NEWSWATCH: “Macron meets Russia’s Putin near Paris, promising tough talks” – Reuters/ Michel Rose, Denis Dyomkin

Eiffel Tower and Tree-Lined Grassy Green, adapted from image at lbl.gov

“#French President Emmanuel #Macron met #Russia’s Vladimir #Putin near Paris on Monday, promising some frank talking with the Kremlin leader after an election campaign in which his team accused Russian media of trying to interfere. … * * * While Moscow backs [#Syria’s] … al-Assad, France supports rebel groups trying to overthrow him. France has also taken a tough line on […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia needs American help to seal the deal in Syria; After the air strikes, closer co-operation between Putin and Trump is more likely” – Financial Times/ Dmitri Trenin

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“The Russian reaction to the use of force by the U.S. president was strong but measured. Moscow condemned it … but gave no order to Russian air defence units in Syria to intercept American missiles. Nor did the Kremlin cancel the forthcoming visit by secretary of state Rex Tillerson. …”

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NEWSLINK: “Syria crisis: G7 leaders couldn’t change Vladimir Putin’s mind on backing Assad – even if they wanted to. Russia now relies on Syria for its new status as a great world power – and the West knows the risks of leaving a power vacuum in the Middle East.” – The Independent (UK)/ Patrick Cockburn

File Photo of G7 Leaders and other Officials Around Round Table at the Hague, with Flags

“It is very unlikely that Russia will change its support for President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, despite calls to do so from foreign ministers from the G7 nations gathered in Italy in the aftermath of the use of poison gas in Syria and the US missile strikes. Russia owes its return to great power status in the eyes of much of the […]

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Russia Tries to Salvage Syria Peace Bid as Iran Dispute Flares

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Henry Meyer – February 28, 2017) Russia is struggling to salvage its bid to secure a deal to end six years of civil war in Syria as deepening differences with Iran risk a repeat of previous failed peace efforts led by the U.S. “Things aren’t going as smoothly as we would want” in the Geneva talks, […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Press Conference of President Obama and Prime Minister Renzi of the Republic of Italy [excerpt re Russia]

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

The White House Office of the Press Secretary October 18, 2016 Press Conference of President Obama and Prime Minister Renzi of the Republic of Italy (excerpt re Russia) PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, I’m going to be a little more subdued in my discussions of the Republican nominee in this context than I might be on the campaign trail. But let me […]

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RBTH: The 3 key areas of disagreement between Moscow and Damascus

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Since the beginning of the Syrian conflict, Russia has been seen as a loyal ally to Bashar Assad, giving unwavering support to the Syrian president. Yet, the positions of Moscow and the Syrian regime are far from identical. Russia advocates a political solution to the crisis, whereas Assad sees war as the answer. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – […]

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Syria analyst: Damascus cannot take Russian support for granted

File Photo of Bashar al-Assad and Sergei Lavrov

Russia’s recent air campaign in Syria has had mixed effects on the civil war there. RBTH interviewed Noah Bonsey, Senior Syria Analyst at International Crisis Group, an NGO that researches conflicts and aims to advance policies for their resolution, as he returned from a recent field trip to Syria. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – NIKOLAI SHEVCHENKO, RBTH – […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Violence rages in Syria as Kerry and Lavrov reach provisional deal on ceasefire” – Reuters

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… John Kerry said on Sunday he and … Sergei Lavrov … reached a provisional agreement on terms of a cessation of hostilities in Syria …. violence continued to rage …. Multiple bomb blasts in a southern district of Damascus … and twin car bombs … in Homs …. Russian air strikes launched in September against rebels fighting … al-Assad […]

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NEWSLINK: “Emboldened Assad defies Moscow’s diplomatic efforts over truce. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has put a peaceful settlement in Syria in doubt by insisting that government forces will continue to fight on. Damascus’ new signals contradict the agreements on a ceasefire reached by world powers with Moscow’s participation in Geneva and Munich.” – RBTH/Kommersant

File Photo of Bashar al-Assad and Sergei Lavrov

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TRANSCRIPT: Dmitry Medvedev’s interview with Euronews TV channel

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(Government.ru – February 14, 2016) The Prime Minister spoke with Global Conversation presenter Isabelle Kumar on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference Question: Mr Prime Minister, thank you for joining the Global Conversation. The Syrian issue is a priority; it dominates the international agenda. It is now believed that we are approaching a turning point, although it remains to […]

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U.S., Russia Make Syria Diplomacy Push as Assad Gains Ground

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Jonathan Tirone, Henry Meyer – February 10, 2016) The U.S. and Russia are seeking to revive Syrian peace talks as President Bashar al-Assad’s advance against rebels shifts the focus to the battlefield. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov will meet with foreign ministers from Europe and the Middle East in […]

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Putin vs. Erdogan – This Time It’s Personal

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner – February 4, 2016) On Feb. 2, Turkish President Recep Erdogan urgently sought an audience with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin. The Turkish ambassador in Moscow relayed the message, but has, it seems, yet to receive a response. It was the second time Erdogan has been rebuffed by Putin following Turkey’s downing of […]

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Putin talks about possibility of granting asylum to Assad in Russia

File Photo of Bashar al-Assad and Sergei Lavrov

(Interfax – January 12, 2016) It is premature to discuss if Russia should grant asylum to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said. “I think it is quite premature to discuss this. We granted asylum to Mr. Snowden, which was far more difficult than to do the same for Mr al-Assad,” he said in an interview with […]

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Russia Will Not Object Assad Ouster After Syrian War Ends

File Photo of Bashar al-Assad and Sergei Lavrov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – December 19, 2015) Russia has no objections to Syrian President Bashar Assad’s ouster after the peace process starts in the country, Western diplomats say, the Reuters news agency reported Friday. Russia had been repeatedly voicing its support to the Syrian president, but since Western powers, Saudi Arabia and Turkey have agreed that Assad can stay […]

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Hagel: Russia, U.S. Must Fight Islamic State Together

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – November 23, 2015) Former U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel called for including Russia in a consolidated global battle against Islamic State, and suggested putting aside the inevitable disputes between Washington and Moscow for the sake of the fight against terrorism. Hagel dismissed the disagreements between the West and Russia about Syria’s President […]

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Possible Russia-West Rapprochement Over Syria Stokes Fears In Europe’s East

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(RFE/RL – Pete Baumgartner – November 19, 2015) France’s surprise embrace of Russia in the aftermath of the deadly terrorist attacks in Paris has raised concerns across the former Soviet bloc that Moscow wants to leverage the fight against Islamic extremists in Syria to secure Western concessions over Ukraine. Just days after the massacres in the French capital killed 129 […]

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Interfax: Russia set to work constructively at Vienna meeting; calls for regime change in Syria will not lead to success – Lavrov

File Photo of Bashar al-Assad and Sergei Lavrov

BOCHAROV RUCHEI (Sochi). Nov 10 (Interfax) – Adherence to abstract ideas about the need to change the regime in Syria will have no success at the Vienna meeting; Russia is nevertheless expecting it to be constructive, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said. “If, instead of concrete work on these two issues (forming a list of terrorist organizations and a […]

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Russian policy of supporting Syrian authorities remains unchanged – Putin

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MOSCOW. June 29 (Interfax) – Russia’s policy of supporting the Syrian authorities and people remains unchanged, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. “We see how complicated situation[al] development in Syria is, firstly the one related to international terrorism aggression. We understand that amid such situations success always corresponds with certain issues, and military failures could occur. But we are certain that […]

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Timeline, Assad estimates $1 billion adequate for weapons disposal – Russian expert

File Photo of Bashar al-Assad and Sergei Lavrov

(Interfax – MOSCOW, September 19, 2013) The estimates of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, according to which the disposal of Syrian chemical weapons would require approximately one year and cost about $1 billion, are fairly accurate, Chairman of the Council on the Foreign and Defense Policy Fyodor Lukyanov said. “It is probably close to the truth. What foreign countries are saying […]

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Interfax: Lavrov: U.S. contacted Assad government about safety of chemical stockpiles

File Photo of Bashar al-Assad and Sergei Lavrov

(Interfax – MOSCOW, September 16, 2013) Before the current international diplomatic crisis over the reported chemical arms attacks in a Damascus suburb on August 21, the United States had contacted the Syrian government to find out how safe its chemical stockpiles were, according to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. “We were working with the Syrians directly to understand the how […]

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RIA Novosti: Syria Chemical Weapons Attack ‘Not Ordered’ by Assad – Report

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(RIA Novosti – BERLIN, September 8, 2013) ­ German intelligence sources suggest that last month’s alleged chemical weapons attack in Damascus was not ordered by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Bild am Sonntag has reported. Forces loyal to President Assad had been asking him for four months to use chemical weapons against the rebels, but they still received no approval from […]

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RIA Novosti: Lavrov Plays Down Reports of New Missile Deliveries to Syria

File Photo of Bashar al-Assad and Sergei Lavrov

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, May 17, 2013) ­ Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday responded to a New York Times report that Russia has sent advanced antiship cruise missiles to war-torn Syria by saying that Russian arms deliveries do not change the balance of power, are fully legal and take place under existing contracts. Citing unidentified American officials, The […]

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Moscow Concerned about Syria, Not Assad – Minister

File Photo of Bashar al-Assad and Sergei Lavrov

MOSCOW, February 25 (RIA Novosti) – Moscow’s position on Syria stems from its concern for the Syrian people, and not the fate of President Bashar al-Assad, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday. “Russia’s position is not predetermined by support of personalities; it is dictated by concern about the fate of the Syrian people, our long-standing friend and partner, and […]

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Ousting Syrian President Would Be ‘Wrong’ – Senior Russian MP

File Photo of Bashar al-Assad and Sergei Lavrov

(RIA Novosti – February 13, 2013) Russia will not agree to the ousting of Syrian President Bashar al-Asad, chairman of the State Duma Committee for International Affairs Aleksey Pushkov said at a news conference in Moscow on 13 February. He also pointed out that Russia’s position on Syria remained the same, while the West’s position was shifting in recognition of […]

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Another Year with Bashar al-Assad

File Photo of Bashar al-Assad and Sergei Lavrov

(RIA Novosti – Fyodor Lukyanov – January 10, 2013) Fyodor Lukyanov is Editor-in-Chief of the Russia in Global Affairs journal, an authoritative source of expertise on Russian foreign policy and global developments, online at http://eng.globalaffairs.ru/ The year 2013 began much like 2012 ­ with news of fighting in Syria and predictions that the tide is about to turn in the […]

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Putin Pictured in Hell on The Economist Cover

Vladimir Putin file photo

(Moscow Times – December 20, 2012 – http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/putin-pictured-in-hell-on-the-economist-cover/473430.html) The cartoon’s accompanying article, which is presented as a travel guide, says the quickest way to hell is by constantly committing major sins without giving in to feelings of remorse. President Vladimir Putin was pictured in hell on the cover of The Economist‘s last issue for 2012, floating along in a fiery […]

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