NEWSWATCH: “In Syria, Russia Protects Its Interests From Above and Below” – Stratfor

Syria Map

Stratfor reports on the buildup of Russian air defenses in Syria in the aftermath of Turkey’s shoot-down of a Russian military aircraft. With such an extensive presence, Russia will be able to obstruct the war efforts of those opposed to Syrian President Bashar al Assad. The United States and its allies can still fly airstrikes against the Islamic State, but […]

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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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How likely is an armed conflict between Russia and Turkey?

Turkey and Environs Satellite Image

As relations between Russia and Turkey deteriorate, the question of a possible armed conflict between the two countries is being discussed more frequently. RBTH asked Russian and Turkish military experts to comment on how likely this outcome would be and asked them to lay out the possible scenarios. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – YEKATERINA CHULKOVSKAYA, RBTH – February […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Reinforcing Deterrence on NATO’s Eastern Flank Wargaming the Defense of the Baltics” – RAND

Map of Baltics and Environs, Including Kaliningrad

RAND addresses the military dynamic in the Baltics in the event of a hypothetical prospective Russian attack. Russia’s recent aggression against Ukraine has disrupted nearly a generation of relative peace and stability between Moscow and its Western neighbors and raised concerns about its larger intentions. From the perspective of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the threat to the three […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia could overrun Baltics in 3 days. NATO forces would face severe casualties.” – Washington Times

Map of Baltics and Environs, Including Kaliningrad

The Washington Times covers a recent RAND report about the military dynamic that could exist in the Baltics in the event of a hypothetical Russian attack. On the same day the Secretary of Defense, Ash Carter, announced new resources being sought to strengthen Eastern European defenses from any possible Russian aggression, a report from the RAND corporation was released and […]

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Russian Entente Nears as Allies Give Ukraine Sanctions Hint

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – January 26, 2016) After almost two years on the outside, signs are growing that Russia may soon be invited in from the cold. The worsening of crises from Syria to Libya are forcing the international community to reconsider sanctions slapped on President Vladimir Putin’s government over Ukraine as a way of getting a key diplomatic power […]

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In Russia’s updated national security strategy NATO not named a ‘threat’

NATO Meeting file photo

(Interfax – January 14, 2016) Russian Foreign Ministry official Maria Zakharova has called the information reported by the Western media stating that NATO is called a “threat” to Russia’s national security in Russia’s updated national security strategy “unscrupulous speculation.” “As to the wording that defines NATO as a ‘threat,’ the document doesn’t have them […] It is enough to read […]

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[NATO Expansion and International Law] Re: 2016-#7-Johnson’s Russia List/Mercouris re NATO

NATO Meeting file photo

Subject: Re: 2016-#7-Johnson’s Russia List/Mercouris re NATO Date: Wed, 13 Jan 2016 From: Timothy Stubbs <timothy.stubbs@dentons.com> As regards Mr. Mercouris’s article of today: In any legal system, agreements intended to be treated as binding and enforceable must meet certain customary formal and substantive requirements for the parties thereto to have a reasonable expectation that such agreements will be treated as […]

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2015: The Year Putin Bounced Back

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

(RFE/RL – Carl Schreck – December 29, 2015) In December 2014, U.S. President Barack Obama fielded a question about Russia while addressing a group of American business leaders in Washington. President Vladimir Putin’s incursion into Ukraine and “backward-looking” policies, Obama said, are “isolating Russia completely internationally.” If it was Russian expansionism last year that triggered this isolation, it was Putin’s […]

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Turbulence over Syria’s skies

Syria Map

The skies over Syria became more crowded last week after the UK voted to join air strikes against ISIS forces. But can countries with very different attitudes to the conflict agree on common aims? (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – FYODOR LUKYANOV, SPECIAL TO RBTH – December 10, 2015) The author is chairman of the Presidium of the Council […]

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Number of troops in NATO contingent in Baltic republics, Poland, Romania grows 23-fold, number of planes up 8-fold over past year – Shoigu

Sergei Shoigu file photo

MOSCOW. Dec 11 (Interfax) – The number of troops deployed in the Baltic republics and Central Europe has grown manifold over the past year, and modernization of U.S. nuclear air bombs is pending. “Over the past year alone, the NATO contingent in the Baltic countries, Poland and Romania has grown eight-fold in terms of planes and 23-fold by the number […]

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NEWSWATCH Deutsche Welle: “Activists or Kremlin agents – who protects Russian-speakers in the Baltics? Moscow has been financing Russian-language NGOs in the Baltic states for years. Security authorities there are suspicious of the organizations, but the NGOs deny there is any cause for concern.”

Map of Baltics and Environs, Including Kaliningrad

Deutsche Welle covers Russian government financing of NGO activity in the Baltics. Authorities have long had these NGOs in their sights. In its annual report, Latvian police stated that the Russia-backed organizations are tasked with the distribution of “biased and distorted information” on domestic procedures in Latvia. According to Estonian and Latvian authorities, the violation of the rights of Russian […]

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RBTH: Cable wars: Can Russia really cut the jugular?

mediterranean-200

Both the U.S. and Russia have the means to clip undersea cables but don’t worry, unless there’s a full on war, your internet surfing won’t be interrupted. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – RAKESH KRISHNAN SIMHA, SPECIAL TO RBTH – December 9, 2015) There are more than 285 cables crossing the world’s oceans, with the entire network spanning over […]

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Will hybrid warfare doctrine draw NATO and Russia further apart?

Europe Map

NATO has adopted a new doctrine aimed at conducting a swift response to any attempts to use hybrid warfare against its member states, including the possible use of “little green men” to effect a change of power. Where does this leave relations with Russia, which is clearly perceived by the alliance as a potential instigator of such activity? (Russia Beyond […]

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Russia welcomes intent of U.S., coalition to help seal Syria-Turkey border

Syria Map

(Interfax – December 7, 2015) Moscow welcomes the intentions of the United States and other members of the anti-terrorist coalition that it leads to help seal the Syrian-Turkish border with the purpose of stopping oil trafficking and other illegal businesses. “What the Syrian-Turkish border is like has been known for a long time, the same as the Turkish-Iraqi border. It […]

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Russians Want Better Ties With West, But No Change in Policy – Poll

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Eva Hartog – December 3, 2015) Amid a standoff over the crisis in Ukraine and ongoing conflict in Syria, most Russians want their country to mend ties with its nemeses even while maintaining its political course, the independent Levada Center pollster said Wednesday. Seventy-five percent of those questioned in a new poll said Russia should […]

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NEWSWATCH New York Times: “Russia’s Fury Over Montenegro and NATO”

File Photo of Montenegro Coastal City Kotor with Portion of Old Fortress, Town in Distance, Mountain

The New York Times comments upon Russia’s reaction to the prospect of Montenegro joining NATO. It is a measure of how cold the West’s relations with Russia have become that NATO’s membership invitation to Montenegro — a small, poor Balkan state with a military force of 2,000 and no strategic significance save putting the last bit of Europe’s Mediterranean coastline […]

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NEWSWATCH Moscow Times/Mark Galeotti: “Moscow Must Avoid Shadow War With Ankara”

Turkey and Environs Satellite Image

Writing in The Moscow Times, Mark Galeotti considers Russia’s potential reactions to Turkey’s shoot-down of a Russian military aircraft. Moscow is sanctioning Turkish goods and holidays, something that will have a distinct impact on an economy which earns $6.5 billion a year from Russian tourists, but is this enough to assuage President Vladimir Putin’s evident fury at the shooting down […]

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New York Times/Anatol Lieven: “The Key to Crushing ISIS”

Middle East Map

Writing in The New York Times, Anatol Lieven addresses the fight against ISIL. Since the latest terrorist attacks in Paris, President Obama and a range of other Western leaders have agreed that ISIS must be crushed, Syria and Iraq stabilized, and the flow of refugees reversed. If ISIS, Al Qaeda and their supporters are the greatest enemies of the West, […]

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Putin talks tough on Turkey but holds back on anti-West rhetoric

Turkey map

Analyzing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s annual speech to the Federal Assembly, Russian observers interviewed by RBTH underlined the contrast between Putin’s harsh stance toward Turkey and his apparent readiness to cooperate with the West, though they said the address was lacking in groundbreaking ideas. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – YEKATERINA SINELSCHIKOVA, RBTH – December 4, 2015) Against the […]

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Three-quarters of Russians stand for normalizing relations with West

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

(Interfax – December 2, 2015) Most Russians (75 percent) think that Russia should normalize relations with the United States and other Western nations, and 16 percent argue the opposite, Levada Center has told Interfax. Ten percent of 1,600 respondents interviewed in 137 populated localities in 48 regions on November 20-23 were undecided. In the opinion of 51 percent of the […]

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Interfax: Putin regrets deterioration of relations with Turkey

Turkey and Environs Satellite Image

(Interfax – December 1, 2015) Russian President Vladimir Putin has regretted the exacerbation of relations between Russia and Turkey and said that Moscow has repeatedly raised the question of terrorists coming from that country in its contacts with Turkey. “I think all of us regret this, and I personally regret this because I personally have been doing a lot for […]

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NEWSWATCH Wall Street Journal: “NATO Ministers Discuss Measures to Defend Turkish Airspace. Meeting of NATO foreign ministers follows last week’s shooting down of Russian jet.”

Turkey and Environs Satellite Image

The Wall Street Journal covers NATO plans to bolster allied support of Turkish air defense, with heightened focus after the Turkish shoot-down of a Russian military aircraft. Allies have been discussing how to help Turkey defend its airspace for years, but the talks gained new urgency after the downing of the Russian plane that NATO says briefly entered Turkish airspace. […]

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NEWSWATCH Moscow Times/Kevin Ryan: “Turkish Shootdown Shows Importance of NATO-Russia Dialogue”

NATO Meeting file photo

In the aftermath of Turkey’s shoot-down of a Russian military aircraft, Retired Brigadier General Kevin Ryan addresses the need for greater dialogue between NATO and Russia. It is important to recognize how serious the situation has become between Russia and NATO over the last two years. In response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its activities in Ukraine, almost all operational communications between the militaries of NATO and Russia have been suspended. […]

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Moscow and Ankara facing test of political nerve

Turkey map

Bilateral relations between Turkey and Russia have been seriously damaged by the shooting down of a Russian bomber near the Syrian border by the Turkish air force. However, despite a history of uneasy partnership, both sides will realize that it is not in their interests to allow tensions to spiral over the incident. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – […]

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NEWSWATCH Washington Post: “How Turkey confounded Putin’s favorite narratives”

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

The Washington Post covers Russian rhetoric in the aftermath of Turkey’s shoot-down of a Russian military jet. On Monday, two Turkish F-16s shot down a Russian plane which Turkey said had crossed into its airspace. Various interpretations could in theory be placed upon this event. Depending on one’s point of view, it could be described as an act of self-defense […]

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Downing of Russian Sukhoi Bomber Was Predictable

File Photo of Russian SU-24 Harassing U.S. Navy Vessel in Black Sea, Adapted from U.S. Military Video

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner – November 26, 2015) The downing of a Russian Su-24 bomber on the Syrian border by a Turkish F-16 fighter jet on Tuesday marks the first serious clash between Russian forces and an external coalition involved in Syria’s civil war – but it was a predictable event. Turkey has been supporting rebel forces […]

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Russian Tour Agencies Cancel Turkey Trips Amid Fury Over Downed Warplane

Turkey and Environs Satellite Image

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 26, 2015) Turkey is a hugely popular vacation spot for Russians, almost 3.3 million of whom holidayed there in 2014, according to official figures. Russian tour agencies have canceled flights to Turkey and suspended sales of new tours a day after the downing of a Russian fighter-bomber by the Turkish military, Russian media reported […]

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NEWSWATCH Washington Post: “Russian provocations led to the downing of its fighter jet by Turkey”

Turkey map

The Washington Post comments on Turkey’s downing of a Russian military jet, laying the blame squarely upon the Kremlin. Following Turkey’s shoot-down of a Russian military jet Tuesday, Western leaders rightly addressed themselves to heading off an escalation between Moscow and a NATO member. In the process, they were not as clear as they could have been about where responsibility […]

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Downing of Russian Plane has Serious Consequences for Putin at Home, in Central Asia, and in Ukraine

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 25, 2015) The shooting down of a Russian military plane by Turkish forces after Kremlin ignored repeated warnings from Ankara not to violate Turkey’s airspace not only increases the risks of a clash between Russia and the West but has serious consequences for Putin at home, in Central Asia and the […]

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NEWSWATCH Reuters: “Surviving Crew Member of Russian Jet Says No Warning From Turkey”

Turkey map

Reuters covers Turkey’s shoot-down of a Russian military plane. Turkey shot down the Russian plane near the Syrian border on Tuesday, saying it had violated its air space, in one of the most serious publicly acknowledged clashes between a NATO member country and Russia for half a century. Turkey and Russia are disputing details of the incident. Ankara has said […]

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NEWSWATCH International New York Times/Maxim Trudolyubov: “Putin’s Emergency Politics”

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

Writing in The International New York Times, Maxim Trudolyubov comments upon Russia’s relationship with Europe and the United States, and policies towards Syria and Ukraine, in the aftermath of terrorist attacks in France. Much has changed for Vladimir Putin since the terror attacks in Paris. The trope that aggressions in Crimea and Ukraine show that he is more of a […]

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Russians Fear Clashes With Islamic State More Than With NATO – Poll

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 23, 2015) Nearly one in five Russians believe their country could become the site of “major clashes” with NATO forces within the next decade, a recent poll indicates. According to the poll, 19 percent of respondents said battles against NATO were possible on Russian territory. An even higher number, 28 percent, think that battles […]

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Can Putin Come In From The Cold?

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – November 18, 2015) He wasn’t ostracized. He wasn’t isolated. And certainly nobody threatened to shirtfront him. In the space of a year, Vladimir Putin has gone from being the pariah of Brisbane to being the star of Antalya. The contrast between last year’s G20 summit in Australia and this year’s in Turkey couldn’t […]

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The Beginning of the End of Russia’s Estrangement from the West

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Maxim Trudolyubov – November 17, 2015) Maxim Trudolyubov is a Senior Fellow at the Kennan Institute and the Editor-at-Large of Vedomosti, an independent Russian daily. Mr. Trudolyubov was the editorial page editor of Vedomosti between 2003 and 2015. He has been a contributing opinion writer for The International New York Times since the fall of […]

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Terrorist Attacks Force Russia and the West to Talk About Collaboration

Middle East Map

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Daria Litvinova – November 19, 2015) Seventeen days after a Russian civilian airliner was downed over Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula on Oct. 31, Russian officials admitted it was a terrorist attack. On Nov. 17 Alexander Bortnikov, the head of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), stated that the plane was blown up by an improvised explosive device. […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Victoria Nuland Remarks at the Berlin Security Conference

File Photo of Victoria Nuland Testifying

(US Department of State – November 17, 2015) Victoria Nuland Assistant Secretary, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Berlin, Germany (As Prepared) Thank you, Reimer for that introduction. Thank you to: Mr. Uwe Proll; BSC Congress President, Ambassador Jiri Sedivy; Behorden Spiegel; and of course, Ambassador Emerson and the U.S. Embassy staff in Berlin for hosting us today. Ambassador Philippe […]

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