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    A Turkish military warning sign, with the closed Karkamis border gate in the background, is pictured in Karkamis, bordering with the Islamic State-held Syrian town of Jarablus, in Gaziantep province, Turkey, in this August 1, 2015 file photo

    Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Holds Weekly Press Briefing (VIDEO)

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    Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova commented on the situation in Syria, attacks on Russian diplomatic missions in Ukraine and the EU-Turkey deal on the refugee crisis during her weekly press briefing in Moscow.

    On Attacks on Russian Diplomatic Missions in Ukraine Amid Savchenko Trial

    Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that attacks on Russian diplomatic missions in Ukraine were "unacceptable."

    Moscow voiced protest over the "provocative actions of extremists" related to Russian diplomats in Ukraine.

    Several Russian diplomatic missions were attacked earlier this week in Ukraine amid the trial of Ukraine's Nadezhda Savchenko.

    Savchenko is suspected of helping to direct artillery fire near the eastern Ukrainian city of Lugansk on June 17, 2014, that led to the death of two Russia journalists, Igor Kornelyuk and Anton Voloshin.

    Nadezhda Savchenko, 34, is facing up to 25 years in prison if convicted. The sentencing by a Russian court in the southern Russian Rostov region has been scheduled for March 21-22.

    Zakharova said that those who pretend to be "patriots of Ukraine," should have participated in the country's mobilization instead of hiding in Russia or in social media.

    "The Russian side has demanded that Kiev prosecute and punish all persons responsible for these illegal actions."

    On Situation in Syria

    The Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman said that Saudi-backed Syrian opposition has been threatening to skip dialogue with Damascus at the Geneva peace talks.

    Meanwhile, Damascus has confirmed its participation in the next round of the peace talks in Geneva. The Syrian government delegation will be headed by the Syrian envoy to the United Nations.

    Zakharova slammed NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg's accusations over the Russian anti-terrorist air campaign in Syria. Zakharova said that the alliance's actions over decades had let to the current situation in the Middle East and the migrant crisis in Europe.

    According to Zakharova, NATO attempts to shift the blame for "its irresponsible policy" on Moscow, when accusing Russia of the current migrant influx in the EU amid Russian anti-terrorist operation in the Syrian Arab Republic.

    "I would like to emphasize that actions of the member states of the alliance in the Middle East and North Africa triggered the migrant crisis, which is unprecedented for post-war Europe."

    "People from Afghanistan are not seeking asylum in Europe because of the Russian air campaign in Syria," she noted.

    However, Russia is still open for a constructive dialogue with the alliance, she emphasized.

    Turkey-EU Deal on Refugee Influx

    Russia is "seriously concerned" over the agreement between Brussels and Ankara aimed to curb the massive refugee influx to the EU, Zakharova said, adding that the deal "provides no rights to migrants."

    On Monday, the EU-Turkey summit resulted in a deal on stemming migration flows into the European Union from the Middle East through Turkey. The sides focused on a speedy implementation of the EU-Turkey action plan.

    Turkey demanded additional 3 billion euros (3.3 billion dollars) from the European Union to deal with migrants on top of the previous 3 billion-euro EU pledge, offering to take back all undocumented migrants in exchange for legal Syrian refugees seeking to enter Euro on a one-for-one basis.

    "The recent agreements on the return of migrants from the European Union without any clear provisions on guaranteeing their protection in line with international law are causing serious concern. We call on our European colleagues to approach more responsibly to international obligations in this given sphere."

    Zakharova also said that if Ankara wants to prove that reports of the flow of weapons to terrorists in Syria via the Turkish border were "just a myth," the Turkish authorities should allow international observers to monitor checkpoints on the Turkish-Syrian border.

    "We would like to suggest to Ankara, as a gesture of good will, to invite international observers to its checkpoints to monitor cargoes which go to Syria. This would be the easiest, most obvious way to dispel the myth, as Ankara believes, of its involvement in illegal deliveries and activities through its border."

    Doping Scandal

    The current doping scandal involving Russia is one of the ways of information pressure against Moscow, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova believes.

    Earlier this week, it was revealed that several Russian athletes, including Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova, tested positive for the recently banned substance further fueling Russia's doping scandal.

    "Of course we understand that this is one of the ways of information and psychological pressure which is implemented against Russia," Zakharova said, adding that this was "not only perplexing, but disappointing."


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    Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Zakharova Holds Weekly Press Briefing
    Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Zakharova Holds Weekly Press Briefing
    press briefing, Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, Moscow, Russia
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