Featured Videos: ‘Desolation’ + ‘The War of the Worlds’ (HDR timelapse)





Music By Jaime Heras, “El Hombre que Venía del Siglo XX” Part I

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In this video (in order of appearance):
Views from Kahlenberg en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kahlenberg
Grossglockner (Austria) en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grossglockner
Hallsatt (Austria) en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hallstatt
Klagenfurt (Austria) en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klagenfurt
Udine (Italia) en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Udine
Krimmler Wasser Falle (Austria) en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krimml_Waterfalls
Budapest (Hungary) en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budapest
Prague (Czech Republic) en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prague
Salzburg (Austria) en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salzburg
Vienna (Austria) en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vienna

Crimes of Ukrainian Aidar battalion confirmed in Amnesty Int’l report – Russia


An Amnesty International report has confirmed that war crimes including abductions, executions and extortion were committed by the Ukrainian Aidar battalion in Lugansk region, eastern Ukraine, an official from Russia’s Foreign Ministry says.

“The report confirms large-scale crimes, including war [crimes] made routinely and under the aegis of Ukrainian law enforcement agencies, by the leaders and members of the Aidar battalion,” said Konstantin Dolgov, the Foreign Ministry’s commissioner for human rights.

“Amnesty International points only to some of these [crimes] – abductions, unlawful detention, ill-treatment, theft, extortion, including demanding ransom for abducted Ukrainians, and simple robbery from the civilian population,” Dolgov said.

He added that Russian authorities have repeatedly called on international organizations , including Amnesty International, to pay more attention to large-scale human rights violations during Kiev’s so-called “anti-terrorist operation” in eastern Ukraine.

“We hope that the report on Aidar’s [battalion] crimes will attract more attempts in these sphere because the atrocities of Aidar members is only a part of sinister crimes committed by the punishers,” he said, “All these crimes, including the [May 2] bloodshed in Odessa should be objectively investigated under effective international control and the culprits should be brought to justice.”

Усиление мер безопасности у Верховной Рады Украины в Киеве

Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International, has called for urgent investigation of the shelling in eastern Ukraine.

“[We] call all sides of the conflict to restrain their forces from any war crimes, any violations of the international humanitarian law and do everything in their power to protect civilians and their lives,” Shetty said.

All allegations of abuses should be investigated, he said, adding: “I call upon the Ukrainian government to do everything in their power to provide the humanitarian assistance which internally displaced people urgently require, as winter is approaching,”

Abductions, extortion, executions: Amnesty slams actions of Aidar Batallion

In its report, released Sept. 8 and titled, “Ukraine: abuses and war crimes by the Aidar volunteer battalion in the north Lugansk region,”

Amnesty International said: “Members of the Aidar territorial defense battalion, operating in the north Luhansk [Lugansk] region, have been involved in widespread abuses, including abductions, unlawful detention, ill-treatment, theft, extortion, and possible executions.”

Бойцы батальона “Азов” приняли присягу в Киеве перед отправкой на Донбасс

According to Amnesty, “members of the Aidar battalion act with virtually no oversight or control, and local police are either unwilling or unable to address the abuses.”

Amnesty Intl: Both sides of Ukrainian conflict committed war crimes

“Some of the abuses committed by members of the Aidar battalion amount to war crimes, for which both the perpetrators and, possibly, the commanders would bear responsibility under national and international law.”

Ситуация в Луганске

Amnesty called upon the Kiev authorities ”to bring Aidar and other volunteer battalions under effective lines of command and control, promptly investigate all allegations of abuses, and hold those responsible to account.”

“The [Aidar] fighters abducted local men, often businessmen or farmers, whom they accused of collaborating with the separatists and held in makeshift detention facilities,” says the report. “… The victims were subjected to beatings at the moment of capture and/or during interrogations, and either had to pay ransom for their release, or had possessions, including money, cars, telephones, and other valuables seized by the battalion members.”

Ситуация в Луганске

Swastikas, SS badges and other Nazi regalia noticed among Ukrainian troops

The troops from Ukrainian Azov and Donbass battalions were reportedly noticed wearing Nazi symbols – swastikas and SS badges.

According to a video on German TV station ZDF, Ukrainian soldiers were shown wearing swastikas and the “SS runes” of Adolph Hitler’s elite corps. The footage was shot by a camera team from Norwegian broadcaster TV2.

Украинский неонацистский батальон “Азов” готовится к развёртыванию в Мариуполе.[Ukrainian neo-Nazi battalion “Azov” is preparing for deployment in Mariupol.]


“We were filming a report about Ukraine’s Azov battalion in the eastern city of Urzuf, when we came across these soldiers,” said Oysten Bogen, a correspondent for TV2, a private television station, NBC News reported.

Bogen then asked a spokesperson if the battalion had “fascist tendencies. “

“The reply was: absolutely not, we are just Ukrainian nationalists,” Bogen said.

Wolfsangel in E. Ukraine: Foreign Policy talks to deputy leader of ‘pro-govt’ Azov Battalion

Ukrainian volunteer pro-government militias were organized in Kiev in 2014 with the help of the Ukrainian Interior Ministry.

One such group, the Azov battalion, was formed in May 2014 in Mariupol, based on special patrol units of the Interior Ministry. Participants of the Azov battalion are also known on the Internet as “black men” due to their uniforms.

Вот они, самые настоящие нацисты и фашисты… Батальон ”Азов”.. [Here they are the real Nazis and Fascists Battalion Azov …]


The Wolfsangel (Wolf’s Hook) Nazi symbol can be commonly seen on uniforms worn by men from the Azov battalion. It was originally used by the SS and the Hitler Youth, as well as various modern-day neo-Nazi groups.

Another militia group under Kiev’s control, the Donbass battalion, was created in Odessa in April to fight against the supporters of the People’s Republic of Donetsk. In May the Ukrainian news portal LB.ua published a video showing a member of Donbass battalion killed in the fighting who has a Nazi swastika on his chest.

Far-right Right Sector party which first came to international spotlight at the end of November 2013, is considered very active in the violence which triggered the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovich. Right Sector fighters used clubs, petrol bombs, and firearms against Ukrainian police while wearing Nazi insignia.

Hollande: Ceasefire Should Be Reached In Ukraine For France to Deliver Mistral to Russia

French President Francois Hollande says that his conditions were a ceasefire and a political settlement in Ukraine to continue Mistral delivery to Russia.

French President Francois Hollande says that his conditions were a ceasefire and a political settlement in Ukraine to continue Mistral delivery to Russia.

Topic: Sanctions Against Russia


MOSCOW, September 4 (RIA Novosti) – French President Francois Hollande set terms for Mistral delivery to Russia, saying that his conditions were a ceasefire and a political settlement in Ukraine, Reuters reported Thursday.

«What are the conditions? A ceasefire and a political settlement… Today these conditions are not in place,” Hollande said as quoted by Reuters.

On the sidelines of a NATO summit currently held in Wales, Hollande told reporters that the contract for two Mistral-class helicopters carriers was neither cancelled, nor suspended, but mentioned that the above conditions must be met in order for the ships to be delivered to Russia.

Recently, France has come under strong pressure from the United States and its European partners to suspend the deal.

Russia and France signed a $1.6 billion deal for two Mistral-class ships in June 2011. The first carrier, the Vladivostok, was expected in Russia by the end of 2014. The second ship, the Sevastopol, was supposed to arrive in 2015.

However, the completion of the deal has been at risk since Western countries imposed sanctions against Russia over its alleged role in the escalation of the crisis in Ukraine.

Moscow has repeatedly stressed that it is not involved in the Ukrainian crisis, referred to the language of sanctions “counterproductive,” and said that such measures “threaten international peace and stability.”


New Sanctions Against Russia Will Hurt West Most – Media

New Sanctions Against Russia Will Hurt West Most - Media New Sanctions Against Russia Will Hurt West Most - Media

New Sanctions Against Russia Will Hurt West Most – Media

Topic: Sanctions Against Russia

MOSCOW, July 31 (RIA Novosti) – The latest package of sanctions imposed by the United States and the EU against Russia will mostly hurt the West, thus solidifying Russian President Vladimir Putin’s positions, the BBC reported.

“This [new package of sanctions] will ultimately hurt the City [of London], as well as New York, because for the first time, the Russians are going to realize that they in fact can live without the global financial services industry,” the BBC quoted banking expert Ralph Silva as saying.

According to Silva, as a result of sanctions, Putin’s positions will only strengthen.

“Putin has been strengthened as a result of the sanctions. The Russian public is seeing him as the protector and if he gets the country through these sanctions, he will solidify his hold on power,” Silva added.

According to the BBC’s article, the European Union takes more than 45 percent of Russia’s exports. Less than 3 percent of the EU’s exports go to Russia.


London-based financial analyst Chris Skinner, in an interview to the BBC, said that sanctions on banks might force Russia to find alternatives to London.

He said the restrictions “could kill the Russian flow of capital through our markets if there is an alternative. For example, would they switch to Hong Kong or Shanghai?”

Earlier, Russia’s Bank of Moscow said that business was not suffering from sanctions and that it was not planning to borrow on foreign markets.

Russia’s state-owned VTB Bank’s representatives said the sanctions are likely to cause economic harm to all parties.


As well as financial restrictions, the European Union now has a list of arms that are prohibited for sale to Russia. There are also restrictions on Russian arms exports.

“Considering relatively low volumes of arms trade between the EU and Russia, the sanctions are more symbolic, especially seeing that France is holding on to the two Mistral-class helicopter carriers deal with Russia,” the BBC quoted Lilit Gevorgyan, an analyst at IHS Global Insight, as saying.

“While Russia is the second-largest arms exporter in the world, its military imports from the EU are limited in volume,” Gevorgyan added.

According to the BBC, Russian defense corporations have repeatedly stressed that the US customers would be missing out as a result of the embargo.


The European Union did not go as far as limiting oil and gas imports from Russia, as it would seriously hurt European economy.

The EU banned exports of technology systems for use in energy exploration instead.

In response to the sanctions, Russian gas giant Gazprom announced that it would now source its gas turbine spare parts locally instead of relying on imports, the BBC reported.

The European Commission published Wednesday the names of eight individuals and three additional Russian entities targeted by sanctions over their alleged roles in the escalation of the Ukrainian crisis.

The first round of sanctions against Russia was implemented by the United States and the European Union back in March as a response to Crimea’s reunification with Russia following a referendum.

The new addition brings the number of persons and entities under EU restrictions to 95 persons and 23 entities.

The Russian Foreign Ministry warned that a new wave of western economic sanctions against Russia’s energy sector will drive up European energy prices and hurt the 28 member states as much as Russia.

Moscow has repeatedly said that these measures are counterproductive and called the sanctions “a road to nowhere.”


Russia to Seek Cancellation of EU Sanctions via WTO – Envoy to EU

WTO headquarters in Geneva

WTO headquarters in Geneva

MOSCOW, August 1 (RIA Novosti) – The European Union’s latest sanctions against Russia contradict the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO), and Russia will use the global trade body’s mechanisms to have them cancelled, Russia’s envoy to the EU said Friday.

“[The EU sanctions] need to be analyzed from the legal point of view to establish how they correspond to WTO norms and rules, but, at first sight, they contradict these norms and rules. In this case, undoubtedly, Russia will seek a WTO action in order to have them cancelled,” Vladimir Chizhov said.

In July, the European Union and the United States announced new economic sanctions against Russia amid the Ukrainian crisis.

The 28 member-bloc imposed a third round of penalties that limited Russian state-owned financial institutions’ access to EU capital markets, imposed an embargo on trade in arms, established an export ban for dual-use goods for military end users, and curtailed Russian access to sensitive technologies, particularly in the oil sector.

The EU also extended the list of entities and individuals targeted by sanctions over their alleged roles in the escalation of the Ukrainian crisis. The new additions brought the number of individuals and entities under EU restrictions to 95 and 23, respectively.

The United States also imposed new economic sanctions against Russia on July 29, targeting three major banks — VTB Group, Bank of Moscow and Rosselkhozbank.

On July 16, Washington introduced the so-called Sectoral Sanctions Identification List that specifically targeted the defense, energy and banking sectors of the Russian economy.

The first round of sanctions against Russia was implemented by the United States and the European Union back in March as a response to Crimea’s reunification with Russia following a referendum.

Russia has repeatedly denied any involvement in the Ukrainian conflict, and called the language of sanctions counterproductive, warning that such measures would have a boomerang effect on Western economies.

NATO Forces in Eastern Europe May Lead to Endless War, Hostilities – Expert

The deployment of NATO forces to new bases in Eastern Europe opens new possibilities for endless war

The deployment of NATO forces to new bases in Eastern Europe opens new possibilities for endless war


WASHINGTON, August 28 (RIA Novosti), Lyudmila Chernova – The deployment of NATO forces to new bases in Eastern Europe opens new possibilities for endless war and hostilities, New York director of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (NAPF) Alice Slater told RIA Novosti.

The disturbing saber rattling from NATO chief Anders Rasmussen announcing that NATO will deploy troops for the first time in Eastern Europe since the Cold War ended, build a “readiness action plan,” boost Ukraine’s military capacity so that “in the future you will see a more visible NATO presence in the east,” while withdrawing Russia’s invitation to an upcoming NATO meeting in Wales, “opens new possibilities for endless war and hostilities,” Slater said.

The NATO secretary-general told European journalists that the alliance was to deploy its forces in Eastern Europe in response to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and to counter the threat posed by Russia to the former Soviet Baltic republics.

“It is ironic, that at this moment in history when so many people and nations around the world are acknowledging the 100th anniversary of our planet’s hapless stumble into World War I, great powers and their allies are once again provoking new dangers where governments appear to be sleepwalking towards a restoration of old Cold War battles,” Slater said.

“A barrage of conflicting information is broadcast in the various national and nationalistic media with alternative versions of reality that provoke and stoke new enmities and rivalries across national borders,” the expert added.

The nongovernmental organization director noted that with the United States and Russia in possession of more than 15,000 of the world’s 16,400 nuclear weapons, humanity can ill-afford to stand by and permit such conflicting views of history and that opposing assessments of the facts on the ground can lead to a 21st century military confrontation between the great powers and their allies.

“While sadly acknowledging the trauma suffered by the countries of Eastern Europe from years of Soviet occupation, and understanding their desire for the protection of the NATO military alliance, we must remember that the Russian people lost 20 million people during World War II to the Nazi onslaught and are understandably wary of NATO expansion to their borders in a hostile environment,” she explained.

“This, despite a promise to Gorbachev when the wall came down peacefully and the Soviet Union ended its post WWII occupation of Eastern Europe, that NATO would not be expanded eastward, beyond the incorporation of East Germany into that rusty Cold War alliance,” Slater added.

“Russia has lost the protection of the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, which the US abandoned in 2001, and warily observes missile bases metastasizing ever closer to its borders in new NATO member states, while the US rejects repeated Russian efforts for negotiations on a treaty to ban weapons in space, or Russia’s prior application for membership in NATO,” Slater concluded.

Germany’s Der Spiegel reported Sunday that Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia felt threatened by Russia’s intervention in Ukraine and feared of what they described as Russian aggression.

NATO members are scheduled to meet in Wales to discuss the alliance’s response to Russia, which it accuses of interfering in Ukrainian affairs.

Ahead of the NATO summit at the end of next week, the four countries have urged the military bloc to mention Moscow as a potential aggressor in its summit communique.

Russia’s Permanent Mission to NATO told RIA Novosti on Monday that Moscow has no plans to participate in any activities during the NATO summit in Wales.



Political Scientist Says Western Sanctions Will Not Change Russian Mentality


Russians, like most great powers, fight tooth and nail to protect what they see as their vital national interests, the expert stated.

MOSCOW, September 2 (RIA Novosti) – Sanctions imposed on Russia by Western countries over the crisis in Ukraine are unlikely to change the mentality of Russia, Tom Switzer, research associate at the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, told Radio VR.

“Ukraine is a vital interest of Russia. The Russians, like most great powers, fight tooth and nail to protect what they see as their vital national interests and will doggedly guide what they perceive as their sphere of influence,” the editor of Spectator Australia and American Review explained.

Moreover, “there is fundamental misreading in Washington and Brussels about Putin’s motivation,” the expert stressed. They blame Russia for the escalating conflict in Ukraine and seem to ignore the fact that Russia’s conduct has largely been defensive. “Given the main narrative in the West, it’s not surprising that countries feel that they can punish and isolate Moscow in order to make Mr. Putin change.”

Switzer recalled Henry Kissinger’s opinion piece in the Washington Post reaffirming that Ukraine should indeed become a buffer state between the East and the West. The expert also said that Ukrainian President Poroshenko has to respect the rights of ethnic minorities that populate eastern regions of the country. Switzer is convinced that will put an end to the crisis. However, “that requires a complete transformation in the thinking in Washington and Brussels.” Regrettably, at this stage that seems unlikely.

Switzer also pointed out that sanctions are counterproductive – the point Moscow has repeatedly made -and primarily affect Western Europe. “The heavy lifting will mainly come from Western Europe if the sanctions are to have any impact.” As a result, some Western European countries “are splintering away from both Washington and Brussels largely because [they] are so dependent on Russia” and likely to pay a higher price than Moscow.

The Eurozone economy has been sluggish since the financial crisis of 2008. Already there is evidence that some countries in the Eurozone are heading back into recession. “Why on Earth would those countries want to punish Russia at a time when they will have to pay a higher price?” the expert asks. That’s why in the coming months some Western European countries may well soften their position” regarding Russia’s role in the Ukrainian crisis.

Australia’s Abbot Announces New Sanctions Against Russia

Commenting on the latest round of sanctions announced by Australia on Monday, Switzer said that “when all things are considered, the renewed round of sanctions will have little consequence because the two-way trade between the countries is only about $200 million.” Indeed, Russia is not a major market for Australia or for that matter for the US.

Switzer is convinced that “tit-for-tat sanctions ultimately don’t satisfy anyone.” However, there have been several calls for the government of Tony Abbott to refuse to invite Russian President Vladimir Putin to the upcoming G20 summit in Brisbane. This is in retaliation not so much for the situation in Ukraine but for the Malaysia Airlines tragedy. Although there is no evidence to support that, some hold Moscow responsible for the MH17 plane crash that left 298 people including 38 Australians killed. “This is an issue that resonates with a lot of Australians.”

Switzer stated that “the point of the institutions like the G20 is not that they are a reward for making other states conform to Western expectations. They provide the means to deal with common challenges.” Therefore, banning Putin from participating in the G20 summit in November will be a mistake, the expert asserted. “There is more to be lost than gained by banning him.”

Breaking off ties with Moscow would be unwise for Australia and the West in general. But isolating Russia is a dead-end strategy, Switzer warned. “Isolating Russia will drive Moscow closer to China and that’s not in the interest of Australia or our great and powerful friend, the United States,” the expert said.