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Westlake Legal Group > fox-news/world/conflicts

3 US diplomats detained near secret Russian military training ground: officials

Three U.S. diplomats were removed from a train and detained Monday near a mysterious military site in northwestern Russia where a deadly explosion and radiation leak took place back in August, according to officials.

Russia’s Interfax news agency reported that the three U.S. diplomats were removed from a train when it arrived in Severodvinsk, a city of 183,000.

The U.S. State Department confirmed to Fox News the diplomats were taken off the train and were in the country on official travel after properly filing travel with the Russian Defense Ministry.

“The American diplomats were on official travel and had properly notified Russian authorities of their travel,” a State Department spokesperson told Fox News.

RUSSIA NUCLEAR MISSILE EXPLOSION RESULTED IN RADIOACTIVE ISOTOPES FOUND IN TEST SAMPLES AFTER ACCIDENT

Russian broadcaster REN-TV reported the three Americans did not present documents for staying in Severodvinsk, which is a city located in a list of territories that are under regulation for visits by foreign citizens.

Westlake Legal Group RussiaMap1 3 US diplomats detained near secret Russian military training ground: officials Travis Fedschun Jennifer Griffin fox-news/world/world-regions/russia fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox-news/world/disasters/nuclear fox-news/world/conflicts fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/state-department fox news fnc/world fnc article 47ccd6d2-cb7c-576c-a968-e1e350e6d0c0

Three U.S. diplomats were removed from a train and detained Monday after arriving in the city of Severodvinsk, located near a secret military testing site where a deadly explosion and radiation leak took place in August. (Bing/Fox News)

The group of Americans was detained after Russian authorities conducted a check of passengers on the train when it arrived in the city, according to REN-TV.

Interfax reported the U.S. diplomats had been let go, but are regarded to have broken Russian law. Officials have not yet released any additional information.

RUSSIA NUCLEAR MISSILE EXPLOSION CAUSED 2 WORKERS TO DIE OF RADIATION SICKNESS, REPORT SAYS

The port city of Severodvinsk is located near the military shooting range in Nyonoksa, in the country’s far northern Arkhangelsk region.

On Aug. 8, five nuclear workers were killed during a rocket engine test near the White Sea in an area considered part of the testing range. Russia’s Defense Ministry initially said the blast killed two people and injured six, but the state-controlled nuclear agency, Rosatom, later disclosed that the explosion killed five of its workers and injured three others. Rosatom said the explosion occurred while engineers were testing “a nuclear isotope power source” for a rocket and were thrown into the sea by the explosion.

A Russian newspaper later reported that two of the patients that were injured in the blast died from radiation sickness before they could be taken to Moscow for treatment.

The mysterious explosion was followed by a brief rise in radiation levels in nearby Severodvinsk, but the authorities insisted the recorded levels didn’t pose any danger to local residents. Russia’s state weather agency, Rosgidromet, said it believed radiation levels had risen up to 16 times after the accident when a cloud of radioactive gases drifted across the area in the wake of the blast.

Weeks later, the weather agency said that radioactive isotopes were been discovered in test samples.

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Russian officials’ changing and contradictory accounts of the incident have drawn comparisons to Soviet attempts to cover up the 1986 explosion and fire at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine, the world’s worst nuclear disaster.

The Russian Defense Ministry at first denied any radiation leak in the incident, even as authorities in nearby Severodvinsk reported a brief rise in radiation levels and advised residents to stay indoors and close the windows.

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President Vladimir Putin has praised the victims of the disaster, saying they were doing “very important work for the nation’s security,” but kept mum on what type of weapon they were testing. U.S. defense officials and outside observers believe it was a missile Russia calls the 9M730 Burevestnik. The NATO alliance has designated it the SSC-X-9 Skyfall, which was first revealed by Putin in March 2018 along with other doomsday weapons.

Westlake Legal Group RussiaMap1 3 US diplomats detained near secret Russian military training ground: officials Travis Fedschun Jennifer Griffin fox-news/world/world-regions/russia fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox-news/world/disasters/nuclear fox-news/world/conflicts fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/state-department fox news fnc/world fnc article 47ccd6d2-cb7c-576c-a968-e1e350e6d0c0   Westlake Legal Group RussiaMap1 3 US diplomats detained near secret Russian military training ground: officials Travis Fedschun Jennifer Griffin fox-news/world/world-regions/russia fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox-news/world/disasters/nuclear fox-news/world/conflicts fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/state-department fox news fnc/world fnc article 47ccd6d2-cb7c-576c-a968-e1e350e6d0c0

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Turkish airstrikes in Syria reportedly target journalist convoy, civilians; at least 9 dead

Fresh airstrikes from Turkey reportedly targeted civilians and a group of foreign reporters in the Syrian border town of Ras al-Ayn, according to monitoring groups and Syrian Kurdish officials.

The Syrian Observatory of Human Rights said the airstrike killed at least nine people – including five civilians on Sunday, while other reports claimed that the convoy included foreign journalists, according to Haaretz.

A spokesman for the Kurdish forces put the death toll at 11 killed and more than 74 injured, but it was not immediately clear how many were civilians.

Westlake Legal Group Syria-10-13-2 Turkish airstrikes in Syria reportedly target journalist convoy, civilians; at least 9 dead Frank Miles fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/syria fox-news/world/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc article 1f341aeb-2042-5420-b235-cc1589a18da5

In this photo taken from the Turkish side of the border between Turkey and Syria, in Akcakale, Sanliurfa province, southeastern Turkey, Turkish-backed Syrian opposition fighters on pick-up trucks drive in Tal Abyad, Syria, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019. State-run Anadolu news agency reported Tal Abyad had fallen to a Turkish military offensive on Sunday. Even after the announcement, sporadic gunfire and the occasional mortar round could still be heard in the town, which is on the border with Turkey, while smoke could be seen rising from several points in the town. (AP Photo/Cavit Ozgul)

France 24 reported that at least one journalist was also among the dead, while two French reporters were also injured in the attack. The nationality of the slain journalist was not immediately confirmed.

ESPER DEFENDS US WITHDRAWL FROM NORTHERN SYRIA AS TRUMP DECRIES ‘ENDLESS WARS,’ TOUTS SANCTION ON TURKEY

French reporter Stephanie Perez said on Twitter that she as on the convoy with Kurdish civilians when the airstrikes hit.

“Our team is fine but some colleagues are dead,” she wrote in French.

Hawar News confirmed that one of their journalists was killed in the airstrike, while the northern Syria-based North Press Agency (NPA) reported one of its journalists – named by the agency as Delsoz Yousef – was among the injured.

Images of the attack showed bodies and severed limbs strewn in the street. Some of those killed appeared to be carrying guns. Activists said the gunmen were guarding the convoy.

WHY IS TURKEY ATTACKING THE KURDS? EXPERT BREAKS IT DOWN?

The airstrikes came hours after President Trump ordered all U.S. troops to withdraw from the area to avoid getting caught in the middle of the fast-escalating conflict. The announcement represents a major shift in alliances for Syria’s Kurds after they were abandoned by the U.S., with whom they were longtime partners in the fight against the Islamic State group.

The Syrian government said it would deploy troops along the border with Turkey to help Kurdish fighters fend of Turkey’s invasion of northern Syria, the Kurds said.

Westlake Legal Group Syria-10-13-1 Turkish airstrikes in Syria reportedly target journalist convoy, civilians; at least 9 dead Frank Miles fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/syria fox-news/world/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc article 1f341aeb-2042-5420-b235-cc1589a18da5

A child stands across from a building damaged by a mortar fired from inside Syra, in Akcakale, Sanliurfa province, southeastern Turkey, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019. Incoming shells fired from northeastern Syria hit the house earlier on Sunday. Two residents were at the house and were evacuated. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

The dizzying developments reflected the rapidly growing chaos that has unfolded in the week since Trump ordered U.S. forces in the region to step aside, clearing the way for the Turkish attack on the Kurdish fighters it considers terrorists.

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced Sunday all American troops will withdraw from northern Syria because of the increasing danger posed by the fighting.

“We have American forces likely caught between two opposing advancing armies, and it’s a very untenable situation,” he said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” He did not say how many would withdraw or where they would go but that they represent most of the 1,000 U.S. troops in Syria.

Esper said that roughly 1,000 troops will be withdrawing from the north of the country. A U.S. official told Fox News that forces will not be leaving the country altogether, but will be moving southward.

MATTIS SAYS ISIS ‘WILL RESURGE’ IN SYRIA FOLLOWING TRUMP’S MOVE TO WITHDRAW US TROOPS

The Turkish military has said it aims to clear Syrian border towns of Kurdish fighters’ presence, saying they are a national security threat. Since Wednesday, Turkish troops and Syrian opposition fighters backed by Ankara have been advancing under the cover of airstrikes and artillery shelling.

Kurdish officials announced they will work with the Syrian government to fend off the Turkish invasion, deploying side by side along the border. Syrian TV said government troops were moving to the north to confront the Turkish invasion but gave no details.

A Syrian Kurdish official and a war monitor also said Syrian government forces were poised to enter Kurdish-controlled towns from which U.S. troops are pulling out, following a deal reached through Russia.

Westlake Legal Group Syria-10-13-3 Turkish airstrikes in Syria reportedly target journalist convoy, civilians; at least 9 dead Frank Miles fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/syria fox-news/world/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc article 1f341aeb-2042-5420-b235-cc1589a18da5

A Turkey-backed Syrian rebel fighter fires a weapon in the town of Tal Abyad, Syria October 13, 2019. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi – RC16435E4ED0

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the deal covered the towns of Kobani and Manbij. U.S. troops were deployed in the towns after they were cleared of Islamic State militants in 2015.

CLICK TO VISIT THE ALL-NEW FOXBUSINESS.COM

The Kurdish fighters had few options after the United States abandoned them, and it had been anticipated they would turn to the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad and its Russian allies for support.

The Syrian troop movements raise the risk of a clash between Syria and Turkey.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday ruled out any mediation in the dispute with the Kurds, saying Turkey won’t negotiate with “terrorists.” NATO member Turkey views the Syrian Kurdish fighters as terrorists because of their links to the Kurdish insurgency inside Turkey.

The United Nations said more than 130,000 Syrians have fled since the operation began last week. Turkey said 440 Kurdish fighters have been killed since the operation began Wednesday. The SDF said 56 of its fighters have died. Turkey also said four of its soldiers were killed, along with 16 allied Syrian fighters.

Fox News’ Ronn Blitzer, Lucia Suarez Sang and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6094509056001_6094514063001-vs Turkish airstrikes in Syria reportedly target journalist convoy, civilians; at least 9 dead Frank Miles fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/syria fox-news/world/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc article 1f341aeb-2042-5420-b235-cc1589a18da5   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6094509056001_6094514063001-vs Turkish airstrikes in Syria reportedly target journalist convoy, civilians; at least 9 dead Frank Miles fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/syria fox-news/world/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc article 1f341aeb-2042-5420-b235-cc1589a18da5

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Turkish airstrikes in Syria reportedly target journalist convoy, civilians; at least 9 dead

Fresh airstrikes from Turkey reportedly targeted civilians and a group of foreign reporters in the Syrian border town of Ras al-Ayn, according to monitoring groups and Syrian Kurdish officials.

The Syrian Observatory of Human Rights said the airstrike killed at least nine people – including five civilians on Sunday, while other reports claimed that the convoy included foreign journalists, according to Haaretz.

A spokesman for the Kurdish forces put the death toll at 11 killed and more than 74 injured, but it was not immediately clear how many were civilians.

Westlake Legal Group Syria-10-13-2 Turkish airstrikes in Syria reportedly target journalist convoy, civilians; at least 9 dead Frank Miles fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/syria fox-news/world/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc article 1f341aeb-2042-5420-b235-cc1589a18da5

In this photo taken from the Turkish side of the border between Turkey and Syria, in Akcakale, Sanliurfa province, southeastern Turkey, Turkish-backed Syrian opposition fighters on pick-up trucks drive in Tal Abyad, Syria, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019. State-run Anadolu news agency reported Tal Abyad had fallen to a Turkish military offensive on Sunday. Even after the announcement, sporadic gunfire and the occasional mortar round could still be heard in the town, which is on the border with Turkey, while smoke could be seen rising from several points in the town. (AP Photo/Cavit Ozgul)

France 24 reported that at least one journalist was also among the dead, while two French reporters were also injured in the attack. The nationality of the slain journalist was not immediately confirmed.

ESPER DEFENDS US WITHDRAWL FROM NORTHERN SYRIA AS TRUMP DECRIES ‘ENDLESS WARS,’ TOUTS SANCTION ON TURKEY

French reporter Stephanie Perez said on Twitter that she as on the convoy with Kurdish civilians when the airstrikes hit.

“Our team is fine but some colleagues are dead,” she wrote in French.

Hawar News confirmed that one of their journalists was killed in the airstrike, while the northern Syria-based North Press Agency (NPA) reported one of its journalists – named by the agency as Delsoz Yousef – was among the injured.

Images of the attack showed bodies and severed limbs strewn in the street. Some of those killed appeared to be carrying guns. Activists said the gunmen were guarding the convoy.

WHY IS TURKEY ATTACKING THE KURDS? EXPERT BREAKS IT DOWN?

The airstrikes came hours after President Trump ordered all U.S. troops to withdraw from the area to avoid getting caught in the middle of the fast-escalating conflict. The announcement represents a major shift in alliances for Syria’s Kurds after they were abandoned by the U.S., with whom they were longtime partners in the fight against the Islamic State group.

The Syrian government said it would deploy troops along the border with Turkey to help Kurdish fighters fend of Turkey’s invasion of northern Syria, the Kurds said.

Westlake Legal Group Syria-10-13-1 Turkish airstrikes in Syria reportedly target journalist convoy, civilians; at least 9 dead Frank Miles fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/syria fox-news/world/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc article 1f341aeb-2042-5420-b235-cc1589a18da5

A child stands across from a building damaged by a mortar fired from inside Syra, in Akcakale, Sanliurfa province, southeastern Turkey, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019. Incoming shells fired from northeastern Syria hit the house earlier on Sunday. Two residents were at the house and were evacuated. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

The dizzying developments reflected the rapidly growing chaos that has unfolded in the week since Trump ordered U.S. forces in the region to step aside, clearing the way for the Turkish attack on the Kurdish fighters it considers terrorists.

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced Sunday all American troops will withdraw from northern Syria because of the increasing danger posed by the fighting.

“We have American forces likely caught between two opposing advancing armies, and it’s a very untenable situation,” he said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” He did not say how many would withdraw or where they would go but that they represent most of the 1,000 U.S. troops in Syria.

Esper said that roughly 1,000 troops will be withdrawing from the north of the country. A U.S. official told Fox News that forces will not be leaving the country altogether, but will be moving southward.

MATTIS SAYS ISIS ‘WILL RESURGE’ IN SYRIA FOLLOWING TRUMP’S MOVE TO WITHDRAW US TROOPS

The Turkish military has said it aims to clear Syrian border towns of Kurdish fighters’ presence, saying they are a national security threat. Since Wednesday, Turkish troops and Syrian opposition fighters backed by Ankara have been advancing under the cover of airstrikes and artillery shelling.

Kurdish officials announced they will work with the Syrian government to fend off the Turkish invasion, deploying side by side along the border. Syrian TV said government troops were moving to the north to confront the Turkish invasion but gave no details.

A Syrian Kurdish official and a war monitor also said Syrian government forces were poised to enter Kurdish-controlled towns from which U.S. troops are pulling out, following a deal reached through Russia.

Westlake Legal Group Syria-10-13-3 Turkish airstrikes in Syria reportedly target journalist convoy, civilians; at least 9 dead Frank Miles fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/syria fox-news/world/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc article 1f341aeb-2042-5420-b235-cc1589a18da5

A Turkey-backed Syrian rebel fighter fires a weapon in the town of Tal Abyad, Syria October 13, 2019. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi – RC16435E4ED0

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the deal covered the towns of Kobani and Manbij. U.S. troops were deployed in the towns after they were cleared of Islamic State militants in 2015.

CLICK TO VISIT THE ALL-NEW FOXBUSINESS.COM

The Kurdish fighters had few options after the United States abandoned them, and it had been anticipated they would turn to the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad and its Russian allies for support.

The Syrian troop movements raise the risk of a clash between Syria and Turkey.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday ruled out any mediation in the dispute with the Kurds, saying Turkey won’t negotiate with “terrorists.” NATO member Turkey views the Syrian Kurdish fighters as terrorists because of their links to the Kurdish insurgency inside Turkey.

The United Nations said more than 130,000 Syrians have fled since the operation began last week. Turkey said 440 Kurdish fighters have been killed since the operation began Wednesday. The SDF said 56 of its fighters have died. Turkey also said four of its soldiers were killed, along with 16 allied Syrian fighters.

Fox News’ Ronn Blitzer, Lucia Suarez Sang and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6094509056001_6094514063001-vs Turkish airstrikes in Syria reportedly target journalist convoy, civilians; at least 9 dead Frank Miles fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/syria fox-news/world/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc article 1f341aeb-2042-5420-b235-cc1589a18da5   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6094509056001_6094514063001-vs Turkish airstrikes in Syria reportedly target journalist convoy, civilians; at least 9 dead Frank Miles fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/syria fox-news/world/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc article 1f341aeb-2042-5420-b235-cc1589a18da5

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Demi Lovato apologizes for ‘offending anyone’ following ‘magical’ trip to Israel

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_5998238116001_5998234551001-vs Demi Lovato apologizes for 'offending anyone' following 'magical' trip to Israel Nicole Darrah fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/world-regions/israel fox-news/world/religion/judaism fox-news/world/religion/christianity fox-news/world/religion fox-news/world/conflicts fox-news/us/religion/judaism fox-news/us/religion fox-news/tech/companies/instagram fox-news/person/demi-lovato fox-news/faith-values/faith fox-news/entertainment/music fox-news/entertainment/genres/political fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc fc74d303-df64-57b9-bb96-d900c859ce31 article

Demi Lovato is apologizing after some characterized her recent trip to Israel, during which she was baptized in the Jordan River, as a political statement.

Lovato, 27, traveled to the Middle East after she “accepted a free trip to Israel in exchange for a few [social media] posts.” But her trip apparently sparked backlash, as the singer saw the need to explain the reasoning for her experience in a follow-up Instagram Story.

DEMI LOVATO CELEBRATES ISRAEL TRIP, BAPTIZED IN SAME RIVER AS JESUS: ‘I’VE NEVER FELT MORE RENEWED’

“I’m extremely frustrated,” she wrote. “No one told me there would be anything wrong with going or that I could possibly be offending anyone. With that being said, I’m sorry if I’ve hurt or offended anyone, that was not my intention.”

The former Disney star said: “Sometimes people present you with opportunities and no one tells you the potential backlash you could face in return. This was meant to be a spiritual experience for me, NOT A POLITICAL STATEMENT and now I realize it hurt people and for that I’m sorry.”

DEMI LOVATO RETURNS TO ACTING WITH ‘WILL & GRACE’ ROLE

Lovato went on to apologize for not being “more educated, and sorry for thinking this trip was just a spiritual experience.”

“Going against all advice right now and apologizing because it feels right to me and I’d rather get in trouble for being authentic to myself, than staying quiet to please other people.”

It’s unclear what backlash Lovato has experienced, as it appears the comments on the three Instagram posts from her trip — of her at the Western Wall, the holiest site in Judaism; at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial; and at the Shalva National Center, which provides care for children with special needs — are turned off.

However, according to Entertainment Tonight, many criticized her experience as taking a side in the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

‘CHRISTIAN BIRTHRIGHT’ TRIP TO ISRAEL FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS IS TO ‘WALK IN FOOTSTEPS OF’ JESUS

Lovato detailed her travels to Israel in recent days in a series of Instagram posts, explaining that she’s “an American singer” who was raised Christian but has Jewish ancestors, and said, “There is something absolutely magical about Israel.”

She said she had “never felt such a sense of spirituality or connection to God…something I’ve been missing for a few years now.”

CLICK TO VISIT THE ALL-NEW FOXBUSINESS.COM

The “Confident” singer said the experience “fill[ed] the God-sized hole in my heart.”

Fox News’ Caleb Parke contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_5998238116001_5998234551001-vs Demi Lovato apologizes for 'offending anyone' following 'magical' trip to Israel Nicole Darrah fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/world-regions/israel fox-news/world/religion/judaism fox-news/world/religion/christianity fox-news/world/religion fox-news/world/conflicts fox-news/us/religion/judaism fox-news/us/religion fox-news/tech/companies/instagram fox-news/person/demi-lovato fox-news/faith-values/faith fox-news/entertainment/music fox-news/entertainment/genres/political fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc fc74d303-df64-57b9-bb96-d900c859ce31 article   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_5998238116001_5998234551001-vs Demi Lovato apologizes for 'offending anyone' following 'magical' trip to Israel Nicole Darrah fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/world-regions/israel fox-news/world/religion/judaism fox-news/world/religion/christianity fox-news/world/religion fox-news/world/conflicts fox-news/us/religion/judaism fox-news/us/religion fox-news/tech/companies/instagram fox-news/person/demi-lovato fox-news/faith-values/faith fox-news/entertainment/music fox-news/entertainment/genres/political fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc fc74d303-df64-57b9-bb96-d900c859ce31 article

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Hong Kong police, protesters face off in fresh clashes as fights break out over ‘Lennon Walls’ tear-down

Hong Kong police and anti-government protesters faced off again Saturday in renewed clashes over ramped-up demands for China to cease encroaching on personal freedoms in the semi-autonomous territory.

Several thousand people marched in the northwest district of Tuen Mun and reporters saw at least one person arrested. Protesters threw gasoline bombs and bricks at police and police fired tear gas. There were no reports of serious injuries.

Westlake Legal Group HongKong720 Hong Kong police, protesters face off in fresh clashes as fights break out over 'Lennon Walls' tear-down Morgan Phillips fox-news/world/world-regions/hong-kong fox-news/world/world-regions/china fox-news/world/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc ddfe5482-f001-5b37-b56f-60d9c583043b article

Police face a burning barricade during protests in Hong Kong on Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019. Protesters in Hong Kong burned a Chinese flag and police fired pepper spray Saturday in renewed clashes over grievances by the anti-government demonstrators. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

YEMEN’S HOUTHI REBELS ANNOUNCE HALT IN ATTACKS ON SAUDI ARABIA

Brawls broke out in other areas as pro-China groups tore down protest posters at subway stations. The so-called “Lennon Walls,” large mosaics of Post-it notes calling for democracy and denouncing perceived Chinese meddling, have popped up around Hong Kong since the protests began more than three months ago. The walls take their name from the John Lennon Wall in communist-controlled Prague, which was covered with Beatles lyrics and messages of political dissidence.

A pro-Beijing city legislator Junius Ho had called on supporters to clean up approximately 100 Lennon Walls Saturday, but subsequently announced the walls would not be cleared up “for the sake of safety,” according to Reuters.

Hong Kong is in the fourth month of sometimes violent protests that occur every weekend. They started with opposition to a proposed extradition law and have expanded to include demands for greater democracy. More than 1,300 have been arrested so far.

Protesters marched a mile and a half from a playground to a government office building in Tuen Mun as they chanted, “Reclaim Hong Kong!” and “Revolution of our times!” Some took down a Chinese flag from a pole in front of a government office and burned it.

Protesters in Tuen Mun also complained about a group of women from mainland China who sing in a local park. Residents say they are too loud and accuse some of asking for money or engaging in prostitution.

YOUTUBER AGREES TO PAY FAMILY OF GIRL WHO DIED COPYING HER COOKING VIDEO

Those complaints prompted a similar march in July, highlighting tension between Hong Kong residents and migrants from mainland China.

Protesters complain Beijing and Lam’s government are eroding the “high degree of autonomy” and Western-style civil liberties promised to the former British colony when it was returned to China in 1997.

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Last weekend, tens of thousands of protesters threw Molotov cocktails at government offices and police fired chemical-laced blue water and tear gas at protesters. Hospitals said eight people were injured throughout the day, including three in serious condition. Some protesters that day stood outside the British consulate singing “God Save the Queen” and chanting “UK save Hong Kong” as they waved British flags, calling for international support of their campaign.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group HongKong720 Hong Kong police, protesters face off in fresh clashes as fights break out over 'Lennon Walls' tear-down Morgan Phillips fox-news/world/world-regions/hong-kong fox-news/world/world-regions/china fox-news/world/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc ddfe5482-f001-5b37-b56f-60d9c583043b article   Westlake Legal Group HongKong720 Hong Kong police, protesters face off in fresh clashes as fights break out over 'Lennon Walls' tear-down Morgan Phillips fox-news/world/world-regions/hong-kong fox-news/world/world-regions/china fox-news/world/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc ddfe5482-f001-5b37-b56f-60d9c583043b article

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Hong Kong police deploy water cannons amid clashes with protesters in 15th consecutive weekend of unrest

The streets of downtown Hong Kong turned into the site of clashes between protesters and police on Sunday as the political turmoil continues in the global financial center for a 15th straight weekend.

Tens of thousands of pro-democracy supporters marched through downtown in defiance of a police ban before violence broke out later in the day as police fired chemical-laced blue water meant to mark protesters as well as tear gas at demonstrators who lobbed Molotov cocktails outside the Hong Kong government office complex.

Authorities had turned down a request by the Civil Human Rights Front to hold the march, but the demonstrators were undeterred. Instead, a mixed crowd made up of hardcore protesters in black wearing masks alongside families with children marched for more than  1.2 miles, some waving U.S. and British flags.

HONG KONG’S CARRIE LAM SAYS WITHDRAWAL OF EXTRADITION BILL OWN DECISION, NOT BEIJING’S

“We hope our children have a future, because now in Hong Kong, we cannot see any hope,” a woman named Charis, who brought her 7-month old daughter to the demonstration, told the Wall Street Journal. “We need to stand here, we need to walk here.”

Westlake Legal Group hk6 Hong Kong police deploy water cannons amid clashes with protesters in 15th consecutive weekend of unrest Travis Fedschun fox-news/world/world-regions/hong-kong fox-news/world/world-regions/china fox-news/world/world-regions/asia fox-news/world/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc article 1d7e592c-8dff-5d57-8b9a-dbb86ad3a7bf

An anti-government protester throws a Molotov cocktail during a demonstration near Central Government Complex in Hong Kong, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

The march featured protesters who burned Chinese flags and tore down banners congratulating China’s ruling Communist Party, which will celebrate its 70th year in power on Oct. 1. In familiar scenes, some protesters smashed glass windows and surveillance cameras at a subway station exit.

Some protesters also carried large American flags and a large banner that read, “President Trump Please Liberate Hong Kong.”

Westlake Legal Group hk1 Hong Kong police deploy water cannons amid clashes with protesters in 15th consecutive weekend of unrest Travis Fedschun fox-news/world/world-regions/hong-kong fox-news/world/world-regions/china fox-news/world/world-regions/asia fox-news/world/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc article 1d7e592c-8dff-5d57-8b9a-dbb86ad3a7bf

Protesters carry U.S. flags during a rally in Hong Kong, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

Many in the crowd also sang “Glory to Hong Kong,” a new anthem of the protest movement, according to videos from those at the scene.

Earlier Sunday, hundreds of protesters waved British flags, sang “God Save the Queen” and chanted “UK save Hong Kong” outside the British Consulate as they stepped up calls for international support for their campaign.

Westlake Legal Group hk2 Hong Kong police deploy water cannons amid clashes with protesters in 15th consecutive weekend of unrest Travis Fedschun fox-news/world/world-regions/hong-kong fox-news/world/world-regions/china fox-news/world/world-regions/asia fox-news/world/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc article 1d7e592c-8dff-5d57-8b9a-dbb86ad3a7bf

Protesters carry a British flag gather at a shopping district during a rally in Hong Kong, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

With banners declaring “one country, two systems is dead,” they repeated calls for Hong Kong’s former colonial ruler to ensure the city’s autonomy is upheld under agreements made when it ceded power to China in 1997. Demonstrators held similar rallies Sept. 1 at the British facility and last weekend at the U.S. Consulate.

The marches disrupted traffic, and many shops, including the Sogo department store in Causeway Bay, one of Hong Kong’s largest department stores, closed their doors.

Hundreds of protesters later targeted the government office complex, throwing bricks and petrol bombs through police barriers. They were met by police responding with tear gas and water cannon trucks to spray chemical-laced water as well as a blue liquid to help them identify suspects.

Westlake Legal Group hk3 Hong Kong police deploy water cannons amid clashes with protesters in 15th consecutive weekend of unrest Travis Fedschun fox-news/world/world-regions/hong-kong fox-news/world/world-regions/china fox-news/world/world-regions/asia fox-news/world/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc article 1d7e592c-8dff-5d57-8b9a-dbb86ad3a7bf

A police vehicle sprays blue-colored water towards anti-government protesters during a demonstration near Central Government Complex in Hong Kong, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Protesters retreated, but regrouped in the nearby Wan Chai neighborhood, setting a fire outside a subway station exit and on the streets. They fled again after riot police advanced.

Several fights were also reported on city streets, according to the South China Morning Post.

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Various videos on social media showed people clashing on city streets into the night.

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Police had earlier warned in a statement that the assembly was illegal and urged protesters to “stop their illegal acts.”

The protests were triggered in June by an extradition bill that many saw as an example of China’s increasing intrusion and at chipping away at Hong Kong residents’ freedoms and rights, many of which are not accorded to people in mainland China.

Hong Kong’s government promised this month to withdraw the bill, which would have allowed some criminal suspects to be sent to mainland China for trial, but protesters have widened their demands to include direct elections for the city’s leaders and police accountability.

More than 1,300 people have been arrested amid increasing clashes between protesters and police, who demonstrators have accused of abuses.

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The unrest has battered Hong Kong’s economy, which was already reeling from the U.S.-China trade war. It is also seen as an embarrassment to Beijing, which has accused foreign powers of fomenting the unrest.

Westlake Legal Group HK7 Hong Kong police deploy water cannons amid clashes with protesters in 15th consecutive weekend of unrest Travis Fedschun fox-news/world/world-regions/hong-kong fox-news/world/world-regions/china fox-news/world/world-regions/asia fox-news/world/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc article 1d7e592c-8dff-5d57-8b9a-dbb86ad3a7bf

Thousands of Hong Kong people chanted slogans and marched Sunday at a downtown shopping district in defiance of a police ban. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

Police also banned a planned Civil Human Rights Front march on Aug. 31, but protesters turned up anyway. Clashes erupted that night, with police storming a subway car and hitting passengers with batons and pepper spray.

On Saturday, pro-democracy protesters and supporters of the central government in Beijing clashed at a Hong Kong shopping mall and several public places. Police arrested more than a dozen people and hospital authorities said 25 were injured.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group hk5 Hong Kong police deploy water cannons amid clashes with protesters in 15th consecutive weekend of unrest Travis Fedschun fox-news/world/world-regions/hong-kong fox-news/world/world-regions/china fox-news/world/world-regions/asia fox-news/world/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc article 1d7e592c-8dff-5d57-8b9a-dbb86ad3a7bf   Westlake Legal Group hk5 Hong Kong police deploy water cannons amid clashes with protesters in 15th consecutive weekend of unrest Travis Fedschun fox-news/world/world-regions/hong-kong fox-news/world/world-regions/china fox-news/world/world-regions/asia fox-news/world/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc article 1d7e592c-8dff-5d57-8b9a-dbb86ad3a7bf

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Iranian female soccer fan ‘blue girl’ dies after setting herself on fire

An Iranian female soccer fan who faced a potentially lengthy sentence for trying to enter a soccer stadium dressed as a man has died after setting herself on fire a week ago outside a court, a semi-official news agency reported Tuesday.

The woman, Sahar Khodayari, died at a Tehran hospital on Monday, the Shafaghna news agency reported.

The 30-year-old set herself on fire last week after reportedly learning she may face between six months to two years in prison.

Khodayari was arrested back in March while trying to enter a soccer match for her favorite Iranian soccer team, Esteghlal. She was pretending to be a man and wore a blue hairpiece and a long overcoat when the police stopped her.

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Khodayari spent three nights in jail before she was released on bail and waited six months for her court case. When she appeared at court, Khodayari found out her trial had been postponed because the judge had a family emergency, and later overheard someone talking about her possible prison sentence, the BBC reported.

Westlake Legal Group IranSoccer1 Iranian female soccer fan 'blue girl' dies after setting herself on fire Travis Fedschun fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world/conflicts fox-news/sports/soccer fox-news/sports fox news fnc/world fnc article 9809cc69-61eb-5605-9d9f-b887bf11618d

In this Oct. 16, 2018 file photo, Iranian women cheer as they wave their country’s flag after authorities in a rare move allowed a select group of women into Azadi stadium to watch a friendly soccer match between Iran and Bolivia, in Tehran, Iran. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)

She then left the courthouse and set herself ablaze in front of the building, and later died at the hospital.

Westlake Legal Group iranbluegirl1 Iranian female soccer fan 'blue girl' dies after setting herself on fire Travis Fedschun fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world/conflicts fox-news/sports/soccer fox-news/sports fox news fnc/world fnc article 9809cc69-61eb-5605-9d9f-b887bf11618d

Sahar Khodayari, an Iranian female soccer fan known as “Blue Girl” for the colors supporting of the Esteghlal team, died after setting herself on fire after learning she may serve a six-month prison sentence for trying to enter a soccer stadium where women are banned, a semi-official news agency reported Tuesday. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)

Khodayari, who had graduated in computer sciences, was known as the “Blue Girl” on social media for the colors of her favorite Iranian soccer team. Esteghlal issued a statement, offering condolences to Khodayari’s family.

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The tragic death immediately drew an outcry among some soccer stars and known figures in Iran, where women are banned from soccer stadiums, though they are allowed at some other sports, such as volleyball.

Former Bayern Munich midfielder Ali Karimi — who played 127 matches for Iran and has been a vocal advocate of ending the ban on women — urged Iranians in a tweet to boycott soccer stadiums to protest Khodayari’s death.

Iranian-Armenian soccer player Andranik “Ando” Teymourian, the first Christian to be the captain of Iran’s national squad and also an Esteghlal player, said in a tweet that one of Tehran’s major soccer stadiums will be named after Khodayari, “once, in the future.”

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Women in Iran have been banned from going into stadiums to watch men’s sporting events since 1981, according to Human Rights Watch. The stadium ban may is not written into law, but is “ruthlessly enforced”, according to the organization.

Last October, authorities in Iran allowed a select group of women into Azadi stadium to watch a friendly soccer match between Iran and Bolivia, in Tehran, Iran. Iran’s government faced an Aug. 31 dead by Fifa to allow women to attend official football matches in order to “pave the way” for female attendees, the BBC previously reported.

Iran’s minister of information and communications technology, Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi, described the death of the female soccer fan as a “bitter incident.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group iranbluegirl1 Iranian female soccer fan 'blue girl' dies after setting herself on fire Travis Fedschun fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world/conflicts fox-news/sports/soccer fox-news/sports fox news fnc/world fnc article 9809cc69-61eb-5605-9d9f-b887bf11618d   Westlake Legal Group iranbluegirl1 Iranian female soccer fan 'blue girl' dies after setting herself on fire Travis Fedschun fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world/conflicts fox-news/sports/soccer fox-news/sports fox news fnc/world fnc article 9809cc69-61eb-5605-9d9f-b887bf11618d

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Taliban talks dead: what comes next for the U.S. in Afghanistan?

Days after U.S. Army Sgt. First Class Elis Angel Barreto Ortiz and eleven civilians were killed in a Kabul suicide bombing – for which the Taliban claimed responsibility – President Trump said Monday that peace talks between the United States and Taliban leaders are dead.

So what comes next for war-ravaged Afghanistan and U.S. involvement in the war there that has raged for the past 18 years?

“The entire Afghan policy is currently in upheaval. What happens next depends on whether Trump will listen to Secretary Pompeo, who still believes a deal with the Taliban is the right thing,” Bill Roggio, Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and editor of the Long War Journal, told Fox News. “Or the growing chorus, including among influential Trump supporters, who oppose a bad deal with the Taliban.”

Roggio surmised that if the president does follow the advice of his secretary of state, talks could resume in a couple weeks. If not, the military will likely withdraw a number of troops without any agreement in place.

“To be clear, the US is under no obligation to make a deal with the Taliban to leave Afghanistan,” he stressed.

But in sharp contrast to the calm that inking a deal with the hardline Islamist faction was supposed to bring, Trump also tweeted Monday that over the past four days, the United States has “been hitting our enemy harder than at any time in the last ten years.”

HOW THE TALIBAN REMAINED DOMINANT IN AFGHANISTAN: TERRIFYING TACTICS AND AN ADVANCING WEAPONS ARSENAL

For the past twelve months, the U.S Special Envoy and former ambassador to Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, had been hammering terms of an agreement in Doha, Qatar. Late last month – following nine intense rounds of talks – a deal reportedly reached its final stage, designed to bring an end to the U.S’s protracted engagement in Afghanistan.

According to news reports, the now sidelined accord was said to have stipulated the exit of 14,000 American forces through to the end of 2020. In exchange, the Taliban pledged that it would not allow the conflict-wracked nation to be a safe haven for terrorist groups that threatened the security of the U.S.

But the speed with which the fragile dialogue fell apart has caught experts and analysts by surprise.

“A little over a week ago, there was little opposition to the (peace) deal. Trump was right to halt it, it was a bad deal that absolves the Taliban’s role in providing a safe haven for Al Qaeda prior to and after 9/11,” Roggio said. “It would have been a humiliating defeat for the United States.”

Despite the efforts to reach a diplomatic conclusion to the stalemated conflict, Taliban-inspired attacks have continued with jarring frequency in recent months.

“With or without a large U.S. presence, the current civil war with the Taliban goes on. Kabul still controls vast internal security forces who can hold territory, and there is still foreign aid and logistical support coming in – China and India want a stable government in Afghanistan,” noted Miguel Miranda, an expert analyst in military technology in Asia. “This means the Afghan government won’t crumble overnight. But the Taliban can keep fighting, keep trying to capture cities and subvert local authorities. It’s a sad state of affairs.”

Miranda suspects the talks will resume at some point – likely after next month’s presidential elections in Afghanistan – with a deal centered on four conditions.

“The Taliban will not harbor terrorist groups, a U.S/NATO exit from the country, national dialogue for peace and a permanent ceasefire and a ‘normal’ country,” he conjectured.

Nonetheless, the negotiations have been fodder for criticism since they started, in large part because the Kabul government was not granted a seat at the table. The Taliban has maintained that the Ashraf Ghani leadership are not the legitimate rulers of Afghanistan and refused their participation.

Defense Priorities Policy Director Benjamin H. Friedman does not anticipate the now frozen arrangement to change the calculus.

“The United States will likely proceed with the initial withdrawal of forces regardless of the deal’s status, but it’s hard to say given the president’s fickleness,” he said. “We should proceed with a withdrawal with or without the Taliban’s permission since that is what is in our best interest.”

Westlake Legal Group AP19243304725498 Taliban talks dead: what comes next for the U.S. in Afghanistan? Hollie McKay fox-news/world/terrorism/al-qaeda fox-news/world/conflicts/afghanistan fox-news/world/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc f80aa623-e13b-5d3e-8719-ac5f670991f3 article

Afghan security forces arrive during a fight against Taliban fighters in Kunduz province north of Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019. The Taliban have launched a new large-scale attack on one of Afghanistan’s main cities, Kunduz, and taken hospital patients as hostages, the government said Saturday, even as the insurgent group continued negotiations with the United States on ending America’s longest war. (AP Photo/Bashir Khan Safi)

According to a well-placed U.S. defense source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, a deal is not likely to be revived in the immediate future, in spite of the insistence of some U.S. officials that it isn’t all over.

“The Taliban will use this as propaganda, and many in the U.S. seem quite comfortable with the prospect of just sending in black ops when things pop up,” the source noted. “People are just tired of the whole situation and the president certainly doesn’t want it to become a campaign issue. I think we are going back to small hits and less (nation) building.”

AFGHAN WOMEN FEAR RENEWED CHAPTER OF SHARIA LAW AND REGRESSION OF RIGHTS UNDER TALIBAN’S THUMB

The view from Afghanistan is a mixture of both relief and concern, with many taken aback by Washington’s secret plan to host the Taliban delegation in Camp David this week, within days of the anniversary of 9/11, before Trump’s weekend announcement he was pulling the plug.

“The news of the Camp David meeting was shocking, and an insult to our terrorism victims. We’re thankful President Trump canceled it,” said Ahmad Muslem Hayat, a former Afghan military attaché in London. “But they will continue. The Taliban will try to increase its terror reign and kill more Afghan Army and U.S. troops.”

Sanjar Sohail, the publisher of Kabul’s Hasht e daily newspaper, concurred that the move to squash the secret meeting on American soil was the right one.

“The entire negotiations were a mistake from the start. It provided recognition and legitimacy to the Taliban, and we were worried after the last round of talks ended that the U.S. was going to abandon us,” he said. “There needs to be a ceasefire, the negotiations between the Taliban and the Afghan government.”

Westlake Legal Group AP19234555300525 Taliban talks dead: what comes next for the U.S. in Afghanistan? Hollie McKay fox-news/world/terrorism/al-qaeda fox-news/world/conflicts/afghanistan fox-news/world/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc f80aa623-e13b-5d3e-8719-ac5f670991f3 article

FILE – In this May 28, 2019 file photo, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Taliban group’s top political leader, third from left, arrives with other members of the Taliban delegation for talks in Moscow, Russia. U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and the Taliban have resumed negotiations on ending America’s longest war. A Taliban member said Khalilzad also had a one-on-one meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019, with Baradar, the Taliban’s lead negotiator, in Qatar, where the insurgent group has a political office. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)

But in the meantime, Afghans caught in the crossfire are bracing for an uptick in violence. And while the U.S. position going forward remains obscure, the Taliban hasn’t minced words – cautioning that the suspension of talks “will harm America more than anyone else.”

“It will damage its reputation, unmask its anti-peace policy to the world, even more, increase its loss of life and treasure and present its political interactions as erratic,” the organization said in a statement. “Such a reaction towards a single attack just before the signing of an agreement displays a lack of composure and experience.”

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And at least for the near future, Afghanistan’s bloodletting will continue.

“We will accept nothing less than the complete end of occupation and allowing Afghans to decide their own fate,” the Taliban added. “And we shall continue our jihad for this great cause and maintain our strong belief in ultimate victory, Allah willing.”

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6084657976001_6084652377001-vs Taliban talks dead: what comes next for the U.S. in Afghanistan? Hollie McKay fox-news/world/terrorism/al-qaeda fox-news/world/conflicts/afghanistan fox-news/world/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc f80aa623-e13b-5d3e-8719-ac5f670991f3 article   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6084657976001_6084652377001-vs Taliban talks dead: what comes next for the U.S. in Afghanistan? Hollie McKay fox-news/world/terrorism/al-qaeda fox-news/world/conflicts/afghanistan fox-news/world/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc f80aa623-e13b-5d3e-8719-ac5f670991f3 article

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Russia, Ukraine release 70 in major prisoner exchange, Trump calls it a ‘first giant step to peace’

Some of the highest-profile prisoners caught up in a bitter standoff between Ukraine and Russia have been released in a major prisoner exchange.

The 70 people – 35 from each country – arrived in their respective countries Saturday after their overnight release, marking a deal that could help advance relations between the two countries and end 5 years of fighting in Ukraine’s east.

President Trump praised both countries in a tweet Saturday morning, calling it “perhaps a first giant step to peace.”

Among the prisoners released by Russia was Ukrainian film director Oleg Sentsov, whose conviction for preparing terrorist attacks was strongly denounced aboard.

Westlake Legal Group AP19250393036447 Russia, Ukraine release 70 in major prisoner exchange, Trump calls it a 'first giant step to peace' Lucia Suarez Sang fox-news/world/world-regions/russia fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox-news/world/conflicts/ukraine fox-news/world/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc article 72cc582d-13ed-53b4-af23-94bdb032330c

Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov hugs his daughter upon his arrival at Boryspil airport, outside Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019. (AP)

Also released were 24 Ukrainian sailors taken with a ship the Russian navy seized last year in the Kerch Strait, located between the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov next to Russia-annexed Crimea.

“Hell has ended; everyone is alive and that is the main thing,” Vyacheslav Zinchenko, 30, one of the released sailors, said.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy greeted the freed prisoners as they stepped down from the airplane that had brought them from Moscow to Kyiv’s Boryspil airport.

“We have made the first step. It was very complicated. Further, we will come closer to the return of our (war) prisoners,” Zelenskiy said of the prisoner exchange.

Westlake Legal Group AP19250412060678 Russia, Ukraine release 70 in major prisoner exchange, Trump calls it a 'first giant step to peace' Lucia Suarez Sang fox-news/world/world-regions/russia fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox-news/world/conflicts/ukraine fox-news/world/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc article 72cc582d-13ed-53b4-af23-94bdb032330c

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, right, greets Ukrainian prisoners upon their arrival at Boryspil airport, outside Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019. (AP)

Most of the ex-detainees appeared to be in good physical condition, although one struggled down the steps on crutches and another was held by the arms as he slowly navigated the steps.

The prisoners released by Ukraine included Volodymyr Tsemakh, who commanded a separatist rebel air defense unit in the area where a Malaysian airliner was shot down in 2014, killing all 298 people aboard.

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Westlake Legal Group RT-Volodymyr-Tsemakh Russia, Ukraine release 70 in major prisoner exchange, Trump calls it a 'first giant step to peace' Lucia Suarez Sang fox-news/world/world-regions/russia fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox-news/world/conflicts/ukraine fox-news/world/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc article 72cc582d-13ed-53b4-af23-94bdb032330c

Volodymyr Tsemakh, suspected of involvement in the downing of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 plane in 2014, stands inside a defendants’ cage during a court hearing in Kiev, Ukraine September 5, 2019. (Reuters)

At Moscow’s Vnukovo airport, the released prisoners remained on the plane for about 15 minutes for unknown reasons. When they came off, a bus drove them to a medical facility for examination.

Russia said it would release a full list of its citizens freed by Ukraine later Saturday.

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The exchange comes amid renewed hope that a solution can be found to the fighting in Ukraine’s east that has killed 13,000 people since 2014.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group AP19250393036447 Russia, Ukraine release 70 in major prisoner exchange, Trump calls it a 'first giant step to peace' Lucia Suarez Sang fox-news/world/world-regions/russia fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox-news/world/conflicts/ukraine fox-news/world/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc article 72cc582d-13ed-53b4-af23-94bdb032330c   Westlake Legal Group AP19250393036447 Russia, Ukraine release 70 in major prisoner exchange, Trump calls it a 'first giant step to peace' Lucia Suarez Sang fox-news/world/world-regions/russia fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox-news/world/conflicts/ukraine fox-news/world/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc article 72cc582d-13ed-53b4-af23-94bdb032330c

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North Korea berates ‘thoughtless’ Mike Pompeo, warns hopes for talks fading

A senior North Korean diplomat on Saturday berated U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo over his comments describing North Korean behavior as “rogue” and warned that Pyongyang’s hopes for talks with Washington are fading.

In a statement carried by state media, North Korean First Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui said Pompeo’s “thoughtless” comments increased North Korean people’s animosity toward Americans and made it harder for working-level nuclear dialogue between the countries to resume.

North Korea is extremely sensitive to outside criticism about its authoritarian leadership. It has also repeatedly expressed displeasure about a months-long stalemate in negotiations and ramped up testing of short-range ballistic missiles and rocket artillery in recent weeks in an apparent effort to build bargaining leverage.

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“Our expectations of dialogue with the U.S. are gradually disappearing and we are being pushed to re-examine all the measures we have taken so far,” Choe said in the statement, carried by the North’s official Korean Central News Agency, or KCNA.

“We are very curious about the background of the American top diplomat’s thoughtless remarks and we will watch what calculations he has,” she said. “The U.S. had better not put any longer our patience to the test with such remarks irritating us if it doesn’t want to have bitter regrets afterward.”

Westlake Legal Group AP19243120527581 North Korea berates 'thoughtless' Mike Pompeo, warns hopes for talks fading fox-news/world/world-regions/asia fox-news/world/conflicts/north-korea fox-news/world/conflicts fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/state-department fnc/world fnc Associated Press article 47e63a1c-d072-5e44-9f89-98be70744136

In this June 11, 2018, file photo, North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui, center, arrives for a meeting with U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim at the Ritz-Carlton Millenia Hotel in Singapore ahead of the summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.  (AP)

In a speech to U.S. veterans in Indiana on Tuesday, Pompeo said the Trump administration recognized that “North Korea’s rogue behavior could not be ignored” while touting its approach in foreign policy.

“Americanism – it means telling the truth about the challenges we face,” he said. “Look, this administration didn’t pretend that the Islamic Republic of Iran was a responsible actor in the Middle East. We called out China’s bad behavior on trade and on national security. We recognized – we recognized that North Korea’s rogue behavior could not be ignored.”

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Nuclear negotiations have been at a standstill since a February summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Vietnam collapsed after the U.S. side rejected North Korean demands for broad sanctions relief in exchange for a partial surrender of its nuclear capabilities.

Since the breakdown in Hanoi, North Korea has repeatedly demanded that Washington remove Pompeo from the nuclear negotiations, accusing him of maintaining a hard-line stance on sanctions and distorting Pyongyang’s statements, while avoiding direct criticism of Trump.

Westlake Legal Group AP19243123927773 North Korea berates 'thoughtless' Mike Pompeo, warns hopes for talks fading fox-news/world/world-regions/asia fox-news/world/conflicts/north-korea fox-news/world/conflicts fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/state-department fnc/world fnc Associated Press article 47e63a1c-d072-5e44-9f89-98be70744136

Since the breakdown in Hanoi, North Korea has repeatedly demanded that Washington remove Pompeo from the nuclear negotiations, accusing him of maintaining a hard-line stance on sanctions and distorting Pyongyang’s statements, while avoiding direct criticism of Trump. (AP)

Trump and Kim met again at the inter-Korean border in June and agreed to resume working-level talks, but there has been no known meeting between the countries since then.

Last week, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho called Pompeo a “die-hard toxin of U.S. diplomacy” after he said Washington would maintain strong sanctions on North Korea until the country is denuclearized.

KCNA also on Saturday said Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi will visit North Korea soon at the invitation of Ri, but did not specify what would be discussed.

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Since initiating diplomacy with Seoul and Washington last year, Kim met Chinese President Xi Jinping five times before and after his summits with Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, cementing longtime ally Beijing as a major player in the process to resolve the nuclear standoff.

Westlake Legal Group AP19243123927773 North Korea berates 'thoughtless' Mike Pompeo, warns hopes for talks fading fox-news/world/world-regions/asia fox-news/world/conflicts/north-korea fox-news/world/conflicts fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/state-department fnc/world fnc Associated Press article 47e63a1c-d072-5e44-9f89-98be70744136   Westlake Legal Group AP19243123927773 North Korea berates 'thoughtless' Mike Pompeo, warns hopes for talks fading fox-news/world/world-regions/asia fox-news/world/conflicts/north-korea fox-news/world/conflicts fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/state-department fnc/world fnc Associated Press article 47e63a1c-d072-5e44-9f89-98be70744136

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