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A “very good day” for the world’s largest democracy, President Vladimir Putin signed an executive order on Tuesday aimed at reducing the risk of conflict by creating a new ‘humanitarian emergency’ over Syria.
The measure gives Putin broad powers to coordinate the work of all federal forces in the country. If successfully implemented, it will grant Putin the authority to direct the actions of more than 100,000 Russian soldiers and other personnel.
It is the latest step in Putin’s effort to improve international relations, following the 2014 annexation of Crimea, his intervention in eastern Ukraine, Syria and economic sanctions against Ukraine.
The measure comes a day after the United States warned it had no desire to see a repeat of the conflict in Ukraine’s east which saw a total of 30,000 people die between late 2014 and late summer of this year, the majority of them Russian-speaking.
President Barack Obama also called for Moscow to “step up its efforts to support Syria’s opposition,” stating Russia’s role “has not deterred” Moscow’s support of the rebels since its intervention.
Russia has insisted that it must remain committed to its support for the opposition and is committed to the cessation of hostilities at the cessation line agreed to by the Damascus government and the Syrian opposition groups. Russia’s forces also remained on the Syrian frontline for several years through the conflict.
Last month, Russia’s envoy to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, confirmed that he would attend the Geneva II peace conference on June 3-5 in hopes of bringing in the Geneva II agenda on Syria. The deadline to do this was set earlier this month.
However, Churkin’s visit is likely to be met with fierce opposition from various opposition factions.
“We must take an all-out stance against military intervention by the US, NATO and their other allies in Syria,” opposition leader Ahmad Jarba told RT. “We are calling upon all countries to refrain from supporting the terrorists,” he added, using the term used by the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) to refer to the rebel groups opposing President Bashar Assad.
A group of conservative students in Texas says they are going to sue the city of West Campus over an appearance their professor made at a recent conference on climate change.
“We want to get a hold of the mayor and the city council before we file,” said Brandon Schreiber. ”
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