Interfax: Russia’s ambassador to London explains why Russia-NATO conflict over Ukraine is impossible

Russian Mobile ICBM Parade File Photo

(Interfax – July 29, 2015) Russia’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom Alexander Yakovenko rules out the possibility of a military conflict between Russia and NATO over the Ukraine crisis. An open letter of Russia’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom Alexander Yakovenko was posted on July 29 on the website of the Russian Embassy. “There are, indeed, attempts to frighten the […]

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Interfax: Russian envoy slams NATO for playing “destructive role” in Ukraine crisis

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Interfax – July 29, 2015) NATO’s role in the Ukraine crisis is “utterly destructive”, Russia’s permanent representative at the organization, Aleksandr Grushko, has said, as reported by privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax on 29 July. “NATO’s role in the Ukraine crisis is utterly destructive. NATO does not act like an organization that would conduce to the peaceful settlement of the […]

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Chart – Just 1 in 10 Russians favour cooperation with Nato

NATO Meeting file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Francesca Moll in London – July 28, 2015) [Chart here http://www.bne.eu/content/story/bnechart-just-1-10-russians-favour-cooperation-nato] Just one in ten Russians believe their country should cooperate with Nato, according to a recent survey by the Russian Public Opinion Research Centre (WCIOM). A preference for Eastern-led organisations emerged from the study, in which a majority of Russians (54%) believe that […]

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New Russian Naval Doctrine Enshrines Confrontation With NATO

Russian Naval Vessel file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner – July 28, 2015) President Vladimir Putin on Sunday approved amendments to Russia’s naval doctrine that prioritize the development of Russian positions in strategic seas around the world, according to the Kremlin website. The updated doctrine takes advantage of a huge injection of funds into Russia’s naval strength to shift the emphasis of […]

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NEWSWATCH AFP: Eyeing Russia, US leads fresh military drills in Ukraine

U.S. Military Convoy Headed to Ukraine, On Highway Near Mountains or Cliffs

AFP covers U.S.-Ukrainian relations and recent military drills near Ukraine’s border with Poland. Ukrainian and US troops launched fresh drills Monday near the war-torn country’s Polish border in a bid to show unity and resolve in the face of an increasingly resurgent Kremlin. The annual Rapid Trident exercises involve 1,800 soldiers from 18 countries and last for just under two […]

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NEWSWATCH CNN/Matthew Rojansky, Michael Kofman: Isolated Russia has little left to lose

NATO Meeting file photo

Writing for CNN.com, Matthew Rojansky and Michael Kofman address historic shifts in relations between Russia and the West, amidst Western reactions to the Russo-Ukrainian War, the downing of civilian airliner MH-17 and other developments. … MH17 was a turning point, after which many European leaders abandoned their previously held view that Russia could be successfully integrated into Western-led economic, political, or […]

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NEWSWATCH Moscow Times/Mark Galeotti: Russia Is Not the Threat the West Thinks It Is

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

Writing in The Moscow Times, Mark Galeotti comments on U.S. threat assessments of Russia. Suddenly, it seems, America has decided that Russia is a threat, even an existential one. Really?     Air Force Secretary Deborah James said: ‘I do consider Russia to be the biggest threat.’ Nonetheless, she comes across as positively dovish alongside with House Armed Services Committee […]

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NEWSWATCH Christian Science Monitor: Amid Kremlin-NATO tensions, what mood in Russia’s European ‘spearhead’? The Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad is home to a major naval base that weighs heavily in both Russian and Western military thinking

Kaliningrad Map, adapted and cropped from army.mil image with credit to Jim Kistler, USAWC

The Christian Science Monitor reports on Russia’s Baltic enclave Kaliningrad in the midst of stepped-up Russian and NATO military activity. If the tensions between Russia and the West should escalate into full-fledged confrontation, it is this former Prussian town – home to a huge military base in the heart of NATO country – that is going to be right at […]

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NEWSWATCH New York Times/Andrei Kozyrev: Russia’s Coming Regime Change

Tower and Building Inside Kremlin

Writing in The New York Times, former Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev addresses the future of Russian governance in the face of multiple economic, political and international challenges. The firmness of the West in protecting the sovereignty of Ukraine and restoring its territorial integrity is a prerequisite not only to rein in the Kremlin’s aggressive impulses, but also to engage […]

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Russia’s NATO envoy makes downbeat statements on ties with alliance

NATO Meeting file photo

(Interfax – June 30, 2015) Aleksandr Grushko, Russia’s permanent representative to NATO, has said: – NATO is replacing its policy of partnership with Russia with a policy of deterrence; – restoring NATO-Russia relations are not envisaged unless the alliance changes its views on cooperation; – Russia will take into account the NATO “threat” in its military planning; – NATO’s role […]

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NATO will never invade Russia – McFaul

NATO Meeting file photo

(Interfax – June 28, 2015) Former U.S. ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul has said NATO is not planning to invade Russia and there is no need for the Russian leadership to deploy S-400 air defense systems on its Western borders. “NATO will never invade Russia,” he twitted on Sunday. The former ambassador said the Russian leadership is groundlessly concerned about […]

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Interfax: Russia to react “immediately” if NATO increases strength in Europe – source

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Interfax – Moscow, June 26, 2015) By “slightly pushing” Russia by increasing the alliance’s military presence in Europe, the USA and NATO are waging a “game of nerves” for now, however should any practical steps be taken towards an escalation near Russia’s western border, Moscow will respond without delay, a source in the military and diplomatic circles has told Interfax-AVN. […]

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VIDEO & TRANSCRIPT: Conversation: The Standoff Between Russia and the West Over Ukraine

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

(Stratfor.com – June 23, 2015) Conversation: The Standoff Between Russia and the West Over Ukraine is republished with permission of Stratfor; article also appeared at stratfor.com/video/conversation-standoff-between-russia-and-west-over-ukraine. Transcript follows below video. Video Transcript Lauren Goodrich: Hello, my name is Lauren Goodrich, and I’m the senior Eurasia analyst here at Stratfor. I’m joined by Sim Tack, our military analyst, and today we’re going to […]

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NEWSWATCH New York Times: NATO Returns Its Attention to an Old Foe, Russia

NATO Meeting file photo

The New York Times covers NATO exercises and policies towards Russia. After years of facing threats far beyond its borders, NATO is now reinvigorating plans to confront a much larger and more aggressive threat from its past: Moscow. This seismic shift has been apparent in military training exercises in this former Soviet republic [Latvia], which is now a NATO member […]

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RUSSIA AND AMERICA: A FALSE START TOWARD A NEW DÉTENTE (response to Leslie Gelb)

Putin and Obama with U.S. and Russian Flags

Subject: RUSSIA AND AMERICA: A FALSE START TOWARD A NEW DÉTENTE (response to Leslie Gelb) Date: Mon, 22 Jun 2015 16:55:45 +0000 (UTC) From: Kirk Bennett <kirkbennett7@yahoo.com> RUSSIA AND AMERICA: A FALSE START TOWARD A NEW DÉTENTE By Kirk Bennett Kirk Bennett is a former Foreign Service Officer who served in both Moscow and Kyiv. The opinions in this article […]

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NEWSLINK Reuters: After midnight in the library, Putin sets out his world view

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

It was two minutes before midnight when Russian President Vladimir Putin finally entered the meeting room in the Boris Yeltsin Presidential Library, more than three hours late, to be interviewed by a dozen exhausted journalists. http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/06/20/us-russia-putin-idUSKBN0P00JG20150620

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NEWSLINK Wall Street Journal/Edward Lucas: Buttressing the Front Line Against Putin. The U.S. must compel Nordic and Baltic states to put aside old prejudices and link arms against the Russian threat.

Europe Map

  Russia is waging a new cold war in the Baltic region, breaching international law and the conventions that govern civilized behavior among nations. The Kremlin provokes and intimidates its neighbors with aggressive espionage, corruption of political elites, propaganda onslaughts, cyberattacks, economic sanctions, coercive energy policies, surprise military exercises, and violations of airspace, territorial waters and even national borders, as […]

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NEWSWATCH: NATO and Russia Are Playing a Risky Game

NATO Meeting file photo

Writing in The Moscow Times, NYU professor Mark Galeotti comments on recent military exercises by NATO and Russia. Both Russia and the West continue to stage all kind of major military exercises and demonstrations, even while both accuse the other of provocation and aggressive intent. Are the drums of war beating? No, they’re not — but we need to understand […]

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NEWSLINK International New York Times/Fiona Hill, Steven Pifer: Putin’s Risky Game of Chicken

TU-95 Bear Bomber File Photo

Russian SU-24 fighter-bombers buzzed a U.S. Navy destroyer in international waters in the Black Sea late in May, just days after the Royal Air Force scrambled to intercept nuclear-capable Bear bombers near British airspace. These dangerous Russian games of chicken are now regular occurrences and come hard upon a Russian threat in March to aim nuclear missiles at Danish warships […]

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U.S. Readying Plan to Put Tanks on Putin’s Doorstep

NATO Meeting File Photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – David Lerman, Marta Waldoch – June 14, 2015) The U.S. may announce agreements later this month to station tanks and fighting vehicles in eastern European and Baltic countries, a U.S. defense official said. The Pentagon is trying to finalize plans to station equipment for as many as 5,000 soldiers in about a half-dozen countries as the […]

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Interfax: Russia urges U.S. not to destroy INF Treaty

foreign-ministry-200

(Interfax – June 11, 2015) The deployment of intermediate-range and shorter-range missiles near Russian borders by the U.S. would totally destroy the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty), the Russian Foreign Ministry said. “We have taken note of statements by Pentagon representatives that the U.S. is studying options for military responses to Russian ‘violations’, up to the potential deployment of […]

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The uses and abuses of history

Berlin Wall, Fencing, Barbed Wire, Women

(opendemocracy.net – Rodric Braithwaite – June 8, 2015) Rodric Braithwaite is a British diplomat and author. From 1988 to 1992, Braithwaite served as British ambassador in Moscow, and is the author of Across the Moscow River: The World Turned Upside Down, Moscow 1941: A City and Its People at War and Afgantsy. History is nowadays not only written by the […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Remarks by President Obama in Press Conference after G7 Summit (excerpts)

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

(The White House – Office of the Press Secretary – Elmau Briefing Center, Krün, Germany, June 8, 2015) PRESIDENT OBAMA: With respect to security, the G7 remains strongly united in support for Ukraine. We’ll continue to provide economic support and technical assistance that Ukraine needs as it moves ahead on critical reforms to transform its economy and strengthen its democracy. […]

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RIA Novosti: Russia sets out what it wants from USA, NATO, EU in new foreign policy document

foreign-ministry-200

(RIA Novosti – June 8, 2015) Russia reserves the right to respond to any unfriendly steps towards it taken by the USA, says the document containing a review of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s performance in 2014 and medium-term objectives, as reported by RIA Novosti (part of the state-owned International News Agency Rossiya Segodnya) on 8 June. “In constructing our engagement […]

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NEWSWATCH Wall Street Journal: Defense Chief: Subversion, ‘Big Lie’ Are in Russia’s Arsenal. Ash Carter favors more military exercises, better intelligence sharing

Ashton Carter File Photo

[Wall Street Journal – Defense Chief: Subversion, ‘Big Lie’ Are in Russia’s Arsenal. Ash Carter favors more military exercises, better intelligence sharing – GORDON LUBOLD – June 6, 2015] The Wall Street Journal covers remarks by Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter after a European trip to discuss Russia and the crisis in Ukraine. Mr. Carter made clear at the end of an […]

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Putin: ‘We Have Never Viewed Europe as a Mistress’

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber – June 8, 2015) President Vladimir Putin insisted that the West should not view Russia as a threat in an interview published Saturday in Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera ahead of an official visit to Italy that kicks off this week. “I think that only an insane person – and only in a […]

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NEWSLINK Reuters: Sink or sell? Russia spat leaves France with warships to spare

Mistral Class Ship

Tensions between the West and Russia over Ukraine have blocked a deal in which Moscow was to buy the ships, leaving Paris trying to negotiate a face-saving compromise and work out CAwhat to do with two unwanted warships.

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What Putin Got Wrong

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

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – May 28, 2015) Since the Ukraine crisis erupted, Vladimir Putin has befuddled his foes with hybrid-war tactics, poisoned discourse with a sophisticated disinformation campaign, and alarmed the West with a series of provocative moves aimed at probing NATO’s defenses. The Russian president has kept his opponents off balance and on the defensive; and […]

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NEWSLINK Chatham House: A ‘New Cold War’? Abusing History, Misunderstanding Russia

Berlin Wall, Fencing, Barbed Wire, Women

The war in Ukraine suggests a new era of competition between the West and Russia. It has (again) revealed both fundamental differences in how European security is understood, and increasing friction in values. Together, these problems suggest an emergent ‘clash of Europes’ that pits the West’s relatively liberal vision for the region against a more conservative ‘Russian Europe’

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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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Kerry Brings Cautious Signs of Russia Detente to NATO Meeting

NATO Logo, NATO, OTAN

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – ANTALYA, Turkey – May 14, 2015) After his whirlwind visit to Sochi on Tuesday for marathon talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has headed across the Black Sea to Turkey, where he wasted no time in briefing his counterparts on the […]

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Interfax: NATO silent on Russian efforts to bolster Euro-Atlantic security – Russian NATO delegation

File Photo of Official at Podium in Front of Large NATO-Russia Council Signage

(Interfax – May 13, 2015) The Russian delegation to NATO has issued an analysis of Euro-Atlantic security, pointing to the causes of the military and political tensions in the regions. “Recently, NATO’s information offices have persistently imposed their simplified black-and-white picture of the history of the difficult relationship between the alliance and Russia on public opinion, ascribing to Russia the […]

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Putin’s Tanks Draw Cheers in Russian City Jammed Between NATO Nations

Kaliningrad Map, adapted and cropped from army.mil image with credit to Jim Kistler, USAWC

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Ragozin – May 11, 2015) Tanks and ballistic missiles lumbered past thousands of spectators gathered in Kaliningrad on Saturday to mark the 70th anniversary of the Allied victory in Europe, an historic triumph for Russia that the Kremlin has used to whip up a new nationalist fervor. “We need to show our enemies, who deem […]

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NEWSLINK Reuters: Russia may be readying for new Ukraine offensive – NATO commander

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

Russia’s military may be taking advantage of a recent lull in fighting in eastern Ukraine to lay the groundwork for a new military offensive, NATO’s top commander told the U.S. Congress on Thursday. U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove, the NATO supreme allied commander, said Russian forces had been seeking to “reset and reposition” while protecting battlefield gains, despite a […]

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The Worst Job In The World? Meet NATO’s Envoy To Russia

NATO Meeting file photo

(RFE/RL – Tom Balmforth – MOSCOW, April 30, 2015) Robert Pszczel said he felt like he was in a Monty Python skit when he made a routine call to Russia’s Defense Ministry back in June 2013. “We cannot talk to you!” came the agitated reply in a hissed whisper, says Pszczel, acting out the scene for comic effect. This was how Pszczel, NATO’s […]

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SENATE HEARING: Russia, Ukraine, and U.S. Policy – Prepared statement by Stephen Sestanovich

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

Senate Committee on Armed Service April 28, 2015 Russia, Ukraine, and U.S. Policy Prepared statement by Stephen Sestanovich George F. Kennan Senior Fellow for Russian and Eurasian Studies Council on Foreign Relations Kathryn and Shelby Collum Davis Professor of International Diplomacy School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University Chairman McCain, Senator Reed, members of the Armed Services Committee: Thank […]

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Russia Says Ukraine Must Be ‘Neutral’ as It Accuses U.S., NATO

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Henry Meyer, Daryna Krasnolutska, Volodymyr Verbyany – April 22, 2015) Russia said it wants a “neutral” and unified Ukraine as it accused the North Atlantic Treaty Organization of seeking to turn its neighbor into a hostile state. The U.S. wields enormous influence over Ukraine, while Russia wants the people of its “near neighbor” to have a […]

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NEWSWATCH: Rep. Ed Royce/Wall Street Journal: Countering Putin’s Information Weapons of War

Ed Royce file photo

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Rep. Ed Royce, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, addresses what he characterizes as a Russian information war, featuring anti-American propaganda and conspiracy theories. Of concern to Royce is that U.S. international broadcasting services that played a stronger role during the Cold War have “withered,” such that Russian propaganda will flourish unless the U.S. services […]

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NEWSLINK Wall Street Journal: As Tensions With West Rise, Russia Increasingly Rattles Nuclear Saber. Bellicose rhetoric has soared since start of Ukraine conflict to rival Cold War levels

Russian Mobile ICBM Parade File Photo

Amid the wave of bellicose rhetoric that has swelled in Moscow since the start of the conflict in Ukraine, officials as high up as President Vladimir Putin have been making open nuclear threats, a public saber-rattling with weapons of mass destruction largely unseen even in the days of the Cold War. Remarks about Russia’s nuclear strength play well to Mr. […]

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NEWSWATCH Washington Times: Russia’s grab for its neighbors; ‘Europe whole and free’ should be more than a slogan

Europe Map

[“Russia’s grab for its neighbors: ‘Europe whole and free’ should be more than a slogan’” – Washington Times – Paula Dobriansky, Blaise Misztal – March 29, 2015] Writing in the Washington Times, Paula Dobriansky and Blaise Misztal address concerns about Russia’s impact on peace, security and economic stability in Europe. They also assess the prospects for political consensus in the United States to […]

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NEWSWATCH STRATFOR: The West Hems in Russia Little by Little

Map of U.S. Military Activities in Europe

[“The West Hems in Russia Little by Little” – Stratfor.com – March 30, 2015] Stratfor considers bolstered U.S. military activities in Europe, including in the vicinity of Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin must be feeling very claustrophobic these days. … All along Russia’s frontier with Europe, the U.S. military is bustling with activity. Bit by bit, the United States is expanding various military exercises […]

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Putin Urges FSB: Harder, Faster, Stronger

FSB Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – March 27, 2015) Western governments will attempt to discredit and destabilize Russia, but their efforts will be futile, President Vladimir Putin told Russia’s top security officials Thursday. “We have always had and always will have a proper response to all internal and external threats to national security,” Putin told senior officers of the […]

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Putin marks 15 years in power with harangue against West

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

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – MOSCOW BLOG: Ben Aris in Moscow – March 27, 2015) Russian President Vladimir Putin on March 26 marked 15 years since he was elected as Boris Yeltsin’s successor by summoning the heads of the Federal Security Service (FSB) and warning them sternly that there was a western conspiracy to undermine and contain Russia. Putin struck a dark […]

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NEWSWATCH Georgetown Journal of International Affairs: Inequality: The Ukraine Invasion and Public Opinion

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

[“The Ukraine Invasion and Public Opinion” – Georgetown Journal of International Affairs –  Harley Balzer – March 20, 2015]  Writing in the Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, Professor Harley Balzer examines various aspects of Russian involvement in the Ukraine conflict, such as Ukrainian and Russian public opinion, foreign policy considerations and the relevance of Russian public opinion to Russian policymaking. […]

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How to end the Ukraine conflict

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

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow – March 19, 2015) March will be a tense month as Russia has decided to poke its finger in Nato’s eye again. Russia’s Armed Forces are holding for the first time Arctic military exercises, which kicked off on March 16 and will last through March 21. The exercises are massive. The […]

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Moscow Times: Mission Impossible: Ukraine’s 3-Step Plan to Join NATO and Upset Russia

NATO Meeting file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – March 14, 2015) Russian officials have said repeatedly following the overthrow of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych last year that the ouster was a prelude to a NATO takeover of Ukraine. These fears likely helped propel Moscow’s annexation of Crimea and support of separatist rebels in Ukraine’s eastern regions – moves which by turning Ukraine into […]

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Experts: Russia’s withdrawal from the CFE Treaty is a signal to the West

Russian Soldiers Marching

Russian experts say the decision to abandon cooperation with NATO on conventional forces must be considered in the broader geopolitical and historical context. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Alexei Timofeichev, RBTH – March 13, 2015) Moscow has announced its withdrawal from the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty, as of March 11, stating that the agreement had became […]

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Interfax: Russia ready for new agreement on conventional weapons in Europe

Europe Map

(Interfax – March 11, 2015) Russia is ready for negotiations concerning a new treaty regarding the control of conventional weapons in Europe, Mikhail Ulyanov, director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s department on non-proliferation and arms control issues, said. “We are ready to consider the possibility and hold appropriate negotiations regarding a new agreement that is in line with the new […]

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