Breaking the Impasse Between Russia and the West Over European Security

Map of Europe, adapted from image at loc.gov

(Russia Matters – russiamatters.org – Thomas Graham – Jan. 20, 2022) Thomas Graham, a distinguished fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, served as the senior director for Russia on the National Security Council staff during the George W. Bush administration. Last week’s intense talks between Russia and the West over European security seemed to end in failure. Moscow heard […]

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U.S., Allies Again Warn Russia Of ‘Grave Consequences’ Over Ukraine

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

The meeting of allies comes a day before Secretary of State Antony Blinken heads to Geneva for talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Baltic States Authorized to Rush U.S.-Made Weapons to Ukraine” – Moscow Times

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jan. 20, 2022) The United States has given the green light for Baltic nations to rush U.S.-made weapons to Ukraine, with Lithuania on Thursday saying it hoped to deter “aggressor” Russia. A State Department official in Berlin, where Secretary of State Antony Blinken is holding crisis talks on Ukraine, said Washington was “expediting authorized transfers […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Biden’s Sanctions Threats ‘Destabilizing,’ Kremlin Says” – Moscow Times

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jan. 20, 2022) The Kremlin warned Thursday that U.S. President Joe Biden’s threats of sanctions if Russia invades Ukraine destabilize European security. “All these statements can contribute to the destabilization of the situation,” Interfax quoted Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov as telling reporters. “We believe that they don’t contribute in any way to […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia denies looking for pretext to invade Ukraine” – AP

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

According to the White House, U.S. intelligence officials believe Russia has deployed operatives to rebel-controlled eastern Ukraine to carry out acts of sabotage and blame them on Ukraine, in a ‘false-flag operation’ to create a pretext for possible invasion […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia Says Still Waiting on Western Response to Security Demands” – Moscow Times

Sergei Lavrov file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jan. 18, 2022) Russia is still awaiting the U.S. and NATO’s response to its sweeping demands for a new security settlement in Europe, Russia’s top diplomat said Tuesday as tensions between Moscow and the West over Ukraine continue to mount. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said after a series of high-level talks last week that the […]

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RUSSIALINK: “A Week of Russia-West Diplomacy Ends in Deadlock” – Moscow Times

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

The latest round of talks concluded, there is some disagreement about whether Putin’s December threat of a “military-technical solution” to the Ukraine crisis is probable or even inevitable […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Energy Dependence Ties Europe’s Hands in U.S.-Russia Crisis” – WSJ

Gas Flame file photo

“Europe gets almost one-third of its natural gas from Russia, limiting its ability to penalize Moscow.” Europe’s growing dependence on Russian gas and oil is limiting [European] room to maneuver … and making [Europe] highly vulnerable … [if] escalation [occurs in the crisis with Russia]. … Western officials accuse [Russia] of withholding extra supplies in recent months to force European […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “No Ukraine breakthrough, but NATO and Russia eye more talks” – AP/ Lorne Cook

File Photo of Wendy Sherman and Sergei Ryabkov Standing In Front of U.S. and Russian Flags, adapted from image at state.gov

“The United States and NATO [at the NATO-Russia Council’s first meeting in over two years] rejected key Russian security demands for easing tensions over Ukraine but left open … the possibility of future talks with Moscow on arms control, missile deployments and ways to prevent military incidents …. That Russia’s delegation did not walk out … and remained open to […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia Suggests Military Deployment to Venezuela, Cuba if Tensions With U.S. Remain High” – WSJ

File Photo of Wendy Sherman and Sergei Ryabkov Standing In Front of U.S. and Russian Flags, adapted from image at state.gov

“Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Rybakov said Moscow couldn’t exclude sending ‘military infrastructure’ to the two countries as tensions with U.S. soar and says talks have stalled.” “… Ryabkov said Thursday that Moscow couldn’t exclude dispatching ‘military infrastructure’ to Venezuela or Cuba if tensions with Washington — which have soared in recent weeks over a huge buildup of Russian troops on […]

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State Department Press Briefing – Jan. 11, 2022 [excerpt with Victoria Nuland]

State Department Building and U.S. Flag

(U.S. Department of State Press Briefing –  excerpt with Victoria Nuland – WASHINGTON, D.C., Jan. 11, 2022) MR PRICE:  Good afternoon.  Very sorry for the delay, but as you can see, we have a special guest joining us today for the second time, at least in this current iteration.  She is no stranger to all of you.  Victoria Nuland, the Under Secretary of State […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Where Does NATO Enlargement End?” – Creators.com/ Patrick Buchanan

NATO Meeting File Photo

“… NATO … Article 5 war guarantees … oblige the United States to wage war against Russia to restore … [the] sovereignty and territorial integrity [of NATO allies] if [they are] attacked. … Why would we commit to risk war with a nuclear-armed Russia on behalf of nations no one has ever regarded as vital interests of the United States  […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Donetsk counts conflict cost as Russia, U.S. to meet” – AP

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

“While Russia and the U.S. are preparing to meet for critical strategic talks over Ukraine, residents in the rebel-controlled Ukrainian city of Donetsk claim the Ukrainian army started heavy firing on New Year’s Eve.” “… A 2015 peace agreement brokered by France and Germany ended large-scale battles, but frequent skirmishes have continued. The [OSCE] … has reported an increasing number […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “U.S. Rebuilt NATO to Face Down Russia. Putin Scrambled Those Plans” – WSJ

NATO Meeting File Photo

“Kremlin tests the alliance by undermining former Soviet republics, sowing disinformation and exploiting divisions.” “The U.S. and other NATO members have deployed thousands of troops and invested heavily in weaponry to rebuild the alliance’s front line facing Russia. Moscow has parried that strategy by opening up new fronts just beyond NATO’s reach. … Rather than confront NATO head-on … Putin […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Why The Kremlin Lies: Understanding Its Loose Relationship With the Truth” – Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Tower and Building Inside Kremlin

Russian leaders have used deception for strategic ends in ways that shed light on their geopolitical goals […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “How to Get What We Want From Putin” – Politico.com

Map of Europe, adapted from image at loc.gov

Talks on European security underway between the U.S. and Russia will be difficult because the two countries don’t trust one another, not even a little […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “U.S., Russia Hold High-Stakes Talks on Ukraine” – AFP

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

“… [H]igh-stakes negotiations come amid fears of a Russian invasion of … pro-Western … Ukraine … with Moscow demanding wide-ranging concessions from Washington and … NATO …. Monday’s [Geneva] talks … launch[ed] a week of diplomacy … after Moscow amassed tens of thousands of troops at the Ukrainian border …. RIA Novosti on Monday quoted [Sergei] Ryabkov saying he feared […]

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Background Press Call by a Senior Administration Official on Russia

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

(The White House – whitehouse.gov – Via Teleconference – 1:11 P.M. EST – Jan. 8, 2022) MODERATOR:  Hi, everyone.  Good afternoon.  And thanks for joining us on a Saturday. Today’s call will be on background, attributed to a “senior administration official,” and the contents will be embargoed upon [until] conclusion. For your information only, the speaker today is going to […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia rules out concessions at Ukraine talks with U.S.” – Moscow Times

Wendy Sherman file photo, adapted from image at state.gov

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg, meeting foreign ministers of the alliance on Friday, said there remained real risks of a Russian invasion […]

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For Russia and U.S., National Security Must Be Embedded in Mutual Security

NATO Meeting File Photo

(Russia Matters – russiamatters.org – Robert Legvold – Jan. 6, 2022) Robert Legvold is Marshall D. Shulman Professor Emeritus in the department of political science at Columbia University. As senior Russian officials prepare for talks on European security with Western counterparts, three aspects of the latest crisis around Ukraine point to its seeming intractability, but also lay bare an elemental […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia and NATO: How to talk to Mr. Putin; Russia’s aggression towards Ukraine has created a chance to enhance the security of Europe” – The Economist

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

“… Perhaps [Putin] wants Ukraine to fail because, were it to become a thriving democracy, it would … rebuke … his claim that Western values are unworkable in Orthodox, Slavic Russia. He may also intend to divide and weaken NATO … [and] to create an enemy abroad … to justify repression at home …. But … Ukraine is as populous […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Biden wants to turn Ukraine into a porcupine” – Washington Post

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

“…. Russia is heading to Geneva with what amounts to an ultimatum: Unless … Putin gets security guarantees from the West, he’s prepared to invade. Biden administration officials say they want a diplomatic solution, but they’ve also been delivering warnings through public and private channels that an invasion would be bloody, protracted and extremely damaging for Russia. … The Air […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “NATO weighs Russia’s security offer to end Ukraine standoff” – AP

NATO meeting file photo

“… Much contained in … documents … Moscow has made public — a draft agreement with NATO countries and the offer of a treaty between Russia and the United States — appears to be a non-starter [for NATO] …. NATO would have to agree to halt all membership plans, not just with Ukraine, and end military exercises close to Russia’s […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Foreign Policy Experts Map Russia’s Plans for 2022” – Moscow Times

Satellite

The Moscow Times asked 10 commentators for their predictions for the coming year […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “NATO open to dialogue with Russia on European security demands” – Financial Times

NATO Meeting File Photo

“Moscow’s ‘red lines’ viewed as not credible, but pressure mounts to find diplomatic solution.” “… Western officials have in private rejected almost all of the demands as implausible, not credible and in contradiction to post-cold war treaties guaranteeing sovereign states’ rights to choose their defence policies. But they admit that closing the door on Moscow’s initial diplomatic offer could make […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia Accuses NATO of Ignoring De-Escalation Proposals” – Moscow Times

Alexander Grushko file photo, adapted from image at eucom.mil

In addition to closing Ukraine’s door to NATO membership, the Russian president demands that the Western military alliance halt weapons deployment on its western border […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia Sends Security Proposals to U.S. as Ukraine Tensions Soar” – Moscow Times

NATO Meeting File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Dec. 15, 2021) President Vladimir Putin said Russia has sent the United States its proposals on mutual security guarantees amid high tensions between the countries over Ukraine, Interfax reported Wednesday. Russia’s Foreign Ministry passed the offer to U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Karen Donfried, who is in Moscow after visiting Kiev amid fears of Russia […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “U.S. intelligence-sharing convinces allies of Russian threat to Ukraine” – Financial Times

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

Skeptical capitals including Berlin persuaded of the need to draw up threat of robust sanctions […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin offers to start negotiations on a non-expansion of NATO to the east security deal” – bne Intellinews

NATO Meeting File Photo

“… Moscow has been calling for a new post-Cold War security deal with the West since 2008, when … Medvedev offer[ed] the EU a … deal during his first foreign trip. … [which was] was dismissed out of hand. Putin brought the issue up again during a … speech where he ordered Russian diplomats to get a new security deal […]

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NATO Chief Touts Alliance’s Forces In Baltics Ahead Of Foreign Ministers Meeting In Riga

Map of Baltics and Environs, Including Kaliningrad

“For the first time in our history, we have combat-ready battle groups in the Baltic region … in Latvia and … Lithuania,” Stoltenberg said …. NATO also conducts air policing and has an increased naval presence … in the Baltic region […]

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Kremlin Lashes Out At West, Defends Troop Movements, As It Boosts Role In Belarus-EU Border Crisis

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

The Kremlin has vowed to safeguard its borders in the face of actions by countries it accused of trying to “contain” Russia and sought to walk back a Belarusian threat of a cutoff of Russian natural gas to Western markets […]

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The Collapse of the Afghan Government Provides a Challenge for China and Russia, Not a Windfall

Afghanistan Map of Ethnicities

(PONARS Eurasia Policy Memo – Elizabeth Wishnick – Nov. 1, 2021) Elizabeth Wishnick is Professor of Political Science at Montclair State University. The collapse of the Afghan government and takeover by the Taliban is not a net win for China and Russia, nor will these developments automatically cement their partnership. Today, Chinese and Russian officials see the swift collapse of […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “U.S. Air Force Bombers Are Rehearsing Their New Main Mission — Sinking Russian Ships” – Forbes

File Photo of B1 Bomber in Flight, adapted from image at defense.gov, with photo credit: U.S. Air Force Photo/Bennie Davis III

A pair of B-1s could shoot 48 LRASMs at Russia’s Baltic Fleet, enough, perhaps, to sink the entire fleet in a single pass and eliminate the major threat to U.S. and allied ships in the region […]

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Did The West Promise Moscow That NATO Would Not Expand? Well, It’s Complicated.

NATO Meeting File Photo

… And so, more than two decades after NATO’s original 16-member Cold War composition was first enlarged to take in three former Warsaw Pact states, and with Putin poised to potentially stay in office into the 2030s, the past is very much present […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Arctic rivalry heats up among the great powers” – Financial Times

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

“Friction in other parts of the globe as well as climate change are fueling tensions in the high north.” “… [N]ew or updated [arctic] strategies … have appeared … from Canada, China, the EU, France, Germany, Norway, Poland, Russia, Sweden and the UK[,] [as well as] the U.S. Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Department of Defense, Department for Homeland Security, […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Bullying Russia yearns to be treated as a great power; Vladimir Putin generates suspense in world affairs like some geopolitical Alfred Hitchcock” – Financial Times

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

“… As Russia’s chief decision maker, Putin’s personal moods obviously matter. However, more important is the logic of the Russian system of power, with its demand for … great power status. According to this logic, Russia cannot be ignored and must be a member of the global concert of powers. It believes macho bullying is the entry ticket …. Despite […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Myths and misconceptions in the debate on Russia: How they affect Western policy, and what can be done” – Chatham House

Globe Highlighting NATO Members

“This report deconstructs 16 of the most prevalent myths and misconceptions … shap[ing] … Western thinking on Russia. … explain[ing] their detrimental impact on … policy …. Western positions need critical re-examination to ensure more rational and effective responses to Russian actions. … [C]ontrary to wishful thinking … there is little prospect of Russia becoming a more constructive and cooperative […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Moldova Vote Winner Promises ‘Balanced’ Ties With West, Russia” – AFP/ France 24

Moldova Map and Flag

“Moldova’s pro-European election winner Maia Sandu … vowed balanced ties with the West and Russia as Moscow-backed incumbent Igor Dodon conceded … and asked … supporters to refrain from violence. Sandu’s election is … as a major blow to the Kremlin[,] …. [that] wanted polarized Moldova to remain in its sphere of influence …[P]olitics in Moldova[,] … [located between Ukraine […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “START II is a chance to renew relations between Russia and the West” – bne Intellinews/ Ben Aris

Russian Mobile ICBM Parade File Photo

“… [With the agreement] due to expire in February … START treaty [renewal] is a golden opportunity for the West to squeeze … real concessions out of Russia… [T]he Kremlin badly wants to renew the deal. … [I]ts economy suffering from the double whammy of an oil price collapse and … the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the last thing [Russia] wants […]

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Evolving Global Order Makes a P5 Summit Ineffective

File Photo of UN Building with Flags

(Russia Matters – russiamatters.org – Paul Saunders – Sept. 17, 2020) Paul Saunders is a senior fellow in U.S. foreign policy at the Center for the National Interest. With military tension among great powers increasing in east Asia, central Europe and the Middle East, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and others have proposed a summit of the U.N. Security Council’s five […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin bets on Lukashenko keeping power in Belarus for now: sources” – Reuters

Alyaksandr Lukeshenko file photo, adapted from image at usembassy.gov

“… Putin believes … Lukashenko will probably cling to power for now despite protests … and is content to let him sweat it out, two sources close to the Kremlin said. … [T]he two countries usually have no border controls, … culturally, linguistically and economically intertwined. Putin has pushed hard to make [their] union state [concept] more of a political […]

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Hot of [off?] the Press, Colder in Scope: Russia’s Nuclear Deterrence Fundamentals 2020

Russian Mobile ICBM Parade File Photo

(PONARS Eurasia Commentary – Polina Sinovets, Associate Professor, Mechnikov National University, Odessa – Aug. 7, 2020) In a surprise move this past June, Moscow published its first-ever “Basic Principles of State Policy of the Russian Federation on Nuclear Deterrence.” The content core of these fundamental principles looks like excerpts from other Russian documents pertaining to the conditions and “red lines” […]

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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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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: “Russia’s New Nuclear Doctrine: Don’t Mess With Us – But Let’s Talk” – World Politics Review/ Richard Weitz

Iskander Missile with Launch file photo

  “… Why did Russia decide to publish its deterrence policy now? In part, it could be to dispel alleged Western misperceptions about when Russia might use nuclear weapons, specifically the Pentagon’s assessment that Moscow would threaten to use nuclear weapons – or actually do so – to intimidate an adversary into yielding in a major crisis. Previously referred to […]

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