NEWSLINK: “The Russian-Saudi rapprochement and Iran. Would Russia draw closer to Saudi Arabia and risk losing Iran?” – Al Jazeera/ Leonid Issaev

Middle East Map

“… A number of developments in recent months have signalled a possible rapprochement between Russia and Saudi Arabia. The two countries have made a joint effort to push for further cutting of oil production to help bring up prices. Since the beginning of this year, Russian Minister of Energy Alexander Novak and his Saudi counterpart Khalid al-Falih have been seeking to conclude […]

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Putin’s Arms Bazaar Is in a Serious Sales Slump

File Photo of Buk-1 SAM

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Tobin Harshaw – April 25, 2017) Tobin Harshaw writes editorials on national security, education and food for Bloomberg View. He was an editor with the op-ed page of the New York Times and the paper’s letters editor. Russian President Vladimir #Putin is mighty proud of his #military’s performance in #Syria. And, as I have written, it’s […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia Suspends Syrian Air Operations Accord With U.S. After Airstrikes; The decision poses a new complication for Trump administration’s push against Islamic State” – Wall Street Journal/ Thomas Grove, Nour Malas, Maria Abi-Habib, James Marson

U.S. Naval Vessel Firing Tomahawk Cruise Missile at Night

Moscow swiftly suspended an agreement with Washington for military coordination in Syrian skies on Friday following the U.S. missile attack on a Syrian base …. heightening concerns of more unpredictable reactions from … al-Assad’s backers, in particular Iran, to the U.S. strike, conducted in retaliation for a suspected regime chemical attack on a village. It threatens to derail the delicate alliances that […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Trump’s Rapid Rapprochement Plans With Russia Fade; Investigations into Russia’s alleged interference in U.S. presidential election complicates relationship” – Wall Street Journal/CAROL E. LEE/PAUL SONNE/THOMAS GROVE

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“Expectations that … #Trump’s election would lead to a rapid U.S. rapprochement with #Russia are fading, as the White House pushes off the #Kremlin’s proposals for a meeting with … #Putin and takes an increasingly skeptical view of reaching a grand bargain with #Moscow. … high-level national-security officials discussed possible approaches to Russia, looking to nail down elements of administration policy […]

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NEWSLINK: “Alliance with Syria tightens Russia’s ties with Iran; Continuing cooperation on Syria was high on the agenda of a meeting between Putin and Rouhani, but other agreements were made as well” – Asia Times/SERGEI BLAGOV

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“As Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in Moscow this week, the two sides pledged to develop cooperation on Syria, as well as bilateral economic ties. …”

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Russia Tries to Salvage Syria Peace Bid as Iran Dispute Flares

Syria Map

(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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NEWSWATCH: “Trump Administration Looks at Driving Wedge Between Russia and Iran” – Wall Street Journal

Iran Map and Flag

“… Trump … is exploring ways to break Russia’s military and diplomatic alliance with Iran in a bid to both end the Syrian conflict and bolster the fight against Islamic State …. The emerging strategy seeks to reconcile … Trump’s seemingly contradictory vows to improve relations with … Putin and to aggressively challenge the military presence of Iran – one […]

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What Vladimir Putin Could Explain to Donald Trump

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

(Jack Matlock, U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union from 1987 to 1991 – jackmatlock.com – January 31, 2017) The telephone conversation last Saturday between the American and Russian presidents seems to have been amicable and constructive, at least in a general sense. They are reported to have discussed key world issues as potential partners, not as adversaries or enemies. That […]

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Trump Team Aims to Test Russia’s Alliance With Iran

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Eli Lake – January 24, 2017) Eli Lake is a Bloomberg View columnist. He was the senior national security correspondent for the Daily Beast and covered national security and intelligence for the Washington Times, the New York Sun and UPI. As the #Trump administration begins planning its outreach to #Moscow, one question for the new president […]

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RUSSIAN FOREIGN POLICY IN THE MIDDLE EAST 2015-2016: PUSHING ON AN OPEN DOOR

Middle East Map

(Robert O. Freedman, Johns Hopkins University – 31 October 2016) There is no question but that Russia has been very active in the Middle East over the last year, especially in Syria. There is a question however as to whether Moscow has been able to transform this activity into actual influence in the region. I would argue that the answer […]

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NEWSLINK Valdai Discussion Club/ Paul Saunders: “TECTONIC SHIFTS IN THE MIDDLE EAST, OR ARE THEY REALLY?”

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Russia’s military operation in Syria – and America’s restraint there-has catalyzed discussion and debate about possible strategic realignments in the Middle East, generating excitement in Moscow about Russia’s “great power” role and parallel concern in Washington and some allied capitals about future U.S. influence.

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NEWSLINK RBTH: “Russian airplanes leave Iran, but for how long?”

Iran Map and Flag

Tu-22M3 and Su-34 combat aircraft are no longer performing sorties into Syria from Iranian territory. Experts attribute the decision to a number of diplomatic and technical miscalculations on Moscow’s part and say the possibility remains for Russian aircraft to return

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NEWSWATCH: “Iran and Russia Move Closer but Their Alliance Has Limits” – Reuters

Iran Map and Flag

When Iran took delivery of the first parts of an advanced Russian air defense system this month, it paraded the anti-aircraft missile launchers … to mark Army Day. … the Kremlin’s decision a year ago to press ahead with the stalled sale of the S-300 system was the first clear evidence of a growing partnership between Russia and Iran that […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia Thinks It Has Solved the Oil-Price Crisis; But it may just be more wishful thinking” – Fortune.com

Oil Well file photo

The world’s major oil exporting economies have been putting together an agreement to freeze oil production levels, and Russia’s energy minister is optimistic that it will be effective in finally stopping the slide in oil prices ….  * * * The news seemed to buoy the oil market…. But there’s plenty of reason to doubt that the action will bring […]

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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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Who benefits and who loses from revocation of anti-Iranian sanctions

Iran Map and Flag

If Moscow plays its cards correctly, it will be able to strengthen its positions not only in Iran but also throughout the entire Middle East. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – GEVORG MIRZAYAN – January 29, 2016) The lifting of sanctions against Iran has generated an entire wave of speculation about the upcoming reformation of the Middle East. However, […]

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High-level Iranian and Saudi visits to Moscow raise speculation

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Recent visits to Moscow by the Iranian and Saudi foreign ministers, alongside talks with representatives of the Syrian opposition, have raised speculation that Russia could be acting as a mediator between Iran and Saudi Arabia as the lifting of sanctions on Tehran leave the situation in the Middle East in a state of flux. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru […]

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Russia, U.S. Bicker Over Missile Defense Shield After Iran Agreement

Mssile Defense Control Room

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner – August 11, 2015) With an international resolution on Iran’s nuclear program in the bag, Russia is pushing the U.S. to honor an alleged 2009 promise by President Barack Obama to scrap plans to deploy a missile defense system in Europe to shield against Iranian missiles. “President Obama in 2009 publicly said that […]

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Fulfillment of S-300 deal with Iran will take time – Russian official

Iran Map and Flag

(Interfax – MOSCOW, May 26, 2015) The right time to begin implementing a contract for the delivery of S-300 surface-to-air missile systems to Iran has not yet come, Deputy Secretary of Russia’s Security Council Yevgeny Lukyanov told Interfax on Tuesday. “A decision concerning S-300 deliveries to Iran has been adopted, but the implementation of this project will take time. As […]

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NEWSLINK Foreign Affairs: Paper Tiger Putin; The Failure of Russia’s Anachronistic Antagonism

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

Russian President Vladimir Putin is not as strong as he might seem, or, more important, as he might hope. Although Russia supports fighters in Ukraine, invaded Georgia in 2008, sold missile systems to Iran, and recently threatened Denmark and Lithuania with nuclear war, it is, in reality, a muted and restrained power operating in a system that no longer supports […]

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Why Russia Ended its Ban on Selling Advanced Air Defense Systems to Iran

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner – April 15, 2015) Russia’s decision this week to lift a self-imposed embargo on selling powerful S-300 anti-aircraft systems to Iran is likely an attempt to turn the Middle Eastern country into a major new market for Russian arms exports. As the international community edges closer to a nuclear deal with Iran, the […]

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NEWSLINK The National Interest: How Russia Plans to Save Its Massive Military Buildup. “For those who expected that sanctions and the fall in energy prices would tame the bear’s claws, think again.”

Russian Soldiers Marching

“For those who expected that sanctions and the fall in energy prices would tame the bear’s claws, think again.” The announcement that Russia is planning to lift its self-imposed ban on selling the advanced S-300 air defense system to Iran gives us an important insight into how Moscow plans to move ahead with its ambitious plans to modernize and reequip […]

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How Much Power Will Russia’s S-300 Missile Defense Systems Give Iran?

Middle East Map

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner – April 15, 2015) Moscow’s decision to lift its unilateral ban on exporting advanced S-300 air defense system to Iran will boost the Islamic republic’s air defense capabilities, but their military impact depends on the outcome of ongoing negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program. The air defense systems, built by Russia’s largest defense contractor […]

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Putin’s Mideast Gains Trump $27 Billion Loss From Iran Agreement

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Henry Meyer, Stephen Bierman – April 14, 2015) As Russian President Vladimir Putin has shown in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, he’s willing to take an economic hit to expand his political influence. He’s taking the same approach with Iran. Lifting sanctions and allowing Iranian oil onto global markets would threaten to deepen the plunge in crude […]

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No decision yet on new contract for S-300 missiles for Iran – Kremlin

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MOSCOW. April 14 (Interfax) – The Kremlin has acknowledged the absence of any legal restrictions for supplying S-300 air defense missile systems to Iran now that the president has signed the relevant decree. “The question of contracts, to sign or not sign [new ones], is one that will be decided or discussed by the immediate participants of the deal, if […]

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NEWSLINK Moscow Times: Is the Iran Deal Good or Bad News for Russia?

Middle East Map

It is far too early to assume last week’s framework agreement between Iran and the six world powers will lead to a permanent deal governing how Iran develops its nuclear industry. But while all sides acknowledge the difficulties still to be tackled, there is a very good chance that a permanent deal may be put in place in the summer and sanctions against the country may start to unwind from later this year […]

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Russia Nervously Eyes the U.S.-Iran Deal

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(stratfor.com – Geopolitical Weekly – Reva Bhalla – April 7, 2015) When a group of weary diplomats announced a framework for an Iranian nuclear accord last week in Lausanne, there was one diplomat in the mix whose feigned enthusiasm was hard to miss. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov left the talks at their most critical point March 30, much to the […]

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Russia Beyond the Headlines: Lausanne agreement: Russia and Iran to maintain ties, but EU is real winner

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(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – April 6, 2015) Talks between Iran and the P5+1 in Switzerland on Tehran’s nuclear program ended on April 2 with a joint accord aimed at paving the way for a comprehensive agreement and the eventual lifting of sanctions on Iran. While Moscow sees the compromise as a triumph for international diplomacy, experts believe […]

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Russia Shouldn’t Put All Its Middle East Eggs in Iran’s Basket, Warn Experts

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – April 3, 2015) As Russia’s role in the Middle East was thrown into the spotlight this week by Wednesday’s attack on the Russian Consulate in Yemen and by the ongoing Iran nuclear talks, analysts said siding with Iran completely would significantly limit Moscow’s options in future conflicts. Iran may be the current […]

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Interfax: Moscow hopes six mediators, Iran overcome differences in further talks

Map of Iran with Stylized Radar Sweep and Radiation Symbol Background Image

MOSCOW. Nov 25 (Interfax) – Moscow hopes another extension of the six-party talks with Iran will be the last, says Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov. “With respect to the decisions, the last four days have been more important than the last four months, and the issues that remain are so obvious and clear that we are very hopeful that […]

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Moscow Times: Iran Talks Show Why West Still Needs Russia

Iran Map and Flag

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – November 25, 2014) As Monday’s negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program failed to yield a deal and resulted in Iran, Russia, the U.S., China, Britain and Germany setting a new deadline of July 1, analysts hailed the talks as a rare remaining area of cooperation between Russia and the West. The U.S. recognizes […]

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Putin Proposing Molotov-Ribbentrop-Style Grand Bargain to West, Illarionov Says

Map of Iran with Stylized Radar Sweep and Radiation Symbol Background Image

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, November 13, 2014) Vladimir Putin is proposing the kind of grand bargain to Barack Obama that Hitler proposed to Neville Chamberlain and then to Joseph Stalin, in which the West would accept Russia’s annexation of Crimea in exchange for Moscow’s cooperation on Iran, according to Andrey Illarionov. Chamberlain rejected that bargain but […]

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Interfax: Russia optimistic about comprehensive agreement on Iranian nuclear program – diplomat

Map of Iran with Stylized Radar Sweep and Radiation Symbol Background Image

(Interfax – June 12, 2014) Moscow welcomes progress in clearing a comprehensive agreement on the Iranian nuclear program before negotiations between the P5+1 group of world powers and Iran in Vienna, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said following a meeting with an Iranian delegation in Rome. “I can say in summing up the results that the work on a […]

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McFaul: U.S. still sees Iranian threat as risk that should be minimized with missile defense system

Ambassador Mike McFaul file photo

(Interfax – February 5, 2014) The outgoing U.S. ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul has given an interview with Interfax in which he speaks about the outcomes of his work in Russia, latest trends and developments in relations between Moscow and Washington. Question: The news on your departure has come as a surprise. Despite the fact that you clearly wrote that […]

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Russia at home and abroad: past successes, future challenges

World Map Showing Continents, Greens, Browns, Ice

(opendemocracy.net – Margot Light – January 5, 2014) Margot Light is Professor Emeritus of International Relations at the Department of International Relations of the London School of Economics and Political Science. 2013 produced several foreign policy successes for President Putin, increasing Russia’s prominence on the international stage. At home, the Volgograd suicide attacks brought the year to a sad and […]

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Interfax: Iranian president actively seeking solutions to domestic, foreign issues – Russian ambassador to Iran

Iran Map and Flag

MOSCOW. Jan 3 (Interfax) – New Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is actively looking for solutions to his country’s problems on the domestic and international arena, Russian Ambassador to Iran Levan Dzhagarian says. “As I see from the Iranian perspective, Rouhani is making quite a lot of efforts so as to find mutually acceptable solutions to the existing problems, and he […]

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Interfax: Agreement on Iran challenges grounds to set up missile shield in Europe – Pushkov

Map of Iran with Stylized Radar Sweep and Radiation Symbol Background Image

MOSCOW. Dec 12 (Interfax) – The agreements of the Sextet and Tehran on the Iranian nuclear program call into question if there is any sense of the missile shield in Europe being created by NATO, head of the Russian State Duma committee on foreign affairs Alexei Pushkov said. “[Russian President Vladimir] Putin has put the question correctly: the issue of […]

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Deal with Iran could create new balance of power in the Middle East

Map of Iran with Stylized Radar Sweep and Radiation Symbol Background Image

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Andrei Ilyashenko, special to RBTH  – November 26, 2013) What made this the right time to reach an agreement? The answer may be as much about U.S. politics as anything. At a meeting in Geneva, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany (known as the P5+1) have reached a […]

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Interfax: Iran deal won’t change European missile shield plan – NATO source

Mssile Defense Control Room

BRUSSELS,. Nov 26 (Interfax) – NATO does not see reasons to review the European missile shield plan in connection with the Iran nuclear program deal. NATO’s missile defense project is not intended to provide defense from a concrete country, a source in the NATO headquarters told Interfax in Brussels. What is meant here is defense from a real and growing […]

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RIA Novosti: Iran Deal Nullifies Needs for Europe Missile Shield – Russian FM

Sergei Lavrov file photo

ROME, November 25 (RIA Novosti) ­ Implementation of a deal on Iran’s nuclear program reached in Geneva this weekend will make the US missile defense system in Europe unnecessary, Russia’s foreign minister said Monday. “If the agreement on Iran is implemented, the reason named as a necessity to establish a missile defense system in Europe will drop away,” Sergei Lavrov […]

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Interfax: Iran to take practical steps towards comprehensive solution of its nuclear problem

Map of Iran with Stylized Radar Sweep and Radiation Symbol Background Image

MOSCOW. Nov 25 (Interfax) – A comprehensive solution of the Iranian nuclear problem will be a mutual phased process to result in the comprehensive lift of the UN Security Council’s sanctions, as well as multilateral and national sanctions related to the Iranian nuclear program, says a joint action plan approved by the Sextet and Iran in Geneva. “There would be […]

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Interfax: Recognizing Iran’s right to peaceful nuclear energy should be condition for resolving nuclear problem – Lavrov

Map of Iran with Stylized Radar Sweep and Radiation Symbol Background Image

MOSCOW. Nov 19 (Interfax) – If the Sextet adheres to the stance of recognizing Iran’s right to enrich uranium for peaceful, energy purposes during the talks with Tehran, the parties might have a chance to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said. “For many years Russia put forward the following approach: we all recognize Iran’s right […]

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RIA Novosti: US Plan for Iran Nuclear Program Blocked After Hasty Changes ­- Russia

Map of Iran with Stylized Radar Sweep and Radiation Symbol Background Image

CAIRO, November 14 (RIA Novosti) ­ Iran tentatively agreed to a US proposal for limiting its nuclear program, but backed out of the deal after last-minute changes in Geneva, Russia’s foreign minister said Thursday. “The version with the amendments was distributed literally at the last moment, when we were about to depart from Geneva,” Sergei Lavrov said, referring to high-level […]

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RIA Novosti: Russia Says Iran Not to Blame for Geneva Talks Failure

Map of Iran with Stylized Radar Sweep and Radiation Symbol Background Image

MOSCOW, November 12 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russia has said Iran was not to blame for the failed outcome of nuclear talks in Geneva last week, hinting at cracks in what had previously appeared to be a relatively united international front on the issue. A source in the Russian Foreign Ministry said Tuesday that the account of the talks given by […]

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