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RA’s Daily Russia News Blast – Sept 10, 2015

TODAY: Russian forces are now fighting in Syria, sources say, as Foreign Ministry dismisses Western concerns; military barracks being built on Russian-Ukrainian border signal further conflict to come; Kasparov slams Obama foreign policy; Russian-American pleads guilty to spying; Putin to meet with Pope Francis. 

Anonymous Lebanese sources say Russian forces have joined with Syrian military in support of government troops, according to an exclusive by Reuters: ‘The Russians are no longer just advisors.’  The Foreign Ministry dismissed the United States’ concern over its deliveries of military cargo planes to Syria, calling it a ‘strange hysteria’ and insisting that there is nothing out of the ordinary, as commentators speculate that Russia wants to have a power base in Syria in the event of the collapse of Assad’s regime.  NATOGermany, and France have all added their concerns and warnings against Russian intervention in Syria. In Ukraine, Russia has started building a huge military base housing ammunition depots and barracks ‘for several thousand soldiers’ near their shared border, ‘a project that suggests the Kremlin is digging in for a prolonged stand-off with Kiev‘.  President Vladimir Putin will meet with French and German leaders early next month, supposedly to discuss efforts to resolve the Ukraine crisis.  The leaders, together with the Ukrainian President, held a phone meeting regarding the question of whether local elections will be held in Ukraine’s volatile eastern regions.

Garry Kasparov argues that U.S. foreign policy under Obama has ‘help[ed] its enemies off the mat’, and criticised John Kerry for a ‘timid’ warning to the Kremlin regarding Syria.  Russian-American Alexander Fishenko has pleaded guilty to charges of smuggling microelectronics from the U.S. to Russia on behalf of Russian intelligence agencies.  Is the Kremlin constantly at risk of throwing money at ‘ideas hatched by Rasputin-like quacks and snake oil salesmen’? Vice News talks to the chairman of the Commission on Pseudoscience and Research Fraud.  The Perm 36 Gulag Museum in Siberia is rewriting the history of Soviet labour camps under the Stalin regime.

President Vladimir Putin may have an audience with Pope Francis at the United Nations summit in New York this month, schedule permitting.

PHOTO: Russia’s Margarita Mamun performs in the ribbon competition at the Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships, in Stuttgart, Germany, Wednesday Sept. 9, 2015. (Bernd Weissbrod/dpa via AP)