Putin blames Crimea school massacre on the globalization of an American trend

A woman cries during a church service for the victims of the college attack in Kerch, Crimea, on Oct. 18, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 18 October 2018

Putin blames Crimea school massacre on the globalization of an American trend

  • An 18-year-old student went on a rampage at the school on the Crimean Peninsula, killing 19 people and wounding more than 50 others before killing himself
  • The school attack in Kerch was the greatest loss of life in school violence in Russia since the Beslan attack, in which 333 people were killed

SOCHI: Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday said the mass school shooting in Crimea a day before was the result of "globalization" and the continuation of an American trend.
"It's a result of globalisation. On social media, on the internet, we see that there is a whole community that has been created. Everything started with the tragic events in schools in the US," he said at a forum in Sochi.
He said unstable young people were creating "fake heroes for themselves" and "reaching out for a surrogate for heroism" in the absence of the real thing.
"We're not creating healthy (internet) content for young people... which leads to tragedies of this kind," he said.
"But there is a place for real heroism in today's life," he said.
An 18-year-old identified as Vladislav Roslyakov on Wednesday killed at least 20 students at a college in the Moscow-annexed peninsula before killing himself.
More than 40 others were injured in what local press dubbed "Russia's Columbine", a reference to a 1999 US high school massacre.
Authorities said they were working to establish the motive for the attack.
An ex-girlfriend told Russian state media Roslyakov had spoken to her about taking revenge for bullying at the school.
At least 10 of the wounded will be airlifted to hospitals in Russia, the health minister said Thursday.
Wednesday’s attack in the city of Kerch was by far the worst by a student in Russia, raising questions about school security in the country. The Kerch Polytechnic College had only a front desk with no security guards.
Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova told Russian news agencies on Thursday that authorities were preparing to airlift at least 10 people with severe injuries to top Russian hospitals for surgery. Dozens more remain hospitalized in Kerch.
Most of the people killed died from gunshot wounds, and those who ended up hospitalized have injuries from a blast from an improvised explosive device that was packed with shrapnel.
“The kids’ muscles have been ‘minced’ with small metal objects,” Skvortsova said in comments carried by the Interfax news agency. “Those who have their organs ripped apart, we are finding metal balls in kidneys, intestines, in blood vessels. That is how powerful the blast was.”
Kremlin-appointed Crimean leader Sergei Aksyonov told Russian news agencies that the first victim will be buried later Thursday.
The school attack in Kerch was the greatest loss of life in school violence in Russia since the Beslan attack by Chechen separatists in 2004, in which 333 people were killed during a three-day siege, many of them children, and hundreds were wounded.


‘Political reconciliation’ with Pakistan top priority: Daudzai

Updated 34 min 32 sec ago

‘Political reconciliation’ with Pakistan top priority: Daudzai

  • Pakistan played positive role in US-Taliban peace talks, says diplomat

PESHAWAR: Afghanistan’s newly appointed special envoy for Pakistan has had put “mending political relations” between the two estranged nations as one of his top priorities.

Mohammed Umer Daudzai, on Tuesday said that his primary focus would be to ensure lasting peace in Afghanistan and maintain strong ties with Pakistan, especially after Islamabad’s key role in the Afghan peace process earlier this year.

In an exclusive interview, the diplomat told Arab News: “Two areas have been identified to focus on with renewed vigor, such as lasting peace in Afghanistan and cementing Pak-Afghan bilateral ties in economic, social, political and other areas.”

In order to achieve these aims, he said, efforts would be intensified “to mend political relations” between the neighboring countries.

Pakistan and Afghanistan share a 2,600-kilometer porous border and have been at odds for years. Bonds between them have been particularly strained due to a deep mistrust and allegations of cross-border infiltration by militants.

Kabul has blamed Islamabad for harboring Taliban leaders after they were ousted from power in 2001. But Pakistan has denied the allegations and, instead, accused Kabul of providing refuge to anti-Pakistan militants – a claim rejected by Afghanistan.

Daudzai said his immediate priority would be to focus on “political reconciliation” between the two countries, especially in the backdrop of a historic peace agreement signed in February this year when Pakistan played a crucial role in facilitating a troop withdrawal deal between the US and the Taliban to end the decades-old Afghan conflict. “Afghanistan needs political reconciliation which the Afghan government has already been working on to achieve bottom-up harmony,” he added.

Daudzai’s appointment Monday by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani took place days after Islamabad chose Mohammed Sadiq as Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s special representative for Afghanistan.

Reiterating the need to maintain strong bilateral ties with all of its neighbors, Daudzai said Pakistan’s role was of paramount importance to Afghanistan.

“Pakistan has a positive role in the US-Taliban peace talks, and now Islamabad could play a highly significant role in the imminent intra-Afghan talks. I will explore all options for a level-playing field for the success of all these initiatives,” he said, referring in part to crucial peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban which were delayed due to a stalemate in a prisoner exchange program – a key condition of the Feb. 29 peace deal.

Under the agreement, up to 5,000 Taliban prisoners and around 1,000 government prisoners were to be freed by March 10. So far, Afghanistan has released 3,000 prisoners, while the Taliban have freed 500. Daudzai said that while dates had yet to be finalized, the intra-Afghan dialogue could begin “within weeks.”

He added: “A date for intra-Afghan talks hasn’t been identified yet because there is a stalemate on prisoners’ release. But I am sure they (the talks) will be kicked off within weeks.”

Experts say Daudzai’s appointment could give “fresh momentum” to the stalled process and revitalize ties between the two estranged neighbors.

“Mohammed Sadiq’s appointment...could lead Kabul-Islamabad to a close liaison and better coordination,” Irfanullah Khan, an MPhil scholar and expert on Afghan affairs, told Arab News.

Daudzai said that he would be visiting Islamabad to kickstart the process as soon as the coronavirus disease-related travel restrictions were eased.

Prior to being appointed as the special envoy, he had served as Afghanistan’s ambassador to Pakistan from April 2011 to August 2013.

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