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Rival Petitions Want Russia, U.S. Branded 'Sponsors of Terrorism'

Published: May 13, 2014 (Issue # 1809)



  • U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel at the Pentagon in Washington. (File)
    Photo: Aaron Hostutler / Defense.gov

Two rival petitions urging the U.S. government to designate either Russia or the U.S. as a "state sponsor of terrorism" for their respective policies in Ukraine are vying for signatures on the White House website, with the anti-Russian one enjoying a strong lead so far.

The petition targeting Russia had a one-week head start, having been posted on the "We the People" section of the website on April 23, and had garnered more than 53,300 signatures by Monday afternoon.

"In its unannounced war against Ukraine, Russia relies on covert operations which fall squarely within the definition of 'international terrorism'" under U.S. law, the petition said. The appeal needs to gather at least 100,000 signatures by May 23 to require the White House to respond.

The rival appeal, which uses the same language except for replacing "Russia" with "USA," showed up on April 30. It had slightly more than 500 signatures by Monday.

Both petitions blamed the violence in Ukraine on "armed operatives" saying that the respective foreign forces "acting under disguise, attempt to influence the policy of Ukrainian government by intimidation or coercion."

The anti-American petition then added its own line, complete with spelling errors, to comment on the supposed U.S. operatives: "Luckily, they have disappeared by now."

Currently, the U.S. designates four countries as state sponsors of terrorism — Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said during ABC television's "This Week" program on Sunday that a more appropriate expression to describe Russia would be an "adversary in Ukraine."

Hagel also criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin's statements that Moscow had pulled back its troops from the Ukrainian border.

"Well, they're not leaving, as far as we can tell," he said. "You have to ask President Putin as to why he says they're leaving and when, in fact, they're not leaving."

Moscow denied accusations by Ukrainian and Western officials that its troops are engaged in the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine, and instead accused the U.S. and European governments of having fostered the conflict.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Sept. 18


Get your nerd on at Boomfest, St. Petersburg’s answer to the United States’ popular ComicCon. Starting today, this international festival of comics will take over venues throughout the city center and includes exhibitions of comics and illustrations, film screenings, competitions and the chance to meet the genre’s authors, artists and experts.



Friday, Sept. 19


SPIBA’s newest addition to their Cultural Discoveries events is “Handmade in Germany,” an exhibition featuring unique handmade objects of a significantly higher quality than mass-produced items. The work of over 100 German manufacturers will be displayed during the event, which opens today in the Lutheran Church of Saint Peter and Paul on Nevsky Prospekt and runs through Sept. 28.



Saturday, Sept. 20


Starting on Sept. 18 and ending tomorrow is the Extreme Fantasy Wakeboarding Festival in Sunpark by Sredny Suzdalskoye lake in the Ozerki region of the city.


Those after something more laid back can instead head to Jazz and Wine night at TerraVino with legendary jazz guitarist Ildar Kazahanov. 12/14 Admiralteyskaya Emb.



Sunday, Sept. 21


Learn more about African culture and get some exercise during today’s “Djembe and Vuvuzela,” a bike ride starting in Palace Square that includes several stops where riders can listen to the music of Africa or watch short films about the continent. The riders plan to set off at 4 p.m. and all you need to join is a set of wheels.



Monday, Sept. 22


Do you love puppetry? If so, then be sure to go to BTK-Fest, a five-day festival that starts on Sept. 19 celebrating the art. Contemporaries from France, Belgium, the U.K. and other countries will join Russian artists to put on theatrical performances involving a variety of themes, materials and eras. Workshops and meetings are also scheduled for a chance to discuss the artistic medium in further depth.



Tuesday, Sept. 23


Marina Suhih, Director of the External Communications Department at Rostelecom North-West, and Yana Donskaya, HR Director for Northern Capital Gateway are just some of the confirmed participants of today’s round table discussion on “Interaction with Trade Unions” being hosted by SPIBA. Confirm your attendance with SPIBA by Sept. 22.


Kino Expo 2014, an international film industry convention, will be at LenExpo from today until Sept. 26. The third largest exhibition of film equipment in the world, the expo focuses on not only Russia but former Soviet republics as well.



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