RUSSIALINK: “Moscow prefers G20 to G8, has not asked to return – minister” – Interfax

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

(Interfax – June 9, 2018) Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said Russia has never asked to be readmitted to the G8, and considers the G20 group a more promising format for the future, Interfax news agency reported on 9 June. “We’ve never asked to come back,” Lavrov said on Russia’s state-owned Channel One TV, the report said, noting that […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “U.S. Pushes NATO to Ready More Forces to Deter Russian Threat” – Reuters

NATO Meeting file photo

“The United States is pressing European allies to ready more NATO battalions, ships and planes for combat … to shore up NATO’s deterrence against a potential Russian attack. … seek[ing] broad agreement for the plan … when … defense ministers meet, laying the ground for endorsement by NATO leaders at a [July] summit …. [envisioning] 30 land battalions, 30 air […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia woos a Europe feuding with U.S. over tariffs, Iran” – Christian Science Monitor/Fred Weir

EU Map

“The scene at [SPIEF:] … Putin … flanked by French President Emmanuel Macron, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde, and Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan. * * * Trump has slapped tariffs on steel and aluminum exports from the [EU] … and warned … U.S. sanctions might be imposed on European companies participating in […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Transformed Gas Markets Fuel U.S.-Russian Rivalry, But Europe Plays Key Role Too [Excerpt]” – Russia Matters/Morena Skalamera

Gas Flame file photo

[Full text: russiamatters.org/analysis/transformed-gas-markets-fuel-us-russian-rivalry-europe-plays-key-role-too; This article first appeared on the Russia Matters website, russiamatters.org, with the title “Transformed Gas Markets Fuel U.S.-Russian Rivalry, But Europe Plays Key Role Too”] “This month, the Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. President Donald Trump has been pressuring Germany to drop its support for a major new Russian gas pipeline if Europe wants to avoid […]

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Russia Just Won Big In The European Gas War

Gas Facility file photo

(Oilprice.com – Tim Daiss – May 28, 2018) There’s been a lot of talk on both sides of the Atlantic about the U.S. pivot and efforts at locking in natural as market share in Europe. Much of this comes amid President Donald Trump’s so-called American energy independence push as well as both U.S. and several EU members thrust to wean […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia to Soften Plan for Retaliation Against U.S. Sanctions” – Bloomberg/Stepan Kravchenko

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

“… Russia’s parliament plans to adopt a bill on counter-measures to U.S. and European Union sanctions this month after softening the initial draft to remove language that had targeted specific sectors and products ranging from medication to aerospace. * * * … the Kremlin put the brakes on the plan, hoping to prevent another round of escalation in tensions with […]

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Europe Buys More Russian Gas Despite Strained Relations

Gas Flame file photo

(Oilprice.com – Tsvetana Paraskova – May 8, 2018) The West-Russia relations have reached a new low since the Cold War amid the spy poisoning scandal in the UK, allegations of Russian meddling in elections, and fresh U.S. sanctions on Russia. Yet European countries continue to buy increased amounts of Russian gas, and Russia’s state-held gas giant Gazprom is boosting production […]

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NEWSLINK: “Revealed: UK’s push to strengthen anti-Russia alliance; Exclusive: ministers will use series of summits to pursue containment strategy and urge rethink of diplomatic dialogue” – The Guardian (UK)/Patrick Wintour

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

“The UK will use a series of international summits this year to call for a comprehensive strategy to combat Russian disinformation and urge a rethink over traditional diplomatic dialogue with Moscow, following the Kremlin’s aggressive campaign of denials over the use of chemical weapons in the UK and Syria. British diplomats plan to use four major summits this year – […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Misplaced Fears Over Nord Stream 2; Nord Stream 2 provides another reliable route for transporting gas to Europe, nothing more, nothing less.” – The National Interest/Klaus Schäfer, Mario Mehren, Rainer Seele

Gas Flame file photo

“… The European gas market has … modernized and liberalized over the last decade. …. The Third Energy Package put in place a well-developed, intra-European framework of hubs that allows gas to flow freely in multiple directions from a variety of points of origin. … allow[ing] European consumers to buy gas from whomever they wish … [it] simply does not […]

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Russia Tells Its Study-Abroad Students: It’s Time To Come Home

Bookcase file photo, adapted from image at nlm.nih.gov

(Article ©2018 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – April 17, 2018 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/russia-tells-its-study-abroad-students-it-s-time-to-come-home/29173184.html) A Russian government agency is calling on Russians studying at universities abroad to come home to continue their studies, a campaign that appears tied to the sharp downward spiral in relations between Moscow and the West. Rossotrudnichestvo, which is tasked with overseeing […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Trade With the West Surges Even as Sanctions Mount; Last year’s increase, three years after penalties tied to annexation of Crimea, shows limits of curbs in longer term” – Wall Street Journal/Andrea Thomas, James Marson, Stefan Lange

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

” …. The U.S. and Europe’s largest nations, including France and Germany, saw exports to and imports from Russia skyrocket in 2017 after three years of decline. … at their highest levels since 2014, the year Russia invaded Ukraine and annexed Crimea …. The turnaround could be short-lived. … [After] Washington … unveiled fresh sanctions … in the latest U.S. […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Why Expelling Russian Diplomats Isn’t Enough” – Atlantic Council/Jakub Janda

Stylized Artist's Depiction of Shadowy Figures in Dark Coats and Dark Hats, One Carrying a Briefcase

“So far, twenty-eight nations have sent home more than 140 Russian diplomats and spies in a coordinated response to the Russian nerve agent assassination attempt in Salisbury, England. Symbolically, this unprecedented expulsion of Russian officials constitutes an important show of unity, but its practical impact in terms of hindering Russian subversion operations is limited. With the exception of the United […]

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Russia Faces ‘100 Years Of Solitude’ (Or More), Putin Aide Says

Vladislav Surkov file photo

(Article ©2018 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – April 10, 2018 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/putin-adviser-surkov-says-russia-abandoning-hopes-integrating-with-west-loneliness-isolation-/29155700.html) A veteran adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin says that Russia has abandoned its centuries-long hopes of integrating with the West and is bracing for a new era of geopolitical isolation. In an article for Russia In Global Affairs magazine released on […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russian officials accuse West of fomenting new Cold War” – AP

Sergei Shoigu file photo

“Top Russian defense and security officials on Wednesday launched diatribes at the West, accusing it of fomenting a new Cold War in a bid to retain waning influence in global affairs. Moscow used an annual security conference attended by top defense officials from Asia, Africa and Latin America to harshly criticize the U.S. and its allies …. Russia-West relations have […]

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NEWSWATCH: “We must avoid new Cold War: German government’s Russia expert” – Reuters

EU Map

“Germany wants to keep up a dialogue with Moscow despite joining Western expulsions of Russian diplomats and must avoid a new Cold War, the German government’s coordinator for Russia said …. [EU] member Ireland [and]Moldova … joined the list of countries expelling Russian diplomats over the attack on [Sergei] Skripal, a former double agent. The list includes 22 EU states; […]

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Interfax: Russian foreign policy expert says relations with West at new low [Fyodor Lukyanov]

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

(Interfax – March 26, 2018) Relations between Russia and the West have reached an unprecedented crisis, according to the head of an influential Russian foreign affairs think-tank. Fyodor Lukyanov, chairman of the presidium of the Council for Foreign and Defence Policy, was commenting on the expulsion of diplomats from EU countries and the USA in response to the Skripal poisoning. […]

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NEWSLINK: “Factbox: Diplomatic Moves Against Russia After Nerve Gas Attack” – Reuters

File Photo of British Parliament Building, Big Ben, Thames, adapted from image at loc.gov

“Following are diplomatic measures announced against #Russia by the United States, Canada, several EU countries and Ukraine in response to the poisoning of a former Russian double agent with military-grade nerve agent in the English town of Salisbury. …”

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NEWSLINK: “Russia’s been waging war on the West for years. We just haven’t noticed. It’s way past time for the United States and its allies to get serious about Putin’s aggression.” – Washington Post/Max Boot

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

“… The war arguably began in 2008 when Russia invaded Georgia, a pro-Western country that sent troops to Iraq and Afghanistan and was anxious to join NATO. Rather than punishing Vladimir Putin for his aggression, the Obama administration later responded with a “reset” of relations. …”

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NEWSLINK: “Does Putin’s Russia reject the West?” – BBC/Sarah Rainsford

File Photo of British Parliament Building Including Saint Stephen's Tower Containing Big Ben

“Amid the furor over a nerve agent spy attack in the UK, Russia is holding a presidential election. … Putin is expected to win yet another term in office. Do ordinary Russians share his outlook? …”  

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House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence: Russia Investigation

American Flag and Partial View of U.S. Capitol Dome, adapted from image at aoc.gov

House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence March 12, 2018 Russia Investigation [PDF: intelligence.house.gov/uploadedfiles/ hpsci_russia_investigation_one_page_summary.pdf ] Overview Following a more than yearlong, bipartisan investigation into Russia active measures targeting the 2016 U.S. election, the House Intelligence Committee has completed a draft report of 150+ pages, with 600+ citations. The draft report addresses, in detail, each of the questions within the agreed […]

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What does the flight of a controversial news editor tell us about press freedom in Ukraine? After the editor-in-chief of a controversial (and anonymously funded) website flees for Vienna, there are questions to answer – both for Ukraine’s authorities and the editor.

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(opendemocracy.net – Brian Milakovsky – March 8, 2018) Brian Milakovsky lives in eastern Ukraine where he works on post-conflict economic recovery. He has worked on ecological and humanitarian issues in Ukraine and Russia since 2009. Kyiv is abuzz with the news that the editor-in-chief of several popular and controversial media outlets has fled Ukraine and asked for political asylum in […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Ukraine maintains gas transit to Europe despite new gas war with Russia” – Intellinews/Ben Aris

Gas Flame file photo

“Fears that Russia would stop sending transit gas to its European customers via Ukraine were not borne out over the weekend despite Russian state own gas monopolist Gazprom’s announcement that it was going to break its contracts with its Ukrainian counter party Naftogaz on March 2. Naftogaz immediately announced emergency measures, calling on Ukrainians to turn down the thermostat, switching […]

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NEWSLINK: “COPENHAGEN CONFERENCE” – Irrussianality/Paul Robinson

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

“… I participated in a conference in Copenhagen to launch a book entitled ‘The New Cold War’, edited by Danish MP Marie Krarup and consisting of interviews she conducted with 17 experts about Russian-Western relations. … I spoke straight after the defence minister. I made three main points … “

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NEWSWATCH: “Averting the U.S.-Russia Warpath; Even as U.S.-Russian tensions have risen, fundamental shifts in the military-technological environment threaten to erode strategic stability between the two nations.” – The National Interest/ James N. Miller, Richard Fontaine, Alexander Velez-Green

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

“For nearly twenty years following the end of the Cold War, military confrontation between the United States and the Russian Federation seemed implausible. … Before the first decade of the new century had passed, however, Russian officials were accusing the United States of working to isolate Russia. Such apprehensions have mounted steadily in Russia …. Russian behavior, including interventions in […]

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Interfax: Medvedev: U.S. seeks to oust Russian companies from European market by putting them on different lists

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

SOCHI. Feb 15 (Interfax) – The United States is seeking to oust Russian companies from European market by including them in different lists, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said. “Why are they doing so? For purely pragmatic reasons, this is because they want to promote their companies to European market, but, saying it straightforwardly, Europe and the U.S. are now […]

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NEWSLINK: “Expansion, Sanctions, and Opposition-Promotion: the West’s Failed Russian Transformation Strategy” – Russian and Eurasian Politics/ Gordon M. Hahn

File Photo of Kremlin Aerial View, adapted from .gov source

“… The West’s post-Ukraine crisis sanction meanwhile are intended to undermine the regime from above. The hope in Washington and Brussels is that by pressuring state and private oligarchs close to Putin or the Kremlin, some may withdraw their support and seek either to remove Putin in a coup or join the opposition and remove him in a revolution or […]

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NEWSLINK: “Richard Sakwa: The Key Challenge for Russia is to Avoid Inflicting Damage on Itself” – Rethinking Russia/Richard Sakwa Interviewed by Pavel Koshkin

“Rethinking Russia sat down with University of Kent’s Professor Richard Sakwa to discuss his new book Russia Against The Rest, its relations with the West, its role in a new world order as well as its greatest challenges in 2018. … On Jan. 30, The U.S. Treasury released the Kremlin Report, which contains a list of 220 Russian officials and […]

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NEWSWATCH: “From the Czech Republic, a warning for our midterms: The Russians are still meddling” – Washington Post editorial

Maps of Czech Republic and Environs, adapted from images at CIA.gov

“Milos Zeman … [Czech] president … speaks and acts as if he were a pure Russian agent. … defend[ing] the seizure and annexation of Crimea … den[ying] the presence of Russian forces in eastern Ukraine … call[ing] for the lifting of all sanctions …. he reiterated his proposal that Czechs vote in a referendum on whether to remain in NATO […]

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Andrei Liakhov: Re: “Cohen on Putin”

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

Subject: Cohen on Putin Date: Wed, 17 Jan 2018 From: Andrei Liakhov <gaffriloff@yahoo.co.uk> [Andrei Liakhov has over 20 years of experience with leading international law firms, private companies and government institutions in the United Kingdom, the Russian Federation, Lithuania, Canada, and Ukraine.] Brilliant analysis, I can subscribe to every word. Pity the video is cut short and we do not […]

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Interfax: New U.S. nuclear doctrine is next step to build infrastructure enabling global strike on Russia – MP Slutsky

Russian State Duma Building file photo

MOSCOW. Jan 15 (Interfax) – The United States’ new nuclear doctrine is aimed at protecting the infrastructure which is being created in Europe to enable a strike on Russia, the State Duma Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Leonid Slutsky said on Facebook. “It’s hardly a revelation that the U.S. is building comprehensive infrastructure to support Prompt Global Strike. Under the pretext […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia has been meddling in foreign elections for decades. Has it made a difference?” – Washington Post/ Lucan Ahmad Way, Adam Casey

Multilingual Polling Place Sign from U.S. Election Polling Place

“… Russia has been intervening in foreign elections for decades. Has it been effective? …. we put together and examined a data set of all 27 Russian electoral interventions since 1991. …  First wave: In the former Soviet states, 1991 to 2014 … Second wave: in Western democracies, 2014 to now …. It’s true that Russia has been increasingly trying to […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Gazprom gas exports to Europe rise 8% to new record” – Financial Times/ Henry Foy

Gas Flame file photo

“Russia’s gas exports to Europe rose 8.1 per cent last year to a record level of 193.9bn cubic metres (bcm), the company’s head said … as the world’s largest gas producer continued to increase sales despite rising competition from LNG and other sources. Gazprom … has a monopoly over Russia’s gas pipelines to Europe [and] has been forced to reduce […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia to Keep Its Grip on Europe’s Gas Market After Record 2017” – Bloomberg/ Elena Mazneva

Gas Facility file photo

“Russia is working to keep natural gas exports to Europe near record levels in 2018 after the continent’s biggest supplier, Gazprom PJSC, said its deliveries this year signal it is achieving on its ambitions to expand. …”  

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NEWSWATCH: “Kennan Cable No. 29: U.S. Sanctions Law and Western Coordination on Russia Policy” – Kennan Institute/ Dominik Tolksdorf

Portion of U.S. Treasury Department Building Facade, North Side, with Sculpture of Alexander Hamilton

“The United States and the European Union have coordinated their sanctions against Russia for more than three years. In July 2017 the U.S. Congress overwhelmingly passed additional sanctions against Russia, Iran, and North Korea that were signed into law by President Trump on August 2. The legislation was drafted in the context of the alleged Russian interference in the U.S. […]

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NEWSWATCH: “U.S. Military and NATO May Now Target Russia With Cyber Weapons, Marking Huge Policy Change” – Newsweek/ Tom O’Connor

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“… NATO’s recent decision to integrate cyber warfare into its command  … represents a stark 21st-century warning to foes, especially Russia …. Capitalizing on the multinational coalition’s recognition of cyberspace as a theater of operations at last year’s Warsaw Summit, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced … the creation of Cyber Operations Center as part of an overall effort to update and […]

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NEWSWATCH: “U.S. Criticizes Germany’s Support of New Russian Natural Gas Line; Top state department official praises Denmark for passing law that could hamper pipeline project” – Wall Street Journal/ Paul Sonne

Gas Flame file photo

“[Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian affairs A. Wess Mitchell] offered harsh words … for Germany over the country’s continued support for a new Russian gas pipeline to Europe … known as Nord Stream 2 … a wholly owned subsidiary of Russian state energy giant Gazprom [that] would double Russia’s export capacity … adding a second link between Russia and Germany. * […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin in the Boot; New sanctions are about to bite, and Russia’s elite are spooked; The personal sanctions against regime cronies are especially tough” – The Economist

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

“… CAATSA moderately increases the pressure …. It extends the restrictions on investing in new Russian oil and gas projects to the operations of Russian firms in third countries. … the effectiveness of these new sanctions, which the administration is allowed to pause until late January, is undermined by the fact that European firms have been ring-fenced from their effects. Gazprom … has […]

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Security Experts Chide West On ‘Limited, Weak’ Response To Russia

Europe Map

(Article ©2017 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – BRUSSELS, November 9, 2017 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/russia-threat-to-democracy-western-response-european-values-think-tank/28842909.html) A group of security and foreign-policy experts says Western governments have been “limited and weak” in their response to the Kremlin’s barrage of “hostile actions” toward democracies. In a declaration initiated by the Prague-based think tank European Values titled How The […]

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Surkov’s ‘Crisis of Hypocrisy’ Not Just in the West but in Russia Too, Inozemtsev Says

Vladislav Surkov file photo

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 8, 2017) In an essay posted on the RT portal yesterday, Vladislav Surkov argues that the West is suffering from “a crisis of hypocrisy” in which people are no longer prepared to accept the shibboleths of the past and are demanding a clearing away of the existing political and social system […]

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Interfax: “NATO command’s restructuring focused on Russia standoff – Ambassador Grushko”

Alexander Grushko file photo, adapted from image at eucom.mil

BRUSSELS. Nov 10 (Interfax) – The proposals discussed by the NATO defense ministers at the conference in Brussels on November 8-9 in regard to the adaptation of the alliance’s command structure came as no surprise to anyone, the Russian Permanent Representative to NATO, Alexander Grushko, said. “They were made in furtherance of the Warsaw summit’s decisions, which included a review […]

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Interfax: North Atlantic Alliance inflating “threat from the East” – Russian envoy to NATO Grushko

Alexander Grushko file photo, adapted from image at eucom.mil

MOSCOW. Nov 8 (Interfax) – The North Atlantic Alliance is taking an endless series of measures to the sole end of mastering the theater of operations in the Baltic region and Central and Southeastern Europe, as well as creating a force-projection potential, Russian Permanent Representative to NATO Alexander Grushko said in an interview with the Izvestia newspaper published on Wednesday. […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANCRIPT: “Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks at a meeting with members of the Association of European Businesses in Russia Moscow, October 31, 2017” – Russian Foreign Ministry

Sergei Lavrov file photo » Read more

NEWSLINK: “U.S. Special-Operations Forces Have Quietly Moved Onto the Russian Border; The percentage of special operators deployed to Europe quadrupled last year” – The Nation/ Nick Turse

Globe Highlighting NATO Members

“… Since 9/11, U.S. Special Operations forces (SOF) have grown in every conceivable way from funding to manpower, the pace of operations to geographic sweep. On any given day, about 8,000 special operators – from a command numbering roughly 70,000 in total – are deployed in around 80 countries. Over the course of a year, they operate in about 70 […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia Uses Its Oil Giant, Rosneft, as a Foreign Policy Tool” – New York Times/ Clifford Krauss

File Photo of Rosneft and Russian Flags Next to Rosneft Banner

“Russia is increasingly wielding oil as a geopolitical tool, spreading … influence … and challenging the interests of the United States. … Moscow risks running into trouble … lend[ing] money and mak[ing] deals in turbulent economies and shaky political climates. The strategy faces a crucial test this week in Venezuela, a Russian ally that must come up with a billion dollars to avert […]

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