The Kremlin announced that Russian “volunteer” forces could soon join forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on the battlefields of Syria. Russia has publicly supported the Assad regime for years and recently amplified its support for the regime through airstrikes purportedly directed at extremist militias in the county. The latest announcement augurs a potential new ground campaign directed towards rebel groups which currently stand opposed to Damascus.
The possibility of a new offensive has been decried by the West as a Russia-led exacerbation of the current conflict there. However, the Russian government has defended its supports for the Assad regime by insisting that it is merely protecting a legitimate government against the possibility of chaos created by a power vacuum.
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- Delegations from Ukraine, Russia and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe will convene in Minsk to discuss the conflict in eastern Ukraine later this week. The Ukrainian deputy head of presidential administration reported that the meeting would take place and that the Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko will be in attendance.
- Norwegian telecommunications company Telenor has sold off the remaining interest it had in Russian telecommunications firm VimpelCom. Telenor previously held a 33 percent interest in the company worth around $2.5 billion, but has agreed to sell the stake as part of a wider divestiture in Central Asia and Russia. Telenor previously announced its withdrawal from Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.
- An attack on a Xinjiang province coal mine has left at least 50 dead. The attack is believed to have been carried out by Uighur militants in the region. The Chinese government has labeled the attack a terrorist activity, stating that it is the latest in a wave of separatist activities in the region.
- The Moldovan protest movement Dignity and Trust has consolidated near a central square in the Moldovan capital of Chisinau to call for the resignation of government authorities. Protestors have been harassed by security forces and police eager to see them vacate the square and have consequently organized a “People’s Guard” to keep watch over the columns of tents pitched by protestors. The makeshift watch detail will include former members of Moldovan law enforcement.