Protests in Syria against the Turkish presence
The Syrian mass media reported about protests in several Syrian provinces against the Turkish military presence in Syria. The residents of the Idlib province gathered at the observation posts of the Turkish army with sings such as «Idlib is the Syrian land». They also chanted their slogans. Several dozen people took part in the protests. The rallies took place in the provinces of Hama and Aleppo. The Turkish military used tear gas grenades to disperse the demonstrators near the village of As-Surman. The demonstrators did not disperse, and even hung a portrait of the Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad, on the gates of one Turkish checkpoint.
The official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, stated during a briefing that the US sanctions «impede the Syrian settlement, as well as the course of the political process. It includes the work of the Constitutional Committee in Geneva. In humanitarian matters, the sanctions result in the additional suffering for the Syrian people». «Even during the pandemic, Washington didn’t agree to any humanitarian exemptions, and continued the economic strangulation of the Syrian state and the Syrian people» — Maria Zakharova explained and added that most of the Syrian territory is under control of the legitimate government of Syria. The situation continues to normalize on that territory. She noted that the Syrian authorities are taking measures to overcome the severe consequences of the conflict. Their potential is significantly limited due to the violation of the territorial integrity of the country, and the economic damage.
The President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, stated that Belarus was forced to close the borders with Lithuania and Poland. And also — to enhance the border control with Ukraine. Lukashenko announced that the military exercises ‘Slavic Brotherhood 2020’ will be held in 2 stages due to the situation. He announced that he doesn’t want Belarus, Poland, and Lithuania to turn into areas of military operations. He turned to the residents of these countries with the following words: «I want to appeal to the peoples of Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine. Stop your insane politicians. Do not let a war to break out». The Lithuanian Foreign Minister, Linas Linkevičius, stated on air of the national radio ‘LRT’ that the statement of Lukoshenko proves his desire to blame the external forces for the crisis in his country. He also added that «we should wait until it becomes clear what exactly the statement meant». The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Lithuania reported that the movement of transport across the Lithuanian-Belarusian border is being carried out without any delays.
The Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine, Aleksey Reznikov, stated during his speech in the Ukrainian parliament that Kiev won’t prescribe the special status of Donbass to the constitution, and the Minsk agreements should be changed. “During the December summit of the leaders of the ‘Normandy format’ in Paris, the President made it clear that there will be no changes to the constitution of Ukraine regarding the inclusion of any special status — it is ruled out. Also, the President stated repeatedly that the Minsk agreements need changes. This is our position that we defend in the trilateral contact group» — said Alexei Reznikov. He announced the development of a package of bills on a transitional period for Donbass. The package will stipulate the procedure for the amnesty. Aleksey Reznikov expressed his opinion that the reintegration of the region will last for about 25 years, for the sake of «a safe reintegration that won’t tear the country apart, and create new risks».
5 Russia — the USA
The Russian Embassy in Washington demanded an explanation from the US authorities regarding the report from the NBC on the American support for the Ukrainian units in Crimea. The embassy expressed a concern about the US ties with the Ukrainian units that fight the Russian forces in Crimea. “Unnamed US officials said that their country supports the terrorist activities in third countries. In this case — in Russia. If this is true, and not simply a geographical short-sightedness of the channel — we demand the USA to explain whether Washington, directly or indirectly, helped the Ukrainian Security Service in organization of terrorist attacks against the residents of Crimea» — the embassy stated on Facebook. The NBC reported, while citing unnamed sources, about a support for the «Ukrainian units in Crimea», in the context of the unconfirmed attempts, attributed to Moscow by the US mass media, to offer the Afghan terrorists some monetary rewards for the killing of the American military personnel. The NBC reported that some US officials believed that the actions of Moscow are a response to the support of Washington to those Ukrainian units.