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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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with French business community representatives

Kremlin and River

(Kremlin.ru – May 25, 2016) Vladimir Putin met at the Kremlin with French business community representatives. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, friends, Let me welcome you all to Moscow. It is a great pleasure to meet the members of the Economic Council of the Franco-Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. France is without a doubt one of our longstanding […]

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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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Russia Hails Eurobond Triumph as Traders Ask: Who Bought It?

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Andrey Biryukov, Lyubov Pronina – May 25, 2016) Russia hailed its sale of $1.75 billion of Eurobonds as a triumph in the face of sanctions and “unprecedented pressure” from U.S. and European Union governments. While Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said the deal showed foreigners have “trust” in Russia, investors expressed concern the bond won’t be admitted […]

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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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A Euro ‘vision’ of discord: The reaction from Russia and Ukraine

Joseph Stalin file photo

Eurovision, Europe’s most popular song contest, has pitted Russia against Ukraine. The winning song and the results of the jury have prompted considerable commentary in both countries, turning an apolitical show into yet another frontline in an ongoing media war. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – OLEG YEGOROV, YEKATERINA SINELSCHIKOVA, RBTH – May 17, 2016) The Eurovision 2016 winning […]

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Is NATO’s antimissile defense system in Europe a threat to Russia?

Aegis Ashore Missile Defense File Photo

Moscow has called the American antimissile defense system in Romania a threat to its security. Washington and Brussels insist that the system is not aimed at Russia and is helpless against Russian missiles. But is this true? (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ALEXEY TIMOFEYCHEV, RBTH – May 16, 2016) The first American antimissile defense system on European soil, […]

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Interfax: Federation Council not ruling out deployment of U.S. missile defense shield in Romania may influence New START Treaty’s fate

Aegis Ashore Missile Defense File Photo

MOSCOW. May 13 (Interfax) – The activation of a Romania-based facility of the U.S. missile defense shield and the further deployment of this shield in Eastern Europe may influence Russia’s participation in the New START Treaty, signed by the United States and Russia in 2010, Frants Klintsevich, first deputy chairman of the Defense and Security Committee of the Federation Council, […]

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Ukraine’s Free Trade Deal Was Just a Start

EU Map

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – May 11, 2016) Ukraine’s free trade agreement with the European Union was so controversial that it caused the former Soviet republic’s break with Russia, which had opposed the closer ties with Europe. Several months in, it looks like the deal is benefiting the EU more than it is helping Ukraine. That doesn’t mean […]

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Interfax: Target for U.S. missile shield in Europe still important issue, Russia sees it as threat – Kremlin spokesman

Mssile Defense Control Room

MOSCOW. May 12 (Interfax) – It is still important to clarify against whom the U.S.’ missile defense system in Europe is being deployed, Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov said. “It was first explained quite elaborately by a missile threat that could potentially emanate from Iran,” Peskov told journalists on Thursday. “Now we know that the Iran situation has changed […]

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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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NEWSWATCH: “The danger of Russian disinformation” – Washington Post/Anne Applebaum, Edward Lucas

satellite-dish-big-disa-mil

…authoritarian regimes, led by Russia but closely followed by China, have begun investing heavily in the production of alternatives. Because national media is often weak, it has become far easier for channels such as RT (formerly Russia Today) and Sputnik (a Russian “news” agency) to establish credibility in smaller European markets. … even in larger countries, the Russian use of […]

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Kyiv Must Reject West’s Calls to Change Constitution and Hold Elections in Occupied Donbas, Piontkovsky Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, May 7, 2016) Kyiv must reject calls by Berlin and Paris to change the Ukrainian constitution and allow elections in the occupied Donbas because these calls, which reflect Moscow’s exploitation of the desire of the two European leaders to be seen as peace makers, would result in the destruction of the Ukrainian […]

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Why Gazprom’s ‘Monopoly’ in Europe is Far from Over

Gas Flame file photo

(Oilprice.com – Ilana Stav – April 4, 2016) The first U.S. shipment of liquefied natural gas (LNG) arrived in Portugal last week and Gazprom did not immediately cut its own gas prices for Europe. While European media has hailed the entry of U.S. gas into the market as a game-changer and a monopoly-breaker, in the short term, nothing has changed […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Worst may be over for Russia, risks rising in central Europe: IMF”

Europe Map

The worst of the economic slump in Russia may be over the International Monetary Fund said on Friday, but warned possible euro zone stagnation and shifting politics made central Europe’s prospects increasingly uncertain. … Using forecasts produced last month, it said growth in the central channel from Poland down to Turkey would remain as healthy as 3-4 percent this year, […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The Long Arm of Russian ‘Soft’ Power” – Atlantic Council/Orysia Lutsevych

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

Anxious about losing ground to Western influence in the post-Soviet space and the ousting of pro-Russia elites by popular electoral uprisings in the early 2000s, the Kremlin has developed a range of proxy groups in support of its foreign policy. This network of pro-Kremlin groups promotes the Russian World (Russkiy Mir), a flexible tool that justifies increasing Russian actions 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.”

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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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NEWSWATCH: “NATO’s Breedlove Calls for Sharper Focus on Russia Ahead of Departure. Gen. Philip Breedlove says U.S. needs more reconnaissance satellites amid Russian threat.” – Wall Street Journal

Philip Breedlove file photo

The U.S. has too few intelligence assets focused on the threat from Russia and should concentrate its technical capabilities on Moscow’s growing military might, NATO’s departing supreme allied commander said. The U.S. has begun to build up the number of intelligence analysts examining Russia, which stood at 13,000 at the height of the Cold War before dipping to a low […]

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NEWSLINK Foreign Policy/DAVID FRANCIS, LARA JAKESA: “‘Sanctions Are a Failue…Let’s Admit That.’ With Europe debating re-opening economic ties to Russia, have U.S. sanctions on Moscow lost their teeth?”

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

NEWSLINK Russia Direct: “How Ukraine’s new prime minister can put Kiev on a European path. Ukraine’s new government has a tough task ahead: It must deal with a controversial legacy of governance, improve its image abroad and fulfill plans for EU integration – all while reducing the nation’s dependence on Russian gas.”

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NEWSWATCH Reuters: “Russia Grants Ukraine’s Request to Delay Eurobond Case Defense”

International Monetary Fund Logo Over Ukraine Flag

Russia has agreed to allow Ukraine extra time to file its defence with a British court … Russia filed a lawsuit … demanding repayment of the $3 billion Eurobond …. Ukraine insists Russia must accept restructuring terms agreed with other foreign creditors. … Ukraine had until March 19 to file its defence although it was granted an extension until April […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Perpetual Geopolitics. Putin Returns to the Historical Pattern.” – Foreign Affairs/Stephen Kotkin

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

For half a millennium, Russian foreign policy has been characterized by soaring ambitions that have exceeded the country’s capabilities. Beginning with … Ivan the Terrible … Russia managed to expand at an average rate of 50 square miles per day for hundreds of years, eventually covering one-sixth of the earth’s landmass. * * *  Throughout, the country has been haunted […]

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Polish Minister Says Russia More Dangerous Than Islamic State

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

(RFE/RL – April 15, 2016) Poland’s foreign minister has said that Russia is an “existential threat” to European countries and is more dangerous than the Islamic State (IS) militant group. Speaking at a conference in Bratislava on April 15, Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski said “Russia’s activity is a sort of existential threat because this activity can destroy countries.” The migration […]

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Putin doesn’t expect Western sanctions to be lifted soon, says Russia to keep countersanctions in place

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

MOSCOW. April 14 (Interfax) – Russian President Vladimir Putin does not expect the Western sanctions to be lifted from Russia in the near future. “I don’t think our partners will decide to lift the restrictions and limitations from our country in the near future,” Putin said during a Q&A session on Thursday. “Even though the Minsk Agreements on southeastern Ukraine […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Investors Starting to Show Interest in Russia Again: Credit Suisse.” – Reuters

File Photo of Outdoor Electronic Sign with Russian Exchange Data

Investors are starting to look at Russia again after cutting off exposure amid geopolitical tensions two years ago, the head of Credit Suisse’s $60 million Russian Equity Fund said. There are no big inflows yet but a rebound in Russian stock markets in the past few months as the oil price and the rouble have picked up is encouraging interest […]

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RBTH: Dutch vote on Ukraine: Result will force Europe to ‘restrain’ ambitions

Europe Map

Most Russian media have welcomed the Dutch rejection of an EU association agreement with Ukraine, hoping that the results may not only affect the attitude of Europeans to Ukraine but also to force the EU to “restrain” its ambitions. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – IGOR ROZIN, RBTH – April 7, 2016) Dutch voters have rejected the association agreement […]

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Dutch Voters Snub Kiev, Not Brussels

EU Map

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – April 7, 2016) It’s easy to discount the outcome of Wednesday’s Dutch referendum on Ukraine’s association agreement with the European Union as another sign of minority discontent with the European project. It has far more significance than that though, particularly for Ukraine: The faltering state has failed to gain support among ordinary Europeans, […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Dutch referendum on Ukraine: A hard Dutch kick: Voting down the EU’s treaty with Ukraine would hand Vladimir Putin a win.” – The Economist

EU Map

… Yanukovych … succumbed to Russian pressure and renounced an association agreement with the European Union that he and his predecessors had spent six years negotiating. Many Ukrainians thought their country’s best hope for transforming itself from a corrupt gangster state into an orderly democracy … had been sacrificed on the orders of … Putin …. Thousands set up camp […]

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How Russia Is ‘Weaponizing’ Migration to Destabilize Europe

Europe Map

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Josh Rogin – March 24, 2016) Some officials in Europe see Russia’s hand in the rising migration crisis, accusing the Kremlin of exacerbating anti-Muslim sentiment to benefit right-wing parties at a fragile moment for the European Union. Even before the latest terror attacks in Brussels, anti-Muslim and anti-refugee sentiment in Europe had been on the rise. […]

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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 […]

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Sergei Ivanov criticizes Ukrainian Security chief for suggesting “Russian trail” in Brussels attacks

File Photo of Sergei Ivanov, adapted from defense.gov image

NOVO-OGARYOVO. March 22 (Interfax) – Russian presidential administration chief Sergei Ivanov has said the word ‘degenerate’ comes to mind with respect to the head of the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) Vasyl Hrytsak who assumed there was a Russian trail in the terrorist attacks in Brussels. “I consider the word ‘loony’ a very fitting one but probably the only [word] from […]

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NEWSWATCH Reuters: “Risk of nuclear war in Europe growing, warns Russian ex-minister [Igor Ivanov]”

Iskander Missile with Launch file photo

The East-West standoff over the Ukraine crisis has brought the threat of nuclear war in Europe closer than at any time since the 1980s…. said Igor Ivanov, Russia’s foreign minister from 1998 to 2004 and now head of a Moscow-based think-tank founded by the Russian government. … Russia and the United States have cut their nuclear arsenals [but] the pace […]

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