Putin Says Russia Is Ready To Hand Over Cybercriminals, But Only If U.S. Does The Same

Gas Pump File Photo with Nozzle in Car

… a cybercriminal group that U.S. authorities said operates from Russia penetrated a pipeline operator on the U.S. East Coast, locking its systems and demanding a ransom. … caus[ing] a shutdown … [leading] to a spike in gas prices, panic buying, and localized fuel shortages […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russian Military Seeks to Outmuscle U.S. in Arctic” – Wall Street Journal

File Photo of Polar Bear on Snow with Bare Ground in the Background, adapted from image at nasa.gov with photo credit to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Eric Regehr

“For Moscow it is the last geopolitical battleground where it holds the advantage over Washington and Beijing” “… [N]ew and refurbished bases [are] meant to service the Kremlin’s ambitions in the resource-rich Arctic. … combined to form a new military district … under … the Northern Fleet, Russia’s foremost Arctic naval force[] … [with fleet] headquarters … on the Kola […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Arctic-Superpower Jostling Heats Up as Russia Takes on Key Role” – Bloomberg

File Photo of Arctic Fox Running Across Snow, adapted from image at USGS.gov, with photo credit to Mike Lockart and USGS

“Russia’s Sergei Lavrov claimed this week that ‘this is our land and our waters’ as NATO allies boost military activity” “… Russian and U.S. diplomats … [signal] rising tensions between [powers] racing to seize Arctic resources …. Arctic Council [participants] weren’t due to discuss security. But … Russia’s … Sergei Lavrov declared … the Arctic ‘is our land and our […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “China’s top diplomat heads to Russia as ties reach ‘best level in history’” – Financial Times

File Photo of Beijing Temple, adapted from image at lbl.gov

“Beijing and Moscow sense an opportunity in the face of fading U.S. influence and Covid fallout.” “China’s leading diplomat [Yang Jiechi, head of China’s central committee for foreign affairs,] will travel to Russia … for security talks, the latest sign of deepening [Sino-Russian] ties …. Xi Jinping and … Putin … [recently had a] video-link launch of a nuclear energy […]

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The Prospects for U.S.-Russia Climate Engagement Under Moscow’s Chairing of the Arctic Council

File Photo of Arctic Fox Running Across Snow, adapted from image at USGS.gov, with photo credit to Mike Lockart and USGS

… [T]he rotating chairmanship of the Arctic Council … intergovernmental forum … will pass from Iceland to Russia for a two-year term. … [as] the organization grapples with multiple challenges and Russia-West relations have hit another historic low […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “U.S., Russia and Brussels at war over energy” – Le Monde Diplomatique

Gas Flame file photo

“The battle over natural gas: Worsening relations between Europe and Russia are reflected in tensions over energy, in which US demands, Russian and German interests, the EU’s neoliberal doctrine and the climate emergency all play a part.” “… The Russia-Ukraine conflict … the Nord Stream 2 pipeline  … and tensions … over offshore reserves near Cyprus, have put natural gas […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia: Foreign Policy and U.S. Relations [Excerpt]” – Congressional Research Service

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

Since Russian President Vladimir Putin’s rise to leadership more than 20 years ago, tensions have increased steadily between Russia and the United States […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia seizes on Suez blockage to promote merits of Arctic route” – Financial Times

Suez Canal and Environs Aerial File Photo, adapted from image at nasa.gov

Moscow is busy highlighting the northern sea route and Nordstream as alternatives for world trade […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Could Russia Benefit From the Suez Canal Blockage?” – Moscow Times

Suez Canal and Environs Aerial File Photo, adapted from image at nasa.gov

The Kremlin wants to use the grounding of the Ever Given ship to promote its Northern Sea Route and counter European concerns over Nord Stream 2. (Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jake Cordell – March 26, 2021) Almost $300 million worth of Russian oil products are waiting to enter the Suez Canal, which remains closed following the grounding of the […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “About the Kremlin Propaganda — Our Democracy Needs To Be Protected” – Bild

Brandeburg Gate in Berlin, Germany, file photo adapted from image at state.gov

“As a dictator, … Putin has continued what he failed to do as a KGB agent in the GDR [East Germany] … his fight against a freedom-loving Germany and a united Europe. For years, Putin has been running riot with impunity in [Germany]. … buying off influential ex-politicians with lucrative oil projects, such as Nord Stream 2. … support[ing] the […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Where Climate Scientists See Danger, Russia Sees an Opportunity” – Bloomberg

Map of Arctic Highlighting Permafrost, adapted from image at nasa.gov

“Rising temperatures in the Arctic are a warning sign for the planet. The melting ice has an economic upside for Russia.” “Russia … fourth-biggest [greenhouse gas] emitter … [also faces Arctic] temperatures … warming more than twice [that of global rates] …. [With] more than a fifth of the planet’s forests, Russia has [had] two consecutive years of record-breaking wildfires […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH AUDIO: “Biden Faces Decision On Gas Pipeline From Russia That Could Alienate Germany” – NPR

Gas Flame file photo

“The Biden administration has to decide whether to alienate Germany … continuing … Trump administration[] sanctions on companies building Germany’s gas pipeline from Russia. … Hundreds of feet below the surface of the Baltic Sea is an enormously long pipeline, snaking from northern Russia to Germany. … Nord Stream 2 … [would] roughly double Europe’s energy supply when … finished. […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Global structure of energy consumption unlikely to change much in coming decades, role of hydrocarbons to remain – Putin” – Interfax

Oil Wells file photo, adapted from image at usda.gov

MOSCOW. Jan 25 (Interfax) – The structure of energy consumption worldwide is unlikely to change significantly, with hydrocarbons all the same set to remain in demand for a long period, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday during a meeting of the government with university students to mark the occasion of the country’s Students’ Day. “The whole world is absorbed […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia Prepares Earliest-Ever Arctic LNG Shipment to Asia” – Bloomberg/ Irina Reznik, Anna Shiryaevskaya, Dina Khrennikova, Olga Tanas

Arctic Map

“Russia is preparing to make the earliest-ever shipment of liquefied natural gas to Asia, taking advantage of thinning ice in the Arctic … paving the way for a record-long navigation season …. [S]uper-chilled cargo from Novatek PJSC’s Yamal LNG facility in early May will beat last year’s record for the start of eastbound voyages through the Northern Sea Route … […]

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RUSSIALINK: “U.S. Will Lift Nord Stream 2 Sanctions if Europe Suspends Construction, Says Biden Advisor” – Moscow Times

Gas Flame file photo

… The U.S. imposed sanctions at the end of 2019 in an effort to halt the construction of the pipeline, which will transport Russian gas to Europe […]

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Putin: Russia Reduces Its Dependence On Oil

Oil Well file photo

(Oilprice.com – Irina Slav – Dec. 17, 2020) Russia is successfully weaning itself off oil revenues, President Vladimir Putin said today during an annual end-of-the-year news conference, as quoted by RT. “This means that, while we’re not completely there, we are nonetheless starting to get off the so-called oil and gas needle,” Putin said, adding, “If someone still wants to […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “U.S. Broadens Sanctions to Thwart Completion of Russian Gas Pipeline” – Wall Street Journal/ Brett Forrest

State Department Building and U.S. Flag

“New measures target companies that would provide services or funding for vessels working on Nord Stream 2” “… [2019] U.S. Sanctions … focused on pipe-laying vessels for Nord Stream 2 and halted the $10.5 billion [natural gas] pipeline[,] … designed to transmit Russian gas to Germany, 100 miles short … beneath the Baltic Sea. … [A] State Department [web announcement] […]

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Russia Calls For A Global Response To The Oil Demand Crisis

Oil Wells file photo, adapted from image at usda.gov

(Oilprice.com – Irina Slav – Sept. 28, 2020) All players on the global energy market need to act together to tackle the effects of the pandemic on oil demand, Russia’s Energy Minister Alexander Novak said at a virtual meeting of G20 energy ministers this weekend. “Our task, as the leaders of the energy industry, is to show stamina and solidarity […]

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Belarus Crisis Highlights Europe’s Energy Problem

Map of Belarus and Environs, adapted from images at cia.gov

(Oilprice.com – Vanand Meliksetian – Sept. 24, 2020) The ongoing demonstrations in Belarus and the looming instability are a threat to both Russia and the EU. Moscow prefers the continuation of Lukashenko’s regime due to political reasons. Europe, on the other hand, faces an energy crisis if the situation escalates which could lead to a disruption of supplies. Belarus’ geographic […]

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RUSSIALINK: “What is Nord Stream 2 and Why Might Navalny’s Poisoning Stop Its Completion?” – Moscow Times

Gas Flame file photo

The confirmation that Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was poisoned with Novichok has heightened calls for Germany to review its support for Nord Stream 2 […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Travel Ban, Oil Supplies on Russia-Belarus Agenda” – Moscow Times

Map of Belarus and Environs, adapted from images at cia.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Sept. 4, 2020) Russia and Belarus are preparing to reopen borders that were closed because of the coronavirus pandemic and are discussing rerouting Belarusian oil exports through Russia, news outlets reported after high-level talks Thursday. Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin and his delegation met Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and his government in Minsk amid continuing […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Belarus’ Soviet-era economy still propped up by Moscow” – Deutsche Welle/ Nik Martin

Cash, Calculator, Pen

“Belarus has one of the lowest poverty rates in Europe, but economic growth is anemic due to archaic state-run industries and the ending of Russian energy subsidies. Its biggest political crisis is even more of a threat.” “… Belarus’ dependence on energy-rich Russia is ever more evident …. Moscow has already offered to help bolster security [amidst the current crisis] […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia should rethink its role in new energy economy” – The National (UAE)/ Robin Mills

Gas Flame file photo

“Global gas market remains oversupplied and renewables only makes up a small part of the country’s energy mix.” “Russia’s energy sector has so far come through the pandemic better than some might have expected. … Opec+ … has shored up oil revenue and the rouble. But [Russia’s] longer-term outlook is cloudy, both in petroleum and its unstrategic approach to new […]

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Is This The Next Major Market For Russian LNG?

Gas Flame file photo

(oilprice.com – Viktor Katona – Aug. 17, 2020) Russia’s ambitious LNG plans have so far based on two producing assets – the Gazprom-operated Sakhalin LNG and the NOVATEK-operated Yamal LNG. The addition of Yamal LNG into its portfolio has helped to boost its clout (growing from 4% of global LNG trade to 8% currently) yet the actual numbers of assets […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russian Economy Shrank 8.5% in Second Quarter – Official Data; Fall in GDP is less severe than government and Central Bank feared” – AFP

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“Russia’s economy contracted … 8.5% year-on-year in the second quarter, the state statistics agency [Rosstat] said … in its first assessment of the impact of … coronavirus and an oil crisis. GDP fell in ‘all areas of the economy except agriculture’ … Rosstat … said …, with passenger transport down 79% and the services industry down 37.2% The sharp drop […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Vladimir Putin Is No Mastermind, But He Has Played Russia’s Cards Well; It verges on impossible to forecast what Moscow will do tactically. What it will do strategically, however, is more intelligible and thus more predictable.” – The National Interest/ James Holmes

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

“…. The Russian armed forces … have to live within their means. Russia depends heavily on exporting oil and natural gas … [L]ow energy prices constrict … national income and … ability to afford pricey armaments. Prices …  have run off a cliff amid coronavirus lockdowns. … [F]or instance … the Severnoye Design Bureau, a division of the United Shipbuilding […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “The U.S. Is Close to Killing Russia’s Nord Stream 2 Pipeline; But it’s a race between slow construction and slower sanctions” – Foreign Policy/ Amy Mackinnon

Gas Flame file photo

“Russia’s controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline is close to the finish line – but might be closer to finished as a viable project, after one of the companies involved in laying the pipe on the Baltic seafloor said … it would withdraw …. For years, the United States has tried to kill off Russia’s latest effort to strengthen its […]

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Pompeo Says U.S. Will ‘Do Everything’ To Stop Nord Stream 2 Project

Gas Flame file photo

… The United States opposes the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which would run under the Baltic Sea and double Russia’s direct natural gas exports to Germany while bypassing Ukraine […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin’s Folly; Pompeo may be in an uproar over Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline, but it is hardly the geopolitical masterstroke he imagines.” – Foreign Policy/ Chris Miller

Gas Flame file photo

“As the United States [adds] … pressure … against Nord Stream 2, friction with Germany, which would receive much of the pipeline’s gas, will intensify. …. Many countries in Central and Eastern Europe see the pipeline as a glaring example of German hypocrisy … Berlin lectures them about carbon neutrality and human rights while guzzling fossil fuels from one of […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Denmark Gives Russia’s Nord Stream 2 Pipeline a Path to Completion” – Wall Street Journal/ Brett Forrest

Gas Flame file photo

“U.S. officials fear the pipeline will give Moscow greater political leverage across Europe.” “Denmark granted unexpectedly swift approval for resuming construction of the Russian-backed Nord Stream 2 pipeline in Danish waters, potentially clearing one of … [its] last hurdles …. The pipeline, once finished and certified, will deliver Russian natural gas to Germany …. U.S. lawmakers and officials fear … […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Realism in the Arctic” – The National Interest/ Kenneth Yalowitz, Ross A. Virginia

Arctic Map

“The United States and Russia have disagreements on many issues, including the organization of the international system. No ‘reset’ in relations is in sight but there is a need to put a floor in the relationship and work on possible areas for cooperation. The Arctic can be one.” “… The Arctic is [Russia’s] highest priority strategic national interest …. Arctic […]

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Russians Increasingly Angry that They Live in Poverty in a Country So Rich in Natural Resources

Oil Well file photo

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 28, 2020) The pandemic and associated economic crisis have exacerbated widespread anger among Russians that they live in poverty despite the enormous natural wealth of their country and its sale earlier abroad for more than six trillion US dollars. Had even a small part of that money gone to the people, […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Why the World Worries About Russia’s Natural Gas Pipeline” – Bloomberg/ Anna Shiryaevskaya, Dina Khrennikova

Gas Flame file photo

“A … natural gas pipeline being built under the Baltic Sea from Russia … to the German coast is shaking up geopolitics. Nord Stream 2 … worries … bypassed countries in Eastern Europe … fear[ing the loss of] transit fees … [while also] adding to friction with the U.S., which argues the link would give the Kremlin new leverage over […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Pandemic Upends Putin’s Plans to Raise Russia’s Dwindling Birthrate” – Wall Street Journal/ Ann M. Simmons

File Photo of Russian Crowd, with Russian Flag Being Waved

“President Vladimir Putin has been trying for years to push Russia’s birthrate higher, but the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic is undermining his efforts” “… The Kremlin has been trying for years to encourage Russians to have more children. … Putin sees replenishing … population as … key to expanding Russia’s economic and political power. But … falling incomes […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin’s Global Ambitions Are Upended by Coronavirus’s Heavy Toll in Russia” – Wall Street Journal/ Yaroslav Trofimov, Thomas Grove

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

Russian president’s efforts to showcase the country’s strength abroad backfired amid virus troubles at home […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia says has stopped spread of Arctic fuel spill” – AFP

Map of Arctic Highlighting Permafrost, adapted from image at nasa.gov

“Russia has … contain[ed] a massive diesel spill into [an Arctic] river … the emergencies ministry [stated] … Environmentalists said the oil spill, which took place [a week earlier] … was the worst such accident ever in the Arctic region. … [A] diesel reservoir collapsed at a power station outside the northern Siberian city of Norilsk[ owned by a subsidiary […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Diesel Spill In Russian Arctic Could Be Putin’s Exxon Valdez” – Forbes/ Ariel Cohen

Map of Arctic Highlighting Permafrost, adapted from image at nasa.gov

“… Putin ordered a state of emergency … in the Taymyr region near the Arctic Ocean, after 20,000 tons (150,000 barrels) of diesel fuel spilled from a Russian power plant into … soil and a nearby river. The accident occurred in the Siberian city … Norilsk … [T]he plant’s fuel reservoir collapsed into thawing permafrost, releasing its contents. Diesel is […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Senators to Announce Sanctions Bill on Russia’s Nord Stream 2 Gas Pipeline” – Reuters

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

“U.S. senators [reportedly] will announce a bill this week expanding sanctions on … [the] Gazprom-led Nord Stream 2 project … [that] Washington says will make Europe too reliant on Russian gas. The Protecting Europe’s Energy Security Clarification Act[, spearheaded by Republican Senator … Ted Cruz[ and Democratic Senator] Jeanne Shaheen … follows legislation signed by … Trump last year …. […]

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