It’s a point of pride for Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka: No toilet paper in our sausage.
Lukashenka says that’s one thing that makes Belarusian products better than Russian ones.
He told Russian reporters on October 17 that Russia had lowered its food-quality standards after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union “while we, thanks to Lukashenka, retained state standards.”
The second best part about this is that Lukashenko refers to himself in the third person.
Summary executions have been carried out by both sides of the conflict in Ukraine but the scale of the killings appear to have been “hugely exaggerated,” a report by Amnesty International said Monday.
Based on interviews with victims of human rights abuses, relatives, eyewitnesses and officials, researchers found that some the more shocking Russian media articles relating to “mass graves” were overblown, but the report added that it was difficult to get accurate information from eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian forces have been battling for control since April.
Meanwhile, a Der Spiegel report on Monday said an official German enquiry into the downing of a Malaysian airlines flight in July had found that pro-Russian rebels were behind the attack. If accurate, it would mark the first time a European intelligence agency had presented evidence on what caused the incident.
“There is no doubt that summary killings and atrocities are being committed by both pro-Russian separatists and pro-Kiev forces in eastern Ukraine, but it is difficult to get an accurate sense of the scale of these abuses,” John Dalhuisen, Europe and Central Asia Director at Amnesty International, said in a press release.
“It is likely that many have not yet been exposed and that others have been deliberately misrecorded. It is also clear that some of the more shocking cases that have been reported, particularly by Russian media, have been hugely exaggerated.”
A visit that would have been the first by an Albanian prime minister to Belgrade, the Serbian capital, in nearly 70 years has been postponed after a provocative stunt at a soccer match in Belgrade that fanned ethnic tensions, spurred violence and provoked apparent cyberattacks.
Prime Minister Edi Rama was scheduled to visit Belgrade on Wednesday, the first trip there by an Albanian leader since 1946. The meeting, heralded by Albania and Serbia as a seminal moment for regional reconciliation after a bloody ethnic war in Kosovo in the 1990s, has now been set for Nov. 10.
Both sides said over the weekend that Mr. Rama’s trip to Belgrade would be delayed to allow tensions to subside.
Serbian officials have accused Mr. Rama’s brother, Olsi Rama, of releasing a small drone carrying a nationalist Albanian flag during a qualifying match last week between the two countries for the 2016 European Championship.
Olsi Rama has denied launching the drone, which touched off a violent brawl. Some Serbs took to the field and attacked Albanian team members, some of them with chairs, and the players were forced to escape through a tunnel at the end of the field.
…“I considered myself part of the Russian culture — my mother is Russian, my father is Ukrainian,” said Aleksey Ryabchyn, a young economist and journalist from Donetsk who is running for Parliament. “I have lots of Russian friends; I like books in Russian; I speak Russian at home. So I am asking myself, ‘Who am I?’ ”
For many, a mental switch was flipped six months ago when the Federation Council in Moscow voted to give President Vladimir V. Putin an open mandate to invade Russia’s smaller neighbor.
“The Russian part of me died on March 1 when I saw the Russian senate allowed Putin to send troops into Ukraine,” Mr. Ryabchyn said. “It was the biggest shock in my life.”
The ties binding the two countries form a complex weave — personal, historical, religious, geographical — that stretches back more than a millennium. Timothy Snyder, a professor of history at Yale University, argues that much of the history was manipulated in modern times to create links where none existed. But myths endure.
The Russian defence ministry has denied reports that one of its submarines got into trouble in the waters off Sweden.
The Swedish military has been searching the sea since Friday, following what the military said was foreign underwater activity.
It has denied looking for a submarine, and said that it was conducting an intelligence operation.
However, a local newspaper said Sweden had intercepted a distress signal in Russian.
Swedish Rear Admiral Anders Grenstad said the military based its judgement on “not only on current observations, but also on many previous ones from this very area… this is an area of interest to foreign powers”.
Soviet submarine sightings during the Cold War caused security alerts in Sweden in the 1980s.
Officials suspended today’s Serbia-Albania Euro 2016 qualifier in Belgrade after a drone carrying a large banner with the Albanian flag entered the stadium late in the first half and sparked a brawl between the two squads.
The match had already been stopped for flares being thrown onto the pitch when the drone entered carrying the banner, which was then grabbed by Serbia’s Stefan Mitrović. That sparked a fight, and the eventual departure from the pitch of Albanian players who were pelted by garbage by the hometown fans. Albanian supporters were banned from attending due to security concerns.