Russia’s Syria Calculus: Behind Moscow’s Plan To Avert U.s. Missile Strikes

Russia vs Israel Live Stream: Watch World Cup Qualifying Online

Bulgaria restored parity on the stroke of half-time courtesy of Aleksandar Kolev, but their joy was short-lived Obukhov rattled in his second three minutes after the interval. Konstantin Bazelyuk rounded off the scoring as Russia moved above their opponents at the head of the section. The hosts seized the early initiative when Bulgaria were reduced to men after Granchov upended Bazelyuk in the penalty area. Obukhov rolled in the ensuing kick, before Aleksander Kozlov rattled the woodwork on the half-hour mark. The pendulum looked to have swung in favour of Bulgaria when Kolev steered Milen Gamakov’s free-kick past Egor Baburin, but Obukhov swiftly restored order. The goal owed much to the work Aleksander Kozlov, who beat his marker before delivering a back-post cross for the FC Spartak Moskva striker to register his third goal of qualifying. Russia put the result beyond doubt 15 minutes later,Bazelyuk taking receipt of Igor Lambarski’s pass and finishing unerringly beyond Dimitar Evtimov. UEFA.com 1998-2013. All rights reserved. Last updated: 10/09/13 19.00CET

They will look to solidify their place in the top half of group F. This will be an intriguing match given that Israel are currently third in the group and are in danger of not qualifying for next year’s World Cup. While Fabio Capello’s Russia scored four goals in their victory over Luxembourg last Friday. Russia currently sit three points ahead of their Israeli opponents in second place, but should they gain a full three points from today’s fixture they would overtake current group leaders Portugal who beat a resilient Northern Ireland team thanks to a hat-trick by Cristiano Ronaldo giving Portugal a 4-2 victory. A loss to Israel, a team who has been impressive in qualification having only lost one match out of seven, would bring the two teams level on points and tied for second place. Should the two remain tied they would face each other in a playoff to see who would advance to the World Cup. With so much at stake it would be good for Israel to forget drawing Azerbaijan in their last qualifier and focus squarely on the Russians. For Eli Guttman and his Israeli side attention will be to gain a full three points. The team has one of the top scorers so far in qualification in Tomer Hemed. The striker, who has scored six goals is second only to Bosnia-Herzegovina’s Edin Dzeko in the European qualification scoring charts, has yet to be called up to the squad. Team captain Yossi Benayoun has also been left out of the squad. For the Russians domestic league top scorer Artyom Dzyuba was also left of Capello’s squad. Like us on Facebook Kick-off for the match is at 11:00a.m. ET and can be watched online here . Most Popular

Putin and his top officials have long maintained that a Syria without the Assad regime would be more dangerous than one with it. In the past two weeks, while the U.S. and its allies were preparing a military intervention in Syria, Assad was forced to pull his forces away from the regions that had no anti-aircraft cover to regions where they would have cover, says Sivkov, who has also traveled to Syria during the civil war to consult with local officials. That was of course a temporary retreat, and hes regrouping. As soon as the threat of American intervention eases a little, he will finish [the rebels] off with artillery, tanks and air power. But for now hes been forced to worry about the security of his own military forces. Acting as a mediator between Syria and the West also raises Russias prestige on the world stage. But Klimov, who is a member of the ruling party of President Vladimir Putin, says this was a secondary concern. The subject of prestige does come up, he says. But more importantly, we will just breathe a sigh of relief when we are able to resolve this crisis near our borders. Unlike the U.S., Russia does face the risk of Syrias civil war spilling dangerously close to its territory, especially if the U.S.-proposed intervention leads to Assads downfall and a regional conflagration. Were right nearby. We have the Caspian Sea right there. We have our fellow citizens around that area.

Russia’s Medvedev warns Ukraine over joining EU trade bloc

Credit: Reuters/Maxim Shemetov MOSCOW | Mon Sep 9, 2013 3:28pm BST MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev stepped up pressure on Ukraine on Monday to back down on plans to join an EU trade bloc, warning that Kiev would be barred from a customs union of former Soviet states if it signs an agreement with Europe. Ukraine’s hopes of signing a free-trade pact and other agreements with the European Union at a summit in November have caused concern in Moscow, which aims to derail Ukraine’s pro-Europe policy and keep the country focused on the former Soviet bloc. It has already warned that Kiev would forfeit its special partner status with Russia if it goes ahead with signing the EU accords. Ukraine’s economy is heavily dependent on exports of steel, chemicals and grain, more than 60 percent of which go to the former Soviet market, with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan – all members of the Customs Union – the biggest markets. “I don’t want there to be any illusions … Practically, for our Ukrainian partners, entry into the Customs Union will be closed,” Medvedev told his deputy premiers during a weekly meeting. “This is a key political decision that the leadership of Ukraine is making,” he said. Russia, which would like control of Ukraine’s gas pipeline network, has used the promise of much cheaper gas to try to coax Kiev into the Customs Union, which was set up in 2010 and offers tariff-free trade between members. Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich dismissed the promise as “humiliating”. Last month, Russia sounded a warning shot to Ukraine, conducting extra customs checks on Ukrainian imports over several days. Russian President Vladimir Putin has also spoken of possible “protective” measures by Moscow and its Customs Union allies. More than just losing geopolitical influence in the former Soviet region, Moscow is also concerned that Ukraine’s EU agreement could lead to the re-export of EU goods into Russia, mostly tariff-free, where they could threaten sales of Russian-made products. Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, speaking during a meeting of EU foreign ministers last week, criticised what he called Russia’s “economic warfare” against former Soviet countries that aim for closer trade ties with the European Union. Moldova is also seeking free trade agreements with the EU at a summit of EU leaders and their counterparts from some former Soviet states in November in Vilnius.