NEWSWATCH: “Advice to Trump: Beware of Russian Trolls; The recent stray spy ship and the fly-bys in the Black Sea are signs that the Kremlin is engaging in its favorite pastime: pushing America’s buttons” – Foreign Policy Magazine/Mark Galeotti

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

“Last week, a Russian spy ship … spent a few days loitering approximately 30 miles off the East Coast …. up to Connecticut … down to Virginia, generating … consternation …. in the wake … of a few other incidents that set off alarm bells … [it was] reported that #Russia had secretly deployed cruise missiles … in likely defiance […]

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Why Everybody Suddenly Has a Ukraine Plan

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – February 27, 2017) Leonid Bershidsky is a Bloomberg View columnist. He was the founding editor of the Russian business daily Vedomosti and founded the opinion website Slon.ru. Andrii Artemenko, a little-known Ukrainian populist lawmaker, became a name in the U.S. after The New York Times reported he’s worked with Donald Trump confidantes on a […]

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Everyone Seems To Have A Peace Plan For Ukraine

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Christopher Miller – February 23, 2017) KYIV — It seems that peace plans for Ukraine are everywhere these days. Amid a recent surge in violence in eastern Ukraine and yet another failed cease-fire in the nearly 3-year-old conflict are a wave of new proposals to bring peace to the crisis-stricken nation — and from some unexpected […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Meeting with CEO of Sberbank German Gref

File Photo of German Gref Shaking Hands with U.S. Official

(Kremlin.ru – February 23, 2017) Sberbank CEO and Chairman of the Board German Gref briefed Vladimir Putin on the bank’s 2016 performance results and its current activities, including the prospects for developing mortgage lending, and new financial support mechanisms for the defence industry and agricultural sector businesses. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Gref, concerning the bank’s performance, we know […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russian media release text of Yanukovych’s letter to Trump” – Kyiv Post/Euan MacDonald, Olga Rudenko

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

“Editor’s Note: Russian media on Feb. 22 released the text of a letter allegedly sent by the ousted former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to U.S. President Donald Trump. Yanukovych claimed that he had sent letters to Trump, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and Russian President Vladimir Putin in an interview published on Feb. 22 by German weekly […]

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Interfax: Over 80% of Russians sure army can deter military threat – poll

File Photo of Tanks on Parade

MOSCOW. Feb 20 (Interfax) – Over half of Russians (58%) believe in the existence of a military threat posed by other countries, Levada Center told Interfax, adding that the indicator had notably declined in the past two years from 68% in 2015. Some 34% of 1,600 respondents polled in 137 populated localities in 48 regions on January 20-23 maintained the […]

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RUSSIALINK: TRANSCRIPT: Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs: “Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s address and answers to questions at the 53rd Munich Security Conference, Munich, February 18, 2017”

Sergei Lavrov file photo

“… Question: I have a concrete question about military exercises. Why are Russian military exercises held without prior announcement, and why are they so non-transparent? This year you will hold the largest Zapad (West) exercises in 20 years, which have alarmed your neighbours. What should be done to build up confidence regarding this issue? …” [featured image is file photo]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting of Federal Security Service Board

(Kremlin.ru – February 16, 2017) Vladimir Putin took part in an annual expanded meeting of the Federal Security Service (FSB) Board to discuss the FSB’s results for 2016 and the priority tasks for ensuring Russia’s national security. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon. These annual FSB Board meetings give us a chance to meet and not only thoroughly analyse […]

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NEWSLINK: “Ensuring Euro-Atlantic Security” – Project-Syndicate/ Des Browne, Wolfgang Ischinger, Igor Ivanov, Sam Nunn

Globe Highlighting NATO Members

“… We must reduce the danger of a #nuclear weapon being used. … We must reduce the risks associated with keeping nuclear forces on ‘prompt-launch’ status. … We must reduce the threat of nuclear and radiological materials falling into the wrong hands. … We must reduce the risks of a military confrontation by improving military-to-military communication through a new #NATO-#Russia […]

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NEWSWATCH: “As Trump re-evaluates NATO, NATO must rethink Russia; With tensions running high in NATO, it seems the alliance is in sore need of a fresh course on Russia and a new deal on security. A former US ambassador to Moscow and an ex-German envoy to NATO gave their takes to DW.” – Deutsche Welle/Darko Janjevic

NATO Meeting file photo

… In addition to calling NATO ‘obsolete,’ Trump has pressured … members to increase … defense spending and signaled a more isolationist foreign policy …. * * * Unlike Trump, Matlock believes … boosting defense spending would be a step in the wrong direction. * * * … With the United States changing its stance, European powers will need to […]

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Re: The Gathering Storm

Eurasia Map

Subject: The Gathering Storm Date: Fri, 27 Jan 2017 From: David Law <davidmurraylaw@gmail.com> The Gathering Storm By David Law Senior Associate, Security Governance Group; former Head of NATO Policy Planning and Speechwriting Unit With Donald Trump now sworn in as the American President and Commander-in-Chief, here are some thoughts on where the world may be headed. In 1948, Winston Churchill […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Kremlin: Talks to Decide Future of Nuclear Pact With US” – AP

Russian Mobile ICBM Parade File Photo

“The possibility of extending a pivotal Russia-U.S. arms control pact is to be discussed in prospective talks …. Peskov[] said the prospects of extending the New START Treaty … set to expire in 2021 will ‘depend on the position of our American partners’ and require negotiations. … the 2010 pact … limited Russian and U.S. nuclear arsenals to no more […]

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Ten Years Ago Today, Putin Declared War

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – February 10, 2017) Ten years ago today, a cold wind blew in Munich. A decade ago today, Vladimir Putin telegraphed his intentions. On February 10, 2007, the Kremlin leader threw down the gauntlet to the West. On that day, Putin stunned the Munich Security Conference with a bellicose speech in which he railed […]

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Russia Set to Send ‘Bull Terrier’ Ambassador to Washington; Russia appears to be falling back on Soviet-era policy of disarmament as the focal point for relations with the U.S.

Anatoly Antonov and Others Facing U.S. Official with U.S. and Russian Flags on Table

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner, Mikhail Fishman – February 9, 2017) Few watching the Russian Defense Ministry’s Dec. 2, 2015 press conference could have guessed the man speaking was a professional diplomat, let alone a skilled negotiator. “[Turkish President Recep] Erdogan and his family are at the heart of this criminal business. But even if their faces are […]

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NEWSLINK: “Kiev Is Fueling the War in Eastern Ukraine, Too; A muted White House isn’t just emboldening the Kremlin — it’s inciting the politics of war throughout Ukraine.” – Foreign Policy Magazine/ISAAC WEBB

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

“… Beginning Jan. 29, rockets rained down on residential and military positions along the front line, killing civilians and soldiers alike. One 60-year-old woman was killed in separatist shelling as she walked from her home to a nearby market; a 24-year-old medic was killed when a shell exploded next to the ambulance she was driving. The fighting decimated local water […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Trump-Putin ties now seen as key to peace in eastern Ukraine” – CNBC/Silvia Amaro

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

“Escalating violence in eastern Ukraine … has underlined the importance … Trump now plays in the region … promising to restore peace after a phone call with … Poroshenko. Trump has signaled his intent to have a closer relationship with Russia and … Putin. And with an open line of communication with Poroshenko, Trump could well prove … instrumental. * […]

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New U.S. administration not going to review plans to upgrade nuclear triad – Ryabkov

Sergei Ryabkov file photo

MOSCOW. Feb 6 (Interfax) – Moscow is not expecting the new United States administration to review its plans to modernize the nuclear triad, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said. “The U.S. is standing at the threshold of the beginning of significant efforts of modernizing its nuclear triad. These plans were announced closer towards the end of Obama’s second term. […]

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NEWSLINK: “Losing everything in Avdiivka; As violence escalates in Eastern Ukraine front, one family copes with losing their livelihood in the shelling.” – Al Jazeera/Christian Borys

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

“… Somewhere in that direction is the heavy gun that fired the shell which destroyed everything for which he had worked. The sounds of the intense fighting in that direction are still audible …. ‘That poor old man,’ says his 71-year-old wife …. ‘He worked his whole life for his family, and now it’s all gone.’ …. * * * […]

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NEWSLINK: “TODAY’S FEAR-MONGERING” – Irrussianality/Paul Robinson

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

“Doug Saunders of the Globe and Mail newspaper writes some good op-eds. But like a lot of commentators he seems to go completely off the rails when the subject of Russia comes up. His latest piece entitled ‘Is Putin scoring political goals on an empty net?’ had me spluttering over my breakfast cereal this morning, and merits a detailed response.”

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Joint news conference with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban (excerpt re Ukraine)

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Kremlin.ru – February 2, 2017) Question: I have a question about Ukraine. Mr President, your position on the conflict in Donbass is known. I would like you to clarify the following: why did this flare-up occur at this particular moment? Since we are in Hungary, I would like to ask Mr Orban the following question: What do you think about […]

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Russia has not recognized DPR, LPR passports – Peskov

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

MOSCOW. Feb 3 (Interfax) – Russia has not officially recognized the passports of people who live on the territory of the self-proclaimed Donbas republics, there are specific humanitarian actions by the local authorities and companies, Russian presidential press officer Dmitry Peskov said. During a meeting with journalists on Friday, Peskov was asked to comment on a report that the passports […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Belarus reportedly mulls leaving Eurasian Economic Union as relations with Russia worsen” – bne Intellinews

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

“#Belarus wants to leave the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), the Collective Security Treaty Organisation and possibly the union state of #Russia and Belarus, the Russian online news service Regnum controversially reported on February 2, citing an anonymous source in Moscow. The information has not been confirmed by either Minsk or Moscow, but over the last few months tensions have risen […]

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Attacks cut water supply to Donetsk

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

MOSCOW. Feb 1 (Interfax) – Water supply has been cut to Donetsk and, partially, to Makiivka as a result of an attack on a water filtering station, the Donetsk news agency said with reference to the Voda Donbasa company. “The hostilities caused a power outage at the Verkhnekalmiusskaya water filtering station at 9:30 a.m. The fourth grid connection (35 kV […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Even as #Trump seeks warmer ties with #Russia, U.S. deploys troops across Eastern #Europe” – Washington Post

U.S. Army Tanks in Transport Arriving in Germany, adapted from army.mil

“… major new deployments of tanks and other heavy equipment will fan out to nations on the #Russian frontier … part of the largest infusion of U.S. troops to #Europe since the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union. … the long-planned effort comes at the most unsettled time for U.S.-European relations since World War II, with #Trump questioning old alliances […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Kiev and Kremlin trade blame over surge in east Ukraine fighting” – Reuters

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

“Ukraine and Russia blamed each other on Tuesday for a surge in fighting in eastern Ukraine … that has led to the highest casualty toll in weeks and cut off power and water to thousands of civilians …. The Ukrainian military and Russian-backed separatists accuse each other of launching offensives in the government-held industrial town of Avdiyivka and firing heavy […]

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Solovey on the Shape of the Emerging Putin-Trump ‘Big Deal’ on Ukraine and Much Else

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, January 30, 2016) Valery Solovey, one of the best connected and most thoughtful of Moscow’s foreign policy commentators, says that the telephone call between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin was the “first step toward ‘a big deal’” between the two not only over bilateral ties but also over a re-division of the […]

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RUSSIALINK RBTH: “Index of fear: What are Russians most afraid of?”

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

Most Russians polled are afraid of war and international conflicts, but the number decreased to 14 points in December compared to 23 points in January 2016. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – January 30, 2017) Russians’ main fears remain the threat of war and inflation, while family troubles are the least worry. These findings are the results of a […]

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NEWSLINK: “U.S., Russia: A History of Containment” – Stratfor

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“One of the United States’ greatest geopolitical imperatives is to prevent the rise of regional hegemons with the ability to challenge it. Russia’s historical dominance of Eurasia, the Soviet Union’s rise as a superpower after World War II and its resulting political, economic and military rivalry with the United States have long made Russia a target of Washington’s actions abroad. […]

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NEWSWATCH: “‘VLAD WILL SMASH BRITAIN IN ONE DAY!’; Russians plot to turn UK into Siberian-style labour camp over claims Putin could defeat British Army ‘in a single afternoon’; Report slating the state of the army was met with glee in Moscow and by Russian internet users” – The Sun (UK)/WILL STEWART

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

“A report claiming Russia could wipe out the British Army in one day was met with glee in Moscow – with some Russians admitting they want to turn Britain into a giant gulag. … * * * A paper by the Centre for Historical Analysis and Conflict Research (CHACR) … at the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst, warned that severe […]

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RUSSIALINK RBTH: “Will Russia cut its nuclear arsenal in exchange for lifting sanctions?”

Russian Mobile ICBM Parade File Photo

The U.S. may reconsider sanctions against Russia if the latter agrees to reduce its nuclear arsenals, said U.S. President-elect Donald Trump in an interview with the British newspaper, The Times. According to military experts, if the reduction is reciprocal then such an agreement will be to Russia’s advantage. Russia, however, will first want a change in NATO policy. (Russia Beyond […]

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Ukraine’s Survival Strategy for the Trump Era

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – January 17, 2017) For Ukraine, Jan. 20 is a scarier date than perhaps for any other country: It may be about to lose the U.S. support that has allowed it to stay afloat in the face of #Russian hostility and economic disaster. The Ukrainian elite is divided between two competing strategies in response. […]

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RUSSIALINK Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs: “Reply by Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova to a media question on the U.S. troop buildup in Europe”

U.S. Army Tanks in Transport Arriving in Germany, adapted from army.mil

“Question: Do you agree with the assertion promulgated by US and European media that the dispatch of US troops to Europe is not of major importance? …”  

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Moscow Times: Russia Says It Plans to Pivot From Nuclear Deterrence, Avoiding Trump’s Arms Race

Russian Mobile ICBM Parade File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 12, 2017) When it comes to strategic deterrence, Russia might replace its nuclear weapons with precision bombs, in order to help reduce international tensions and strengthen world peace, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said in a public lecture on Thursday, the news agency RIA Novosti reported. According to Shoigu, Moscow plans to rely on […]

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Putin’s New Year

Europe Map

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – January 9, 2017) So 2017 is here. And one thing we can be pretty certain of this year is that Vladimir Putin’s regime will try to push the advantage it gained last year — and intensify its efforts to undermine the liberal world order. And there will be plenty of targets of opportunity. […]

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Lift Russian Sanctions for ‘Positive Developments’ in Ukraine – OSCE Chair

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 9, 2017) Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz has called on European leaders to begin lifting sanctions against Russia in exchange for “any positive development” in the Ukrainian crisis. Kurz, a politician for the Austrian People’s Party, claimed that the change in policy would “send a clear signal to Russia.” “My concept is clear. I […]

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Putin Will Never Agree to Deal Thomas Graham Suggests He Wants, Portnikov Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, January 5, 2016) Vladimir Putin has no interest in the deal Thomas Graham suggests he now wants, Vitaly Portnikov says; and consequently, if Washington pursues the course the former US diplomat and current Kissinger associate proposes, it will only embarrass itself but not achieve any of the goals he says the West […]

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Russian Foreign Ministry Appeals for NATO Reset

Globe Highlighting NATO Members

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 4, 2017) The Russian Foreign Ministry has unexpectedly spoken out in favor of a reset with NATO. A representative of the Ministry said it denied seeing the NATO alliance as an anachronism, and expressed a desire to restore relations with the military bloc. “We need to build normal relations with NATO and renew what […]

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EVENT: Reminder: Everyone Loses: The Ukraine Crisis and the Ruinous Contest for Post-Soviet Eurasia | Thursday, January 12th at 9:00am [in Washington D.C.]

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

Subject: Reminder: Everyone Loses: The Ukraine Crisis and the Ruinous Contest for Post-Soviet Eurasia | Thursday, January 12th at 9:00am Date: Wed, 4 Jan 2017 From: Samuel Charap <Charap@iiss.org> The International Institute for Strategic Studies – Americas Everyone Loses: The Ukraine Crisis and the Ruinous Contest for Post-Soviet Eurasia Thursday, January 12, 9:00-10:00am IISS-AMERICAS BOOK LAUNCH 9:00-10:00am Discussion followed by […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

Syria Map

(Kremlin.ru – December 29, 2016) Mr Shoigu and Mr Lavrov briefed the President on work to resolve the Syrian crisis, in particular, agreements reached between the Syrian government and the opposition on a ceasefire and readiness to begin peace talks. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, The news has just come in that this morning, a few hours ago, an […]

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Sarah Lindemann-Komarova: “A Holiday recommendation for your readers; The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming: Holiday Film Recommendation and 50th Anniversary Tribute … Deja vous all over again”

File Photo of Reel of Film

Subject: A Holiday recommendation for your readers. Date: Thu, 22 Dec 2016 From: Sarah Lindemann-Komarova <echosiberia@gmail.com> The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming: Holiday Film Recommendation and 50th Anniversary Tribute … Deja vous all over again By Sarah Lindemann-Komarova [Founder, Siberian Civic Initiatives Support Center 1995 – 2014. Helped to establish this as the hub for the first civil […]

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Interfax: DPR reports nearly 1,700 Ukrainian army attacks in past 24 hours

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

DONETSK. Dec 19 (Interfax) – The self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) recorded 1,684 attacks by the Ukrainian military, nine houses were damaged in the past 24 hours, senior officer of the DPR Defense Ministry Eduard Basurin said. “At the same time, the adversary fired 54 122mm caliber artillery shells, 310 120mm and 82mm caliber mines, three tank projectiles, as well […]

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Debates in the West about Putin Now Recall Those in Europe about Hitler in Mid-1930s, Ikhlov Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, December 15, 2016) There has been a dramatic increase in the influence of pro-#Putin forces in the West in recent months, Yevgeny Ikhlov says; but at the same time, there has also emerged in Western societies a real horror about what the #Kremlin leader is doing in #Syria in general and in […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Nuclear War Is No Longer ‘Unthinkable’ for Russia; Putin is warning the United States to back off” – The National Interest/Nikolas K. Gvosdev

Russian Mobile ICBM Parade File Photo

“The newly-released ‘Foreign Policy Concept’ of the #Russian Federation contains some interesting changes and updates. … this document reflects the #Kremlin’s strategic mindset and how it views international relations …. The first is a slight but significant shift in assessing the possibility of the use of #nuclear weapons from ‘unthinkable’ to ‘unlikely.’ While the concept does not anticipate a high […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Vladimir Putin made a working trip to Chelyabinsk Region

File Photo of Russian MI-26 Helicopter in Afghanistan with MI-17 Helicopter In Background

(Kremlin.ru – December 5, 2016) The President toured the Makeyev State Rocket Centre in Miass, where he held a meeting on the centre’s activity. Vladimir Putin took part in the launch of a new production line at the Eterno Plant in Chelyabinsk, which produces advanced components for pipe systems using nanotechnology. The Eterno Plant is a joint project of the […]

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NEWSWATCH: “U.S. reshaping budget to account for Russian military threat” – Reuters

Aerial Photo of Pentagon and Environs

Russia’s increasing military activities around the world have unsettled top U.S. military officials … reshaping … budget plans to better address what they now consider to be the most pressing threat …. ‘Russia is the No. 1 threat to the United States. … because of the nuclear aspect, an existential threat …’ Air Force Secretary Deborah James told Reuters …. […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Reassess and Reassure. A new Trump administration could move Russia away from its anti-Western posture.” – The National Interest/Carnegie Corporation/Andrew Kuchins

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“The first thing … Trump can do is strike a new tone … open, respectful, businesslike and disciplined. He should acknowledge … deep concern at the state of U.S.-Russia relations … and express that his administration views Russia as an essential partner in reducing nuclear risks … fighting #terrorism and bringing more stability to the greater Middle East, and mitigating […]

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RUSSIALINK RT/Russia Today: “Russia sets out its policy on terrorism, nuclear war & global ties in new Foreign Policy Concept”

Kremlin and River

“… Putin has signed a decree approving Russia’s new Foreign Policy Concept. The document specifies Moscow’s position on key global issues, highlighting its relations with the US, EU, China and other countries. … the concept is now in force, replacing the previous one from 2013. Moscow’s ‘views on core principles, priority directions, aims and tasks of the Russian foreign policy’ are […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Beware: The #Russian bear is getting bolder” – Washington Post

Europe Map

… In #NATO member #Hungary, #Russian agents have been fingered for training with a #neoNazi militia; in … #Monte­negro … on the verge of joining the transatlantic alliance, #Moscow is accused of plotting a violent #coup. … In Hungary … [there was] a gunfight … between police and the leader of the National Front movement …. Police … discovered large […]

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Putin approves Russia’s new foreign policy blueprint

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

(RIA Novosti – December 1, 2016) President Vladimir #Putin has signed a decree approving #Russia’s new Foreign Policy Concept, state-owned RIA Novosti news agency reported on 1 December. The key points of the document, according to RIA Novosti, are as follows: USA – The risk of a war, including a nuclear war, between the leading powers is low, but the […]

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NEWSLINK Irrussianality/Paul Robinson: “DON’T MENTION THE WAR”

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

“… Putin approved a new ‘Foreign Policy Concept of the Russian Federation’. Documents like this are aspirational; they reflect what a government would like to do, not what it is able to do. They are also for public consumption; their purpose is to send certain signals to the policy community, both inside and outside of government. Nevertheless, they are up […]

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