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Russia, $1.2m and a dead man walking

Written By komlim puldel on Minggu, 02 Maret 2014 | 23.09

A BEAUTIFUL young Russian woman and her mother, a wrong corpse and $1.2 million worth of life insurance are all pieces of a legal puzzle hinging on the claim that Sydney security guard Vladimir Safronov is actually a dead man walking.

His friend Sergey Gerasimov claims Safronov, 46, died six months after returning home to Russia but the companies that insured his life for $1.2 million suspect "fraud".

Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

The District Court has been asked to decide if Mr Safronov is dead as Mr Gerasimov, executor of his friend's estate, has claimed the $400,000 due on each of the three life insurance policies.

Allianz, Suncorp Life and OnePath Life are refusing to pay up, disputing that the Bondi security guard was the man found dead on a street in the Ukrainian city of Kharkov in March 2010.

A Ukrainian death certificate provided to the court by Mr Gerasimov states the Russian-born Australian national died of heart disease and his body was cremated.

Mr Safronov's body was allegedly identified by Oleg Zhirnoklev, who told the morgue at Kharkov he was a friend of Mr Safronov, the court was told.

Facebook image of Daria Chuprakova. Source: Facebook

But investigations by the insurers uncovered a photograph of the corpse identified as Mr Safronov which does not match his passport photograph, has the wrong height and the wrong date of birth.

"In light of the inconsistencies … (insurers) formed the view that the deceased the subject of the autopsy was not that of Mr Safronov and that there was no evidence that Mr Safronov was deceased," court documents state.

Mr Gerasimov has agreed the dead man in the photo was not Mr Safronov but maintained the death certificate "confirmed unequivocally that Mr Safronov had died", documents show.

Vladimir Safronov's death certificate. Source: Supplied

Mr Zhirnoklev is one of the beneficiaries of Mr Safronov's estate, along with Mr Gerasimov, Daria Chuprakova, her mother Elena Chuprakova and another two people. Mr Safronov, who was single, took out the life policies in 2007.

The insurance companies are seeking to have the NSW registration of Mr Safronov's death overturned.

The case is expected to be heard in the District Court later this year.

23.09 | 0 komentar | Read More

Ukraine on ‘brink of disaster’

Ukraine's army is put on full combat alert, while the United States calls for the immediate deployment of international monitors to the former Soviet republic. Sarah Toms reports.

In force ... a convoy of hundreds of Russian troops has headed toward the capital of Ukraine's Crimea region. Picture: Darko Vojinovic Source: AP

UKRAINE'S Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has warned that his crisis-hit country is on the "brink of disaster'', accusing Russia of declaring war in a bleak appeal to the international community.

"This is the red alert, this is not a threat, this is actually a declaration of war to my country,'' he told reporters in English, a day after Russia's parliament approved the deployment of troops to Ukraine.

"If President Putin wants to be the president who started a war between two neighbouring and friendly countries, between Ukraine and Russia, he has reached his target within a few inches. We are on the brink of the disaster."

A convoy of hundreds of Russian troops headed toward the capital of Ukraine's Crimea region on Sunday, and a group of 1000 armed men were blocking the entrance to a unit of Ukraine's border guards in a tense standoff in the south of the flashpoint Crimea peninsula Sunday, the defence ministry said.

"One thousand armed fighters and around 20 trucks are blocking the perimetre of the 36th brigade of border guards ... in Perevalne,'' the ministry said in a statement, as tensions remain high after Russia's parliament approved the deployment of troops in Ukraine. It did not indicate what nationality the armed men were.

Witnesses also said Russian soldiers had blocked about 400 Ukrainian marines at a base in the eastern port city of Feodosiya and were calling on them to surrender and give up their arms.

Ukraine meanwhile called up its military reservists but the new government in Kiev has been powerless to react. Ukraine's parliament was meeting on Sunday in a closed session.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has defied calls from the West to pull back his troops, insisting that Russia has a right to protect its interests and the Russian-speaking population in Crimea and elsewhere in Ukraine. Russian officials also argued they had no need to turn for permission from the UN Security Council - as Mr Putin had demanded for any Western action in Syria - because the well-being of their own citizens was at stake.

US Secretary of State John Kerry upped the stakes for Mr Putin by bluntly warning that Moscow risked losing its coveted place among the Group of Eight nations over its deployment of troops in Crimea.

US President Barack Obama branded the Russian parliament's Saturday vote to allow Mr Putin to send troops into its western neighbour a "violation of Ukrainian sovereignty''.

Escalation ... heavily-armed troops displaying no identifying insignia stand guard outside a local government building in Simferopol, Ukraine. Picture: Sean Gallup Source: Getty Images

There has been no sign of ethnic Russians facing attacks in Crimea, where they make up about 60 per cent of the population, or elsewhere in Ukraine. Russia maintains an important naval base on Crimea.

President Barack Obama spoke with Mr Putin by telephone for 90 minutes on Saturday and expressed his "deep concern'' about "Russia's clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity,'' the White House said. Mr Obama warned that Russia's "continued violation of international law will lead to greater political and economic isolation.''

The US also said it will suspend participation in "preparatory meetings'' for the Group of Eight economic summit planned in June at the Black Sea resort of Sochi, where the Winter Olympics were held.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius agreed, saying on French radio Europe that planning for the summit should be put on hold. France "condemns the Russian military escalation'' in Ukraine, and Moscow must "realise that decisions have costs,'' he said Sunday.

Taking sides ... Pro-Russian militants station themselves behind a row of shields in Simferopol, Ukraine. Picture: Sean Gallup Source: Getty Images

But the US and other Western governments have few options to counter Russia's military moves.

NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen, holding urgent talks in Brussels, told Russia to put an immediate end to its military activities, saying it "threatens peace and security in Europe''.

German Frank-Walter Steinmeier spoke ominously of preventing "new division of Europe'' while France and Britain called for negotiations to be organised between Moscow and Kiev, either directly or through the United Nations.

In the most immediate response to Russia's actions in the country on the eastern edge of Europe, the US and its Western allies pulled out of preparatory meetings this week for the June G8 summit in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi.

Mr Kerry went one step further by warning Putin that "he is not going have a Sochi G8, he may not even remain in the G8 if this continues.

"He may find himself with asset freezes, on Russian business, American business may pull back, there may be a further tumble of the ruble.''

Sochi was the host of last month's Winter Olympics, a $57 billion extravaganza which along with the football World Cup in 2018 are meant to highlight Russia's return to prosperity and global influence under Mr Putin's rule.

Russia was admitted to the G8 in 1998 in recognition of the late president Boris Yeltsin's democratic reforms - a spot the Kremlin has coveted as a recognition of its post-Soviet might.

Mr Rasmussen said the allies will "coordinate closely'' on the situation in Ukraine, which he termed "grave.''

Ukraine is not a NATO member, meaning the US and Europe are not obligated to come to its defence. But Ukraine has taken part in some alliance military exercises and contributed troops to its response force.

Analysts called Ukraine the most serious crisis to test the West's relations with Moscow since the 1991 breakup of the USSR.

"The damage to Russia's relations with the West will be deep and lasting, far worse than after the Russian-Georgian war,'' Eugene Rumer and Adnre Weiss of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace wrote in a report.

"Think 1968, not 2008,'' they said in reference to the Soviet Union's decision to send tanks into Prague to suppress a pro-democracy uprising.

On the road from Sevastopol, the Crimean port where Russia has its naval base, to Simferopol on Sunday morning, Associated Press journalists saw 12 military trucks carrying troops, a Tiger vehicle armed with a machine gun and also two ambulances.

Ukraine's acting president, Oleksandr Turchynov, announced late Saturday that he had ordered Ukraine's armed forces to be at full readiness because of the threat of "potential aggression.'' He also said he had ordered stepped-up security at nuclear power plants, airports and other strategic infrastructure.

'Brink of disaster' Ukraine's Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk says the Russian military actions are a 'declaration of war'. Picture: Andrew Kravchenko Source: AFP

On Crimea, however, Ukrainian troops have offered no resistance.

The new government came to power last week following months of pro-democracy protests against the now-fugitive president, Viktor Yanukovych, and his decision to turn Ukraine toward Russia instead of the European Union.

Ukraine's population of 46 million is divided in loyalties between Russia and Europe, with much of western Ukraine advocating closer ties with the EU, while eastern and southern regions look to Russia for support. Crimea, a semi-autonomous region that Russia gave to Ukraine in the 1950s, is mainly Russian-speaking.

Pro-Kremlin sentiments in Crimea remained on wide display Sunday - a fact portrayed in detail by Kremlin-controlled television amid a burgeoning Russia media propaganda campaign.

"Crimea is Russia,'' one elderly lady told AFP in front of a statue of Soviet founder Lenin that dominates a square next to the occupied parliament building in the regional capital Simferopol.

The mood in Kiev was radically different as about 50,000 people massed on Independence Square - the crucible of both the latest wave of demonstrations and the 2004 Orange Revolution that first nudged Kiev on a westward path - in protest at Putin's latest threat.

"We will not surrender,'' the huge crowd chanted under grey skies.

23.09 | 0 komentar | Read More
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