Mixed Messages: Russia Bans 5 US Officials over Torture; Russian Nuclear Exercise Targeted Sweden
February 5, 2016
RT News & The Local
The Russian Foreign Ministry has imposed a travel ban on five former law-enforcement officials from the US citing their role in the "legalization and use of torture and indefinite detentions." In other news, a NATO report claims that a 2013 training mission by the Russian military involved a simulated attack against Sweden that included the theoretical use of nuclear weapons.
Russia Slaps Travel Ban on 5 US
Ex-officials over 'Legalization of Torture'
MOSCOW (February 2, 2016) -- The Russian Foreign Ministry has imposed a travel ban on five former law-enforcement officials from the US citing their role in the "legalization and use of torture and indefinite detentions." The ministry said the move is a retaliatory measure.
Criticizing US President Barack Obama's administration's decision to add more people on the so-called 'Magnitsky list', "which has been for a long time used for unreasonable accusations against Russian officials," the ministry said that Washington's recent move "strikes a blow at bilateral relations."
"The US continues to destroy [these relations'] grounds, regularly spreading false information against Russia," the foreign ministry's information and press department said in a statement on Tuesday.
All five are former officials, who Moscow says are connected to the "legalization and use of torture and indefinite detention of prisoners."
Saying that the five US nationals, including former US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales are now banned from entering Russia, the ministry added that Washington should deal with the human rights situation in its own country in a better way.
"We are talking about a policy that has allowed the keeping of Russian citizen [Ravil] Mingazov in Guantanamo prison without a trial for over 13 years," the statement said.
Translation from Russian on document:
The list of US citizens who are denied entry into the Russian Federation on the basis of Federal Law № 272 -FZ "On measures against persons involved in violations of fundamental rights and freedoms, rights and freedoms of the Russian Federation.
Russia Carried Out Practice Nuclear Strike against Sweden
SWEDEN (February 3, 2016) -- When Russian planes carried out a simulated attack against Sweden in 2013, it included nuclear warfare, a NATO report has revealed.
The training mission by the Russian military took place just beyond the eastern edge of the Stockholm archipelago three years ago. It grabbed global headlines because Sweden's military was slow to react due to staff being on vacation and had to rely on help from NATO.
Several Swedish media outlets had previously speculated that the exercises also included a simulated nuclear attack, but this was never confirmed.
Now, NATO's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has revealed that this was indeed the case -- a revelation that appears in the defence alliance's annual report.
The text, which was released last week but only widely reported in Sweden on Wednesday, also confirmed that four Russian Tupolev Tu-22M3 bombers had participated in the training exercise as well as two Sukhoi Su-27 jets.
The report suggests that a military base in Smaland in southern Sweden and the National Defence Radio Establishment, the Swedish agency for signals intelligence just outside Stockholm, were the likely intended targets.
Stoltenberg's report concluded that the moves were part of a growing, worrying trend of aggression by Russia towards its western Nordic neighbour and others.
"As part of its comprehensive military rearmament, the extent of Russia's military manoevers and exercises have reached levels not seen since the end of the Cold War," it said.
Sweden's security service SAPO has raised similar concerns about Russia in recent months and even described the country as the biggest intelligence threat against Sweden in its 2014 annual report.
Last year, the Scandinavian nation said it would invest 10.2 billion kronor in its armed forces as part of efforts to protect its territory, but the country's defence capabilities have been questioned following continued military activity from Russia in the Baltic region.
In October 2014, a foreign submarine -- suspected of being Russian, although this was never confirmed -- was spotted in Swedish waters just outside Stockholm. A number of Russian planes have also been spotted in, or close to, Swedish airspace over the past two years.
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