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  • Russian president Putin says that Moscow’s aim is to restore political unity in Ukraine (Reuters)
  • Russia president Putin says that the situation in Eastern Ukraine is a punitive operation led by Kiev (Reuters)
  • Russian president Putin says that NATO’s eastward expansion is like building a new Berlin Wall (Reuters)
  • Russia president Putin says that foodstuff prices need to be taken care of (Reuters)
  • Russia president Putin says that the current unfavourable situation can continue for the next two years but it may improve faster (Reuters)
  • Putin:central bank and government are taking adequate measures(Reuters)
  • Russian president Putin says that GDP in first 10 months of the year is up by 0.6/0.7% – He says that the current economic situation is provoked by external factors (Reuters)
  • Russian president Putin says that despite turbulent financial markets, Russia’s revenues will be higher than spending (Reuters)

Syrian rebels have shot down a military helicopter east of the capital Damascus, according to British based observers.
The new attack comes hours after rebels seized an air defence base nearby. 
A video uploaded to social media sites purportedly shows dozens of rebels celebrating the capture of the base in the Eastern Gouta area and what they claim is a cache of surface-to-air missiles.
Also on Friday, the city of Homs, the nerve-centre for the rebellion against President Bashar al-Assad, saw the worst shelling in months, according to activists.
The neighbourhood of Khaldiyeh was apparently targeted for the first time by Syrian army warplanes. 
In eastern Syria, locally-based activists say the town of Deir Ezzor saw similar air strikes on Thursday. Again unverified footage is said to show heavily damaged buildings still on fire.
More than 30,000 people have been killed during the 19 month old uprising.

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