Report of the Russian Centre for reconciliation of opposing sides in the Syrian Arab Republic (March 30, 2016)

General information on the application of measures for the reconciliation of opposing sides

Specialists of the Russian Centre for reconciliation held consultations with authorities of the Hama and Aleppo provinces. The sides discussed issues of ceasefire regime and humanitarian aid providing. Preliminary agreements with representatives of two inhabited locations of the Hama and Homs provinces have been achieved.

The total number of settlements, the leaders of which have signed reconciliation agreements, has remained 51.

The number of ceasefire application forms signed with leaders of armed groupings has remained 43.

Within last 24 hours, the Russian Centre has received 897 appeals from militants, who had decided to lay down their weapon and return to peaceful life.

Results of ceasefire monitoring

All sides involved in the conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic confirm significant reduce of warfare intensity. Thus, on the average, 12-15 violations were registered daily in the early March. However, the number of daily violations has reached 5-7 ones a day.

In general, the ceasefire regime in the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic has been observed.

In the course of last 24 hours, 6 ceasefire violations have been registered (Aleppo – 5, Latakia – 1).

In Aleppo, armed formations of Ahrar al-Sham grouping, which had claimed to belong to the opposition, performed shelling with multiple launch rocket systems against Sheikh Maqsood from Sakan al-Shababi.

In the Aleppo province, Harakat Nour al-Din al-Zenki detachments took efforts to conduct offensive against positions of the government troops in Basufan after performing preliminary bombardment.

Ahrar al-Sham militants carried out shelling with a tank and mortars of positions of the government troops near Hara, Maraanaz and al-Malikia (Aleppo province).

In the Latakia province, Ahrar al-Sham militants opened fire with small arms and mortars against positions of the government troops near Qaramanli.

Russian Aerospace Forces and Syrian Air Forces did not make strikes on armed formations, which follow ceasefire regime and informed the Russian or American Centres for reconciliation about their location.

Humanitarian aid to the population of Syria

Russian Centre for reconciliation of opposing sides has held working session with representatives of the Ministry of the National Reconciliation of the Syrian Arab Republic. The parties discussed issues of humanitarian aid providing.

In course of last 24 hours, the Russian Centre has transported 4.4 tons of humanitarian cargos to the Aleppo province for further delivering aid to citizens of most damaged towns and villages.

Additional information

Leadership of the Russian Centre for reconciliation (Hmeymim airbase) and the American Coordination Centre (Amman) held another teleconference session. The sides discussed situation in different regions of the Republic, ceasefire observing, facts of ceasefire violation, and issues of interaction in providing humanitarian aid to the Syrian population.

According to information received from citizens of the Aleppo province, officers of the Turkish Armed Forces are recruiting militants for Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist grouping in Mareaa and Azaz.

Jabhat al-Nusra continues performing provocative acts in Aleppo. Within last 24 hours, terrorists opened mortar fire against Sheikh Maqsood from Ashrafiyah for three times. Kurdish militia detachments fired in respond.

The Russian Aerospace Forces aviation group in the Syrian Arab Republic carried out strikes against ISIS terrorist formations near Al-Qaryatayn and in regions of close vicinity to Tadmor (Palmyra, Homs province).

The Russian aviation group has performed 23 sorties at nighttime engaging 54 terrorist objects of ISIS. The aircraft have eliminated 4 control centers, 6 artillery guns and mortars, 3 ammunition depots, 2 POL depots, 18 off-roaders with armament, an air defence system and more than 60 militants.

Russian Guided Missile Ship Embarks on Mediterranean Mission

Flags raised at Russian Navy's new ships Zelyony Dol and Serpukhov

Black Sea Fleet spokesman said that Russian Buyan-class Serpukhov guided missile corvette has entered the Mediterranean Sea to conduct a mission as part of Russia’s permanent naval task force in the region.

The Russian Buyan-class Serpukhov guided missile corvette has entered the Mediterranean Sea to conduct a mission as part of Russia’s permanent naval task force in the region, the Black Sea Fleet spokesman said Wednesday.

“Today, the Black Sea Fleet’s newest Serpukhov corvette left Sevastopol to implement tasks as part of a permanent naval group in the Mediterranean Sea,” Vyacheslav Trukhachev said.

The Serpukhov is set to replace the Zeleny Dol missile corvette in the Mediterranean. The Black Sea Fleet received both corvettes, which are armed with Kalibr (SS-N-27) anti-ship missiles, earlier this year.

Designed by the Zelenodolsk Design Bureau and assembled at the A.M. Gorky Zelenodolsk shipbuilding plant, the Serpukhov arrived at Sevastopol last November and had the St. Andrew’s Flag raised on it the following month.

The Serpukhov and the Zeleny Dol are the fourth and fifth modernized Buyan M-class vessels built as part of the Navy’s current shipbuilding program.

 

25yo father-to-be revealed as ‘Russian Rambo’ died fighting ISIS in Palmyra

 

© Facebook
A 25 year old from Orenburg, Aleksandr Prokhorenko, has been revealed as the serviceman, dubbed ‘Russian Rambo’ by international media, who died a hero. He called a strike on himself while surrounded by Islamic State during a battle near Palmyra.

Authorities in Russia’s Orenburg region confirmed his identity.

“This hero was a native of the village of Gorodki in the Orenburg region – 25-year-old Aleksandr Prokhorenko,” the press service of the governor of the region said.

Aleksandr had dreamt of joining the military since his childhood, his friends recall, as cited by Orenburg news outlet Orenday. Born into a family of servicemen, Aleksandr and his younger brother Ivan decided to follow in the footsteps of their forefathers.

Aleksandr graduated from the Military Academy of the Air Defense of the Russian Armed Forces in Smolensk with honors, sharing photos of his life at the Academy on social networks, always happy and smiling.

He subsequently joined the army, where he served under contract. He was rather skinny, but it turned out he had remarkable inner strength.

“No one really knew where Sasha served, they said it was somewhere in the special forces,” the head teacher of Gorodki school said. “He was always the first in all school competitions, making his parents proud, always standing up for everyone.”

Even Aleksandr’s wife, Ekaterina, at first had ‘no idea’ her husband was going to Syria. They married a little over a year ago and she is expecting their first child.

“He was very open-minded, loved life… It seems only yesterday they celebrated their wedding. A year and a half passed. You can’t imagine how happy he was! So in love,” Orenday cites Aleksandr’s friends as saying.

“For a long time Katya did not know where he was sent. He didn’t want to upset her. She was sure that he served in the Caucasus, but then it turned out he was sent to Syria. Now she sleeps with a photograph of her beloved Sasha.”

© Facebook

Friends say Aleksandr’s parents fear his wife will lose the baby.

“What a pity that Sasha did not see his child. He wanted a son. Katya worried that Sasha wouldn’t come back in time for the birth. And now he will not…”

The entire village is grieving. At his parents’ home, there is a picture of Aleksandr in a black frame next to an icon, as Russian tradition dictates. They say his mother has not stopped crying since the news came in.

“I’m sorry, no strength to talk. We do not know how he died. We were told only that it was in combat. This is all very hard for us,” the news outlet quotes Aleksandr’s father as saying. He and his wife are waiting for the body of their son. They want to bury him at home.

Hundreds of people from various Russian cities – relatives and friends of the deceased hero – are waiting for the official burial date, in order to come to town and lay him to rest.

“I admire the heroism of this simple provincial boy who was able to put his orders and the preservation of his comrades’ lives above his own,” one of Aleksandr’s friends is quoted as saying.

The governor of Orenburg region, Yuri Berg, visited the Prokhorenko family to express his condolences.

“It’s so hard. It’s impossible to convey the grief of his parents in words. Together we mourn the death of our fellow countryman, his name will remain forever in our hearts, it will be immortalized,” Berg said, adding that one of the streets in Orenburg will be named after the hero, while the administration of his home village also suggested renaming the school Aleksandr went to after him.
Aleksandr Prokhorenko called a strike on himself when he was compromised and surrounded by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) militants near Palmyra, during a fierce battle between the Syrian Army and the terrorists.

“A Russian special operations forces [SOF] officer was killed near the town of Palmyra while guiding Russian warplanes to IS targets,” a military source at Russia’s airbase Khmeimim told Interfax last Thursday.

The source added that the special forces operator had been on a mission near Palmyra for at least a week, detecting the terrorists’ most important targets and providing coordinates for Russian warplanes to strike.

“The officer died a hero, calling a strike on himself after he was compromised and surrounded by terrorists,” the source added.

Russian SOF teams have been on the ground in Syria since the Russian anti-IS operation started last September. Aleksandr Prokhorenko is the fifth Russian serviceman killed during the Syrian deployment, along with Air Force pilot Oleg Peshkov, shot while in the air after ejecting from an Su-24 bomber downed by Turkey. Marine soldier Aleksandr Pozynich was also killed during the search operation to rescue the surviving Su-24 pilot.

The names of the two other deceased Russian servicemen – Ivan Cheremisin and Fedor Zhuravlev – only became known to the public at a ceremony in March at the Kremlin, when President Vladimir Putin presented military awards and decorations to those involved in the Syrian operation. The president said the servicemen who sacrificed their lives in the fight against terror “remained committed to their duty until the end.”

Faulty Ukrainian Jets Spark Corruption Investigation in Croatia

The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 is a supersonic jet fighter aircraft

 

After purchasing a fleet of fighter jets from Ukraine, Croatian military police have launched a corruption probe into the acquisition.

In July 2013, the Croatian Defense Ministry signed a deal with Ukrspecexport, an arms company owned by the Ukrainian government. Included in the arrangement was the stipulation that the defense company would provide Croatia with 12 Mikoyan MiG-21 fighter jets.

These were delivered in July 2015, but five of the aircraft were quickly removed from service due to technical problems.

Given that almost half of the order was too defective to function, the Croatian military police launched a corruption probe into the purchase, and uncovered some damning details.

The investigation found that the jets were fitted with outdated parts from Bulgaria, Algeria, and the former Soviet Union. These parts do not meet the technical requirements laid out in the contract signed by Ukrspecexport.

Officials also found that five of the fighters were used, and, in fact, are currently property of the Yemen Air Force.

As investigations continue, the Croatian government is shopping for additional aircraft to replace its aging fleet.

At the top of the list are Lockheed Martin’s F-16 and Saab’s JAS-39. The government is also considering South Korea’s T-50, Israel’s Kfir, and the French Mirage.

 

Assad: Russian Military Bases in Syria Needed for World Power Balance

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during an interview with Rossiya Segodnya Director General Dmitry Kiselev

 

The president underscored that Damascus only considers the presence of Russian military bases on the territory of Syria.

DAMASCUS      Russian military bases in Syria are needed not only to fight terrorism, but also to balance the powers in the world, Syrian President Bashar Assad told Sputnik.

​”That’s on the one hand, on the other hand they [foreign bases] are linked not only to the fight against terrorism, but also to the international situation as a whole, and, with all due regret, the West, in the course of the Cold War and after it, and even today, has not changed its policy — it wants hegemony in making international decisions, and, unfortunately the UN was not able to fulfill the role of a peacekeeper in the world, not even now, in order to regain its true status,” Assad said.

“Military bases are necessary for us, for you, for international balance in the world. That’s the truth, whether we agree with it or not, but right now it’s a necessity,” he added.

Russian military bases in Syria are not occupation, but means to help strengthen stability and security in the country, Syrian President Bashar Assad told Sputnik.

“With Russia we have relations that are over six decades old, they are built on trust and clarity… On the other hand, right now, in its policy, Russia is relying on principles, we are also relying on principles. So when Russian military bases appear in Syria, it’s not occupation, on the contrary — it’s the strengthening of friendship and ties, it’s the strengthening of stability and security. And that’s just what we want,” Assad said.

Syria to Need Russian Military Presence Even After Security Situation Stabilizes

Syria will require Russian military presence even after the security situation in the country becomes more stable, Syrian President Bashar Assad told Sputnik.

“If we are talking about the current period… the period of the fight against terrorism, yes, certainly we need their presence, because they are effective in the fight against terrorism even if the situation in Syria stabilizes in terms of security,” Assad said.

“The process of the fight against terrorism is not something quick and fleeting. Terrorism has spread in this region over the course of decades and a lot of time will be needed to overcome it,” he noted.

 

Russian weaponry selling best in Latin America

Russia displays 300 samples of military products at FIDAE-2016 international aerospace show, being held on March 29 through April 3 in Chile

© Yuri Smityuk/TASS

MOSCOW, March 29. /TASS/. Chile’s capital Santiago on March 29 – April 3 is hosting the 19th international aerospace show FIDAE-2016, one of the largest in Latin America.

Russia is represented by fifteen organizations and weapons makers, including Rosoboronexport, Almaz-Antey, MiG, Helicopters of Russia and Bazalt. A total of 365 selections from Russia’s arms manufacturers are on display.

Latin America these days is one of the main markets for Russian defense industry products.

Details of the largest contracts for the supply of Russian weapons and military technologies to the countries of the region – in this special info bulletin from TASS.

Venezuela

Venezuela is the largest buyer of Russian weapons in Latin America. In 2005-2013 the Russian exporter of military hardware Rosoboronexport concluded about 30 contracts $11 billion worth with the Venezuelan Defense Ministry.

Venezuela purchased:

  • 100,000 Kalashnikov assault rifles AK-103,
  • 24 Sukhoi Su-30MK2 multirole fighters,
  • 34 Mi-17V-5 helicopters,
  • 10 Mi-35M and three Mi-26T helicopters,
  • 92 Т-72B1 main battle tanks.

Also, Russia provided several hundred portable shoulder-launched Igla-S anti-aircraft missile systems, BMP-3 mechanized infantry combat vehicle, armored personnel carriers and other equipment.

Some of the weapons were purchased on credit. In 2009 an agreement was concluded with Venezuela to extend a $2.2 billion loan, and in 2011, another one on a $4 billion loan.

In the autumn of 2015 the Venezuelan Defense Ministry said the government had allocated $480 million for purchasing 12 Sukhoi Su-30 multi-role fighters with the aim to build up the strength of the national Air Force. Nothing has been said since if the contract has been concluded, though.

TASS military analyst Viktor Litovkin believes Russia owes most of its contracts with Venezuela to the late President Hugo Chavez. It was after Chavez’s election that the United States froze all military-technical cooperation with Caracas, in particular, the supplies of spare parts for the F-16 fighters of the Venezuelan Air Force.

Chavez asked Russia to sell to his country multi-functional fighters Sukhoi-30MKV. We agreed and provided 24 such planes. Next there followed T-90S battle tanks, 155-mm self-propelled howitzers Msta-S and about 150,000 Kalashnikov assault rifles. Construction was launched of an industrial plant for manufacturing the Kalashnikovs (the project is not finalized yet) and cartridges for it. One should also mention the anti-aircraft systems Tor-M1 (14 sets), Igla-s (200 pieces) and a variety of bombs and rockets for Sukhoi jets and Mi-17 helicopters. All that equipment participated in a parade in Caracas. Viktor Liltovkin TASS military analyst

Peru

In 2008, the Russian aircraft-building corporation MiG and Peru’s Defense Ministry concluded a $106.7 million contract for upgrading 19 MiG-29 fighters (the project was completed in 2012).

The same year, Peru purchased from Russia a large batch of Kornet-E anti-tank systems worth $23 million.

In 2011, Russia supplied to Peru six Mi-171Sh combat-transport helicopters and two Mi-35P attack helicopters. The contracts’ aggregate value, technical support included, totaled $107.9 million.

In 2011-2012, Russian industries upgraded seven Mi-25 helicopters (export configuration Mi-24D – TASS) under a $20-million contract.

In December 2013, Peru concluded a deal with Rosoboronexport for purchasing 24 military-transport helicopters Mi-171Sh. The contract was unofficially estimated at $400-500 million. The helicopters were provided in 2014-2015. The contracting parties also agreed to open a helicopter maintenance and repair center in Peru in 2016.

Mi-171 is an upgraded configuration of one of the world’s most popular helicopters Mi-8. More than 12,000 of these have been built by now. It boasts a more powerful engine: 1,900 hps against Mi-8’s 1,500 hps. Its maximum altitude is slightly greater. In all other respects the helicopters are identical twins: both are universal and combine transport and combat functions. They are robust and sturdy, easily withstand the highly humid tropical climate and are easy to repair – which is exceptionally important in Latin America. They are as reliable as the Kalashnikov rifle and low-priced in contrast to the United States’ AH-64 Apache and S-61/SH-3 Sea King.
Viktor Liltovkin TASS military analyst

Brazil

In 2008-2012, Brazil purchased from Russia $306 million worth of weapons, including Mi-35 attack helicopters (for an estimated $150 million).

In accordance with the terms of the 2008 contract Brazil was to have all twelve helicopters by 2013, but due to financial and technical problems the last three of them were delivered in November 2014. The agreement also envisaged the supply of a training simulator and logistics support.

In 2010-2012, Brazil purchased 300 missiles and 64 launchers of the portable Igla-S anti-aircraft system and a small batch of Russia’s Tigr armored vehicles.

In December 2012, the holding company Helicopters of Russia and Brazil’s Atlas Taxi Aereo S. A. signed a contract for the supply of seven multi-role Ka-62 helicopters. The value of the contract was not disclosed. Delivery date – 2015-2016.

The Spanish language portal www.infodefensa.com says that Brazil in January 2016 received a batch of 60 missiles and 26 portable anti-aircraft launchers Igla-S. The contract was apparently signed in 2014. Its value is unknown.

Argentina and Colombia

In 2011, two helicopters Mi-171 €20 million (about $27 million) worth were handed over to Argentina.

In 2013, at the MAKS-2013 air show the holding company Helicopters of Russia and Colombia’s Vertical de Aviacion concluded a contract for the supply of five Mi-171A1 helicopters and five Ka-62 helicopters. The contracts’ value was not disclosed. Earlier, Colombia purchased four Mi-8/17 helicopters in 2006 and five in 2008.

Copters in great demand

According to the Center for Analysis of World Arms Trade Russian attack helicopters are in stable demand on foreign markets: in 2010-2013 Russia exported 65 such aircraft $1.799 billion worth.

In 2014-2017 the expected deliveries may reach 92 new helicopters $4.078 billion worth, including Mi-28N attack helicoptersMi-35M multirole combat-transport and heavy Mi-26 transport helicopters.

TASS military analyst explains why helicopters and other air technologies are in the greatest demand in Latin American countries.

Firstly, our copters are the most unpretentious and easy to fly and repair. They are in no way inferior to US and European counterparts technically and surpass them by far in terms of the “price-quality” ratio. The same is true of the fighters and bombers. Secondly, we have a smoothly operating industry for batch production of helicopters and combat aircraft. No delays. And what is most important, we never link our contracts with last-minute changes in the political situation. We don’t demand any political concessions, either. Ours is the honest way of doing business. Viktor Liltovkin

 

Russian-Indian Fifth-Generation Fighter Aircraft development going on schedule — official

© Sergey Bobylev/TASS/archive

“The work is going on schedule, the draft design and development contract is currently being prepared after which the roadmap on the plane’s production will be determined. The negotiations are conducted constantly and intensively, but you can’t jump over your own head, because everything should be agreed upon,” Goreslavsky said.

Previously, the contract for FGFA design and development works was supposed to be signed in 2015. Rosoboronexport also informed last spring that the FGFA demonstrator would be made “tentatively, in 2018”.

The company said previously that the fighter’s rough technical design was finished in summer 2015.