New commander takes charge of Russia’s operation in Syria

Syria Map

Lt. Gen. Alexander Zhuravlev is expected to change the course of battle with Islamic State (ISIS) militants, who are advancing towards Palmyra once more. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – NIKOLAI LITOVKIN, RBTH – July 22, 2016) The Russian business daily Kommersant reports that Lieutenant General Alexander Zhuravlev, first deputy commander of the South Military District, has been appointed […]

» Read more

NEWSWATCH: “U.S., Russia Agree on Steps Designed to End War in Syria, but Details Sketchy. Washington initially offered military coordination, but terms of agreement not divulged after two days of meetings in Moscow.” – Wall Street Journal

Syria Map

U.S. and Russian officials said Friday they … reached an agreement on steps designed to pave the way for an end to the civil war in Syria, but top officials declined to detail the specific measures …. John Kerry, without elaborating, said implementing the steps could address … Assad and his regime’s disregard of a February cease-fire …. * * […]

» Read more

Turkey Signals Cooperation With Russia Against Islamic State

Turkey and Environs Satellite Image

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Selcan Hacaoglu, Firat Kozok – July 4, 2016) Turkey may cooperate with Russia in fighting Islamic State, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Monday, just days after the countries agreed to work to repair strained ties. Cavusoglu denied signaling in an interview Sunday that Turkey may let Russia use southern Incirlik air base for operations in Syria. […]

» Read more

RBTH: Moscow and Washington consider expanding cooperation in Syria

Syria Map

U.S. President Barack Obama made an offer to Russia to begin joint combat operations against the Al-Nusra Front militants. Some Russian experts believe that this overture has been made in order to strengthen the Democrat Party’s position in the presidential election race. Yet this step also could have positive implications for Moscow. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – NIKOLAI […]

» Read more

RBTH: The 3 key areas of disagreement between Moscow and Damascus

Syria Map

Since the beginning of the Syrian conflict, Russia has been seen as a loyal ally to Bashar Assad, giving unwavering support to the Syrian president. Yet, the positions of Moscow and the Syrian regime are far from identical. Russia advocates a political solution to the crisis, whereas Assad sees war as the answer. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – […]

» Read more

VIDEO & TRANSCRIPT: Russian Violations of Borders, Treaties, and Human Rights – U.S. Senate Testimony by Assistant Secretary Victoria Nuland

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

Russian Violations of Borders, Treaties, and Human Rights Testimony, Victoria Nuland, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Statement Before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Washington, DC, June 7, 2016, As prepared [Video of hearing also appeared here http://www.c-span.org/video/?410738-1/federal-officials-testify-human-rights-violations-russia][Video includes all speakers and some lawmakers; Nuland testimony transcript follows below] Thank you Chairman Corker, Ranking Member Cardin, and members […]

» Read more

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 […]

» Read more

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 […]

» Read more

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 […]

» Read more

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.”

» Read more

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 […]

» Read more

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 […]

» Read more

NEWSWATCH: “Putin’s Russia. Down But Not Out. Part I.” – Foreign Affairs/Maria Lipman, Sergei Guriev, Daniel Treisman, Katie Allawala

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

Over the past decade and a half, Vladimir Putin’s Russia has been an economic dynamo and a basket case, an imperfect democracy and a tightening tyranny, a constructive diplomatic actor and a serial military aggressor—sometimes all at once. The only constant has been surprise, as the zigging and zagging has left outside observers, and even many Russians, scratching their heads. […]

» Read more

TRANSCRIPT EXCERPT: Remarks by the President at the 2016 Toner Prize Ceremony [excerpt re: Putin]

Putin and Obama with U.S. and Russian Flags

(White House – March 28, 2016) The White House Office of the Press Secretary March 28, 2016 Remarks by the President at the 2016 Toner Prize Ceremony. (excerpt re Putin) THE PRESIDENT: I’ll tell you — I probably maybe shouldn’t do this, but what the heck, I’m in my last year. (Laughter.) I had an in-depth conversation with President Putin […]

» Read more

Ryabkov: timeframe for drafting Syria’s new constitution quite strict, but it is not fact it will be observed

Sergei Ryabkov file photo

MOSCOW. March 29 (Interfax) – The timeframe for preparing a new draft constitution for Syria is quite strict, but no deadlines have been set, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has said. “It is all relative,” Ryabkov said after being asked by Interfax whether August is a deadline for the drawing up of Syria’s draft constitution. “It is necessary to […]

» Read more

Interfax: Russian air operation [in] Syria not aimed at backing al-Assad – Russian Foreign Ministry

foreign-ministry-200

MOSCOW. March 27 (Interfax) – The Russian military operation in Syria is not aimed at supporting the country’s president, Bashar al-Assad, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said on Sunday. “It is not al-Assad we are backing. Bear in mind: he was not our best friend, but a friend of the West,” she told reporters. “We supported preservation of the […]

» Read more

Moscow Accuses Itself

Sergei Lavrov file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – The Daily Vertical: Brian Whitmore – March 24, 2016) Well, it was predictable, but Sergei Lavrov has not let us down. He’s proven yet again the axiom that if you want to know what Russia is doing, pay close attention to what it accuses the West of doing. The Russian foreign minister yesterday urged Europe to […]

» Read more

RBTH: Why does Moscow need Syrian Kurdistan?

Syria Map

Why is the Kremlin supporting the Syrian Kurds, who are now complicating the reginal picture by pushing for federalization, and how will this affect Russian assistance to the Bashar al-Assad regime? (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – SERGEI DEMIDENKO, SPECIAL TO RBTH – March 24, 2016) Sergei Demidenko is a Middle East expert and professor at the Russian Presidential […]

» Read more

Syria analyst: Damascus cannot take Russian support for granted

File Photo of Bashar al-Assad and Sergei Lavrov

Russia’s recent air campaign in Syria has had mixed effects on the civil war there. RBTH interviewed Noah Bonsey, Senior Syria Analyst at International Crisis Group, an NGO that researches conflicts and aims to advance policies for their resolution, as he returned from a recent field trip to Syria. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – NIKOLAI SHEVCHENKO, RBTH – […]

» Read more

It Isn’t Time to Normalize With Russia Yet

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Marc Champion – March 22, 2016) Marc Champion writes editorials on international affairs. He was previously Istanbul bureau chief for the Wall Street Journal. He was also an editor at the Financial Times, the editor-in-chief of the Moscow Times and a correspondent for the Independent in Washington, the Balkans and Moscow. He is based in London. […]

» Read more

Interfax: Russia submits proposals to U.S. on monitoring truce in Syria

Syria Map

(Interfax – March 21, 2016) The Russian Defense Ministry submitted proposals on the provision and monitoring of the cessation of hostilities in Syria to the United States on Feb. 25 through military diplomatic channels, Lt. Gen. Sergei Rudskoi, head of the Main Operative Department of the Russian Armed Forces General Staff, has said. “This document specifies a mechanism of consultations […]

» Read more

NEWSWATCH: “How Putin Could Make Russia Great Again” – Newsweek.com/William Courtney, Donald Jensen

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

After Russia annexed Crimea … Obama dismissed it as a regional power that acts ‘out of weakness.’ [ ] Russia is more … but a penchant for zero-sum statecraft and coercing neighbors lessens its stature. By cooperating more in the international arena, Russia could become a greater power.  … Putin’s announcement of a military drawdown in Syria hints that Russia […]

» Read more

NEWSLINK: “SYRIA: U.S.-RUSSIAN TEPID WAR. Syria appears unlikely to serve as a vehicle to improve the wider U.S.-Russia relationship in any sustainable way. A U.S.-Russian Tepid War can still lead to plenty of collateral damage.” – Valdai/Paul Saunders

File Photo of John Kerry and Sergei Lavrov at Podiums » Read more

NEWSWATCH: “Don’t Fear the Russians” – New York Times/Anatol Lieven

Aerial Photo of Pentagon and Environs

Writing in the New York Times, Anatol Lieven argues for greater U.S.-Russian engagement on Ukraine and Syria. If you believe many of the commentators and policy makers in Washington … Putin … is an expansionist on the march. … he annexed Crimea and fueled a destabilizing conflict in eastern Ukraine. … intervened in the Syrian civil war and rescued his […]

» Read more

TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with Russian Armed Forces service personnel

Syria Map

(Kremlin.ru – March 17, 2016) At a meeting in the Kremlin’s St George Hall, Vladimir Putin presented state decorations to service personnel and defence industry specialists who distinguished themselves in the performance of special missions in the Syrian Arab Republic. More than 700 officers and men of the Aerospace Forces, the Ground Forces and the Navy attended the ceremony, along […]

» Read more

NEWSWATCH: “What is the best way to describe Vladimir Putin’s Russia?” – Reuters/John Lloyd

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

In January of this year, a British judge, Robert Owen, said … Putin … was ‘probably’ a murderer. * * * Litvinenko’s widow, Marina … called on Prime Minister David Cameron to expel all Russian spies … and for a range of … sanctions … on several figures close to the murder … includ[ing Putin] himself. * * * In […]

» Read more

Russia’s militant migrant challenge

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

Russia’s terrorist threat has evolved. But the authorities are yet to evolve with it. (opendemocracy.net – Mark Galeotti – March 17, 2016) Mark Galeotti is Professor of Global Affairs at New York University’s SCPS Center for Global Affairs. He blogs on Russian security affairs at In Moscow’s Shadows and tweets as @MarkGaleotti. Why did Uzbek nanny Gyulchekhra Bobokulova call out […]

» Read more

RBTH: Syria withdrawal: Which of Russia’s forces are being pulled out?

File Photo of Buk-1 SAM

Russia is withdrawing more than half of its fighters and bombers from Syria, while leaving its missile defense systems and naval fleet in the Mediterranean, Russian military experts told RBTH. Despite the pullout, the Russian armed forces will continue to strike positions Moscow says are held by ISIS militants. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – NIKOLAI LITOVKIN, RBTH – […]

» Read more

Syria Opposition Says Russian Military Pullout Helps Peace Talks

Syria Map

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Henry Meyer – March 15, 2016) Syria’s main opposition group said Russia’s withdrawal of forces from the country will help peace talks in Geneva, even as a top Russian military official said that airstrikes will continue against terrorists. The pullout ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin is “a positive step which will help to move forward […]

» Read more

RBTH: Russia has changed course of civil war in Syria, say analysts

Syria Map

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered the withdrawal of the main part of the military group in Syria. According to Russian observers, the pullout will affect land and aerospace forces, while the fleet and missile defense and intelligence systems will stay in the region. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – NIKOLAI LITOVKIN, RBTH – March 15, 2016) Russian President […]

» Read more

RBTH: Moscow is winding down its presence in Syria. Why? Why now?

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

Observers are hotly debating the true reasons for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s order to downsize and refocus the military operation in Syria, with some describing it as a tactical withdrawal while others label it an acknowledgement of failure. What is really behind the unexpected decision, and what will happen now? (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – VLADIMIR MIKHEEV, SPECIAL […]

» Read more

Putin’s Pullout: Behind Russia’s New Syria Surprise

Syria Map

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Steve Gutterman – March 15, 2016) Vladimir Putin surprised his country and the world on March 14 by ordering the start of a partial withdrawal of Russian forces from Syria, less than six months after the beginning of an air campaign that followed a swift and secretive buildup on the ground. What are the motives and […]

» Read more

Interfax: Moscow expects Syrian armed forces to take over fight against IS from Russian Aerospace Forces – diplomat

Syria Map

MOSCOW. March 15 (Interfax) – The terrorist threat in Syria still persists, even despite “ISIL’s broken back,” and Russia expects the Syrian army to take on the main burden of opposing this threat, says Vladimir Andreyev, a deputy director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Department of New Challenges and Threats. “Naturally, the terrorist threat persists, even with a broken back, […]

» Read more
1 2 3 9