NEWSWATCH: “Why Expelling Russian Diplomats Isn’t Enough” – Atlantic Council/Jakub Janda

Stylized Artist's Depiction of Shadowy Figures in Dark Coats and Dark Hats, One Carrying a Briefcase

“So far, twenty-eight nations have sent home more than 140 Russian diplomats and spies in a coordinated response to the Russian nerve agent assassination attempt in Salisbury, England. Symbolically, this unprecedented expulsion of Russian officials constitutes an important show of unity, but its practical impact in terms of hindering Russian subversion operations is limited. With the exception of the United […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Medvedev threatens Russian counter-measures on U.S. goods” – Financial Times/Kathrin Hille

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

“Moscow has threatened to hit imports from the U.S. or even products made by American companies in Russia as a retaliation against the crippling sanctions imposed Washington last week that battered Russian markets and have pushed Russian aluminium company Rusal to the brink. … Medvedev … said … that the government would ‘look into’ the possibility of counter-measures on ‘a […]

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NEWSWATCH: “No longer safe assets: Invest in Russia at your own risk after U.S. sanctions, strategist says” – CNBC/Natasha Turak

File Photo of Outdoor Electronic Sign with Russian Exchange Data

“Russian assets, in recovery mode following a deep recession after the global oil price collapse in 2015, have been ravaged since Friday over fears of U.S. sanctions.  Popular among many emerging market investors for the past year, this progress now appears on the brink of becoming undone as market analysts call for a re-evaluation of Russia’s risk pricing. * * […]

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NEWSWATCH: “A few cruise missiles from Trump won’t stop Syria’s war crimes” – Washington Post Editorial

Syria Map

“Having declared that Syria will pay a ‘big price’ for its latest use of chemical weapons … Trump will deal another blow to U.S. global leadership if he does not follow through. But a few cruise missiles won’t change anything in Syria. What’s really needed is a concerted strategy …. the Assad regime and its Russian and Iranian allies are […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Trump Says U.S. Could Help Russian Economy” – Reuters

Vladirmir Putin and Donald Trump Sitting in Chairs with Flags Behind, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

“… Trump … said the U.S. could aid Russia’s economy and sought an end to what he called an ‘arms race,’ lamenting that relations with Moscow had reached an all-time low. …Trump … on Twitter warned Russia that missiles ‘will be coming’ in Syria following a suspected chemical attack and chided … Putin for being ‘partners’ with … Assad. … […]

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NEWSLINKS: “Kremlin backers warn of threat of war with U.S. as Syria tensions rise” – Washington Post/Anton Troianovski

File Photo of Bashar al-Assad and Sergei Lavrov

“… The United States is considering strikes on Russian ally Bashar al-Assad in Syria, prompting ominous speculation among people close to the Kremlin that such a move could touch off a wider conflict. One scholar who advises the Russian Defense Ministry even raised the specter of ‘World War III.’ … U.S. sanctions against top Russian business executives wiped billions of […]

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NEWSLINK: “In Syria, Trump Faces the Limits of Bluster” – New York Times Editorial

Syria Map

“A world grown numb to the slaughter of civilians in Syria has been roused in the last 48 hours by photographs on social media of lifeless men, women and children in the rebel-held town of Douma, many with white foam coming from their mouths and nostrils, victims of chemical weapons. Outraged Western nations blame President Bashar al-Assad’s regime and demand […]

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Ruble Falls Further, Russian Officials Seek To Calm Nerves

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Article ©2018 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – April 10, 2018 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/russia-ruble-continues-fall-officials-seek-to-calm-nerves/29156379.html) The Russian ruble is falling for a second straight day following the imposition of new U.S. sanctions, while the Central Bank chief and other officials are seeking to calm investors in the wake of a big sell-off in shares of Russian companies […]

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To Avert U.S. Retaliation, Russia Proposes Inspection of Syria Attack Site

Syria Map

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 10, 2018) Russia said on Tuesday it will propose to the United Nations that international inspectors visit the site of a suspected chemical weapons attack in the Syrian town of Douma, a move which follows U.S. President Donald Trump’s warning of quick, forceful action in response to the incident. At least 60 people were […]

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‘No Doubt’ Russia Can Weather U.S. Sanctions, Economic Development Minister Says

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 10, 2018) Russia’s Economic Development Minister has promised that the country will be able to withstand losses suffered since the latest round of U.S. sanctions triggered sell-offs. The ruble sank to its lowest exchange rate against the U.S. dollar and euro since December 2016 on the second day of losses. Stocks in major Russian […]

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NEWSLINK: “Taking on Russia’s ‘oligarchs’; Meduza looks at the businessmen, state officials, and companies targeted in the latest U.S. sanctions” – Meduza

“On Friday, the world got a look at the latest U.S. sanctions against Russia. The U.S. Treasury Department’s new “designations” target seven Russian ‘oligarchs’ and 12 companies they own or control, 17 senior Russian government officials, and a state-owned Russian weapons trading company and its subsidiary, a Russian bank. Washington says the measures are a response to “a range of […]

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New Sanctions Won’t Spark Conspiracy Against Putin or Reverse His Policies, Shevtsova Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, April 7, 2018) The new sanctions the US has announced will hurt the Russian oligarchs but they will not lead to a conspiracy against Putin because “the main source of their incomes is in Russia and they are completely dependent on the orders of the president,” Liliya Shevtsova says. And they haven’t […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Arizona Election Database Targeted in 2016 by Criminals, Not Russia: Source” – Reuters

Multilingual Polling Place Sign from U.S. Election Polling Place

“A hack on an Arizona election database … [in] 2016 … was carried out by suspected criminal actors … not the Russian government, a senior Trump administration official told Reuters …. responding to a report on … ’60 Minutes’ citing an internal government document that Russian hackers … infiltrated computer systems associated with at least four U.S. states, including Arizona, […]

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NEWSLINK: “Expelled from Russia, U.S. diplomats bid a wistful farewell (video)” – Washington Post/Amie Ferris-Rotman

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

“… Set to the tunes of a country music band from North Carolina, the video features eight of the 60 Americans kicked out of Russia in the latest tit for tat between Moscow and the West. The escalation began last month when a former Russian double agent and his daughter were poisoned on British soil with a Soviet-designed nerve agent. Britain […]

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NEWSWATCH VIDEO: “Putin’s Next Act” – Brookings/ Julia Ioffe, Vladimir Kara-Murza, Angela Stent, Strobe Talbott, Alina Polyakova

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

(Brookings event – April 4, 2018) “… Putin’s third term as Russia’s president was defined by a return to aggressive foreign policy … military interventions in Ukraine and Syria, interference in elections in the United States and Europe … a crackdown on domestic dissent. … as Russia’s economic model and political system seem[] increasingly stagnant …. What might Putin’s fourth […]

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NEWSWATCH: “What Is the FBI Hiding? The bureau still won’t comply with an eight-month-old subpoena from Congress” – Wall Street Journal/Kimberley A. Strassel

FBI Headquarters File Photo

“Bit by bit, congressional investigators have wrested [information] from a recalcitrant [FBI regarding] its suspect 2016 election dealings. … one secret … jealously guard[ed]: how central that Steele dossier was from the start. … House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes … has demand[ed compliance] … with an August 2017 subpoena … [requiring] among other things … electronic communication [] ‘EC’ … […]

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NEWSWATCH: “How Russia’s Economic Recession Benefits Moscow Politically in its ‘Near Abroad’ [Excerpt]” – PONARS Eurasia/Mariya Omelicheva

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

Mariya Y. Omelicheva is Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Kansas. “Over the short run, Russia’s acrimonious relations with the West are serving the Kremlin’s broader effort of heightening its influence in its ‘near abroad.’ In 2014, Russia was hit by a triple whammy of low oil prices, Western sanctions, and Moscow’s counter-sanctions. During the […]

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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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RUSSIALINK: Interfax: “Int’l rules of conduct needed to prevent situations like blocking of Russian media outlets’ Facebook accounts – Nikiforov”

File Photo of UN Building with Flags

MOSCOW. April 5 (Interfax) – Russia will insist that the United Nations adopt an international convention to lay down rules of conduct on the Internet and deal with the illegal blocking of online resources, Russian Communications and Mass Media Minister Nikolai Nikiforov said on Thursday. “Our foreign colleagues, above all American, continue to exhibit their customary practice of double standards. […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia and the U.S. can replace expelled diplomats” – CNN/Laura Koran

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

“The State Department confirmed the United States and Russia can replace diplomats in each other’s countries who were expelled … standard practice … [when] targeted personnel are ejected as ‘persona non-grata’ … any new diplomats would be subject to approval on a ‘case-by-case basis.’ ‘As always/As with similar incidents in the past, the Russian government remains free to request accreditation […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russian officials accuse West of fomenting new Cold War” – AP

Sergei Shoigu file photo

“Top Russian defense and security officials on Wednesday launched diatribes at the West, accusing it of fomenting a new Cold War in a bid to retain waning influence in global affairs. Moscow used an annual security conference attended by top defense officials from Asia, Africa and Latin America to harshly criticize the U.S. and its allies …. Russia-West relations have […]

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NEWSLINK: “Is Putin a C.I.A. Agent?” – Thomas L. Friedman/New York Times

New York Times Masthead from 1913 adapted from image at loc.gov

“… Because Putin has undertaken so many actions in recent years that contributed to the weakening of Russia’s economy and human capital base that you have to wonder whether he’s secretly on the C.I.A.’s payroll. …”

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NEWSLINK: “Who’s Responsible For The New Cold War? An Interview With Renowned Russia Expert Stephen Cohen” – JewishPress/Elliot Resnick

Stylized Russian and U.S. Flags, 200, 1807-2007

“Many in the United States believe Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential elections and that its president, Vladimir Putin, is a cold-blooded killer. … In a recent interview with The Jewish Press, Cohen said he has seen no evidence to support these claims. …”

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NEWSWATCH: “When does Russian propaganda work – and when does it backfire? Here’s what we found.” – Washington Post/Leonid Peisakhin, Arturas Rozenas

Montage of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook Logos, adapted from image at nps.gov

“Assuming that Russia knows how its propaganda affects its audience, we might be able to figure out what it was trying to do in the U.S. election. If Russia targeted voters predisposed toward Trump, trying to motivate them to vote, that would suggest its goal was to help him get elected. But if Russia spread its biased messages broadly, that […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Michael McFaul Course Syllabus: Russia and the West [Spring 2018]” – Stanford University

Ambassador Mike McFaul file photo

“Most agree that relations between the United States and Russia today are at one of the low points in decades. … Some attribute this current clash to decisions taken by foreign policymakers in Washington and Moscow. … cit[ing] variation in Russian-American relations – sometimes relations have been ‘good,’ other times ‘bad’ – to highlight the role of more contingent factors […]

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NEWSLINK: “All 60 Russians kicked out of U.S. are ‘undeclared spies’ pretending to be diplomats, U.S. official says” – Fox News

Stylized Artist's Depiction of Shadowy Figures in Dark Coats and Dark Hats, One Carrying a Briefcase

“All of the 60 Russians expelled by the United States this week were undeclared ‘spies’ pretending to be diplomats, a senior administration official told reporters … saying the Russians were unwelcome — ‘persona non grata.’ ‘These are not diplomats that we expelled. These were intelligence officers that were engaging in activities that were not commensurate with their diplomatic roles and […]

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VOA Interview: U.S. Ambassador Says Russia Must Change Behavior

File Photo of John Huntsman, Men in Military Uniforms and Others, adapted from image at army.mil

(Voice of America – voanews.com – Jamie Dettmer – MOSCOW – March 29, 2018) “You can never stage or time things perfectly,” laughs Jon Huntsman, the U.S. ambassador to Russia. He is discussing the controversial phone call President Donald Trump made last week to Vladimir Putin, in which he congratulated the Russian leader on his re-election. The call surprised White […]

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Defending Digital Democracy

File Image of Laptop Computer, Tables and Mobile Device, adapted from image at energy.gov

Subject: Democracy’s Front-Line Defenders Date: Thu, 29 Mar 2018 From: Eric Rosenbach <erosenbach@belfercenter.hks.harvard.edu> Defending Digital Democracy America’s enemies aren’t resting. Neither are we. I hope you’ll be in touch with me with thoughts about how we can strengthen our efforts to defend democracy. Warm regards, Eric Rosenbach Co-Director, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University Director, Defending Digital […]

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NEWSWATCH: “For John Bolton, Russia is part of a new ‘axis of evil'” – Washington Post/Josh Rogin

File Photo of John Bolton Raising Hand at United Nations, with United States Nameplate on Desktop in Front, adapted from image at state.gov

“The Trump administration seems to be hardening on Russia, but not fast enough for its incoming national security adviser. John Bolton wants President Trump to go on the offensive against Moscow – and not just when it comes to … American democracy. Speaking last month … Bolton said … Putin must pay a heavy price …. ‘I don’t think the […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Why this round of expulsions may bring U.S., Russia to breaking point” – Christian Science Monitor/Fred Weir

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

“… the biggest mass expulsion of Russian diplomats from the US in history, exceeding even the most bitter episodes of the old cold war. … amplified by allegations of espionage … may … represent a breaking point in … an increasingly fragile US-Russian relationship. … experts say the 60 Russians being kicked out of the U.S. amid a show of […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia and NATO: Talking Their Way Out of Another Cold War” – Bloomberg/James Stavridis

NATO Meeting file photo

“… Tactically, the two generals need to create an effective regime to avoid unintended confrontations between NATO and the Russians. … aircraft and ships have been on collision courses …. there have probably also been close … interactions under the ice in the Arctic. The two leaders should see that their staffs confer on ways to reduce the potential for […]

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NEWSLINK: “How Will Trump Punish Russia Next? When it comes to sending messages to bad actors, presidents have a standard bag of tricks to choose from.” – Politico/Samantha Vinograd

File Photo of Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama Seated Before Russian and U.S. Flags

“… I spent a lot of time in the situation room debating how to respond to naughty global players ….”

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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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NEWSWATCH: “The Russian expulsions are a good first step. But only a first step.” – Washington Post Editorial

File Photo of UN Building with Flags

“The United States joined with 19 other countries Monday in what was described as the largest-ever collective expulsion of Russian intelligence officers. … the biggest: Sixty officials with diplomatic status … ordered out of the [United States] and the Russian consulate in Seattle was closed. … a needed response to the nerve-agent attack on a former spy and his daughter […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Tough Action on Russia, at Last, but More Is Needed” – New York Times Editorial

Stylized Artist's Depiction of Shadowy Figures in Dark Coats and Dark Hats, One Carrying a Briefcase

“… expelling scores of Russians from the United States and 21 other countries … Trump and allied leaders have imposed the most significant punishment yet on Russia and … Putin. … Putin’s mischief … runs the gamut from interference in the elections in America and other Western democracies to propelling the wars in Ukraine and Syria. … The expulsion orders retaliate […]

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Interfax: Russian foreign policy expert says relations with West at new low [Fyodor Lukyanov]

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

(Interfax – March 26, 2018) Relations between Russia and the West have reached an unprecedented crisis, according to the head of an influential Russian foreign affairs think-tank. Fyodor Lukyanov, chairman of the presidium of the Council for Foreign and Defence Policy, was commenting on the expulsion of diplomats from EU countries and the USA in response to the Skripal poisoning. […]

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NEWSWATCH: “How the U.S. Can Play Cyber-Offense; Deterrence Isn’t Enough” – Foreign Affairs/ Michael Sulmeyer

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“The United States has been the victim of repeated cyberattacks by foreign powers, and it seems to have little power to stop them. During the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, Russian hackers broke into the Democratic National Committee’s e-mail servers and made more general efforts to influence the election’s outcome, as detailed in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s indictment of 13 Russians […]

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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: “It’s wishful thinking to blame Clinton’s loss on Cambridge Analytica; Cambridge Analytica has now joined Russia at the top of a list of conspirators who may have helped Trump defeat Hillary Clinton in 2016, leaving the real reasons unexamined” – The Independent (UK)/Patrick Cockburn

Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sergei Lavrov, Seated With Flags

“… Cambridge Analytica has now joined Russia at the top of a list of conspirators who may have helped Trump defeat Hillary Clinton in 2016. This is satisfactory for Democrats as it shows that they ought to have won, and delegitimises Trump’s mandate. In the Russian and Cambridge Analytica scandals, dodgy characters abound who claim to have a direct line […]

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NEWSLINK: “Stumbling into a War with Russia; A panel of experts discussed U.S.-Russian relations today at the Center for the National Interest” – The National Interest

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

“Given the poisonous relationship between Washington and Moscow, chances that the two great powers might face off in a military confrontation are growing. In recent days, the United States has expelled dozens of Russian diplomats-who are alleged to be undercover intelligence officers-in retaliation for Moscow’s alleged attack on GRU defector Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in the United Kingdom. […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Trump Orders Expulsion of 60 Russians Over Poison Attack in Britain” – New York Times/KATIE ROGERS, EILEEN SULLIVAN

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“… Trump ordered the expulsion of 60 Russian officials on Monday, joining a coordinated campaign by two dozen countries to retaliate for the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain …. The mass expulsion of Russian personnel stationed in the United States was the largest ever, eclipsing even the darkest days of the global showdown with the Soviet Union. […]

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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: “Russia’s been waging war on the West for years. We just haven’t noticed. It’s way past time for the United States and its allies to get serious about Putin’s aggression.” – Washington Post/Max Boot

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

“… The war arguably began in 2008 when Russia invaded Georgia, a pro-Western country that sent troops to Iraq and Afghanistan and was anxious to join NATO. Rather than punishing Vladimir Putin for his aggression, the Obama administration later responded with a “reset” of relations. …”

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NEWSLINK: “Q&A: Tillerson Out, Pompeo In. What Does It Mean for Russia and Ukraine?” – Atlantic Council/Melinda Haring/ Anders Åslund/ Michael Carpenter/ Ariel Cohen/ Jeffrey Gedmin/ John Herbst/ Adrian Karatnycky/ Alina Polyakova/ Alexander Vershbow

File Photo of Mike Pompeo Seat at Table During Congressional Testimony, with Specators in the Background

“… Tillerson was sacked. … Trump plans to replace him with former CIA director Mike Pompeo. UkraineAlert ask[s] … What does Pompeo think about … Putin and his aggressive foreign policy? What does the leadership change mean for US policy toward Ukraine and Russia? Do you expect any changes? Will he support US Special Representative for Ukraine Ambassador Kurt Volker’s […]

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Interfax: Kremlin doubts appointment of new state sec can lead to further deterioration of Russia-U.S. relations

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

MOSCOW. March 14 (Interfax) – The appointment of a new U.S. secretary of state is unlikely to cause relations between Russia and the United States to deteriorate further, Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov told the press on Wednesday. “One can hardly fall lower than the floor. We should not fear the further deterioration [of bilateral relations] in this connection,” […]

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House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence: Russia Investigation

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

House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence March 12, 2018 Russia Investigation [PDF: intelligence.house.gov/uploadedfiles/ hpsci_russia_investigation_one_page_summary.pdf ] Overview Following a more than yearlong, bipartisan investigation into Russia active measures targeting the 2016 U.S. election, the House Intelligence Committee has completed a draft report of 150+ pages, with 600+ citations. The draft report addresses, in detail, each of the questions within the agreed […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Why Is Russian Gas in Boston Harbor? Environmentalists’ war on fossil fuels helps Vladimir Putin” – Wall Street Journal/Drew Johnson

Gas Flame file photo

“Why are some parts of America reliant on Russian natural gas, especially when domestic gas production has surged? … [it’s] political. … Massachusetts and New Hampshire [officials] blocked … the $3 billion Access Northeast Pipeline, which would have … provided fuel to three New England states. … [the] Massachusetts Attorney General … claimed the state could ‘maintain electric reliability’ without […]

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NEWSLINK: “PUTIN ON U.S. ELECTION MEDDLING: ‘SO WHAT?’ AND OTHER KEY QUOTES FROM MEGYN KELLY’S INTERVIEW” – Newsweek

Kremlin and River

“… Putin said he ‘doesn’t care’ about the alleged meddling of Russian nationals and companies in the U.S. presidential election on 2016 that saw the victory of Republican candidate Donald Trump over his Democrat rival Hillary Clinton. Putin discussed the indictment filed by special counsel Robert Mueller last month as part of an exclusive interview to NBC’s Megyn Kelly aired […]

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NEWSLINK: “Putin on U.S. election interference: ‘I couldn’t care less'” – NBC News

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

“… Putin has told NBC News that he ‘couldn’t care less’ if Russian citizens tried to interfere in the 2016 American presidential election because, he claims, they were not connected to the Kremlin. In an exclusive and at-times combative interview with NBC’s Megyn Kelly, Putin again denied the charge by U.S. intelligence services that he ordered meddling in the November […]

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