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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No U.S. plans to deliver anti-tank systems to Ukraine – U.S. ambassador to Russia

File Photo of Soldier Firing Javelin Shoulder-Mounted Anti-Tank Missile

(Interfax – April 21, 2015) The U.S. does not plan to deliver Javelin shoulder-mounted anti-tank missile systems to Ukraine for the moment and is sending defensive gear alone to that country, U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Tefft said on Ekho Moskvy radio. He said that the U.S. is supplying bullet-proof jackets, glasses and night-vision systems to Ukraine, all of which are […]

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Why Russia Ended its Ban on Selling Advanced Air Defense Systems to Iran

Middle East Map

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner – April 15, 2015) Russia’s decision this week to lift a self-imposed embargo on selling powerful S-300 anti-aircraft systems to Iran is likely an attempt to turn the Middle Eastern country into a major new market for Russian arms exports. As the international community edges closer to a nuclear deal with Iran, the […]

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NEWSLINK The National Interest: How Russia Plans to Save Its Massive Military Buildup. “For those who expected that sanctions and the fall in energy prices would tame the bear’s claws, think again.”

Russian Soldiers Marching

“For those who expected that sanctions and the fall in energy prices would tame the bear’s claws, think again.” The announcement that Russia is planning to lift its self-imposed ban on selling the advanced S-300 air defense system to Iran gives us an important insight into how Moscow plans to move ahead with its ambitious plans to modernize and reequip […]

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How Much Power Will Russia’s S-300 Missile Defense Systems Give Iran?

Middle East Map

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner – April 15, 2015) Moscow’s decision to lift its unilateral ban on exporting advanced S-300 air defense system to Iran will boost the Islamic republic’s air defense capabilities, but their military impact depends on the outcome of ongoing negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program. The air defense systems, built by Russia’s largest defense contractor […]

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Putin’s Mideast Gains Trump $27 Billion Loss From Iran Agreement

Middle East Map

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Henry Meyer, Stephen Bierman – April 14, 2015) As Russian President Vladimir Putin has shown in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, he’s willing to take an economic hit to expand his political influence. He’s taking the same approach with Iran. Lifting sanctions and allowing Iranian oil onto global markets would threaten to deepen the plunge in crude […]

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No decision yet on new contract for S-300 missiles for Iran – Kremlin

Middle East Map

MOSCOW. April 14 (Interfax) – The Kremlin has acknowledged the absence of any legal restrictions for supplying S-300 air defense missile systems to Iran now that the president has signed the relevant decree. “The question of contracts, to sign or not sign [new ones], is one that will be decided or discussed by the immediate participants of the deal, if […]

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Interfax: Lavrov: Kyiv may resort to provocation in Donbas to get arms from abroad

Sergei Lavrov file photo

MOSCOW. March 21 (Interfax) – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov does not rule out that what he called “the war party” in Kyiv might resort to some provocative acts to open the path to supplies of lethal weapons to Ukrainian government forces from abroad. “Provocateurs in Kyiv and also those who support the war party may try to cook something […]

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Interfax: Moscow will not stay indifferent to U.S. decision on lethal arms supplies to Kiev

File photo of Barack Obama and Petro Poroshenko facing one another, with Obama gesturing

(Interfax – March 24, 2015) Russia will not stay indifferent to Washington’s possible decision to begin supplying lethal weapons to Ukraine, Alexei Pushkov, who chairs the Foreign Affairs Committee in the State Duma, the lower chamber of Russia’s parliament, has said. “The Congress is urging the president of the United States to begin delivering weapons to the country which has […]

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NEWSLINK Wall Street Journal: U.S. Delays Ukraine Military Training, General Says; Washington wary of giving Moscow excuse to scrap truce

Gen. Ben Hodges, USA file photo

The Pentagon is delaying a training program for Ukrainian soldiers so as to avoid giving the Kremlin an excuse to scrap the tenuous peace deal struck last month between Kiev and Moscow-backed separatists, a top U.S. general said Tuesday. Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, commander of U.S. Army in Europe, said U.S. officials wanted to make sure such training—which would involve […]

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NEWSLINK: One Year Later, Obama Administration Still ‘Reviewing’ Lethal Aid to Ukraine.

File photo of Barack Obama and Petro Poroshenko facing one another, with Obama gesturing

For roughly a year, Obama officials have been weighing lethal aid to Ukraine. Some 6,000 Ukrainians have been killed since, but they’re no closer to a decision. …

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Obama Administration Increasingly Divided Over Arms to Ukraine

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Patrick Donahue, David J Lynch – March 5, 2015) As the U.S. State Department’s No. 2 official warned against a military response to the Ukraine crisis, President Barack Obama is facing growing pressure from other top advisers to start arming Ukrainian government forces battling Russian-backed insurgents. “Anything we did as countries in terms of military support […]

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NEWSWATCH: Russia’s military budget may shrink 10 percent in 2015 – Rostec

File Photo of Russian Tanks in Military Parade

[“Russia’s military budget may shrink 10 pct in 2015 – Rostec” – Reuters – Stanley Carvalho – Feb. 23, 2015] Reuters covers news that Russian defense spending might shrink this year, due to the impact of Ukraine-related sanctions. Finance Minister Anton Siluanov previously had said that 10 percent cuts to government spending would spare defense. But on Monday the head of […]

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Arming Ukraine: A Dose of Realism

File photo of Barack Obama and Petro Poroshenko facing one another, with Obama gesturing

Subject: ARMING UKRAINE: A DOSE OF REALISM Date: 17 Feb 2015 From: Kirk Bennett <kirkbennett7@yahoo.com> ARMING UKRAINE: A DOSE OF REALISM By Kirk Bennett Kirk Bennett is a former Foreign Service officer who served in both Moscow and Kyiv. The opinions expressed are his own and do not represent the views of the U.S. government. The latest upsurge in fighting […]

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Moscow Times: Putin Says Russian Intelligence Shows U.S. Is Already Arming Ukraine

Column in Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Feb. 18, 2015) Russian President Vladimir Putin has claimed the U.S. is supplying Kiev with lethal weapons, telling reporters that the conflict in Ukraine will not be resolved through military escalation. “According to our intelligence, [U.S.] weapons are already being delivered,” Putin was shown on state television Channel One as telling a press conference on […]

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NEWSWATCH: Ukraine needs America’s help

Ukraine Map and Flag

[“Ukraine needs America’s help” – Washington Post – Steven Pifer, Strobe Talbott – January 29, 2015] Steven Pifer and Strobe Talbott, in a Washington Post op-ed, address the unfolding conflict in Ukraine and U.S. options. The new year has brought more misery …. Separatist fighters, supported by Russian troops, have launched attacks in Donetsk and Luhansk. Diplomatic efforts have made no progress toward […]

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Moscow Times: Over Half of French Citizens Think Paris Should Deliver Mistral Warship to Russia

Mistral Class Ship

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 20, 2015) Over 60 percent of French citizens think their country should honor a 1.2 billion euro ($1.39 billion) contract with Russia for the stalled delivery of two French-built Mistral-class helicopter carriers, according to a poll published Tuesday. In contrast, 36 percent of French citizens support French President Francois Hollande’s decision to deliver the […]

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Russia does not mind not getting Mistral but it wants its money back – Putin

Mistral Class Ship

(Interfax – Moscow, December 6, 2014) Russia proceeds from the fact that the contract to supply Mistral helicopter carriers will be carried out by the French side, otherwise it expects the money that has been paid to be returned, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said. “There is a contract, and it is a legal document. We proceed from the fact […]

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Interfax: No comment from Kremlin spokesman on suspension of Mistral warship delivery by France

Mistral Class Ship

SOCHI. Nov 26 (Interfax) – Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov has refused to comment on French President Francois Hollande’s statement on Tuesday regarding the postponement of the delivery of the Mistral helicopter carrier to Russia because of the situation in Ukraine, saying that the matter had not been discussed at a conference hosted by President Vladimir Putin and dealing with the […]

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RIA Novosti: U.S. Lethal Aid to Ukraine Could Spark Proxy War With Russia: Scholar

Ukraine Map and Flag

WASHINGTON, October 10 (RIA Novosti) – A proxy war between the United States and Russia could erupt in Ukraine should Washington decide to provide lethal assistance to help Kiev in its crackdown on independence supporters in the east, a scholar from National Defense University (NDU) told RIA Novosti. “Policy-wise it could lead to slow march into a proxy conflict with […]

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RIA Novosti: US Might ‘Eventually’ Provide Lethal Military Aid to Ukraine: Department of Defense

File Photo of U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

WASHINGTON, October 8 (RIA Novosti) – The United States is designing a work program that may eventually lead to providing lethal assistanceto the Ukrainian government, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (ISA), Derek Chollet said on Wednesday. “[Ukrainian] President [Petro] Poroshenko has been asking us for lethal assistance”, Chollet said in his speech at the International Institute […]

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Interfax: Russia calls for thinking about consequences of weapons supplies to Kyiv

Ukraine Map and Flag

MOSCOW. Sept 10 (Interfax) – Russia knows about the agreements reached by Ukraine and some NATO countries on direct supplies of weapons to Kyiv and suggests thinking about the consequences of the implementation of such decisions. “We believe that all questions on this matter, including relating to the responsibility for the consequences of such a step to peace in Ukraine, […]

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Moscow Times: Who Is Benefiting From West-Russia Sanctions War?

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexey Eremenko – August 6, 2014) The recent Western sanctions, the harshest in decades, are meant to stun Russia’s economy. But one person’s loss is another one’s gain – and this is also true for companies and countries in a globalized world. Following the U.S.’s example, the European Union last week imposed broad economic sanctions […]

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Sanctions on Technology Imports Leave Russia Playing Catch Up

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Panin – August 4, 2014) The impact of the EU’s latest and harshest sanctions on Russia will be felt most keenly in the country’s economic sectors that are largely dependent on state-of-the-art Western technology, ranging from the extraction of hydrocarbons to civil aircraft production, analysts said. The European Union late last week officially approved […]

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EU Arms Embargo: A Shot Across the Bow of Russia’s Defense Industry

EU Map

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner – August 1, 2014) The West’s latest round of sanctions on Russia will not have much immediate impact on the county’s defense industry, but they do have the potential to strike a blow to Russia’s 23 trillion ruble ($646 billion) military modernization drive, analysts say. The European Union on Thursday formally banned the […]

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Ukraine Claims Rebels Wanted Phosphorus Bombs

Map of Western CIS/FSU and European Environs

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 23, 2014) Ukraine’s Interior Ministry on Tuesday accused the pro-Russian insurgency of attempting to procure white phosphorus ammunition, whose use is limited by international agreements. The ministry cited intercepted conversations between the insurgents, who allegedly spoke about obtaining phosphorus missiles for Grad missile launchers at their disposal. The rebels wanted to use the phosphorus […]

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Russia Beyond the Headlines: Loss of Ukraine’s military-industrial complex will cost Russia $938 million

File Photo of Russian Nuclear Missile on Mobile Launcher Near Woods

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Nikolai Litovkin, RBTH – July 23, 2014) The business newspaper Kommersant has reported the findings of a special working group of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), which has quantified the costs of ceased collaboration with Ukrainian military-industrial enterprises. Russia will need to spend $938 million (33 billion rubles) to mitigate the negative […]

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Arms Exports Thrive Amid Military Revamp

Russian Helicopter file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner – July 8, 2014) President Vladimir Putin announced Monday that Russian arms exports continue to flourish, with $5.6 billion worth of weapons and military hardware having been sold in the first half of 2014, while its portfolio of export orders have expanded by $15 billion. Moscow’s plans to expand its presence on the […]

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NEWSLINK: Meanwhile, Back in Ukraine; Tanks mysteriously roll in from Russia.

File Photo of Russian Tanks in Military Parade

[“Meanwhile, Back in Ukraine; Tanks mysteriously roll in from Russia” – Wall Street Journal editorial – June 16, 2014] The Wall Street Journal addresses claims of Russian material support for instability and revolution in Ukraine, including tanks: Waves of Russian tanks and divisions of infantrymen are one way to undermine the budding democracy in Kiev. But an overt invasion would force a reluctant America and […]

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“We assess that separatists in eastern Ukraine have acquired heavy weapons and military equipment from Russia, including Russian tanks and multiple rocket launchers.”

State Department Building and U.S. Flag

US Department of State June 13, 2014 State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf: “We assess that separatists in eastern Ukraine have acquired heavy weapons and military equipment from Russia, including Russian tanks and multiple rocket launchers.”

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Moscow Times: U.S. Space Restrictions on Russia May Strike Back

File Image of Earth Orbit and Asteroids

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner – April 30, 2014) With the latest restrictions on high-technology defense articles and services announced Monday as part of new U.S. sanctions on Russian officials and businesses over the conflict in Ukraine, Washington is playing a dangerous game that may wipe out two decades of closely cultivated commercial ties between the Russian and […]

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An-70 aircraft is latest casualty of Russia-Ukraine fallout

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – April 19, 2014) The Russian-Ukrainian military transport aircraft has completed state testing, but series production is impossible in the current political climate. The Russian-Ukrainian Antonov An-70 military transport plane has successfully completed state testing. All the air craft’s systems were tested, as well as its short take-off and landing characteristics. The navigational accuracy […]

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Russia Warns Ukraine Against Missile-Technology Sale

Russian Foreign Ministry Building Tower file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – April 8, 2014) The Russian Foreign Ministry has warned Ukraine against a reportedly planned sale of technology for long-range missiles, saying the Kiev administration was illegitimate but still needed to act responsibly on the world stage. Citing two international nonproliferation treaties, to which Ukraine is a signatory – the International Code of […]

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Pentagon Says It Won’t Buy More Russian Copters After Protests

Russian Helicopter file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Tony Capaccio – November 13, 2013) The Pentagon won’t buy more Mi-17 helicopters from Rosoboronexport, Russia’s state-owned export company, after completing a $572 million contract signed in June, according to a Defense Department spokeswoman. “The department has re-evaluated requirements in consultation with Congress,” spokeswoman Maureen Schumann said in an e-mailed statement. “We currently do not have […]

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Indo-Russian Summit Highlights Emerging Trends in Asian International Relations

India map

(Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 10, Issue 199 – Stephen Blank – Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – November 6, 2013) Indian Premier Manmohan Singh’s October 21–22 visit to Moscow not only reaffirmed traditional Indo-Russian amity, it also revealed significant trends in Asian developments that affect both parties as well as other key players like the United States, China and Pakistan. In […]

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Interfax: Cyrillic marking on rocket splinter doesn’t implicate Syria government – Kremlin official [Sergei Ivanov]

Syria Map

(Interfax – VLADIVOSTOK, Russia. September 21, 2013) The Kremlin’s chief of staff, in comments on a recent find in Syria, has dismissed suspicions that a Cyrillic inscription on a splinter of a rocket that apparently carried a chemical charge was evidence that the Syrian government was the perpetrator of last month’s chemical attacks near Damascus. “A marking in Cyrillic has […]

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RIA Novosti: Russian Expert Decodes Information On Shells Found In Syria By UN Inspectors

Syria Map

(RIA Novosti – Valday, Novgorod Region, September 17, 2013) The parts of Soviet-made munitions found by UN inspectors near Damascus belong to projectiles used in multiple-launch missile systems that the Syrian army took out of service long ago and have probably been improvised to carry chemicals, the director of the Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, Ruslan Pukhov, has […]

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Syrian Army may have S-300 missile systems – source

File Photo of Bashar al-Assad and Sergei Lavrov

(Interfax – August 30, 2013) The Syrian Armed Forces might possess S-300 surface-to-air missile systems in addition to S-200, Buk-M1-2, Buk-M2E, Pantsir-S1E, S-125 Neva and S-125M Pechyora systems, which would allow Damascus to successfully respond to U.S. air and sea missile attacks, a Moscow military source familiar with the situation said. “Syria’s air defense systems are able to appropriately respond […]

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Tanks, Days Off, Abortions: 24 Things Russia Gives the Most Of

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, July 17, 2013) ­ What do these three things have in common: tanks, abortions and instant coffee? They are all things that Russia exports, performs or consumes more than any other nation. Esquire magazine’s Russian-language edition on Monday released a list of 24 things for which Russia is a statistically proven world leader. One standout is […]

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Russia world’s 2nd biggest arms exporter in 2007-2011 – SIPRI

Russian Helicopter file photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW, July 9, 2013) Russia was the world’s second largest exporter of weapons after the United States in 2007-2011, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). “The volume of international trade of major conventional weapons grew by 24% between 2002-2006 and 2007-11. The five largest suppliers in 2007-11-the United States, Russia, Germany, France and the United […]

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TRANSCRIPT: Putin answers questions at St Petersburg Economic Forum – Kremlin transcript

File Photo of St. Petersburg Economy Forum Outdoor Banners and Building Facade

(Kremlin.ru – June 21, 2013) Text of report “Answers to questions from St Petersburg International Economic Forum participants, 21 June 2013, St Petersburg” published in English by Russian presidential website on 24 June; subheadings added editorially: Russia’s priorities in G20 MODERATOR (retranslated): Mr President, the St Petersburg International Economic Forum is being held in your hometown. I would like to […]

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Russia in the Syrian Conflict

File Photo of Bashar al-Assad and Sergei Lavrov

Subject: No. 128: Russia in the Syrian Conflict Date: Thu, 13 Jun 2013 15:40:19 +0200 From: “Russian Analytical Digest (RAD)” <newslist@isn.ch> RUSSIAN ANALYTICAL DIGEST Newsletter 10 June 2013/No. 128 Russia in the Syrian Conflict To download this issue please click here http://www.css.ethz.ch/publications/DetailansichtPubDB_EN?rec_id=2561 Analyses The Impact of the Syrian Conflict on Russian Relations with Other Middle Eastern Countries, by Mark N. […]

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Pentagon Signs New Russian Helicopter Deal

Russian Helicopter file photo

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, June 17, 2013) ­ Russia and the United States have signed a contract for the delivery of Russian Mi-17 helicopters for the Afghan army, a Russian government agency said Monday. The Russian state-owned defense firm Rosoboronexport and the US Department of the Army signed the contract on Sunday in Paris “as part of joint efforts to […]

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Russia Keeps Freeze on S-300 Contract with Syria – Kremlin

Syria Map

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, June 14, 2013) ­ Russia is not planning to deliver S-300 air defense systems to Syria, despite the announcement by the US administration on Thursday of its intention to supply the Syrian opposition with weaponry, a presidential aide said on Friday. “The issue has not been raised yet,” aide Yury Ushakov told reporters in Moscow in […]

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Russia 155th in 2013 Global Peace Index

World Map Showing Continents, Greens, Browns, Ice

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, June 12, 2013) ­ Russia slid two places to 155th slot among 162 countries in the 2013 Global Peace Index, an annual report by a Sydney-based non-profit research group published Tuesday. Russia’s downgrade was due to simmering violence in the North Caucasus and the country’s growing role as a global arms supplier, the Institute for Economics […]

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Doubts Cast Over Reported S-300 Deliveries to Syria

Syria Map

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, May 30, 2013) ­ Reports that Syria’s president had confirmed receiving a consignment of Russian-manufactured S-300 air defense systems emerged Thursday, but were quickly brought into question. In comments widely reported across the world, Lebanese newspaper Al Akhbar quoted Syrian President Bashar Assad as saying Damascus had received initial deliveries of the S-300 system. Assad’s remarks […]

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Russian Premier Calls For Better Weapons

Russian Helicopter file photo

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, May 22, 2013) ­ Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev called on the country’s defense industry on Wednesday to provide the military with state-of-the-art weapons superior to their Western analogs. “It is essential to offer weapons which are superior to our world counterparts, and pay special attention to strengthening cooperation, primarily with our partners in the Collective […]

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COLD WAR II: Russia sets up airbase in Minsk, sells missile system

Belarus Map

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – April 30, 2013) Russia is beefing up its western border’s defence with plans for a new airbase in Belarus and sales to the government there of one of its most sophisticated surface-to-air missile systems. Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu announced April 23 a new deal with Minsk that will see Russia deploy fighter jets […]

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Putin rules out ‘ideological considerations’ in military cooperation loans

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Sitting at Desk

NOVO-OGARYOVO. April 3 (Interfax) – Russian President Vladimir Putin favors broader use of export loans and new forms of settlements in broadening military-technical cooperation with foreign states. “In order to strengthen (military-technical) cooperation with key partners, we should pay special attention to long-term cooperation programs and broaden the use of state export loans,” Putin said at a meeting of the […]

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Russia refuses to sign on UN conventional arms treaty renewal

Russian Helicopter file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – April 3, 2013) Russia and west continue drift into Cold War stand off after the Russian delegation abstained from voting to renew the International Arms Trade Treaty adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on April 2. The document covers conventional arms of the UN member countries and introduces general standards for deals with […]

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