by Russia are both military veterans from Alabama. They were captured in the Kharkiv region of northeastern Ukraine near the Russian border on June 9. The two—Alex Drueke, 40, and Andy Huynh, 27—had traveled to Ukraine on their own.

In August, the head of the administration in Donetsk had said that a trial of captured Azov fighters would take place by the end of the summer. There was no immediate comment from Russia on Wednesday about the prisoner exchange deal, including about why it had released some of the Azov fighters who were set to go on trial.

Zelenskyy said the prisoner swap involved intense negotiations and had been under preparation for quite a long time.

“This is clearly a victory for our country, for our entire society,” he said in a video address. “And the main thing is that 215 families can see their loved ones safe and at home.”

Zelenskyy Praises Released Ukrainian Commanders

Zelenskyy thanked Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan for his help and said that five senior Ukrainian commanders would stay in Turkey until the end of the war. They include Lt. Colonel Denys Prokopenko, commander of the Azov battalion; his deputy, Svyatoslav Palamar; and Serhiy Volynsky, the commander of the 36th Marine Brigade.

The three had helped mount resistance from the bunkers and tunnels below Mariupol’s giant steel works for weeks, before they and hundreds of Azov fighters withdrew in May amid attacks from Russian-backed forces.

Zelenskyy told the five in a video call released by his office, “We’re proud of what you’ve done for our nation, proud of each and every one of you.”

The Azov battalion, a volunteer paramilitary organization, was formed in 2014 during the Donbas War in eastern Ukraine between pro-Russian forces and pro-Ukrainian forces, following a coup in February 2014, when anti-Russia, pro-EU factions overthrew then-Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s government, which was not against Russia.

Both Luhansk and Donetsk in the Donbas region had declared independence from Ukraine in April 2014 in response to the February coup.

The Azov battalion was later formally incorporated as a regiment in the National Guard of Ukraine, but not without controversy over the group’s neo-Nazi ties and the use of the wolfsangel symbol, which was also used by Nazi forces in Germany during World War II.

Putin has cited the Azov battalion’s neo-Nazi elements in his justification for invading Ukraine, calling for the “denazification” of the region.

The Azov battalion denies being fascist, and Ukraine says it has been reformed from its radical nationalist origins.

Days prior to the start of the Russia–Ukraine war, Putin had announced that Russia recognized the independence of Luhansk and Donetsk regions in eastern Ukraine. Soon after that, Putin signed a decree issued by the Kremlin that said the Russian Defense Ministry was authorized to send troops into the Luhansk and Donetsk regions to “maintain peace.”

Scott Ritter: Big boy rules baby

Russian Defense Minister Shoigu explains partial military mobilization

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