Kremlin Says Russia ‘In Favour’ of Returning Donbass to Ukraine

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 27, 2016) The Kremlin is ready to support the return of Ukraine’s troubled eastern regions to Kiev government control, according to President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov, the RIA Novosti news agency reported on Thursday. In a move some have interpreted as an invitation to dialogue, and others as bluff, Peskov said on Thursday […]

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Ukraine’s New Hope

Nadiya Savchenko file photo, adapted from image at osce.usmission.gov

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – May 25, 2016) So after holding her in captivity for 708 days, the Kremlin has finally released its most famous hostage. And as a result, Ukraine might have gained something it has long lacked — and badly needs: a political figure with clear and unambiguous moral authority; someone unsullied by the past and […]

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What is causing the conflict in Ukraine?

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

Understanding the economic roots of rebellion in eastern Ukraine suggests that the resolution to the crisis must address restoring economic and political justice. (opendemocracy.net – Tymofiy Mylovanov – May 25, 2016) Tymofiy Mylovanov is the interim President of the Kyiv School of Economics, and Associate Professor at University of Pittsburgh. He received his economics PhD from the University of Wisconsin, […]

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Re #93/Olga Oliker, “No, Russia Isn’t Trying to Make Nuclear War Easier”

Russian Mobile ICBM Parade File Photo

Subject: Re #93/Olga Oliker, “No, Russia Isn’t Trying to Make Nuclear War Easier” Date:     Wed, 25 May 2016 From:     Cynthia Roberts <car52@columbia.edu> Re Johnson List #93 article by Olga Oliker, “No, Russia Isn’t Trying to Make Nuclear War Easier.” Oliker is right about the flawed analysis on this topic, particularly in the government.  Too often existing work misreads the original […]

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‘I Will Never Return To Donetsk’ — Conflict Reduces One Woman’s Life To Rubble

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

Former Donetsk resident Nadia Zaslavska spoke to Dmitry Volchek from RFE/RL’s Russian Service about why the conflict in eastern Ukraine drove her from the city even though she had spent many happy years living there. (RFE/RL – rferl.org – May 24, 2016) I was born in the Dnipropetrovsk region but I spent more than 30 years in Donetsk. I built […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The U.S. and Russia Plan for Conflict” – Stratfor

File Photo of F-22 Fighter and Ground Crew

… In critical areas, including … Syria and Ukraine and arms control … both [the United States and Russia] would genuinely like to negotiate viable solutions. Nevertheless … mistrust … runs deep … vast differences of opinion and outright conflicts of interest will continue to undermine efforts …. With little hope of a positive outcome, the strategic decision-makers in Washington […]

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‘Reintegration of Donbass Will Be Impossible After Five Years,’ Senior Kyiv Official Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, May 24, 2016) Ukraine must move quickly to promote the reintegration of the Donbass because “five years from now,” Georgy Tuka, the deputy head of the Kyiv ministry responsible for overseeing such plans, says, “it will already be impossible” to do so because the region will have been so affected by the […]

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The Futility of Dialogue With Putin

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

(Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 13, Issue 100 – Pavel K. Baev – May 23, 2016) The need to keep the channels of dialogue open with an unpredictable Russia is taken as an absolute imperative by many Western politicians. But they are often surprised when this tactic backfires. The foreign ministers of the member states of […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia still plans to occupy Ukraine – defence minister; Ukraine’s Poltorak warns of further Kremlin’s aggression” – Ukraine Today

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

Russia is strengthening its military positions on its border with Ukraine and is still planning to occupy the neighbouring state. … according to Ukraine’s Defence Minister Stepan Poltorak who stated, ‘We clearly notice that Russia is bolstering its army positions on the border with Ukraine. It plans to deploy additional units and military bases on the border with Ukraine.’ Click […]

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Warning Of War, Ex-Deputy Commander Says NATO Must Counter ‘Russian Adventurism’ In Baltics

Map of Baltics and Environs, Including Kaliningrad

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Eugen Tomiuc – May 22, 2016) A former NATO deputy supreme commander is warning that the alliance could find itself in a full-fledged armed conflict with Russia within a year if it does not strongly step up its presence in the Baltic states. Retired British General Richard Shirreff set out the stark scenario in a book […]

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NEWSWATCH: “NATO finalizes military build-up to counter Russia” – AFP

NATO Meeting file photo

NATO foreign ministers were … finalising the alliance’s biggest military build-up since the end of the Cold War to counter what they see as a more aggressive and unpredictable Russia. … [At] a “landmark” summit … in July … NATO leaders will formally endorse the revamp which puts more troops into eastern European member states as part of a “deter […]

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The West Shouldn’t Fear Russia’s ‘Hybrid Warfare’

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – May 18, 2016) In the two years that have passed since Russia annexed Crimea, the expression “Russian hybrid warfare” has become a fixture in the Western political, media and academic lexicon. It’s a catch-all for Russian hostility — and a perfect mirror image of the Kremlin’s own paranoia about the West. The Atlantic […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The Inevitable Decline of Putin’s Russia” – US News/Paul Shinkman

Putin Descending a Staircase

The downfall of the Soviet Union has taken on renewed resonance in 2016, as a similar set of pressures appears to be aligning against America’s former Cold War foe, raising questions as to whether it, too, may overtax itself. … the Kremlin in the early 2000s consolidated a resurgent Russia’s economic power among a few trusted business elites, failing to […]

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Ukraine Talks Seek Progress, But Donbas Elections Remain a Hurdle

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

(Voice of America – voa.com – Daniel Schearf – MOSCOW, May 17, 2016) U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland’s surprise trip to Moscow is evidence of a new push for progress on implementing the peace deal for Ukraine signed last year in Belarus’ capital, Minsk. Nuland’s trip began Tuesday, just a day before the Trilateral Contact Group meets in […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting on defence industry development

Patriot Missile Launch file photo

(Kremlin.ru – May 13, 2016) Vladimir Putin held this week’s final meeting with Defence Ministry leadership and defence industry representatives. The meeting covered the current tasks of the defence industry, specifically, mobilisation readiness of defence industry companies. Another issue on the agenda was the deployment of the US missile defence system in Eastern Europe. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good […]

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Ukrainian blogger gets long sentence for expressing contentious views

Ukraine Map and Flag

(Human Rights in Ukraine – khpg.org – Halya Coynash – May 13, 2016) Ruslan Kotsaba, a controversial Ivano-Frankivsk journalist and blogger, has been sentenced to three and a half years’ imprisonment. The Ivano-Frankivsk City Court found the journalist, who has been in detention for 14 months guilty of obstructing the legitimate activities of the Ukrainian Armed Forces over a video […]

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RBTH: What problems has the Syrian operation revealed in the Russian army?

Syria Map

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that the Russian campaign in Syria has highlighted a number of problems with the armed forces that need to be addressed. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – NIKOLAI LITOVKIN, RBTH – May 13, 2016) At a meeting with military officials and heads of the military-industrial complex on May 10, Russian President Vladimir Putin […]

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RBTH: Peace in Donbass no closer as Kiev and Moscow refuse to give ground

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

Talks in Berlin between the foreign ministers of Germany, Russia, France and Ukraine have failed to provide a breakthrough on the resolution of the conflict in eastern Ukraine, with the issue of elections continuing to be a sticking point. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ALEXEY TIMOFEYCHEV, RBTH – May 12, 2016) The two-year-old conflict between government forces and […]

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Whose side is Belarus on anyway? Belarusians generally feel closer to Russia than Ukraine, but refuse to get involved in the conflict between them. It is, they insist, “not our war”.

(opendemocracy.net – Yury Drakakhrust – May 12, 2016) Yury Drakakhrust is a Belarusian journalist. He is the author of a number of Russian-language publications on Belarusian and Russian politics, most notably (co-written with Dmitry Furman) Russia and Belarus: States and Societies. The validity of opinion polls in countries with authoritarian regimes is often questioned: how strong is the fear factor […]

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Turning our backs on Ukraine

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

Two years after the tumultuous events of 2014, Ukraine is falling out of international media – with consequences for Ukraine’s democracy. (opendemocracy.org – Ian Bateson – May 11, 2016) Ian Bateson is a foreign correspondent living in Kiev, Ukraine. He has written for Reuters, the Guardian, the Daily Beast and AL Jazeera. He tweets as @ianbateson. Over the past year, […]

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Putin: We will break any blockade

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

(Interfax – May 11, 2016) Russian President Vladimir Putin said the power blockade of Crimea was broken within a short period of time and any other blockade against Russia will be broken in the same way. “The newest technologies were used here, the work, intensive work was done. As a result, the power blockade of Crimea was broken within a […]

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Interfax: Renaming of cities by Ukraine for de-communization purposes complicates negotiation process – Pushilin

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

DONETSK. May 12 (Interfax) – Denis Pushilin, an authorized representative of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) in the Trilateral Contact Group on the settlement of the conflict in Ukraine, has criticized the decision made by the Verkhovna Rada to rename some cities in the territories uncontrolled by Ukraine. “These are not very reasonable actions, schizophrenia with the de-communization. If […]

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Why is NATO once again talking of deterring ‘resurgent Russia’?

NATO Meeting file photo

Recent comments by high-ranking U.S. military officials show that the West is continuing to support the idea of a military build-up in Eastern Europe to “deter” Russia. What’s behind these statements? Some believe that the groundwork is being laid to change the balance of power in Eastern Europe in the West’s favor. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ALEXÉI […]

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NEWSLINK Russia Direct: “What does Victory Day mean for Russia after Ukraine and Syria? Today Russians look at Victory Day through the lens of the war in Ukraine and the Kremlin’s Syria military operation. However, it might bring about three negative implications both for Russia and the world.”

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‘Russia Urgently Needs a Defeat,’ Moscow Commentator Says

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, May 8, 2016) As Russians prepare to commemorate Victory Day tomorrow, Moscow commentator Mikhail Berg argues that “Russia urgently needs a defeat,” because the experience of countries suggests that defeats have the effect of “sobering up” society and elevating the recognition of the value of the individual relative to the state. In […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Why Russia Resents Us” – Patrick Buchanan

Europe Map

… 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.”

File Photo of F-22 Fighter and Ground Crew » Read more

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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NEWSLINK bne Intellinews.com: “Ukraine: war, peace and the return of the king. A deal over Donbas elections and self-rule is still some way off, but if one can be reached, oligarch Rinat Akhmetov could be the most suitable candidate for the role of a new governor of the Donetsk region”

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia » Read more

Can Putin and Poroshenko agree on sending peacekeepers to the Donbass?

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

Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko has said he would be willing to send a police mission to Ukraine’s war-torn Donbass region. Earlier, his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin had expressed his desire to deploy armed OSCE observers in the area. But are the leaders not speaking of different things even though their statements may sound similar? (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru […]

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Russia Braces Itself as Syrian Cease-fire Falters

Syria Map

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner – April 28, 2016) Not two months have passed since President Vladimir Putin declared mission accomplished in Syria, and again the war-ravaged nation is on the brink. Russia’s partial withdrawal coincided with the launch of a new round of UN-mediated talks in Geneva. But with negotiations falling apart, the status quo of full-blown […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Remarks by Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland at a Press Availability in Kyiv

Victoria Nuland file photo

Embassy of the United States-Kyiv Remarks by Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland at a Press Availability April 27, 2016 Fairmont Grand Hotel Kyiv, Ukraine ASSISTANT SECRETARY NULAND: Good afternoon, everybody. Apologies for keeping you waiting. It is terrific to be back in Kyiv on this beautiful spring day, and on the eve of the […]

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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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AUDIO & NEWSWATCH Foreign Affairs: “Putin’s Russia: Down But Not Out, Part 2” – Gideon Rose, Stephen Kotkin, and Dmitri Trenin [“We’re looking at the history of Russian aggression”]

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

In part two of our Foreign Affairs Unedited series on Russia under Putin, we’re looking at the history of Russian aggression and the country’s recent military reform. Featuring Gideon Rose, Stephen Kotkin, and Demetri Trenin. * * * ROSE: Back in 1939, Winston Churchill said about Russia or at that point the Soviet Union, it is a riddle wrapped in […]

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NEWSWATCH Brookings/Steven Pifer, Will Ukraine dash its hopes for Western support?

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

Ukraine has gone through a lot the past 30 months. Despite formidable challenges, it has made important progress, both in containing Russian-backed separatism in the Donbas and in beginning needed reforms. Ukrainians deserve credit …. The United States and Europe should support Ukraine, whose success or failure will have major implications for the future of Europe and the European security […]

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NEWSWATCH Carnegie Moscow Center/Kevin Rudd: “Asia’s Rise, Russia, and the Future of the Global Order”

Asia Map

The Asia-Pacific region contains dynamic twenty-first century global economies in the midst of a positively nineteenth-century set of security policy arrangements. Unresolved territorial disputes litter the region, including the Korean peninsula, the East China Sea, Taiwan, the South China Sea, the Sino-Indian border, and the continuing problem of Kashmir. … unresolved territorial disputes have given rise to multiple fractious security […]

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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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BBC Accuses British, Russian Media Of Skewing MH17 Reporting

Ukraine Air Crash Scene with Uniformed Security Personnel, Flames, Smoke

(RFE/RL – Carl Schreck – April 25, 2016) The BBC has issued a rare defense of an upcoming documentary about the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine, accusing British media of distorting its report about a tragedy that killed 298 passengers and crew in July 2014. A report by Britain’s Sunday Express tabloid “misrepresented” the BBC program, […]

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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.”

File Photo of Official at Podium in Front of Large NATO-Russia Council Signage » Read more
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