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president putin's say seven hundred fifty five american diplomats will have to leave russia leaving an equal number of diplomatic personnel present in both countries the move comes in response to a new sanctions bill which was approved by the us congress this week. also ahead this hour to news are a journalist working with the r.t.s. are a big channel has been killed by shelling from islamic state in serbia. human rights watch claims one u.s. trained iraqi army unit house numerous extrajudicial killings suspected.
with the top stories from the past seven days on rights to the moment developments as well this is the weekly n r t international a little welcome responding to the new. sanctions of law and we are putin say used america will have to cut its diplomatic staff in russia by more than seven hundred fifty personnel by september. more than a thousand people both diplomatic and technical staff are currently working in russia for sure seven hundred fifty five of them will have to stop their activities and that's painful america has taken a step to jeopardize u.s. russia relations and the important thing is that that step wasn't triggered by anything but this is a move to impose a legal restrictions to attempt to influence other countries including us allies
which are interested in developing ties with russia. we've been waiting for quite a long time so that maybe something would change for the better we had hoped that the situation would change but it looks like even if it does change then it won't be in the near future i decided that it is time for us to show that we will not leave anything on answered. things of course we have more to say there are spheres that we could restrict which would be painful for the united states but i think we shouldn't do that it's only going to harm us russian relations as they are but it's also going to affect us as well in theory at some point the damage from attempts to put pressure on russia could be as painful as that then we could consider other countermeasures but i hope we will not reach that point i'm against it ok just a reminder on friday moscow nine states kuntar measures to the sanctions saying
american diplomatic staff in the country must be cut to four hundred and fifty five the same number russia has in the united states russia has also said that two diplomatic properties used by washington will be seized and they include a warehouse in the side of moscow on a riverside retreat in one of the capital's parks it was used by staff members for leisure activities and get togethers. well to discuss the latest on the sanctions i'm happy to say we can cross live to senior fellow at american think tank the consul of foreign relations dr charles could shine you're very welcome to the program seven hundred fifty five diplomats to leave how significant will that number be for the u.s. that is a sizable departure we've seen these kinds of tit for tat exchanges before they are unfortunate but i guess putin has decided that he wants to take the american staff
down to roughly the equivalent of the russian staff here in the united states he had initially not responded to the obama administration's initial decision on that front is now catching up because of the sanctions bill that has been approved by congress but clearly we're not in a very good spot when it comes to u.s. russia relations and the situation seems to be worsening at present how could this loss impact on washington's diplomatic mission in russia. well there's no question that if you're talking about seven hundred plus people that a significant loss of capability the overall staff is going to be is going to be dramatically cut but i do think that you know this is the this is the cost of doing business my own opinion is that russia has gotten off lightly for its invasion of ukraine and for meddling in the u.s. election the sanctions that are imposed against russia are legitimate and necessary
and if russia chooses to retaliate then so be it will both russia and the u.s. see this as being on a level footing as they know as you say have an equal number of personnel i suppose there's an aside to this why was there such an imbalance with the number of diplomats there. well i think that i can't speak to the actual personnel levels that the two sides have have maintained that it was the guise of helping her and the russian foreign ministry but i do think that what we've seen here is a situation in which the trumpet ministration had initially said it was going to try to improve relations with russia and the russians bought some time to see whether that would happen now that we seem to be moving toward new legislation that there's a host of new sanctions which there were failed conversations here a couple of weeks ago about the restoration of russia's two. homes here two houses
that were from which russians were expel putin seems to have decided that he's no longer willing to exercise patience and now we are in this this tit for tat situation as i've said we've seen this before especially during the cold war but we are now heading to two in an increasing strain in the relationship between moscow and washington and it will probably mean that the reset that trump and putin had talked about and made maybe that they tried to put on the table in hamburg is really going to be on ice for now what steps do need to be taken to improve relations after all this do you think. you know i think that the. the core issues on the table are those that have been on the table for the last couple years and they are the syrian conflict the situation in ukraine and some move going forward on the whole question of russian hacking in involvement in the u.s.
election there continues to be a swirl here in washington investigations into possible trump collusion in that interference those strike me as the three issues that will dominate the relationship moving forward and in particular i think we need to see some movement on the ukraine front that in some ways is the big elephant in the room unless we see progress on man's a deescalation of the conflict in eastern ukraine it's hard for me to see our the way forward in an improvement of relations and yesterday america's top diplomat rex tillerson said the sanctions were necessary to avoid using them again in the future does the u.s. see this as a way of improving long term cooperation because this is not going to be made essential a lot meaning that it's going to be more difficult for foreign stuff to to use a card and stick approach but with
a country such as russia this is not what is going to happen. well i do have some reservations about the legislation precisely the point that you just mention namely that congress will have to approve a lifting of the sanctions and that is in part because republicans and democrats alike felt uncomfortable with trump didn't trust him when it came to this issue but it does make the diplomacy more difficult because the logic of men is that if we get a deal if russia stops supporting the separatists and gets its troops out of eastern ukraine the sanctions are supposed to come off that kind of deal is now more complicated because the trumpet ministration assuming trump signs the legislation would have to go to congress to get approval for that lifting and as we know from cuba from iran from other past cases the congress generally reacts reluctantly to lift sanctions and just you know russia has always said that they do not have
troops in east ukraine dr charles fellow at the council of foreign relations thank you for your time and thoughts this hour. and the new round of sanctions is not just the signature way of course is congress waits for president trump to put pen to paper washington says' there in response to what they call russian aggression in syria crain and for alleged meddling in the u.s. election but it's up and find out there might be much more behind the initiative. the sanctions bill that was passed it targets many parts of russia's economy it targets mining targets finance and russia metal manufacturing but one part of the bill that was specifically singled out was the energy sector of russia's economy the bill penalizes any company that cooperates with russia's pipeline projects it's about sending a message to russia to hold mr putin accountable for his actions we will take tough
action against russia the bill is targeting the construction of a key natural gas pipeline into europe citing what it calls detrimental impact on european energy security furthermore in the same paragraph the bill talks about exporting more of america's resources in order to create american jobs strengthen u.s. allies and strengthen u.s. foreign policy now that all agrees with a key component of u.s. energy strategy america's global dominance in energy policy. is not just a vital element of u.s. economic policy but it's also a bottle element of us foreign policy and one of the most important actions we can take is to use our massive shale gas resources to begin shipping liquefied natural gas overseas so there you have it but what does selling gas to europe have to do with protecting the sanctity of america's voting machines the point is has got to
do anything with the political sphere with the frozen conflict in the ukraine a with syria and it actually hasn't got anything to do also with an interference with russia until the u.s. elections this has to do with the approach of the u.s. administration to make deals to get their economy going and so this is very commitment rather than political u.s. leaders say that they don't like russia for all kinds of reasons but one thing they don't mention is that russia is a key exporter of oil and natural gas competing with the big monopolists america's european allies are now crying foul saying that the usa is interfering with their energy policies with these sanctions the u.s. bill could have unintended unilateral effects the impact of the e.u. use energy security interests america first kind of mean that europe's interests come last at this point russia counts for thirty eight percent of the european union's natural gas while the usa only accounts for two percent of the e.u.
is natural gas imports you can bet some slick wall street syndicates would like to reverse that lineup so when you hear this explanation of the sanctions the mere fact that russia tried to affect our elections this stunning breach of our right as a sovereign nation decades of unchecked russian aggression whether it be in the ukraine in the crimea in syria don't forget about this one we must continue to focus on how we get our gas here in the united states our natural gas to europe to our allies so they're not so dependent on russia. leaders have reacted angrily to washington's proposed new sanctions on this attempt to so-called free europe from reliance on russian gas they say their economic interests are being ignored germany has even warned the u.s. of kuntar measures here's one reason why europe's leaders are unhappy the sanctions could impact on the north stream to pipeline
a major project between european companies and russia's energy sector firms from germany austria fronts the netherlands have agreed to invest almost five billion euro in it around half of the project's total cost once completed it should provide northern europe with russian gas according to reports multi-national businesses in the energy sector the likes of b.p. exxon mobil have been lobbying against the new measures in congress so to have money factures like boeing ford peter all over brings us more. well it's the potential impact that these sanctions could have on both the the business and energy sectors here in europe that has e.u. officials hot under the collar there are potentially huge fines for e.u. businesses that would enter into energy projects with russia many of those blue chip european companies of course are heavily involved there what we've heard from the german foreign ministry is them saying that it can't be accepted that the
industrial policy of another nation be passed off as sanctions while the german government spokesperson also came out saying that e.u. industry can't be targeted and if there will be a response if the sanctions or when the sanctions go through it's not just the germans though the french foreign ministry issued a statement saying that well they believe that the sanctions impacted upon the rights of private individuals as well as corporate entities to an extent that they believe may go beyond international law the austrian chancellor christine care he posted online he said that politics and a business should not be mixing when it comes to making decisions like this it's not excluded that they also follow that they also follow their economic interests. we don't complain about that unless it does not affect our own interests
but right now it really affects our own interest negatively impact of the plan sanctions notice a very negative form of especially for the energy sector because of the sanctions under the threat of sanctions especially energy pipeline exports from russia so what options remain for the european union when the sanctions or if these sanctions come into being the european union could decide to impose sanctions of their own on the united states now this could take the form of e.u. bank suspending u.s. companies ability to take out short term loans but let's be realistic this would be a nuclear option. more of the week's top stories right after this.
here's what people have been saying about rejected in the senate just pull on. the only show i go out of my way to launch you know a lot of the really packed a punch. is the john oliver of r t america is doing the same we are apparently better than. the c. people you've never heard of love redacted tonight i'm president of the world bank so take. me seriously send us an e-mail. little blog sell you on the idea that dropping bombs brings peace to the chicken hawks forcing you to fight the battles they still. produce offspring to tell you that will be gossiping publicly. advertising telling you are not cool enough to buy their product. all the hawks that we along.
with what. we start back again with some sad news a young journalist working with our teas are a big channel in syria has been killed by shelling from islamic state our correspondent daniel hawkins explained earlier what happened. he was a stringer working for r.t. in syria for those unfamiliar with the term that's effectively a local contracted journalist often working in dangerous environments in case in homs province where the syrian army is trying to actually liberate the town of which is close to where the incident took place his group or his convoy came under shell fire from isis we understand that he was hit by an antitank missile that's what caused his death and indeed injuries to his cameraman who's also in hospital right now started working with r.t. towards the end of april he did many reports from homs province interviewing the
families of victims of refugees affected by fighting from all sides sure in those months those months and those battles he was also active on social media especially on facebook and we can have a look at one of his last posts in fact a very chilling poignant post just saying all god just a few hours before he was tragically killed most of all khaled was only twenty five years of age he was studying at the university of damascus in the faculty of media and journalism. in the middle. of the. set i mean.
now as we said before the camera and working with him at the time mr matar's yakov he was injured as well in that attack he's been evacuated to a hospital in the homs province. and we can also confirm that college is the first work or the first work apart of all these extended family ever to be killed in a conflict zone so very sad there not only for his family and friends but also of course for all of us here at r.t. . rights groups international observers have accused the iraqi soldiers of executing dozens of suspected terrorists without trial the claims come just weeks after a lengthy battle to drive islamic state out of the city of mosul two international observers who were a group of iraqi soldiers who don't find themselves as members of the sixteenth
division naked men down an alleyway or two it's they had multiple gunshots he saw through the door of damaged house the bodies of a number of naked men lying in the doorway they said one of the dead men was lying with his hands on his back and appeared to have been handcuffed and there was a rope around his legs. to sixteenth division soldiers the school to one observer and showed the severed heads of what the soldiers said was an american female isis sniper whom they had to capitated it was not clear whether the captives were alive or after her death all the iraqi forces that are involved in this fight against isis have been committing rampant abuses including war crime and unfortunately in the face of all of these abuses by many different units and many different elements of the iraqi military structure we have yet to see a thing the incident be properly act investigated by the iraqis or any commanders to be held accountable for human rights watch report claims the executions were
carried out by a sixteen division of the iraqi army unit that played a significant role in the liberation of mosul it's been trained by the u.s. military since twenty fifteen international observers say there is no indication that this support has stopped. after numerous calls from international organizations the u.s. led coalition is now urging iraq to investigate claims of war crimes committed by its military there and been consistent reporting of allegedly of armed conflict violations recently any violation of the law of armed conflict is unacceptable and should be in it investigated in a transparent and parent manner we meet routinely with our partner forces to advise them on the expectations for thorough and transparent investigations and accountability for anyone found responsible for abuses and public disclosure of findings and actions taken we spoke to a number of experts who appeared to be very skeptical of america's calls for an
investigation it's not even cynical to suggest that just because this division iraqi division were trained by the u.s. military that they wouldn't have done this we have to remember the u.s. torture after the during the two thousand two thousand and three invasion. bag ram and abu ghraib. and i think all of those techniques have been taught to the standing army that was created after the after the u.s. invasion looking at what we know so far as can be very difficult to specifically accuse any of those american soldiers fool for training iraqi soldiers specifically in the craft of torture but i think it paints a very poor picture puts the americans. under a very poor lights in iraq generally i mean we've you know what are they doing there exactly i mean this sort of euphemistic term advisor i think the the miss has been busted on one exactly what those devices do and who writes for target for
exactly laurie who visited mosul says' the real story of the city's liberation does not fit the media narrative. i think that what you know what the mainstream media sort of sort of does they try to they try to generalize you know the conflict and what's happening they try to package it into these very easily accessible headlines you know like most of those liberated and so you read that headline and you think oh the battle is over you know the operations are over and you know everything must be tied up and tidy but that's just not the case the scale of destruction in mosul is just i know it's almost you know it's an unimaginable hell the city is littered with. unexploded ordinance from airstrikes and it's just going to take you know decades you know if not you know generations to rebuild this city. a number of officials have been shelled did spend this wayland's cast their ballots in a key constitutional vote one which the opposition is calling a power grab by the country's president just hours before the polls opened it
counted it was gunned down in his home local media report the three members of the opposition also lost their lives. the video after an explosion in the capital city caracas saw a security officer get caught up in flames a country house seeing massive demonstrations for the authorization still calling for more protests the spider in the last week that's going to place eight people were killed during riots here's a look back at how the country's crisis has worsened in recent months.
i. think well with the country in the economic doldrums i'm experiencing a political deadlock president maduro house called in venezuelans to elect a new body its rule will be rewriting the current constitution over five hundred representatives will be chosen from various groups in society today however the opposition believes the president is just trying to extend his powers of mining democracy well r.t. in with the venezuelan president for an exclusive interview he told us that the opposition's tactics are alienating many people. the
opposition has been saying the same thing for eighty news but used to say about a few. as you know about me for the last four years there is no other way to resolve a conflict in our country than through democratic means. for three and a half weeks starting in may. the opposition to engage in a direct dialogue and join the national constitutional assembly but they refused since then the only thing the opposition has been doing is taking most states back with me right now the situation is dire i think face political isolation they're leaning towards the far right and they've tracked them selves and this strategy of local acts of violence restricting the movement of people in the very districts that voted for them the opposition is losing the support of the venezuelan people voted for them in the past. well you can always join the debates on any of our
social media sites news stories the minute you're with our tina turner. it's a very rough terrain so it's a rough climate and you have to fight to be able to plan. it was. on top of them and very fresh they would have been. even not. you know i don't want to see a better body in the short of it is ready to participate in the good. old to live good wouldn't. you don't think about this if this soldier or not you got three
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