Russia’s Medvedev: Syrian Conflict May Become ‘Permanent War’

Syria Map

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – February 12, 2016) The conflict in Syria may escalate into a “permanent” war to last for decades, if peace talks were to collapse or if foreign countries tried to intervene by deploying ground troops, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said in comments published on the Cabinet website Thursday. Russia has been conducting […]

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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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Interfax: Casualties of law enforcement agencies reduce threefold in North Caucasus in 2015 – Interior Ministry

Caucasus Map of Chechnya and Caucasus Environs

(Interfax – STAVROPOL, Feb 11, 2016) A decline in the number of clashes, bombings and shelling incidents continued in the North Caucasus in 2015, head of the Russian Interior Ministry department in the North Caucasus Federal District Sergei Chenchik said at a coordination conference of district police chiefs in Pyatigorsk. “The number of shelling incidents, bombings and clashes was significantly […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russian Intervention in Syrian War Has Sharply Reduced U.S. Options.” – New York Times

Syria Map

The New York Times covers the impact of Russian military intervention on U.S. policymaking on Syria. … the United States has insisted there can be no military solution to the Syrian civil war, only a political accord between … al-Assad and the fractured, divided opposition groups that have been trying to topple him. … days of intense bombing that could […]

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U.S., Russia Make Syria Diplomacy Push as Assad Gains Ground

Syria Map

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Jonathan Tirone, Henry Meyer – February 10, 2016) The U.S. and Russia are seeking to revive Syrian peace talks as President Bashar al-Assad’s advance against rebels shifts the focus to the battlefield. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov will meet with foreign ministers from Europe and the Middle East in […]

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TRANSCRIPT: DIA Statement for the Record – Worldwide Threat Assessment [excerpt re Russia]

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

(Armed Services Committee, United States Senate – Vincent R. Stewart, Lieutenant General, U.S. Marine Corps, Director, Defense Intelligence Agency – February 9, 2016) RUSSIA Moscow continues to devote major resources to modernizing its military forces, viewing military power as critical to achieving key strategic objectives: acknowledged great power status, dominating smaller regional states and deterring NATO from military action in […]

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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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Interfax: Self-styled groups, not soldiers, fighting Islamic State – Chechen source

Map of Area Spanning Portions of Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, highlighting military engagements against ISIL

(Interfax – Moscow, February 9, 2016) There are self-styled groups of young people from Chechnya fighting the Islamic State terrorist group [ISIS] (which is banned in the Russian Federation) in Syria and Iraq, a source within the leadership of the Chechen Republic told Interfax. “There have been people from the Chechen Republic in the area of armed conflict in Syria […]

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TRANSCRIPT: DNI – Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community [excerpt re: Russia] – Statement for the Record

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

(Senate Armed Services Committee – James R. Clapper, Director of National Intelligence – February 9, 2016) Leading Threat Actors Russia. Russia is assuming a more assertive cyber posture based on its willingness to target critical infrastructure systems and conduct espionage operations even when detected and under increased public scrutiny. Russian cyber operations are likely to target US interests to support […]

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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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Grozny Says No Chechen Agents Helping Russia in Syria

Syria Map

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – February 9, 2016) An unidentified source in the Chechen government has claimed that there are no members of law enforcement agencies among Chechnya’s fighters in Syria, the Interfax news agency reported Tuesday. The Chechens fighting in Syria consist of independent groups of young people who oppose the Islamic State, the source told the news agency. […]

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Why Russia is steaming back into the Pacific

TU-95 Bear Bomber File Photo

Russia’s power projection in the Pacific is in sync with its growing assertiveness globally, but it doesn’t necessarily threaten the U.S. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – RAKESH KRISHNAN SIMHA, SPECIAL TO RBTH – February 4, 2016) Russia is expanding its military presence in the Pacific in a manner not seen since the Cold War. From California to Guam […]

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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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Putin vs. Erdogan – This Time It’s Personal

Turkey map

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner – February 4, 2016) On Feb. 2, Turkish President Recep Erdogan urgently sought an audience with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin. The Turkish ambassador in Moscow relayed the message, but has, it seems, yet to receive a response. It was the second time Erdogan has been rebuffed by Putin following Turkey’s downing of […]

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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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Interfax: DPR militiamen accuse Kyiv of over 100 shellings over past day

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

DONETSK. Feb 2 (Interfax) – The Defense Ministry of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) said that the Ukrainian military have breached the ceasefire 28 times over the past day; two people were wounded. “The situation on the contact line has not changed over the past day. The Ukrainian army has shelled the territory of the republic 109 times as […]

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Is There A Non-West for Russia to Lead?

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

(PONARS Eurasia – ponarseurasia.org – Keith Darden – January 28, 2016 – ponarseurasia.org/memo/non-west-for-russia-to-lead) Keith Darden is Associate Professor in the School of International Service at American University. (PONARS Eurasia Policy Memo) Recently, Russian policymakers and strategists have articulated a vision of a vibrant non-Western world, one in which the United States and European leaders are increasingly marginal and where Russia […]

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Russia Sanctions Can Be Lifted If Minsk Implemented – U.S. Ambassador

File Photo of U.S. Embassy Moscow, with Russian Foreign Ministry Building in Distance

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 29, 2016) Sanctions against Moscow can be lifted after it implements the Minsk peace agreement with Ukraine, including restoration of Kiev control over separatist eastern regions, the U.S. Ambassador in Moscow John Tefft said in an interview published on the U.S. Embassy’s website Thursday. Washington has the full backing of its European allies in […]

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Russian Investigative Committee gives ICC data on S. Ossetia conflict crimes

Georgia Map

(Interfax – January 28, 2016) The Russian Investigative Committee has provided the International Criminal Court (ICC) with the files of a criminal case opened into the crimes committed during the 2008 armed conflict in South Ossetia, Investigative Committee director Alexander Bastrykin has said. “The Investigative Committee of Russia conducted a thorough investigation into the crimes committed by the Georgian military,” […]

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Putin’s Departure Alone Won’t Necessarily Solve Ukraine’s Problems, Popovich Says

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, January 28, 2016) Like many in the West, Ukrainians view Vladimir Putin as the main source of their problems; but if he dies or otherwise leaves the scene, a Kyiv commentator says, he could be followed by leaders who would be even worse, a reminder that the problem is not Putin alone […]

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Putin, Trapped Between War and Revolution, Will Choose War, Ikhlov Says

Vladimir Putin

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, February 2, 2016) There are two possibilities in Russia today: either Vladimir Putin is in control of events or he is their prisoner, trapped between war and revolution. As bad as the first would be, the way the world has gone to war in the past suggests the second may be even […]

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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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NEWSLINK: “Russian Oil: Output Grows as Prospects Shrink. Plummeting prices and U.S.-led sanctions raise questions about Russian oil’s capacity to continue underwriting Putin’s global ambitions.” – Wall Street Journal

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Russia Pushing for An Endgame in Ukraine

Vladislav Surkov file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner – January 21, 2016) The appearance of one of President Vladimir Putin’s most enigmatic associates, Vladislav Surkov, at a meeting with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland last Friday has sparked speculation that Moscow and Washington are approaching an endgame in Ukraine after two years of conflict. “That is was Surkov, and […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting on the Advanced Research Fund’s development

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

(Kremlin.ru – January 19, 2016) The President held a meeting on the development of the Advanced Research Fund. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues. Today we will discuss the development of the Advanced Research Fund. We will consider the implementation of its main projects and how they are assisting the development of applied research. We will look into […]

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Peskov: Surkov, Nuland hold expert dialogue on settlement in Ukraine

Dmitry Peskov file photo adapted from image at kremlin.ru/wikimedia commons

(Interfax – January 20, 2016) The negotiations held between Russian Presidential Aide Vladislav Surkov and Victoria Nuland, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs at the United States Department of State, in Kaliningrad with regard to the settlement in Ukraine were an expert exchange of opinions between Moscow and Washington, which is not a member of the ‘Normandy […]

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U.S., Russia Start Syria Negotiations Amid Threat to Peace Talks

Syria Map

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Henry Meyer – January 20, 2016) The top U.S. and Russian diplomats began talks in Zurich Wednesday to try to bridge divisions over which belligerents in Syria’s five-year civil war should be labeled “terrorist,” an issue that threatens to hold up the start of peace talks. John Kerry and Sergei Lavrov need to strike a deal […]

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Ukrainian military disrupt repair works in Zaitseve by opening fire – Russian representative in JCCC

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

DONETSK. Jan 18 (Interfax) – The Ukrainian Armed Forces have disrupted the restoration works in the area of Zaitseve by opening fire, a representative of the Russian Armed Forces in the Joint Center for Control and Coordination (JCCC) told reporters. “Today, on January 18, the works, which were determined as priority in Minsk on January 13, 2016, began in four […]

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International Conflicts Are Russians’ Biggest Fear – Poll

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 18, 2016) The escalation of international conflicts is currently the issue that most frightens Russian citizens, the results of a poll by the state-run VTsIOM pollster published Monday revealed. Seventy percent of Russians currently believe that international conflicts and hostilities pose a real threat, according to the poll. The second issue that most worries […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Backed by Russian air power, Syria’s army builds on gains.” – Los Angeles Times

Syria Map

The Los Angeles Times covers unfolding evens in the Syrian civil war, including Russian involvement. … Moscow’s air onslaught appears to be gaining effectiveness as Russian commanders grow more familiar with the conflict and with the capabilities of allied Syrian ground forces, observers say. … Russia’s involvement has also led to a new calculation by Syria’s neighbors …. Click here […]

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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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