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Russia suspends military contacts with Turkey

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Photo: mouqawamahmusic.net

Moscow: Russia on Thursday suspended all military contacts with Turkey as ties between the two countries plummeted after the downing of a Russian warplane, the defense ministry said.

“Today (Thursday), all cooperation contacts have been suspended between Russian defense ministry and the Turkish Armed Forces…including the so-called hotline set up in order to avoid incidents during Russia’s air campaign against terrorist infrastructure in Syria,” the ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov told reporters.

Konashenkov said the Turkish side refused to hand the Russian military attache any materials on the downing of Russia’s Su-24 jet, Xinhua news agency reported.

Russian air force has ratcheted up attacks against terrorist targets in areas where one of the two pilots of the downed jet was rescued, said the spokesman, adding that Russian aircraft has conducted more than 130 missions in the past three days, hitting some 450 targets in eight provinces.

Konashenkov also revealed that the S-400 missile defense system has been put on combat duty at the Hmeimim base of the Russian air force in Syria.

Turkey-Russia relations have worsened after Turkey shot down a Russian Su-24 warplane on the Syrian border on Tuesday for alleged violation of its air space.

Denying the allegations, Russian President Vladimir Putin called the incident a “stab in the back”, and warned of serious consequences for bilateral relations.

(IANS)

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Facebook Kills 300 Fake Pages and Accounts Linked To Russia

The individuals handling these accounts primarily represented themselves as Ukrainian and they operated a variety of fake accounts while sharing local Ukrainian news stories

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Facebook, social media
Facebook kills over 300 Russia-linked fake accounts, Pages, (VOA)

Social networking giant Facebook on Thursday killed over 300 fake Pages and accounts linked to Russia that it said was “engaging in coordinated inauthentic behaviour”, almost two years after the US presidential election.

The social media giant removed 364 Pages and accounts as part of a network that originated in Russia and operated in the Baltics, Central Asia, the Caucasus, and Central and Eastern European countries.

“The two operations we found originated in Russia, and one was active in a variety of countries while the other was specific to Ukraine.

“Despite their misrepresentations of their identities, we found that these Pages and accounts were linked to employees of Sputnik, a news agency based in Moscow, and that some of the Pages frequently posted about topics like anti-NATO sentiment, protest movements, and anti-corruption,” Nathaniel Gleicher, Head of Cybersecurity Policy, Facebook, wrote in a blog post.

Facebook, photos
This photograph taken on May 16, 2018, shows a figurine standing in front of the logo of social network Facebook on a cracked screen of a smartphone in Paris. VOA

About $135,000 were spent in ads, and paid for in euros, roubles and dollars, over a time span from October 2013 to now.

Around 790,000 accounts followed one or more of these Pages (now taken down) on the social media platform.

“We’re taking down these Pages and accounts based on their behaviour, not the content they post. In these cases, the people behind this activity coordinated with one another and used fake accounts to misrepresent themselves,” Gleicher added.

The pages hosted about 190 events, with the most recent scheduled for January 2019, and about 1,200 people expressing interest in them.

We cannot confirm whether any of these events actually occurred, the company added.

Facebook, data
Facebook staring at bigger problems this year, warns analyst. VOA

Separately, the social networking giant removed another 107 pages, groups and accounts as well as 41 Instagram accounts that were designed to look like they were operating from Ukraine, but were in fact part of a network that originated in Russia.

Also Read: Facebook Violated Cyber Security Law: Vietnam

The individuals handling these accounts primarily represented themselves as Ukrainian and they operated a variety of fake accounts while sharing local Ukrainian news stories on topics ranging from weather, protests, NATO to health conditions at schools.

“We identified some technical overlap with Russia-based activity we saw prior to the US midterm elections, including behaviour that shared characteristics with previous Internet Research Agency (IRA) activity,” the company said. (IANS)