JRL NEWSWATCH: “U.S. Lawmakers Offer Bill to Boost Aid for Ukraine Military” – Reuters

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

“… [S]enators [from both parties] introduced legislation to back Ukraine with $300 million of annual military financing …. The bill also authorizes up to $4 million to train Ukrainian military officers, requires a [DOD] … and State Department report on the requirements of Ukraine’s armed forces and a plan to supply security assistance and requires the appointment of a special […]

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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: “[U.S.] Election Spotlight: Russia [– Trump vs. Biden]” – Council on Foreign Relations

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

“In the wake of Western efforts to develop a cooperative post–Cold War relationship with Russia, the country has reemerged as a top U.S. rival and an object of mistrust and suspicion. … * * * Donald J. Trump (R – Incumbent) Trump has cultivated cordial relations with … Putin and dismissed accusations that his campaign cooperated with Moscow’s interference in […]

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Where U.S. Sees Democracy Promotion, Russia Sees Regime Change

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

In the aftermath of the revelation of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election … Putin rejected those claims and accused the U.S. of interfering in Russian elections instead […]

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Report: U.S. Officials Say Russia-Backed Websites Spread Coronavirus Disinformation

Coronavirus File Photo adapted from image at cdc.gov

U.S. officials have identified three English-language websites that they say Russia is using to spread disinformation about the coronavirus pandemic to exploit the U.S. struggle to contain the outbreak […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russian Intelligence Agencies Push Disinformation on Pandemic” – New York Times/ Julian E. Barnes, David E. Sanger

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

“Declassified U.S. intelligence accuses Moscow of pushing propaganda through alternative websites as Russia refines techniques used in 2016.” “… Russian military intelligence, … the G.R.U., has used … ties with … Russian government information center[] InfoRos[] and other websites to push out English-language disinformation and propaganda about the pandemic, such as amplifying false Chinese arguments that the virus was created […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Revelation of Steele’s primary source triggers focus on think tank tied to Clinton, Biden” – Just the News/ John Solomon

FBI Headquarters File Photo

“The Obama team’s ties to the Brookings Institution are deep, and so are those of impeachment witness Fiona Hill.” “[Igor Danchenko,]… Christopher Steele’s primary sub-source … was an American resident tied to a liberal think tank close to the Obama administration …. In … [FISA] warrant [applications] targeting Trump adviser Carter Page, the FBI referred to the primary sub-source … […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Joe Biden May Want to Forget About the Russia Investigation” – Wall Street Journal/ Gerard Baker

File Photo of Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin in front of U.S. Flag and Russian Flag, adapted from image from RIA Novosti

The candidate struggles to field softballs from friendly media. … It’s well past time … Biden was asked … what he knew about … serious malfeasance by [Obama administration] officials [in the Russiagate investigation targeting the Trump campaign]. … We know … Biden was kept abreast of … the investigation […]

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EVENT & WEBCAST: “The Putin Profile: A Conversation with Dr. Fiona Hill” – Kennan Institute, Wednesday, July 29

Redacted File Photo of Fiona Hill, adapted form image at seanmaloney.house.gov

… Putin’s presidency has lasted over 20 years. … [H]e further cemented his grip on power with … constitutional amendments[] giving him the ability to extend his presidency to 2036 …. Join us … for a conversation with Dr. Fiona Hill on … Putin, his regime, and how her thinking on Putin has evolved […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “U.S., Russia Hold Talks on Space Security” – Wall Street Journal/ Michael R. Gordon

Space in Low Earth Orbit with Partial Sun

“Two space powers are at odds over goals, with U.S. seeking voluntary norms, Russia aiming for a treaty” “The U.S. and Russia … [are holding] their first space-security talks since 2013 … [addressing] how to guard against the increasing militarization of space. [The] Trump administration … hoped … the [Vienna] meeting … would lead to … voluntary norms … and […]

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YouTube Blocks Accounts Of Pro-Kremlin Analyst, Orthodox TV Channel In Russia

Youtube(TM) Logo, adapted from image at oakridge.doe.gov

YouTube has blocked accounts of the Tsargrad TV channel in Russia and its former chief editor, pro-Kremlin analyst Aleksandr Dugin. … Google, which owns YouTube, said … that the accounts were blocked due to the violation of laws on sanctions and trade regulations […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russian-U.S. strategic stability consultations have never been so intensive over past decade – Ulyanov to Interfax” – Interfax

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

MOSCOW. July 27 (Interfax) – The ongoing consultations on strategic stability within the framework of the working groups in Vienna are the most intensive dialogue on these issues between Russia and the United States over the past ten years, Russian Permanent Representative to International Organizations in Vienna Mikhail Ulyanov said. “I remember not a single instance over the past ten […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “U.S. urged to exploit cracks in Russia-China relationship; Ties between Beijing and Moscow are not as strong as Xi and Putin portray” – Financial Times/ Kathrin Hille, Katrina Manson, Henry Foy, Christian Shepherd

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

“… Steve Biegun, deputy U.S. secretary of state, told the Financial Times … he was confident the U.S. could be more agile and find ‘the seam’ in the relationship between Russia and China. … [a] seam … held together solely by a ‘mutual determination to challenge the United States.’ … The two are far from an alliance in the western […]

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Mark Galeotti: “Re: Subject: A comment on Galeotti” [re: UK-Russian Relations, U.S.-Russian Relations, Nicolai Petro]

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

It’s always great when something you write receives a thoughtful response, but I did feel I needed make a couple of responses to Nicolai Petro’s open reply to my short commentary in The Spectator […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s disinformation campaigns are targeting African Americans” – Washington Post/ Zilvinas Svedkauskas, Chonlawit Sirikupt, Michel Salzer

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

“Russia is masking its involvement by outsourcing its disinformation operations to West Africa.” “… The Kremlin’s previous attempts to hijack movements such as Occupy Wall Street and the Standing Rock protests against the Dakota Access pipeline indicate that the Kremlin can skillfully reframe social protests to increase mistrust between U.S. citizens and their government. If African Americans continue to be […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “The U.S. and Russia have a rare opportunity to work together on a peace deal” – Washington Post/ David Ignatius

Map of Armenia and Environs

“… Russia and the United States … are co-chairs of a group … seeking to broker a peace deal [addressing] …. the long-frozen standoff between Armenia and Azerbaijan … with roots in ethnic and territorial disputes which this month became a hot war with barrages of artillery …. a rare convergence of interest between Russia and the United States, two […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “New FBI Notes Re-Debunk Major NYT Story, Highlight Media Collusion To Produce Russia Hoax” – The Federalist/ Mollie Hemingway

FBI Headquarters File Photo

“The New York Times in 2017 falsely reported that the Trump campaign had ‘repeated’ contacts with Russian intelligence officials during the 2016 campaign, and instead of being held accountable for publishing lies, the story’s authors received Pulitzer prizes.” “The FBI official who ran the investigation into whether the … Trump campaign colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 presidential election […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Drew Holden: Remember the Steele dossier? ….” – twitter post

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

Remember the Steele dossier?  … Now that its been thoroughly discredited, anyone care for a trip down memory lane about how folks in the media hyped it up because it made Trump look bad? […]

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Nicolai Petro: “A comment on Galeotti” [re: U.S.-Russian Relations]

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

Subject: A comment on Galeotti Date: Wed, 22 Jul 2020 From: Nicolai Petro <npetro@uri.edu> Nicolai N. Petro Professor of Political Science University of Rhode Island “Our beef is with Putin, his thugs, spies and oligarchs, not Russia – and we need to make sure that while we win today’s struggle, we don’t waste the chance for better relations with a […]

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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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Do Black Lives Matter in Russia?

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(PONARS Eurasia Policy Memo – Peter Rutland, Andrei Kazantsev – July 13, 2020) Peter Rutland is Professor of Global Issues and Democratic Thought at Wesleyan University. Andrei Kazantsev is Professor at the Higher School of Economics, Russia. This memorandum reviews Russian state media and civil society responses to the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. The varying reactions cast an interesting […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “White House fills top Russia job previously occupied by two impeachment witnesses” – CNN/ Zachary Cohen, Vivian Salama, Kylie Atwood

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“The White House [reportedly] has tapped Ryan Tully to be the top official on Europe and Russia at the National Security Council … the fifth person to occupy that job in … three and a half years …. Tully currently serves … as [NSC] senior adviser for arms control and deputy senior director for … [its] directorate on [WMD] …. […]

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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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RUSSIALINK: “Russia able to ensure its security if New START Treaty isn’t extended – Lavrov” – Interfax

Sergei Lavrov file photo

MOSCOW. July 10 (Interfax – Primakov Readings) – Russia will promote the idea of the inadmissibility of a nuclear war at the P5 summit of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday. “We’re particularly concerned by the fact that the Americans have been refusing for the past two years to […]

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AUDIO JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia Denies Allegations It Paid Militants To Kill U.S. Troops As ‘Nonsense'” – NPR/ Lucian Kim

Afghanistan Map of Ethnicities

“… The Russian Foreign Ministry said the initial … New York Times [story] demonstrated the ‘low intellectual abilities of U.S. intelligence propagandists.’ … Putin[] spokesman[] Dmitry Peskov[] called subsequent reports ‘hoaxes’ … damag[ing] the reputation of the media that publish them.  Russian officials spend a lot of time refuting allegations of malfeasance, from the poisoning of a former Russian spy […]

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‘Modernized’ Homo Sovieticus in Emigration Supports Trump, Eidman Says

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, July 6, 2020) Some analysts like Yury Felshtinsky argue that many Russian-speaking emigres in the US support Donald Trump because of their “common racism,” Igor Eidman says. But “this is only one of the sources of Trumpohilia” and not necessarily the most influential. Instead, the Russian sociologist says, “Homo Sovieticus supports Trump […]

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VIDEO & LINKS: House Committee on Foreign Affairs: “Exposing and Demanding Accountability for Kremlin Crimes Abroad”

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

Exposing and Demanding Accountability for Kremlin Crimes Abroad […]

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How Improved U.S.-Russian Relations Could Weaken Putin’s Case for Remaining in Kremlin Until 2036

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

(Russia Matters – russiamatters.org – Paul Saunders – July 8, 2020) Paul Saunders is a senior fellow in U.S. foreign policy at the Center for the National Interest. Considering Russian President Vladimir Putin’s stated preferences and Moscow’s reputation for “managing” Russia’s voting, it hardly seems surprising that the Central Election Commission (CEC) claimed an overwhelming level of public support for constitutional […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “British court rules against Christopher Steele, orders damages paid to businessmen named in dossier” – JustTheNews/ John Solomon

File Photos of Law Books and Gavel, adapted from image at fjc.gov

“Court rules Steele’s firm violated Britain’s data privacy law by failing to aggressively check allegations in his dossier.” “A British judge ruled … that Christopher Steele violated a data privacy law by failing to check the accuracy of information in his infamous dossier, ordering the former spy’s firm[,] … Orbis Business Intelligence, to pay … [the equivalent of] about $22,596 […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Why we need a little skepticism, and more evidence, on Russian bounties” – The Hill/ David B. Rivkin, Jr., George S. Beebe

Afghanistan Map of Ethnicities

“… [1][H]ow credible are the sources? … not very. … militants and criminals captured and interrogated by Afghanistan’s government. … Captured militants frequently tell … interrogators things they hope … [bring] lenient treatment. Others relate … little more than hearsay. … [2][W]hat other information might support or disconfirm the allegations? …. [I]f the Times report of large financial transfers … […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “How Kremlin’s View of U.S.’s War in Afghanistan Has Shifted” – Wall Street Journal/ Alan Cullison

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

“Deteriorating U.S.-Russian ties adversely affect a once-shared goal, leading to a U.S. intelligence assessment of bounties paid to Taliban.” “For years … the U.S. and Russia shared a goal of deposing the Taliban government and hunting down its remnants …. [T]hat … crumbled … amid mutual suspicion and U.S. plans to leave Afghanistan with the Taliban undefeated. Today… [there is] […]

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What Does Russia Want In Afghanistan?

Afghanistan Map of Ethnicities

… Trump tweeted that the intelligence reports were not deemed credible and the Kremlin and the Taliban have rejected reports alleging that officers of the GRU – Russia’s foreign military intelligence — either paid or offered money for killing American soldiers […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Intelligence officials cast doubt on Times’ Russia-Taliban bounty scheme: report” – New York Post/ Ebony Bowden

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

“Intelligence officials say a news report about Russia paying the Taliban to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan does not match ‘verifiable’ Taliban activity and was never presented to … Trump because it was not deemed credible. The National Security Agency reviewed the claims contained in the New York Times report but found it did ‘not match well established and verifiable […]

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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: “Return to Kabul? Russian Policy in Afghanistan” – David G. Lewis/ George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies

Soviet Era Afghan Soldiers with Flag

“… Moscow has publicly supported the current U.S.-Taliban peace talks … [yet] has a very different perspective from the U.S. … influenced by geography and history. Russia’s current strategic posture is informed by a long history of relations with Afghanistan and above all … the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan in 1979, a strategic and military failure … still fresh in […]

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Russia and the West

Satellite

From: David C. Speedie <davidcspeedie@gmail.com> Date: Sun, Jun 28, 2020 Subject: Russia and the West To: <letters.editor@ft.com> (Financial Times) Philip Stephens [“Russia cannot afford a war with the west”, 26 June] contains some home truths about Russia under Vladimir Putin, but comes significantly short of the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. To focus on but a few illustrations: […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russian Criminal Group Finds New Target: Americans Working at Home” – New York Times/ David E. Sanger, Nicole Perlroth

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

A hacking group calling itself Evil Corp., indicted in December, has shown up in corporate networks with sophisticated ransomware. American officials worry election infrastructure could be next […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Trump Administration Weighs Extending New START Nuclear Treaty” – Wall Street Journal/ Michael R. Gordon

Russian Mobile ICBM Parade File Photo

“President’s decision about pact with Russia will be influenced by whether China joins arms-control negotiations and progress toward tougher agreement.” “… A day after a round of Russia-U.S. arms control talks in Vienna, [a U.S.] official said … Trump could agree to extend the [New START Treaty], … due to expire in February, if the parties make progress toward a […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia cannot afford another 15 years at war with the west” – Financial Times/ Philip Stephens

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

“Vladimir Putin should brush off the cold war cobwebs in pursuit of a hard-headed look at national interests.” “… Putin is proposing … the option of another 15 years in office. He could … continu[e] to shake his fist at the west. Alternatively, he could brush away the cobwebs of the cold war and begin to recognise the challenge to […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Sergei Khrushchev, Son of Former Soviet Premier, Dies at 84” – New York Times/ Katharine Q. Seelye

Brown University Gate, adapted from image at senate.gov

“A rocket scientist in the Soviet Union, he became a U.S. citizen long after the Cold War ended. ‘I’m not a defector,’ he said. ‘I like this country.’” “Sergei N. Khrushchev … former Soviet rocket scientist … son of Nikita S. Khrushchev … died … June 18 at his home …. He was 84. The Rhode Island medical examiner’s office […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia to remain negative factor in U.S. domestic politics – Deputy FM Ryabkov” – Interfax

Sergei Ryabkov file photo

MOSCOW. June 25 (Interfax – Primakov Readings) – Russia will remain a negative factor in U.S. domestic politics regardless of what administration comes to power in the U.S., Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said. “Unfortunately, it’s by no means a farfetched claim that Russia is a negative factor in the domestic American context, but this is an indisputable circumstance […]

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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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Talks To Salvage Last Major Nuclear Treaty Between U.S., Russia Begin In Vienna

File Photo of Stealth Bomber in Flight

The United States and Russia have opened two days of talks on June 22 on their last major nuclear agreement, the New START treaty, which caps the number of deployed long-range nuclear warheads each can have […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Weary Russia Tries to Avoid Entanglement in U.S.-China Spat” – Wall Street Journal/ Yaroslav Trofimov, Thomas Grove

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

“As its dependence on Beijing grows, virus-hit Russia seeks to walk its own line.” “… With [Covid-19] … escalating the conflict between Washington and Beijing, Moscow faces a tough challenge: how to preserve its Chinese economic lifeline without getting dragged into the … looming clash. … In a way, it is a reversal of the dynamic that powered China-Russia relations […]

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