NEWSWATCH: “Why Russia Resents Us” – Patrick Buchanan

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… a Russian SU-27 did a barrel roll over a U.S. RC-135 over the Baltic, the second time in two weeks. … the U.S. destroyer Donald Cook, off Russia’s Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad, was twice buzzed by Russian planes. … Putin’s message: Keep your spy planes and ships a respectable distance away from us. Apparently, we have not received it. […]

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NEWSLINK Russia Direct: “Conventional arms race draws the world closer to state of brinkmanship. With NATO’s military buildup near Russian borders and signs of instability from the Middle East to East Asia, it’s no longer inconceivable that the great powers could find themselves involved in a conventional war.”

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NEWSWATCH: “The West needs to stop panicking about Russia’s “hybrid” warfare” – Vox/Mark Galeotti

Map of Baltics and Environs, Including Kaliningrad

… The fact is that Russian security discussions are dominated by an awareness of the country’s vulnerabilities to a stronger, richer, larger, more advanced West. Up to now, though, we have not let ourselves acknowledge our strengths. The greatest risk for the West is, after all, not its weakness of means but a perception of its weakness of will, both […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Lawmakers look to get tough on Russia” – The Hill

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

Russian aggression will be high on lawmakers’ minds when the House Armed Services Committee meets Wednesday to mark up its annual defense policy bill. … the Russians have buzzed a U.S. Navy destroyer, barrel rolled over a U.S. reconnaissance plane and warned the United States to steer clear of its territory. … committee members say there will be plenty in […]

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NEWSLINK Russia Direct: “Reasons to be hopeful after the Russia-NATO Summit. Russia and NATO renewed their dialogue for the first time since the beginning of the Ukraine crisis, but the talks failed to produce any results. However, the very fact that the summit took place means a lot and gives reason to hope that the two sides can eventually find a compromise.”

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NEWSWATCH New York Times: “Chernobyl’s Silent Exclusion Zone (Except for the Logging)”

Chernobyl File Photo

  … on Ukraine’s dirtiest patch of land, Stop Corruption says, … under-the-table dealings of the bureaucrats who manage the area are flourishing … the group says, the Exclusion Zone Management Agency has turned a blind eye to … Chernobyl logging. The Zone of Alienation, as it is also known, is a rough circle with an 18-mile radius, fenced off […]

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Russia will watch for “adverse consequences” of Ukraine-EU deal – Kremlin

Dmitry Peskov file photo adapted from image at kremlin.ru/wikimedia commons

(Interfax – April 21, 2016) Russia will only be “too happy” if Ukraine’s association agreement with the EU brings it economic stability and prosperity, but will take “balancing measures” if the deal has a negative impact on Russia, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. “This topic rather concerns the EU and Ukraine. As regards the economic aspect, to the extent that […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Perpetual Geopolitics. Putin Returns to the Historical Pattern.” – Foreign Affairs/Stephen Kotkin

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

For half a millennium, Russian foreign policy has been characterized by soaring ambitions that have exceeded the country’s capabilities. Beginning with … Ivan the Terrible … Russia managed to expand at an average rate of 50 square miles per day for hundreds of years, eventually covering one-sixth of the earth’s landmass. * * *  Throughout, the country has been haunted […]

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Polish Minister Says Russia More Dangerous Than Islamic State

Russian Jet Buzzing U.S. Navy Destroyer, adapted from U.S. Navy photo

(RFE/RL – April 15, 2016) Poland’s foreign minister has said that Russia is an “existential threat” to European countries and is more dangerous than the Islamic State (IS) militant group. Speaking at a conference in Bratislava on April 15, Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski said “Russia’s activity is a sort of existential threat because this activity can destroy countries.” The migration […]

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Interfax: Less than half of Ukrainians support NATO membership – poll

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

(Interfax – April 16, 2016) Only 45% of the population support the idea of Ukraine’s joining NATO, as is seen from a public opinion poll. Asked how they would vote if a referendum on Ukraine’s accession to NATO were held today, 45% of those polled said they would vote in favor of NATO membership, 30% would vote against it, 16% […]

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Putin doesn’t expect Western sanctions to be lifted soon, says Russia to keep countersanctions in place

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

MOSCOW. April 14 (Interfax) – Russian President Vladimir Putin does not expect the Western sanctions to be lifted from Russia in the near future. “I don’t think our partners will decide to lift the restrictions and limitations from our country in the near future,” Putin said during a Q&A session on Thursday. “Even though the Minsk Agreements on southeastern Ukraine […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Investors Starting to Show Interest in Russia Again: Credit Suisse.” – Reuters

File Photo of Outdoor Electronic Sign with Russian Exchange Data

Investors are starting to look at Russia again after cutting off exposure amid geopolitical tensions two years ago, the head of Credit Suisse’s $60 million Russian Equity Fund said. There are no big inflows yet but a rebound in Russian stock markets in the past few months as the oil price and the rouble have picked up is encouraging interest […]

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Russia Wins Silent Victory Against Ukraine With Dutch ‘No’ Vote

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Eva Hartog – April 8, 2016) The Netherlands on Thursday awoke to a post-election hangover dominated by questions over how to interpret the results of a plebiscite in which an overwhelming majority of voters opposed a trade deal between the EU and Ukraine that for years has been a source of conflict with Moscow. The […]

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RBTH: Dutch vote on Ukraine: Result will force Europe to ‘restrain’ ambitions

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Most Russian media have welcomed the Dutch rejection of an EU association agreement with Ukraine, hoping that the results may not only affect the attitude of Europeans to Ukraine but also to force the EU to “restrain” its ambitions. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – IGOR ROZIN, RBTH – April 7, 2016) Dutch voters have rejected the association agreement […]

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Dutch Voters Snub Kiev, Not Brussels

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – April 7, 2016) It’s easy to discount the outcome of Wednesday’s Dutch referendum on Ukraine’s association agreement with the European Union as another sign of minority discontent with the European project. It has far more significance than that though, particularly for Ukraine: The faltering state has failed to gain support among ordinary Europeans, […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Dutch referendum on Ukraine: A hard Dutch kick: Voting down the EU’s treaty with Ukraine would hand Vladimir Putin a win.” – The Economist

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… Yanukovych … succumbed to Russian pressure and renounced an association agreement with the European Union that he and his predecessors had spent six years negotiating. Many Ukrainians thought their country’s best hope for transforming itself from a corrupt gangster state into an orderly democracy … had been sacrificed on the orders of … Putin …. Thousands set up camp […]

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How Russia Is ‘Weaponizing’ Migration to Destabilize Europe

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Josh Rogin – March 24, 2016) Some officials in Europe see Russia’s hand in the rising migration crisis, accusing the Kremlin of exacerbating anti-Muslim sentiment to benefit right-wing parties at a fragile moment for the European Union. Even before the latest terror attacks in Brussels, anti-Muslim and anti-refugee sentiment in Europe had been on the rise. […]

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Moscow Accuses Itself

Sergei Lavrov file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – The Daily Vertical: Brian Whitmore – March 24, 2016) Well, it was predictable, but Sergei Lavrov has not let us down. He’s proven yet again the axiom that if you want to know what Russia is doing, pay close attention to what it accuses the West of doing. The Russian foreign minister yesterday urged Europe to […]

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Sergei Ivanov criticizes Ukrainian Security chief for suggesting “Russian trail” in Brussels attacks

File Photo of Sergei Ivanov, adapted from defense.gov image

NOVO-OGARYOVO. March 22 (Interfax) – Russian presidential administration chief Sergei Ivanov has said the word ‘degenerate’ comes to mind with respect to the head of the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) Vasyl Hrytsak who assumed there was a Russian trail in the terrorist attacks in Brussels. “I consider the word ‘loony’ a very fitting one but probably the only [word] from […]

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NEWSWATCH Reuters: “Risk of nuclear war in Europe growing, warns Russian ex-minister [Igor Ivanov]”

Iskander Missile with Launch file photo

The East-West standoff over the Ukraine crisis has brought the threat of nuclear war in Europe closer than at any time since the 1980s…. said Igor Ivanov, Russia’s foreign minister from 1998 to 2004 and now head of a Moscow-based think-tank founded by the Russian government. … Russia and the United States have cut their nuclear arsenals [but] the pace […]

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NEWSWATCH: “RUSSIAN HYBRID WARFARE AND OTHER DARK ARTS” – War on the Rocks/Michael Kofman

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  Following Russia’s annexation of Crimea, hybrid warfare has become conversational short form in the West for describing Moscow’s sneaky ways of fighting war. … a dangerous Kremlin innovation the West must learn to grapple with. … the word has mutated from describing how Moscow was fighting its war in Ukraine to incorporating all the various elements of Russian influence […]

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Russia, Syria Said Using Migrant Crisis As ‘Weapon’ Against West

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(RFE/RL – rferl.org – March 2, 2016) NATO’s top commander warned that Russia and Syria have turned the refugee crisis into a “weapon” against the West at a time when it lacks resources to counter a “resurgent, aggressive” Russia. U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove, who commands the 28-member military alliance, said the flow of hundreds of thousands of migrants […]

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The Great Manipulator

Kremlin and River

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – February 24, 2016) Dmitry Medvedev recently played a telling little head game. When the Russian prime minister said at the Munich Security Conference that Moscow and the West had “slid into a new Cold War,” he essentially created a damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t situation. “If the West agrees that it is a new Cold War, then […]

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Second Anniversary of Ukraine’s Revolution of Dignity

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

(US Department of State – February 20, 2016) US Department of State Press Statement Mark C. Toner Deputy Department Spokesperson Washington, DC February 20, 2016 Today, we join the people of Ukraine in honoring the memory of their Revolution of Dignity and those who gave their lives to build a more just, democratic, and European Ukraine. They braved sniper fire […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russian Aggression Drives Increase in European Defense Spending” – Defensenews.com

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Fear of Russian aggression will help drive European defense spending up by 8.3 percent this year, putting a halt to 20 years of declining budgets … Over two decades after the end of the Cold War, Vladimir Putin’s expansionist policies in Crimea and Ukraine have pushed European leaders to once again increase their spending on military programs, according to the […]

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RBTH: NATO vs. Russia: Why all the recent talk of World War III?

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

British military exercises that may have been carried out with potential deployment in eastern Ukraine in mind, recent comments by NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg and a BBC film depicting a Russia-NATO nuclear conflict following a pro-Russian uprising in Latvia are all doing their part to further stoke tensions between Moscow and the Atlantic Alliance, when a more measured approach is […]

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The rules of the new ‘Cold War’: Empty words and no retreat

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s recent speech in Munich openly spoke of relations between Russia and the West in terms of a new “Cold War.” Dialogue between the two sides is now looking increasingly like a rhetorical war of attrition, with neither side on the offensive but neither willing to retreat either. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Georgy […]

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NEWSLINK: “Europe’s Extremists Are Not Putin’s Fault. Europeans should look to Brussels – not Moscow – for the source of their extremism problem” – Foreign Policy Magazine/Scott Radnitz

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TRANSCRIPT: Dmitry Medvedev’s interview for Handelsblatt, Germany

Dmitry Medvedev file photo

(Government.ru – February 11, 2016) Ahead of the Munich Security Conference, the Prime Minister answered questions from Editor-in-Chief Sven Afhüppe and international correspondent Mathias Bruggmann. Question: Mr Prime Minister, thank you for finding the time to meet with us. You will come to Munich to attend the Conference on Security. Handelsblatt will cover the proceedings and primarily your participation in […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Dmitry Medvedev’s interview with Time magazine

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

(Government.ru – February 15, 2016) Dmitry Medvedev has given an interview to Time magazine correspondent Simon Shuster following the Munich Security Conference. Question: Thank you very much for agreeing to this interview with Time magazine. I would also like to thank you for your remarks today at the conference. This was a very interesting and eloquent speech. You made a […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Dmitry Medvedev’s interview with Euronews TV channel

Dmitry Medvedev file photo

(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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TRANSCRIPT: Interview of Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to Sputnik News Agency

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

(Government.ru – February 12, 2016) Question: The organizers of the Munich Security Conference welcomed your participation in the conference, stressing that it is even more important to dialogue at a high level during times of crisis. What aims do you set before your delegation for your trip to Munich? What are the main theses of your speech? Dmitry Medvedev: The […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Dmitry Medvedev’s interview for Handelsblatt, Germany

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

(Government.ru – February 11, 2016) Ahead of the Munich Security Conference, the Prime Minister answered questions from Editor-in-Chief Sven Afhüppe and international correspondent Mathias Bruggmann. Question: Mr Prime Minister, thank you for finding the time to meet with us. You will come to Munich to attend the Conference on Security. Handelsblatt will cover the proceedings and primarily your participation in […]

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RBTH: U.S. to spend $4.3 billion on ‘countering Russian aggression’

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

The White House has announced that a special sum allocated to fighting Russian influence in Europe and the former Soviet space will be included in the country’s budget for the 2017 fiscal year. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – MARINA KARPOVA, RBTH – February 11, 2016) The U.S. fiscal year 2017 budget will include $4.3 billion allocated “for political, […]

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U.S. National Intelligence Director Says Russia Is Paranoid, Aggressive

DNI Seal and Smaller Seals of Agencies Related to DNI

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – February 10, 2016) Russia is “paranoid” about NATO and is likely to continue “aggressive” actions this year to support its claim to great power status, U.S. National Intelligence Director James Clapper said in Senate testimony Tuesday. In a report on “Worldwide Threat Assessment” that Clapper presented to the Senate, Russia topped a […]

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NEWSLINK: “Life after sanctions: What kind of future awaits Russia and the EU? With calls for EU economic sanctions against Russia to be lifted growing, it is time to consider what kind of future awaits relations between Moscow and Europe – is the idea of close co-operation dead and buried, or can both sides bury the hatchet and move toward a more meaningful and trusting relationship?” – RBTH/Gazeta.ru/Fyodor Lukyanov

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