Tag Archives: Sky News

China Sides With Russia On Ukraine

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Russia on Monday said it had a powerful ally supporting its actions in Ukraine: China.

The Russian government said China is “in agreement” with Russia, whose troops occupy the Crimean region of Ukraine, Sky News reported.

But when asked about Ukraine at a regular press briefing on Monday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang answered indirectly.

China, which consistently says it opposes interference in other countries’ internal affairs, is looking to “maintain principles” on Ukraine, it said Monday after Russia insisted the two were in broad agreement.

“China has always upheld the principles of diplomacy and the fundamental norms of international relations,” the Chinese spokesman said.

“At the same time, we also take into consideration the history and the current complexities of the Ukrainian issue. It could be said that China’s position is to both maintain principles while also seeking to be realistic.”

Russia has appeared keen to stress that it has a major international ally on its military intervention in Ukraine, and Beijing frequently backs Moscow’s positions against Western powers on thorny issues, such as the protracted conflict in Syria.

But, analysts say, China is torn between wanting to support Russia and maintaining its longtime opposition to foreign intervention, especially given its own separatist issues in the far-western region of Xinjiang.

China also noted, however, that “there are reasons that the Ukrainian situation is what it is today”.

Niu Jun, a professor of international affairs at Peking University, said China wanted to maintain its relationship with Russia but had strong concerns about foreign intervention.

“It’s all very inconvenient,” he said. “That’s why they came out with a statement nobody can understand.

“What this statement is really saying is, ‘what Russia did was not right and China does not want to support this military invasion’. But China also wants to support Russia, so it came up with excuses,” such as Russia’s history with Crimea and Ukraine’s internal situation, he said.

James Jeffrey, a retired career U.S. diplomat, told Reuters that the days and months ahead will be vital. If Putin faces few long-term consequences for seizing Crimea, it will set a precedent for China and other regional powers who may be considering establishing 19th-century-style spheres of influence of their own.

“The Chinese,” Jeffrey said, “are in the same position.”

Earlier, Moscow’s foreign ministry said that Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, in a phone call, noted “broadly coinciding points of view of Russia and China over the situation that has developed in the country and around it”.

Yet China’s account of the conversation was less direct, saying that the two men “thoroughly exchanged views on the matter” and agreed that “appropriately resolving” the situation was important to regional peace and stability.

Russia has found itself internationally isolated over its covert military intervention in Ukraine, and on Monday its stocks and currency collapsed amid fears of a prolonged military campaign.

The other members of the G8 nations on Sunday released a statement condemning Russia for violating international law and suspending their participation in a G8 summit scheduled for Sochi in June.

China is not a member of the G8.

China and Russia cooperated on vetoing three U.N. Security Council resolutions to put pressure on Syrian President Bashar Assad, although they voted through a resolution this month on allowing humanitarian aid convoys into Syria.

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China Train Station Mass Stabbing: 33 Dead

At least 33 people have been killed and more than 130 wounded in a mass stabbing at a Chinese railway station.

According to Chinese state media, the “organised and premeditated” attack at Kunming train station in the country’s southwestern Yunnan province was carried out by separatists from the volatile Xinjiang province in the far west.

Reports from the city suggest a group of people armed with knives entered the train station at about 9pm local time on Saturday and attacked travellers with knives indiscriminately.

Photos on Chinese social media show horrific scenes with blooded bodies and luggage strewn across the station concourse.

One local resident, Yang Haifei, told China’s Xinhua news agency he was attacked and sustained injuries on his chest and back.

Mr Yang said he was buying a ticket when he saw a group of people, most dressed in black, rush into the station and start their attack.

“I saw a person come straight at me with a long knife and I ran away with everyone,” he said.

Unconfirmed reports suggest police shot and killed some of the attackers and detained others.

Chinese police are not routinely armed which may explain why the perpetrators were able to attack so many people before being stopped.

According to eyewitness reports seen by Sky News, there is tension across Kunming amid concern that further attacks may be planned at other locations in the city.

Train stations in Chinese cities are vast and usually extremely busy.

The Kunming city government said the attack was orchestrated by ethnic separatists from Xinjiang, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

Extreme elements of the Muslim population who live there have carried out attacks in the past – most recently in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square last year.

The Uighur Muslim population in Xinjiang believe their freedoms, culture and religion are being eroded and severely restricted by the Chinese authorities.

Xinjiang, 2,500 miles to the north of Saturday’s attack, has experienced repeated outbreaks of violence but the Chinese authorities have largely managed to contain the violence.

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Syria : Sky News Gains Access To UK Jihadists

British security services seem to have hugely underestimated the number of British nationals involved in the bloodshed in Syria.

Sky News has gained the first access to a previously unknown brigade of exclusively British jihadists fighting in Syria.

Until now, the existence of this UK brigade has been kept a secret, but it reveals that British security services have hugely underestimated the scale of UK nationals involved in the bloodshed.

In a series of wide-ranging and frank interviews, the jihadists, who have asked Sky News to protect their identities for fear of a backlash against their families in the UK, reveal that hundreds of young men from Britain have joined the fight against Bashar al Assad‘s government and that “at least” four die each month.

They also claim that the UK remains the largest single source of private fundraising for jihadi fighters, outdoing countries like Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE.

In the interviews, carried out by US journalist and Muslim convert, Bilal Abdul Kareem, exclusively for Sky News, the Islamic fighters insist they have no intention of attacking UK targets or waging jihad on British soil.

One of the men, identified as Mustafa, is asked directly if he is part of al Qaeda and why he insists on hiding his identity.

“I’m not part of al Qaeda, and I’ve never been a part of al Qaeda – ever,”  he says.

“I’m not a terrorist in any way. If people could see how much goodness we have in our hearts, how much mercy we have for people and how much you know we are driven by compassion to help other people they wouldn’t think that we were terrorists.

“But this is a line that they have been fed and there are people that benefit from pushing that narrative about us, so I protect my identity.”

This denial follows warnings from the heads of the UK’s security services that young men travelling to Syria risk being radicalised before returning home to carry out terror attacks in Britain.

Fighting on a mountain top in the northeast of the country, these men look like hardcore jihadists, but when they speak they are pure Brits.

They joke and laugh between themselves, sometimes comparing the now ubiquitous “selfies”.

But they hardly speak any Arabic and are dependent on one of their number to give orders on the battlefield.

Like British soldiers, they discuss kit and the best things to buy for jihad. In one exchange a young man, advised to buy new binoculars, naively asks if eBay will deliver.

“No man,” one of the more seasoned fighters laughs in reply, shaking his head, “eBay won’t deliver here man.”

It is pure comedy. The men insist they have a moral obligation to help in Syria because of the outside world’s refusal to intervene in the near three-year-old civil war, and deny they are terrorists.

“When you see atrocities carried out like what you see from the images that you see from Syria, then really as a human being, you know morally there should be an obligation just being part of the human race to defend such people,” one of the brigade’s leaders told Sky News.

“But if morals can’t, if that’s not enough to motivate you, our religion demands for us that people that cannot defend themselves, that somebody needs to get up and respond to their call. Ethically, it’s the only right thing to do,” he said during a pause in the fighting.

The armed opposition to President Assad in the north of the country is now being waged almost exclusively by a myriad of jihadist groups supported by a significant number of foreign fighters from the USA, Canada, Northern Europe, North Africa and the former Soviet republics of Chechnya and Dagestan.

The British contingent say their numbers are increasing daily and social networking sites are helping to organise the influx into Syria.

They know that returning to their families in the UK will be extremely difficult from now on, but in reality they probably won’t get the chance – the fighting footsoldier’s life expectancy in Syria is very short once serious combat begins.

This committed group buck many stereotypes used to describe the Islamist fighters in Syria.

Whether anyone agrees or disagrees with them is not in itself relevant, not yet at least, as this is the first time we have ever heard them speak.

In response to Sky’s exclusive report, the Foreign Office issued a statement saying: “Some people who travel from the UK to Syria for jihadist fighting will pose a security threat when they return.”

Syria: Sky News Gains Access To UK Jihadists.

Snowden Leaks: Guardian Editor To Give Evidence

The editor of the Guardian is to give evidence to MPs over documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

A spokesman for the newspaper told Sky News that Alan Rusbridger had been “invited to give evidence to the home affairs select committee and looks forward to appearing next month”.

It follows a series of articles published by the Guardian about the surveillance of phone and internet communications by the security services.

The revelations in the newspaper – and others around the world – were made in top-secret documents obtained by Mr Snowden, a former CIA computer analyst who has since fled to Russia.

On Thursday, three of Britain’s spy chiefs warned that terrorists would be “rubbing their hands with glee” at the level of information released.

Al Qaeda would be “lapping up” the revelations, they told an intelligence and security committee hearing.

It also emerged that dozens of Conservative MPs had written to Mr Rusbridger, asking him to consult the Government or security services before publishing any further stories based on Mr Snowden’s files.

In their letter, the MPs said that publishing the leaked information in such detail “runs the risk of compromising the vital work of the institutions, processes and people who protect the safety of this country”.

However, Mr Rusbridger said: “We continue to consult with both the security services and the Government on our reporting.

“We have in fact consulted with the White House, Downing Street (and) the intelligence services on both sides of the Atlantic … on every story but one that we have published.”

He added: “Snowden handed these documents to newspapers, who have responsibly edited them after prolonged and regular discussions with the relevant authorities.

“Were newspapers to be injuncted, criminalised or inhibited from reporting on such matters … it is easy to predict what the next Edward Snowden or (fellow whistleblower) Chelsea Manning would do.

“They would, in all probability, bypass newspapers and publish the material directly on to the web, with far more serious consequences.”

Snowden Leaks: Guardian Editor To Give Evidence.