Russia

Austrian government collapses over Russia scandal

Kurz calls for snap election after video shows far-right leaders offering contracts for cash. Matthew Karnitschnig Politico Turns out Russian collusion isn’t a “witch hunt hoax” after all. At least not in Austria. The country’s government collapsed on Saturday after Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said he was pulling the plug on his ruling coalition after just 17 months in office. The move came barely 24 hours after the release of a bombshell video showing Heinz-Christian Strache, the far-right leader of his junior coalition partner, ... Read More »

A Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline: Start Small but Aim Big

In the long-run, such a project would yield great economic and geopolitical dividends. Luke Coffey The National Interest In 1906, the first energy pipeline in the South Caucasus was completed, connecting Baku on the Caspian Sea with Batumi on the Black Sea. The pipes used in the construction were actually made in Mariupol, Ukraine—an indication of the broader region’s interconnectedness which prevails to this day. That first pipeline measured a mere eight inches in diameter and transported kerosene. Today, more ... Read More »

Russia will target the European elections – this radical idea could turn a threat into opportunity

Over the past three years, Russia has been repeatedly accused of infiltrating democratic elections in the West. Nicholas Ross Smith The Conversation It is suspected of supporting anti-establishment movements on both the left and right through a mixture of financial support, intelligence sharing, and, perhaps, even through the use of cyber weapons. Russia has undergone a staggering transformation in this time. It was once something of an afterthought in international affairs with seemingly no credible public diplomacy capabilities. Now, it ... Read More »

Getting Aid to Separatist-held Ukraine

The front lines in eastern Ukraine are slowly freezing in place, as is civilian deprivation in the conflict zone. Anna Arutunyan ICG An embargo, bureaucracy and distrust conspire to keep humanitarian aid out. Russia and Ukraine should find politically neutral ways to unblock the flow of assistance. After five years of war, a humanitarian crisis drags on in the self-proclaimed Luhansk and Donetsk People’s Republics (L/DPR), the parts of eastern Ukraine nominally governed by Russian-backed separatists. More than 3.5 million ... Read More »

Missile deal between Russia and Turkey stopped

No S-400 For Erdogan Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (65) changes his mind. von: SINAN SENYURT Bild The Turkish military was originally supposed to receive the first delivery of Russian S-400 missile defense systems this summer – against the will of US President Donald Trump (72). The lira crisis has obviously caused Erdogan to change his mind, however. As BILD has learned from diplomatic circles in Ankara, the missile deal between Moscow and Ankara will apparently no… Background: The relationship ... Read More »

Presidency comms director Altun refutes Bild report claiming Turkey scrapped S-400 deal

Presidency Communications Director Fahrettin Altun on Friday refuted a report by a German daily claiming Turkey has decided against the purchase of the Russian-made S-400 missile defense systems. Daily Sabah Bild’s foreign policy editor Julian Röpcke on Friday tweeted a “scoop,” saying, “Diplomatic sources tell @BILD, Erdogan will not buy the S-400 from Russia.” The German journalist added a link to Bild’s report titled “Erdoğan makes a surprising missile back-out.” Responding to Röpcke, Altun told him that their sources “are ... Read More »

ITLOS to make decision on Ukraine’s lawsuit against Russia on May 25

(MENAFN – UkrinForm) The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), which on May 10 heard Ukraine’s lawsuit against Russia regarding the illegal seizure of three Ukrainian military vessels and… MENAFN ITLOS President Jin-Hyun Paik said this at a hearing on Friday, according to an Ukrinform correspondent. At the end of the hearing, Ukraine’s Deputy Foreign Minister Olena Zerkal announced Ukraine’s demand that Russia immediately release the vessels and return them to Ukraine, suspend… Russia refused to participate ... Read More »

Europeans struggle to preserve Iran nuclear accord

he world powers struggling to preserve a nuclear deal with Iran are facing an increasingly uphill battle, with a new deadline from Tehran on finding a solution to make up for last year’s unilateral U.S… BRUSSELS-The Associated Press Hurriyet After Iran notified Britain, Russia, China, the European Union, France and Germany of its intentions in a letter, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in a televised address on May 8 that the… Trump issued an executive order announcing new sanctions targeting Iran’s steel, aluminum, copper and ... Read More »

It’s time to lift the arms embargo on Cyprus

The United States has a prime opportunity to thwart the designs of Russia, China, and Turkey in the Middle East. Jonathan Schanzer and Bradley Bowman The Hill At the same time, it can strengthen a bilateral relationship with a democratic, European ally and enhance our defense supply base, as well. This can all be accomplished by taking one relatively simple step: Lift the arms embargo on the Republic of Cyprus. That Cyprus is under embargo is a head-scratcher in the ... Read More »

Turkey is playing both Russia and US

During the past week the Western press has reported Russian and Syrian bombing of north-western Idlib province and the flight of thousands of civilians from targeted villages. Michael Jansen Gulf Today Writers complain that Moscow and Damascus have been violating the “de-confliction” deal reached last year between Russia and Turkey with the aim of halting an all-out military operation against… Those who have reported the situation in this way are indulging in promulgating “fake news.” Russian and Syrian government forces ... Read More »

How the European Union’s eastern expansion created Brexit and made an enemy of Russia

Fifteen years on from the EU’s enlargement, the extension arguably sabotaged more than just the quest for an ever-closer union Mary Dejevsky Independent Fifteen years ago this week, the European Union grew overnight from 15 members to 25 in the biggest and most ambitious enlargement it had ever ventured. The new members, eight of them former Soviet-bloc states, were ablaze with celebratory fireworks; there was ecstatic waving of blue and gold flags; Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” played on a seemingly eternal ... Read More »

“There’s Always Hope!”

Since 1989, the West has become stuck in the “politics of eternity,” failing to think either about the past or the future, argues historian TIMOTHY SNYDER in an interview. Timothy Snyder Berlin Policy Journal It’s high time this changed. Is this the end of the West as we know it? It might be. But it’s up to us. Over the last 25 years or so, we have contributed to the Western decline because we have failed to actually think about ... Read More »

Ukraine’s president-elect Zelensky offers passports to Russians

President-elect Volodymyr Zelensky dismissed an offer by Vladimir Putin to provide passports to Ukrainians, and pledged instead to grant citizenship to Russians who “suffer” under the Kremlin’s rule. KIEV – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet The Russian president on April 27 said Moscow was considering plans to make it easier for all Ukrainians to obtain Russian citizenship, after it earlier moved to grant passports in the country’s separatist east. Kiev has been fighting Moscow-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine since 2014 in a war that has killed 13,000. Zelensky, a comedian ... Read More »

Should Trump Worry About the Putin-Xi Meeting?

The Chinese-Russian bilateral relationship is better than at many points in the past, but it remains superficial. Doug Bandow The National Interest Russian president Vladimir Putin left his meeting with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un to journey to Beijing. The former’s destination: a forum on China’s infamous Belt and Road initiative, where Putin announced the approval of a toll road tying Belarus to Kazakhstan. The more important objective, though, for the Russian leader was meeting with Chinese president Xi Jinping. The ... Read More »

Turkey Proposes No Middle Ground in Impasse Over Russia Missiles

Turkey hasn’t proposed stationing an advanced missile-defense system its buying from Russia in a third country as a way of defusing U.S. opposition to the purchase, Foreign Minister Mevlut… Selcan Hacaoglu Bloomberg The government in Ankara has though suggested to the U.S. and NATO creating a joint committee of experts to examine steps Turkey could take to limit the use of the S-400 missiles, he… But “the U.S. still hasn’t responded to the offer, whereas NATO wants it.” Turkey will ... Read More »

A Shadow over Ukraine’s Presidential Election

With Ukraine’s establishment forecasting doom after the presidential runoff, the far right’s influence on politics is impossible to ignore. Katharine Quinn-Judge ICG Its resurgence is both a symptom and a cause of the country’s ills: there is less daylight between it and the political mainstream than either admits. On 31 March, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko suffered a double-digit defeat in the presidential election’s first round to comedian Volodymyr Zelensky, whose only previous political experience is playing the… The incumbent is ... Read More »