U.S. Warns Of ‘Terrorism’ Risk During World Cup In Russia

File Image of Soccer Ball, Field, Stadium with Lights, adapted from image at fbi.gov

(Article ©2018 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – June 16, 2018 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/us-warns-terrorism-risk-world-cup-venues-stadiums-train-stations-airports-russia/29292547.html) The U.S. State Department is warning that “terrorists” may target World Cup venues in Russia, which is hosting the monthlong soccer tournament, but it did not point to any specific threat. In a travel advisory issued late on June 15, the department […]

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Terror Threat from Russian-Speaking Jihadists Won’t End with World Cup, and the West Should Care

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Russia Matters – russiamatters.org – Jean-François Ratelle, assistant professor at the University of Ottawa with an academic focus on insurgency in the North Caucasus – June 13, 2018 – russiamatters.org/analysis/terror-threat-russian-speaking-jihadists-wont-end-world-cup-and-west-should-care) As Russia gears up to host the month-long World Cup soccer tournament beginning June 14, security experts — from scholars and analysts to German police — have been warning of possible […]

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NEWSLINK: “World Cup dream is ‘sportswashing’ Russia’s appalling record” – Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)

Ukraine Air Crash Scene with Uniformed Security Personnel, Flames, Smoke

“In 2010 when this tournament was awarded, no one thought Russia would suddenly become a bastion of human and civil rights, though it’s worth reflecting on all that’s happened since then. There’s not just the annexation of Crimea, the war in Ukraine and the concerns about US election meddling. Or just the controversy surrounding the nerve agent attack on the […]

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West, Russia ‘Share Interest’ In Afghan Stability, Top U.S. Commander Says

File Photo of U.S. NATO Troops Atop Ridge in Afghanistan

(Article ©2018 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – April 28, 2018 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/afghanistan-west-russia-share-interest-in-stability-top-u-s-commander-says/29197663.html) The West and Russia have a shared interest in Afghanistan’s stability, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan has told RFE/RL. “We both share an interest in countering the terrorists who threaten our country and threaten Russia and threaten Central Asia,” General John […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Is Russia Sponsoring Terrorism?” – New York Times/Senator Cory Gardner

American Flag and Partial View of U.S. Capitol Dome, adapted from image at aoc.gov

“… The State Department should consider adding [Russia] to its list of state sponsors of terrorism, alongside its close allies Iran and Syria. … Russia has invaded … Georgia and Ukraine … supports the murderous regime of Bashar al-Assad and our enemies in Afghanistan … is engaged in active information warfare against Western democracies, including meddling in the 2016 United […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Frantic Parade of Lies” – Washington Post Editorial

Artist Rendition of Barrel with Poison Symbol on It, Oozing Green Material

“Russia longs to be taken seriously in matters of global affairs, but … Putin has demonstrated … disdain for the rules-based post-World War II order. What does Russia want instead? In two recent incidents involving the use of outlawed chemicals[, the assassination attempt on Skripal in Britain and a chemical weapons attack in Syria], Russia’s answer has been a frantic […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia Trained ‘Special Units’ on Door Handle Poisonings, U.K. Says” – New York Times/Ellen Barry

Artist Rendition of Barrel with Poison Symbol on It, Oozing Green Material

“Russia has been researching the application of chemical agents to door handles as a way to assassinate its enemies, and has been training personnel ‘from special units’ to carry out such attacks, said Mark Sedwill, Britain’s national security adviser … in a letter to the secretary general of NATO. … Sedwill’s letter, the most detailed account of British intelligence on […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Poisoned Russian Agent Sergei Skripal Is Getting Better Fast, Hospital Says” – Reuters

File Photo of British Parliament Building, Big Ben, Thames, adapted from image at loc.gov

“Former Russian spy Sergei Skripal is no longer in critical condition and his health is improving rapidly more than a month since he [and his daugter were] poisoned with a nerve agent …. Britain said they were poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent first developed by the Soviet Union. Russia has denied it had anything to do with the first […]

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Interfax: Nebenzya: Skripal posed no threat to Russia

File Photo of UN Building with Flags

NEW YORK (UN). April 6 (Interfax) – Former colonel of the Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) Sergei Skripal posed no threat to Russia, and Moscow had nothing to do with his poisoning, Russian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzya told the UN Security Council. “Clearly, he [Skripal] was no threat to Russia […] We have a number of questions. […]

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U.S. Reported Poised To Impose New Sanctions On Russian Billionaires

Portion of U.S. Treasury Department Building Facade, North Side, with Sculpture of Alexander Hamilton

(Article ©2018 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – April 5, 2018 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/us-reported-poised-impose-new-sanctions-russian-billionaires/29146529.html) The United States plans to impose a new round of sanctions on Russia, this time targeting Russian billionaires with ties to President Vladimir Putin, media are reporting. Reuters and The Washington Post, citing U.S. officials speaking on condition of anonymity, said at […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Porton Down experts unable to identify ‘precise source’ of novichok that poisoned spy; The lab’s boss says a ‘state actor’ made the novichok and also rubbishes claims that it could have come from his facility.” – Sky News (UK)/Paul Kelso

File Photo of British Parliament Building, Big Ben, Thames, adapted from image at loc.gov

“… Gary Aitkenhead, chief executive of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) at Porton Down, told Sky News they were not yet able to prove it was made in Russia. … ‘We were able to identify it as novichok, to identify that it was military-grade’ … he confirmed the substance required ‘extremely sophisticated methods to create, something only in […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Poisoned Door Handle Hints at High-Level Plot to Kill Spy, U.K. Officials Say” – New York Times/Ellen Barry, David E. Sanger

File Photo of British Parliament Building, Big Ben, Thames, adapted from image at loc.gov

“British officials investigating the poisoning of Sergei V. Skripal … former Russian double agent, believe it is likely that an assassin smeared a nerve agent on the door handle at his home. … so risky and sensitive that it is unlikely to have been undertaken without approval from the Kremlin …. Skripal … was freed in a spy swap with […]

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RUSSIALINK: Interfax: “UK takes West’s anti-Russian campaign to new level with Skripal case – Zakharova”

Artist Rendition of Barrel with Poison Symbol on It, Oozing Green Material

[Interfax reports that Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova, appearing on Russian television, has accused Britain of using the Skripal case to give a new boost to the anti-Russian campaign:] MOSCOW. March 31 (Interfax) – The United Kingdom has used the Skripal case to give a new boost to the anti-Russian campaign in the West; the absence of information and non-disclosure […]

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NEWSWATCH VIDEO: “How will the global effort to expel diplomats affect Russia? [with Victoria Nuland and Paul Saunders]” – PBS Newshour

File Photo of Russian Embassy in Washington, D.C., Adapted From Image at loc.gov

“Sixty Russian diplomats are being kicked out of the U.S. in a bid to punish the Kremlin for an attack on a former Russian spy in the UK. Is that the right response? Nick Schifrin gets reaction from two former State Department officials, Victoria Nuland of the Center for a New American Security and Paul Saunders of the Center for […]

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NEWSLINK: “Factbox: Diplomatic Moves Against Russia After Nerve Gas Attack” – Reuters

File Photo of British Parliament Building, Big Ben, Thames, adapted from image at loc.gov

“Following are diplomatic measures announced against #Russia by the United States, Canada, several EU countries and Ukraine in response to the poisoning of a former Russian double agent with military-grade nerve agent in the English town of Salisbury. …”

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NEWSLINK: “Why did Russia poison one of its ex-spies in Britain?” – Washington Post.Maria Snegovaya

Artist Rendition of Barrel with Poison Symbol on It, Oozing Green Material

“With Putin returning to office after this election, Moscow appears poised to continue disrupting world politics for years to come.”

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NEWSLINK: “Russia Wormed Its Way Into Access at Power Plants, U.S. Says; Cyberattacks Put Russian Fingers on the Switch at Power Plants, U.S. Says” – New York Times

Electrical Yard file photo

“The Trump administration accused Russia … of engineering a series of cyberattacks that targeted American and European nuclear power plants and water and electric systems, and could have sabotaged or shut power plants off at will. United States officials and private security firms saw the attacks as a signal by Moscow that it could disrupt the West’s critical facilities in […]

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NEWSLINK: “Stanford suspends all undergraduate programs in Russia” – The Stanford Daily/Nicholas Midler

File Photo of Airplane Approaching Runway About to Land

“Stanford suspended all undergraduate study abroad programs to Russia, including a summer internship at the Carnegie Moscow Center, after the Department of State issued a Level Three travel advisory for the country. … the University prohibits undergraduates from participating in Stanford-sponsored or Stanford-organized trips to regions that have been issued an official travel advisory of Level Three or Level Four, […]

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U.S. Urges Travelers To Reconsider Visiting Russia

State Department Building and U.S. Flag

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 11, 2018) The U.S. State Department listed Russia as one of the most dangerous countries to visit in a new travel advisory system released Wednesday, together with states including Sudan, Pakistan and Niger. The new four-tier advisory replaces the State Department’s travel warnings and alerts system and is based on seven risk factors including […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin Toughens Penalty for Bomb Threats Plaguing Russia” – AP

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

“… Putin has signed a law doubling the penalty for false reports of impending explosions or fire to a possible 10 years in prison. … Since September, authorities have received false bomb reports allegedly targeting more than 3000 structures in about 180 Russian cities. The subsequent building evacuations have sometimes caused severe traffic problems. A top Interior Ministry official said […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin Declares St. Petersburg Blast Terrorism; Grocery store bombing injured 13; Russian president orders officials to act decisively to stop further attacks” – Wall Street Journal/ Thomas Grove

St. Petersburg

“A bomb blast at a St. Petersburg grocery store [from a handmade explosive device] … injured 13 …. No one has claimed responsibility. … Until recently, Russia’s predominantly Muslim North Caucasus had seen almost daily violence from Islamic separatists …. Security measures and the departure of fighters to join Islamic State in Syria and Iraq has cut violence …. many […]

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RUSSIALINK: “[Putin] Telephone conversation with U.S. President Donald Trump” – KremlinRu

File Photo of CIA Seal on Floor

Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with President of the United States Donald Trump. Vladimir Putin thanked Donald Trump for the information passed on by the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) that helped detain the terrorists who plotted to set off explosions at Kazan Cathedral in St Petersburg and other public places in the city. The information received from […]

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Putin Calls Ekho Moskvy Journalist’s Attacker a ‘Sick Person’

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 30, 2017) The man who stabbed a radio editor in Moscow last week was a “sick person” without political motives, President Vladimir Putin said Monday. Tatyana Felgenhauer, a deputy editor at the liberal-learning Ekho Moskvy radio station, was stabbed last week by a Russian-Israeli man believed to have mental health issues. Two state television […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia touts essential role in Syria’s advance against IS” – AFP

Syria Map

“… In addition to air strikes and reconnaissance, Russia has also dispatched special forces, de-mining experts, and military police officers across Syria. Pavel Felgenhauer, military observer for Novaya Gazeta newspaper, says more than 2,000 military advisers are also on the ground. ‘Some two million tonnes of military supplies have been shipped to Syria,’ he says, including Russian weapons systems like […]

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VIDEO NEWSWATCH: “The deadly risk of standing up to Putin” – PBS Newshour

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

(PBS Newshour – July 13, 2017 – also appeared at pbs.org/newshour/bb/deadly-risk-standing-putin/) “What can happen to you if you oppose the Kremlin? There is a high mortality rate among prominent critics of the Russian government, which some say is emblematic of how President Vladimir Putin runs the country. As part of our week-long series Inside Putin’s Russia, special correspondent Nick Schifrin […]

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Russian investigators say Nemtsov not killed over religion

Boris Nemtsov file photo

(Interfax – July 13, 2017) The Russian Investigations Committee has ruled out the theory that opposition politician Boris Nemtsov was murdered on religious, rather than financial grounds, its spokeswoman has said. “During the investigation there was an analysis of the testimonies of suspects Zaur Dadayev and Anzor Gubashev on how they committed the murder of Boris Nemtsov on grounds of […]

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VIDEO NEWSWATCH: “Why are so many from this Russian republic fighting for ISIS?” – PBS Newshour

Map of Russia Highlighting Dagestan

(PBS Newshour – July 12, 2017 – also appeared at pbs.org/newshour/bb/many-russian-republic-fighting-isis) “In the republic of Dagestan, a brutal separatist insurgency has long fought against the Russian state. Now, as many as 5,000 Dagestanis have left to fight for the Islamic State. Why have so many answered the call? As part of our week-long series Inside Putin’s Russia, special correspondent Nick […]

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NEWSLINK: “Terrorism and the Perils of ‘Russiagate.’ As Trump and Putin strive for an essential US-Russia alliance against international terrorism, American media frenzy, fueled by anonymous leaks, continues to thwart it.” – The Nation/ Stephen Cohen

File Photo of Donald Trump Waving Before Large Crowd with Trump Signs, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

“Cohen begins by reiterating his argument that international terrorism—a modern-day phenomenon that controls territory, has aspects of statehood, commands sizable fighting forces, has agents in many countries outside the Middle East, and is in search of radioactive materials that would make their bombings incalculably more lethal—is the No. 1 threat to the world today, including the United States, Europe, and […]

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After the bomb: crisis management, Petersburg style; After last month’s metro attack, residents of St Petersburg remain defiant, if unruly.

Russia Map

(opendemocracy.net – Natalia Shkurenko – May 10, 2017) Natalia Shkurenok is a Saint-Petersburg based journalist, writing for The New Times, Snob, Colta, ArtNews Paper and Novaya Gazeta. Dozens of casualties, an unprecedented collapse of the city’s public transport system and arrests of people of “non-Slavic appearance” – these are the obvious consequences of the Petersburg metro attack on 3 April. […]

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Russian Police Probe Radical Pro-Kremlin Group Over Navalny Attack

Kremlin and River

(RFE/RL– rferl.org – May 5, 2017) The leader of a radical pro-Kremlin group says police plan to question him and his colleagues over an attack on Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny that has impaired his eyesight. Igor Beketov, leader of a group calling itself the South East Radical Block (SERB), told RFE/RL on May 5 that Moscow police contacted him […]

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NEWSWATCH: “How Russia Became the Jihadists’ No. 1 Target; Monday’s bombing in St. Petersburg might be only the beginning of a new terrorist wave” – Politico/COLIN P. CLARKE

Map of Middle East and North Africa with Inset Map of Holy Land

“… too soon to say who is responsible for the bombing … in St. Petersburg … it wouldn’t be surprising if international terrorists were responsible. Russia is fast replacing the United States as the No. 1 enemy of al Qaeda, the Islamic State, and other Sunni jihadist groups …. recent Russian actions in the Middle East … escalating intervention in Syria and its […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Vladimir Putin expressed his condolences to families of those killed and injured in explosion in St Petersburg metro

Kremlin and River

(Kremlin.ru – April 3, 2017) The President was briefed on the blast in the St Petersburg metro by the security service heads, in particular, Director of the Federal Security Service Alexander Bortnikov. Mr Putin instructed the city authorities to take all necessary measures to help the families of those killed and injured. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: As you know, […]

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RUSSIALINK RBTH: “Should Muscovites fear Muslims?”

Russian Mosque file photo

Over the past decade the Russian capital’s Muslim population has swelled to almost 2 million, or about 15 percent of the total population. This has led to tensions with locals who are increasingly suspicious of the newcomers’ intentions, brash behavior and strict religious traditions. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – YEVGENY LEVKOVICH, RBTH – March 13, 2017) [Text with […]

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What Vladimir Putin Could Explain to Donald Trump

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

(Jack Matlock, U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union from 1987 to 1991 – jackmatlock.com – January 31, 2017) The telephone conversation last Saturday between the American and Russian presidents seems to have been amicable and constructive, at least in a general sense. They are reported to have discussed key world issues as potential partners, not as adversaries or enemies. That […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Challenging the U.S., Moscow Pushes Into Afghanistan. Russian inroads complicate U.S. efforts to strengthen the government, stamp out the Taliban and end America’s longest war.” – Wall Street Journal

Afghanistan Map of Ethnicities

“#Russia is making fresh inroads into #Afghanistan that could complicate U.S. efforts to strengthen the fragile #Kabul government, stamp out the resilient #Taliban insurgency and end America’s longest war. Moscow last month disclosed details of contacts with the Taliban, saying that it is sharing information and cooperating with the radical movement … to fight the local affiliate of #IslamicState, which […]

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In Putin’s World, Crime Pays

Ukraine Air Crash Scene with Uniformed Security Personnel, Flames, Smoke

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – October 3, 2016) By most objective standards, last week’s news should have been an unmitigated disaster for Vladimir Putin’s regime. By most objective standards, the Kremlin should be worried that it risks becoming an international pariah. By most objective standards, September 28 should have been a dark day for Russia. Dutch investigators on […]

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Analysis: ‘Barbarous’ Syria Bombings, MH17 Blame: What Consequences Could Russia Face?

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Steve Gutterman – September 30, 2016) In terms of its reputation, Russia has had one of its worst weeks ever. Incensed that Moscow is pushing ahead with the “barbarous” bombing of Aleppo and angry over an attack on an aid convoy that is widely blamed on Russian and Syrian forces, the United States is threatening to […]

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Russian Officials Dig In On MH17, As Critics Decry ‘Politics Of Denial’

Ukraine Air Crash Scene with Uniformed Security Personnel, Flames, Smoke

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Tom Balmforth – September 29, 2016) MOSCOW — A series of denials by Russian officials and state-media allegations of bias and foul play present a view that is starkly discrepant with international criminal investigators’ findings, announced this week, over the downing of a Malaysian airliner over eastern Ukraine in 2014. The Joint Investigation Team’s (JIT) interim […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia Implicated in Shooting Down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 Over Ukraine” – New York Times

Ukraine Air Crash Scene with Uniformed Security Personnel, Flames, Smoke

A Dutch-led investigation has concluded that the powerful surface-to-air missile system … used to shoot down a Malaysia Airlines plane over Ukraine two years ago, killing all 298 on board, was trucked in from Russia at the request of Russian-backed separatists and returned to Russia the same night. … largely confirm[ing] the already widely documented Russian government role not only […]

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Putin’s Iron Grip, Forged in the Fires of Terrorism

Kremlin and River

(Stratfor.com – Lauren Goodrich – September 4, 2016) Sept. 4 marks Russia’s Day of Solidarity, a remembrance of two brutal terrorist incidents: the start of an apartment bombing campaign in 1999 and the bloody end of a siege at a Beslan school in 2004. Much as the 9/11 attacks changed the national psyche of the United States, those events altered […]

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NEWSLINK RBTH: “Businessman takes hostages in Moscow bank in desperate plea to Putin”

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

On Aug. 24, a bankrupt businessman took the staff and customers of a bank in downtown Moscow hostage in a bid to attract the attention of Russian President Vladimir Putin to the plight of those in his position.

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Russia’s Moves, Terrorism Fuel Talk of War in Europe – The Daily Signal [also appeared as “Europeans are quietly preparing for war with Russia” at Newsweek.com]

Europe Map

[article also appeared at Newsweek.com as “Europeans are quietly preparing for war with Russia”] (Nolan Peterson – @nolanwpeterson – The Daily Signal – dailysignal.com – The Heritage Foundation – heritage.org – KYIV, Ukraine, Aug. 3, 2016) Whether referring to Russian aggression in the east or to the threat of Islamist terrorism in the West, Europe’s political, media, and religious elite […]

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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. […]

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Putin will decide whether to “veto” anti-terrorist laws when he receives them for signing – Peskov

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

MOSCOW. June 29 (Interfax) – Russian President Vladimir Putin will make a decision on the so-called ‘anti-terrorist package’ of laws after he receives it for signing, Russian presidential press officer Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Wednesday. “We know of different views on this bill. We know of specific remarks, including those made by communications [operators], public figures, and public organizations. […]

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The fallout from the conduct and conclusions of the Litvinenko Inquiry

File Photo of British Parliament Building, Big Ben, Thames, adapted from image at loc.gov

Subject: The fallout from the conduct and conclusions of the Litvinenko Inquiry Date: Fri, 10 Jun 2016 21:43:05 +0100 From: Julia Svetlichnaja (svetlichnaja@gmail.com) Below is my Open letter to the Home Secretary and other parliamentarians regarding the findings of the Litvinenko Enquiry. It has not been published as I was awaiting, to no avail, some response so that it could […]

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Interfax: Liquidation of Taliban leader to hinder negotiations in Afghanistan – Russian Foreign Ministry

Afghanistan Map of Ethnicities

MOSCOW. May 23 (Interfax) – The liquidation of Taliban movement leader Akhtar Mansoor will lead to further military escalation in Afghanistan, the Russian Foreign Ministry said. “If this information is confirmed, it will seriously hinder the negotiating process,” Special Representative of the Russian President for Afghanistan, Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Second European Department Zamir Kabulov told Interfax. It […]

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The West Shouldn’t Fear Russia’s ‘Hybrid Warfare’

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – May 18, 2016) In the two years that have passed since Russia annexed Crimea, the expression “Russian hybrid warfare” has become a fixture in the Western political, media and academic lexicon. It’s a catch-all for Russian hostility — and a perfect mirror image of the Kremlin’s own paranoia about the West. The Atlantic […]

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Nuclear security internationalized and strengthened, diplomats say; New document takes effect that will reduce the risk of a terrorist attack involving nuclear material

Radioactivity Symbol

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ANDREI ZOLOTOV, JR., SPECIAL TO RBTH – May 9, 2016) To take diplomats’ words at face value, the world has grown a notch safer this week. On Sunday, May 8, 2016 an amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM), has entered into force, the IAEA announced. This amendment […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Repressing Islam in Russia. Salafis mustered. A crackdown drives Dagestan’s Muslims towards Islamic State.”

Map of Dagestan, Georgia and Environs

Since last autumn, the authorities in Dagestan have ramped up pressure against Salafis. They have reason to worry: as Moscow launched air strikes in support of Syria’s government, the Islamic State (IS) declared a holy war on Russia, took credit for downing a Russian passenger jet over Egypt and released a video threatening “a sea of blood” in Russia itself. […]

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