Russian President Vladimir Putin has been awarded an eighth-degree black belt in the martial arts sport of Kyokushin karate, the Russian news agency ITAR-TASS reports. Kyokushin is a style of stand-up, full contact karate in which the participants wear no protective gear. The only restriction during fighting bans striking an opponent in the head with hands.
An unspecified amount of Mig-31s based at Perm have been deployed to Millerovo airfield, in the Rostov region, close to the border with Ukraine. This is a sign that Moscow may be preparing to actively control the airspace over Luhansk Oblast. The MiG-31 is a two-seater derivative of the MiG-25 in service since 1983.
Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko today said he is ready for ‘total war’ against Russia as he claimed the crisis in eastern Europe is more serious than the threat from Islamic State. Kiev is convinced that Moscow is strengthening its troop presence on its borders and inside rebel-held areas, which the Kremlin has repeatedly denied. As Putin returned from the G20 in Brisbane where he was under siege from Western leaders, Poroshenko claimed his army is now better prepared to fight to defend its territory than when the conflict began.
Russia has deported several Polish and one German diplomat in recent days, the latest in a series of tit-for-tat expulsions that have accompanied mounting tensions between Russia and European governments over the crisis in Ukraine. In an interview with German ARD television broadcast late Sunday, President Vladimir Putin of Russia said he still believes diplomacy can bring peace to eastern Ukraine, but he said Moscow would not allow the separatists there to be “annihilated.” The Russian Foreign Ministry said Monday that “a number of Polish diplomats” were being sent home in retaliation for the “unfriendly and unfounded” expulsion of Russian diplomats from Poland this month.
Russian President Vladimir Putin warned he won’t allow rebels in eastern Ukraine to be defeated by government forces as European Union ministers met to consider imposing more sanctions on the separatists. “You want the Ukrainian central authorities to annihilate everyone there, all of their political foes and opponents,” Putin said in an interview yesterday with Germany’s ARD television. “Is that what you want?