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 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.”

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine » Read more

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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Putin’s $50 Billion Oil Cache Gives Russia Luxury to Ignore ECB

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Olga Tanas – March 13, 2016) Russian central bankers have fewer reasons to offer relief to their recession-wracked economy than you might think. Their decision whether to resume an interest rate-cutting cycle this week is almost beside the point as the government of Vladimir Putin lubricates the economy in the background with oil wealth amassed in […]

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Nord Stream 2: Is Russian gas politically incorrect?

Gas Flame file photo

A lobbying campaign against the extension of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, spearheaded by Gazprom together with five European energy majors, has now engulfed the European Parliament. What are the arguments of the opponents and are they business-focused or politically motivated? (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – VLADIMIR MIKHEEV, SPECIAL TO RBTH – March 4, 2016) Twelve members […]

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NEWSWATCH “Ukraine will not join EU, NATO for another 20-25 years, Juncker says” – DPA

EU Map

The push for closer ties between Ukraine and the EU lies at the heart of the current crisis … triggered by protests in 2013 over a failed attempt to finalize … EU-Ukraine free trade …. The agreement has since been signed and implemented, while the EU is paving the way for Ukrainian citizens to be able to visit the bloc […]

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Russian media silent as U.S. extends sanctions against Moscow

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

The U.S. has extended its economic sanctions regime against Russia. While the mass media kept quiet on the news, one or two outlets speculated about the possible reasons behind the decision as well as about the likely outcome of a coming EU vote on whether to follow suit. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – NIKOLAI SHEVCHENKO, SPECIAL TO RBTH […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia Achieves Tactical Success in the Middle East, But No Strategic Victory; Russia needs good ties with the West more than short-term gains in Ukraine and Syria” – Thomas Graham/YaleGlobal Online

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

… From the beginning of its military operation in Syria, Moscow has operated on the now indisputable proposition that … rampant unrest in the Middle East and … mounting challenges to the unity of the European Union are inextricably linked. The wager was that Europe would eventually seize an offer of cooperation in Syria to constrict the migrant flow and […]

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Russia, Syria Said Using Migrant Crisis As ‘Weapon’ Against West

Syria Map

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – March 2, 2016) NATO’s top commander warned that Russia and Syria have turned the refugee crisis into a “weapon” against the West at a time when it lacks resources to counter a “resurgent, aggressive” Russia. U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove, who commands the 28-member military alliance, said the flow of hundreds of thousands of migrants […]

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Russians Not Ready to Forgive Turkey for Downed Plane – Poll

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – March 1, 2016) The majority of Russians are not ready to restore relations with Turkey after it downed a Russian warplane in November 2015, a survey by the state-run VTsIOM pollster published Monday revealed. Some 63 percent of respondents think the Kremlin should not lift the anti-Turkish sanctions that were imposed by Moscow following the […]

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Continuation of Western Sanctions on Russia Increasingly Depends on Ukraine, Ogryzko Says

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, February 29, 2016) The maintenance of Western sanctions is contingent upon Ukraine’s willingness to reform itself, according to former Ukrainian foreign minister Vladimir Ogryzko. If Ukraine does not act, the West will ultimately lift the sanctions; and Ukraine will have only itself to blame for its resulting isolation. In a commentary today, […]

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The Great Manipulator

Kremlin and River

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – February 24, 2016) Dmitry Medvedev recently played a telling little head game. When the Russian prime minister said at the Munich Security Conference that Moscow and the West had “slid into a new Cold War,” he essentially created a damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t situation. “If the West agrees that it is a new Cold War, then […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russian Aggression Drives Increase in European Defense Spending” – Defensenews.com

Europe Map

Fear of Russian aggression will help drive European defense spending up by 8.3 percent this year, putting a halt to 20 years of declining budgets … Over two decades after the end of the Cold War, Vladimir Putin’s expansionist policies in Crimea and Ukraine have pushed European leaders to once again increase their spending on military programs, according to the […]

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NEWSWATCH: “A Pyrrhic Victory for President Poroshenko” – Atlantic Council/Anders Aslund

Rada File Photo

… February 16, the Ukrainian parliament deemed the performance of its government unsatisfactory with 247 votes, but only 194 parliamentarians voted for a no-confidence measure. The government did not fall … this strange vote may appear a victory for … Poroshenko, but it seems a Pyrrhic victory that may have broken the ruling coalition in parliament and brought Ukraine closer […]

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NEWSLINK: “The Russian Connection Between Syria and Ukraine. Moscow may try to link cooperation in the Syrian crisis to relief from sanctions.” – The National Interest/Joseph Nye

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

The rules of the new ‘Cold War’: Empty words and no retreat

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s recent speech in Munich openly spoke of relations between Russia and the West in terms of a new “Cold War.” Dialogue between the two sides is now looking increasingly like a rhetorical war of attrition, with neither side on the offensive but neither willing to retreat either. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Georgy […]

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NEWSLINK: “Europe’s Extremists Are Not Putin’s Fault. Europeans should look to Brussels – not Moscow – for the source of their extremism problem” – Foreign Policy Magazine/Scott Radnitz

Europe Map » Read more

TRANSCRIPT: Dmitry Medvedev’s interview for Handelsblatt, Germany

Dmitry Medvedev file photo

(Government.ru – February 11, 2016) Ahead of the Munich Security Conference, the Prime Minister answered questions from Editor-in-Chief Sven Afhüppe and international correspondent Mathias Bruggmann. Question: Mr Prime Minister, thank you for finding the time to meet with us. You will come to Munich to attend the Conference on Security. Handelsblatt will cover the proceedings and primarily your participation in […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Dmitry Medvedev’s meeting with Russian and German business leaders at the Munich Security Conference

Map of Germany

(Government.ru – February 13, 2016) Dmitry Medvedev: Mr Buechele, colleagues. I welcome you to our breakfast on this Saturday morning. It’s this kind of morning meal where you don’t usually have the chance to eat anything. The goal of such meetings is naturally different. I consider this meeting to be useful and timely. Despite all that’s going on and all […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Dmitry Medvedev’s interview with Time magazine

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

(Government.ru – February 15, 2016) Dmitry Medvedev has given an interview to Time magazine correspondent Simon Shuster following the Munich Security Conference. Question: Thank you very much for agreeing to this interview with Time magazine. I would also like to thank you for your remarks today at the conference. This was a very interesting and eloquent speech. You made a […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Dmitry Medvedev’s interview with Euronews TV channel

Dmitry Medvedev file photo

(Government.ru – February 14, 2016) The Prime Minister spoke with Global Conversation presenter Isabelle Kumar on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference Question: Mr Prime Minister, thank you for joining the Global Conversation. The Syrian issue is a priority; it dominates the international agenda. It is now believed that we are approaching a turning point, although it remains to […]

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Russia Sends Medvedev to Munich Seeking Sanctions Relief

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner – February 12, 2016) At last year’s Munich Security Conference, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov took to the stage to defend Russia’s actions in Ukraine. Scheduled between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the U.S. vice president, Lavrov faced a tough sell. He did his best to toe the government line, declaring Russia’s annexation of […]

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RBTH: U.S. to spend $4.3 billion on ‘countering Russian aggression’

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

The White House has announced that a special sum allocated to fighting Russian influence in Europe and the former Soviet space will be included in the country’s budget for the 2017 fiscal year. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – MARINA KARPOVA, RBTH – February 11, 2016) The U.S. fiscal year 2017 budget will include $4.3 billion allocated “for political, […]

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The Daily Vertical: Putin Smells Blood

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – February 9, 2016) As the shaky Minsk cease-fire agreement nears its first anniversary, Russia clearly smells blood in Ukraine. Pro-Moscow separatists have increased their attacks in Donbas in recent weeks. Kyiv officials are reporting 71 attacks a day in the vicinity of Donetsk, Horlivka, and Mariupol. Yesterday, Vladimir Putin ordered snap military drills […]

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