Tag Archives: Russia

NEWSLINK Brookings Institution: The ruble currency storm is over, but is the Russian economy ready for the next one?

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

Recent data show the Russian economy contracted 1.9 percent in the first quarter of 2015. In this article, Sergey Aleksashenko delves into the events that led to the downturn, and what we can expect for the rest of 2015.

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NEWSLINK Wall Street Journal: Move to Shift Vote for Russian Duma Seen Benefitting Putin. Support grows for holding parliamentary elections three months earlier, in September 2016

Russian State Duma Building file photo

Senior ruling-party politicians are throwing their weight behind a proposal to move Russia’s next parliamentary elections up three months to September 2016, a shift that could put opposition candidates at a further disadvantage by relegating the campaign to vacation season.

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Shoigu at 60: The Man Who Would Be Russia’s King?

Sergei Shoigu file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – May 22, 2015) Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, a close ally, friend and rumored potential successor of President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin, turned 60 on Thursday. “A servant to the tsar, a father to soldiers,” political pundits say of Shoigu – one of the country’s longest-serving government officials – citing Mikhail […]

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NEWSLINK UNIAN: Ukrainian prisoners in Donbas made slaves in Chechnya, relatives say

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

From 400 to 700 Ukrainians captured in the Donbas conflict zone have been taken to Russia, and many sold into slavery in Chechnya, Ossetia and Adygea, according to an open letter of the relatives of prisoners to the Russian human rights defenders published on the Web site of Open Russia public organization on Wednesday, a Ukrainian news broadcaster has reported. […]

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NEWSLINK The National Interest: Avoiding a New ‘Cuban Missile Crisis’ in Ukraine

Map of Ranges of Soviet Missiles on Cuba

The war in Ukraine has already created the most dangerous confrontation between Washington and Moscow since the Cuban Missile Crisis. If Obama scales up arms supplies to Ukraine in response to Minsk II’s collapse, the United States and Russia will be engaged in a military test of wills—on the latter’s doorstep. In 1962, geography favored Washi

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE: JRL 2015-#101 table of contents with links :: Johnson’s Russia List – Friday, May 22, 2015

St. Basil's Domes

Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2015-#101 :: Friday 22 May 2015 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs The contents do not necessarily represent the views of IERES or the George Washington University. JRL homepage: russialist.org JRL on Facebook: facebook.com/russialist JRL on Twitter: twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: russialist.org/funding.php Support for JRL is provided in part by […]

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Announcement: New Reconsidering Russia Podcast: Yuri Zhukov on the Rebellion in Donbas

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

Subject: New Reconsidering Russia Podcast: Yuri Zhukov on the Rebellion in Donbas Date: Tue, 19 May 2015 From: Pietro Shakarian <pashakarian@gmail.com> My latest Reconsidering Russia podcast is now online. It is an interview with Dr. Yuri Zhukov of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor about the conflict in Ukraine’s Donbas. The conversation includes information on coal miners, labor, rebels, etc. […]

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NEWSLINK Washington Post: The U.S. continues to send the wrong message to Russia

File Photo of John Kerry Shaking Hands with Vladimir Putin as Ambassador Looks On

It has been a week since Secretary of State John F. Kerry emerged from eight hours of meetings with Russian President Vladi­mir Putin and his foreign minister to say that the two sides had agreed to make a new effort to cooperate in resolving conflicts in Ukraine and Syria and completing a nuclear accord with Iran. The trip represented yet another […]

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NEWSLINK New York Times: Disenchanted With Europe, Moldovans Shift Their Focus to Russia

Moldova Map and Flag

Daniela Morari, a Foreign Ministry official who has been traveling her country trying to nudge Moldovans toward the European Union, has heard it all. People are worried that “if you join the E.U., everyone becomes gay” and that Brussels bureaucrats “won’t let you keep animals around your houses,” an alarming prospect in a largely rural country.

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE: JRL 2015-#100 table of contents with links :: Johnson’s Russia List – Thursday, May 21, 2015

St. Basil's Domes

Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2015-#100 :: Thursday 21 May 2015 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs The contents do not necessarily represent the views of IERES or the George Washington University. JRL homepage: russialist.org JRL on Facebook: facebook.com/russialist JRL on Twitter: twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: russialist.org/funding.php Support for JRL is provided in part by […]

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Ukraine tries to prove that is serious about corruption

Hand Pulling Cash from Envelope

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews – May 20, 2015) Ukraine is trying to publicise its efforts to clamp down on corruption, as a crucial deadline looms for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to review conditions for extending billions of dollars in credits. In the south-eastern city of Zaporizhia, the head of the local anti-corruption committee and a […]

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The Riga summit of disappointment

EU Map

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow – May 21, 2015) Several plucky countries of Emerging Europe have put their necks on the block by defying Russian bullying to join its Customs Union, turning instead to the EU and its promise of a better life. But most of these countries are likely to be disappointed, or could […]

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Nazis Triumph Over Communists in Ukraine

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – May 19, 2015) It’s goodbye Lenin, hello Nazi collaborators in Ukraine these days. Laws signed into effect by President Petro Poroshenko require the renaming of dozens of towns and hundreds of streets throughout the country to eliminate Soviet-era names. At the same time, Ukraine will begin to honor groups that helped Hitler exterminate […]

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Dozens of priests leave Ukraine, 19 churches of Moscow Patriarchate seized – Russian Orthodox Church representative

Church Domes with Crosses file photo

(Interfax – Vienna, May 18, 2015) Dozens of priests of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate (UOC MP) are leaving Ukraine in fear of persecutions, the head of the sector for interreligious liaisons at the Russian Orthodox Church’s Synodal Department for External Church Relations Priest Dimitry Safonov told on Monday. “There are dozens of priests who had to leave […]

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NATO transit through Russia still possible – envoy

NATO Meeting File Photo

(Interfax – Brussels, May 20, 2015) After the International Security Assistance Force completes its operation in Afghanistan, for which a simplified procedure of transit of freight was used, the interested countries will still be able to use the transit scheme in accordance with the general procedure, Russia’s permanent representative to NATO Aleksandr Grushko told Interfax. “I would like to note […]

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Russian relations with US warm (a little) as Washington re-engages

File Photo of John Kerry and Sergei Lavrov at Podiums

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow – May 19, 2015) Two high-level delegations to Russia from the US suggest that icy relations between the two sides may have begun to thaw a little. US Secretary of State John Kerry travelled to Sochi to meet his counterpart Sergei Lavrov on May 12 in his first visit to Russia […]

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NEWSWATCH Wall Street Journal: The Putin Recession; Russia’s economy keeps shrinking, but the West won’t take advantage

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

The Wall Street Journal editors address Russia’s economic crisis and the West’s apparent unwillingness to step up economic pressure. The Russian recession is expected to continue unfolding. An oddity of recent weeks has been the attempt to argue that Russia’s economy isn’t as awful as it looks. Then along comes Friday’s report that GDP fell 1.9% year-on-year in the first […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE: JRL 2015-#99 table of contents with links :: Johnson’s Russia List – Tuesday, May 19, 2015

St. Basil's Domes

Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2015-#99 :: Tuesday 19 May 2015 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs The contents do not necessarily represent the views of IERES or the George Washington University. JRL homepage: russialist.org JRL on Facebook: facebook.com/russialist JRL on Twitter: twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: russialist.org/funding.php Support for JRL is provided in part by […]

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A Net Assessment of the World

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

(Stratfor.com – George Friedman – May 19, 2015 – stratfor.com/weekly/net-assessment-world) A pretentious title requires a modest beginning. The world has increasingly destabilized and it is necessary to try to state, as clearly as possible, what has happened and why. This is not because the world is uniquely disorderly; it is that disorder takes a different form each time, though it […]

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Moscow Admits Two Fighters Captured in Ukraine Are Ex-Russian Soldiers

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – May 19, 2015) Russia’s Defense Ministry has identified two fighters captured in Ukraine as former servicemen in the Russian military – a concession that echoes rights advocates’ claims that Moscow has been discharging its soldiers from the army before sending them to fight alongside separatists in the Donbass. The fighters, Alexander Alexandrov […]

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Russian Foreign Direct Investment Dropped 40% in 2014

File Photo of Outdoor Electronic Sign with Russian Exchange Data

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 19, 2015) Overseas investment by Russian companies fell to $56 billion last year, a 40 percent decline from 2013, even as China led a wider boom in foreign direct investment from emerging economies, according to a report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) released Monday. The figure means that Russia […]

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Lose The Territory, Win The War

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – May 19, 2015) For more than year, there’s been a war in eastern Ukraine that nobody called a war. And for the past three months, there’s been a cease-fire there that wasn’t a cease-fire. And now that the agreement reached in Minsk in February that was supposed to end hostilities in the Donbas […]

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Poroshenko loyalists in parliament doubt Ukraine will declare technical default

Rada File Photo

KYIV. May 19 (Interfax) – The Petro Poroshenko faction in the Ukrainian parliament predict that the government will not make use of the right to declare a moratorium on the repayment of the external debt to commercial companies. “The law on the Cabinet’s right to impose a moratorium on the repayment of the external debt is putting additional pressure on […]

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What next for Russia’s economy and the ruble?

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Chris Weafer in Moscow, Senior Partner at Macro Advisory, which offers bespoke Russia-CIS consulting – May 19, 2015) If you left Russia for the last New Year holiday and did not return until the recent May holidays, and did not follow the news from or about Russia in the meantime, you would certainly be […]

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Russian Defence Ministry denies serving troops captured in Ukraine

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

(Interfax – May 18, 2015) The Russian Defence Ministry has rejected Ukrainian allegations that two men who were reportedly captured during fighting in eastern Ukraine are serving members of the Russian armed forces, privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax reported on 18 May. Ministry spokesman Maj-Gen Igor Konashenkov admitted that the two men, who were detained by the Security Service of […]

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Russian Gas: There Is No Alternative For Europe

EU Map

(Oilprice.com – Colin Chilcoat – May 17, 2015) The sanctions are now in their second year; the ruble is still not quite itself; and national champions Gazprom and Rosneft are both bracing for what can generously be called a down year. Still, while Russia’s political relationship with the west continues to be redefined, the broader element of codependence remains relatively […]

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Interfax: LPR would like to secure direct dialogue with Kyiv through Contact Group

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

MOSCOW. May 19 (Interfax) – The leadership of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) views meetings of the Trilateral Contact Group for Ukraine as an instrument that may help launch direct dialogue between the self-proclaimed republics and Kyiv. “It will be good if this [direct] dialogue takes place. But at this point, we are speaking about our work within the […]

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A wakeup call for Gazprom

Gas Flame file photo

Widely considered one of Russia’s most potent weapons, Gazprom’s financials show the slow erosion of its core business. (Business New Europe – bne.eu – Mark Adomanis in Philadelphia – May 19, 2015) As with almost every other major Russian company, 2014 was not a particularly good year for Gazprom. In fact, at first glance, the headline numbers were nothing short […]

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Russia’s Richest Billionaire: Impact of Sanctions Is Waning

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ryan Chilcote, Yuliya Fedorinova – May 18, 2015) Russia’s richest man said international investors are coming back to the country and the impact of sanctions has peaked. “Now it’s getting clear that the situation is more politically stable or predictable,” Vladimir Potanin, who heads Russia’s biggest miner, OAO GMK Norilsk Nickel, said in an interview with […]

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Interfax: Over 80% of Russians against same-sex marriages

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

(Interfax – May 18, 2015) The percentage of Russians who are positive about the law banning the propaganda of homosexuality is increasing and is now 77 percent against 67 percent in 2013, Levada Center told Interfax. Fifteen percent of the respondents do not support this law and 7 percent said they are not interested, a poll surveying 800 people conducted […]

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NEWSLINK Christian Science Monitor: Spurred by Western criticism, Russians experience something new: patriotism

Tower and Building Inside Kremlin

In the past, Russia was an empire, then a communist colossus, then a ‘defeated’ power expected to adopt Western ways. But current tensions with the West are fostering what may be the birth of a distinct Russian nationalism.

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NEWSLINK Carnegie Endowment for International Peace: Reform as Resilience: An Agenda for the Eastern Partnership.

Europe Map

The EU needs to remold its support for fundamental political reform in Eastern Partnership partner states—and use this as a firmer base from which to assuage tensions with Russia. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace: Thomas de Waal and Richard Youngs, Reform as Resilience: An Agenda for the Eastern Partnership.

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NEWSLINK Wall Street Journal: Waging Peace. Churchill requested plans for a British-American attack on Russia code-named “Operation Unthinkable.”

Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt, Joseph Stalin and Crowd of Military Officers

The leaders of the Allied powers met three times during World War II, at Tehran, Yalta and Potsdam. The last conference stretched over 17 days in July and August 1945, longer than the first two put together. Harry Truman had replaced Franklin Roosevelt, and Winston Chur  

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Looking after yourself in Siberia

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

The ‘rationalisation’ of medical and social services in rural Russia has compelled people to acquire new skills in order to survive, but life for the weakest is very hard – and very expensive. (opendemocracy.net – Georgy Borodyansky, an Omsk-based correspondent for Novaya Gazeta – May 12, 2015) Circumstance has forced the inhabitants of Kurganka, a village in Russia’s Omsk Region, to […]

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Nuland is already in Moscow, official meetings slated for Monday

File Photo of Victoria Nuland Testifying

(Interfax – May 17, 2015) U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland arrived in Moscow from Kiev on May 17, press secretary of the U.S. embassy William Stevens told Interfax. “Victoria Nuland is in Moscow already,” he said. She is expected to hold official meetings on Monday, May 18. Nuland is most likely to be […]

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Russia-US Dialogue Elevated, But Ukraine Tensions Remain

File Photo of John Kerry Shaking Hands with Vladimir Putin as Ambassador Looks On

(Voice of America – Daniel Schearf – May 14, 2015) Political analysts agree the four-hour meeting this week between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian President Vladimir Putin was a step up in contact between the two countries. Despite tensions over Ukraine, the two sides hold regular discussions, including president-to-president phone calls and numerous meetings between their top diplomats. But […]

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NEWSLINK Bostinno: What Now for MIT and Moscow’s ‘Innovation City’? [Skolkovo]

Skolkovo File Photo

In 2011, MIT and Russian institutions including the Skolkovo Foundation launched a multi-year collaboration to facilitate the conception of the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology—dubbed Skoltech— a private graduate research university in a suburb of Moscow that was designed to stimulate the Russian entrepreneurial ecosystem and address a number of pressing global issues.   http://bostinno.streetwise.co/2015/05/16/mits-skolkovo-tech-incubator-skoltech-struggles-in-russia/  

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NEWSLINK New York Times: A Diplomatic Victory, and Affirmation, for Putin

File Photo of John Kerry Shaking Hands with Vladimir Putin as Ambassador Looks On

For Russia, victory came three days after Victory Day, in the form of Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit this week to the Black Sea resort city of Sochi. It was widely interpreted here as a signal of surrender by the Americans — an olive branch from President Obama, and an acknowledgment that Russia and its leader are simply too […]

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NEWSLINK American Enterprise Institute: Putin’s Russia: How it rose, how it is maintained, and how it might end

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

Vladimir Putin’s Russia faces not only international sanctions due its aggression in Ukraine and low oil prices that threaten its economy, but also several underlying crises that are not frequently discussed outside of expert circles. On Thursday, nine leading Russian scholars who contributed chapters to the just-released volume “Putin’s Russia: How it rose, how it is maintained, and how it […]

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RUSSIA & UKRAINE: JRL 2015-#98 table of contents with links :: Johnson’s Russia List – Sunday, May 17, 2015

St. Basil's Domes

Johnson’s Russia List :: JRL 2015-#98 :: Sunday 17 May 2015 A project sponsored through the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs The contents do not necessarily represent the views of IERES or the George Washington University. JRL homepage: russialist.org JRL on Facebook: facebook.com/russialist JRL on Twitter: twitter.com/JohnsonRussiaLi Support JRL: russialist.org/funding.php Support for JRL is provided in part by […]

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NEWSLINK American Enterprise Institute: Political values in ‘Putin’s Russia': A Q&A with Mikhail Dmitriev

Tower and Building Inside Kremlin

In 2013, the demand for political change began to shift from Moscow to other regions. At times, other regions even surpassed Moscow in their aspirations. Thus, a political system other than liberal democracy was the preferred option for 46% of Moscow’s residents, but for only 32% nationwide. The greatest demand for democracy was in St. Petersburg (69%) and other cities […]

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NEWSLINK Reuters: Russia plans detailed discussion on raising retirement age: document

retirees-500

The Russian government has for the first time said officially it will hold discussions on raising the retirement age, a step whose supporters say is vital because the country’s workforce is shrinking. http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/05/14/us-russia-crisis-pensions-idUSKBN0NZ27R20150514

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Russia-Ukraine conflict overshadows EBRD meeting

International Monetary Fund Logo Over Ukraine Flag

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Tbilisi – May 15, 2015) The conflict between Russia and Ukraine has overshadowed the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s (EBRD) annual general meeting in Tbilisi this week, with Russian Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak accusing the bank of a “political motivated” decision to suspend lending to Russia. The development bank’s […]

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Ukraine Shouldn’t Hold Out for Haircuts

International Monetary Fund Logo Over Ukraine Flag

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – May 13, 2015) With Greece missing one deadline after another to reach agreement with its creditors, it’s easy to forget that a day of reckoning is also nearing for Ukraine. The government is supposed to reach a debt restructuring deal with private bondholders by June, but is no closer than when talks began […]

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30 Years On, Gorbachev Rues Running of His Soviet Anti-Alcohol Campaign

Shelf of Alcoholic Beverages with Red and White Tape Across It

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – May 15, 2015) Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev said that his massive anti-alcohol campaign in the 1980s was too swift and sweeping, and combating heavy drinking – which remains a major problem as Russia’s problem 30 years later – should have been handled more patiently, according to a recent interview. Speaking on […]

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Interfax: Russia takes steps to establish interaction with Ukraine on issue of humanitarian aid – Russian Foreign Ministry

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

MOSCOW. May 15 (Interfax) – Russia is ready for cooperation with Ukraine on the issue of humanitarian assistance supplies and is already taking steps in this direction, the Russian Foreign Ministry said. “Moscow is ready for close constructive cooperation with the Ukrainian authorities on issues relating to the supply of humanitarian assistance to civilians who are suffering from the acute […]

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