Russia

US updates warning over Turkey travel amid rising political tensions

Turkey announced it would purchase Russia’s missile system The US Department of State on Thursday updated its travel advisory for Turkey amid stalled US-Turkey talks on Syria and growing differences over Venezuela and Turkish S-400 deal with Russia. Joyce Karam The National Turkey announced Thursday it would be going ahead with a purchase of Russia’s S-400 missile system, ahead of an informal Friday deadline to respond to a rival US offer. Turkey, a NATO member, made repeated moves to buy ... Read More »

U.S. ally Turkey looks to Russia and Iran to protect its interests

Analysis: The U.S. organized a global conference on the Mideast in Warsaw, but Turkey’s leader is at a summit with Russian and Iranian leaders instead. By Dan De Luce NBC WASHINGTON — As Trump administration officials presided over the second day of an international conference in Warsaw dominated by calls to ratchet up pressure on Iran, one longtime U.S. ally and NATO member was noticeably absent — Turkey. Snubbing the gathering in Poland, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday ... Read More »

The Russian Navy Is About to Become A Lot Deadlier

Moscow is deploying “Black Beret” Marines on all its warships. Michael Peck The National Interest The Russian Navy is deploying marines aboard all its warships sailing to overseas stations. Their mission is to secure these ships against terrorists and saboteurs.  The anti-terrorist groups will be posted on ships sailing to distant sea zones, according to Russian newspaper Izvestia . “Marines often accompanied the ships and vessels of the Soviet Navy from the late 1960s to 1991. They strengthened the crews ... Read More »

EU adopts French, German compromise on Nord Stream 2 pipeline to Russia

Overcoming differences between Paris and Berlin, EU diplomats reached a deal on the pipeline, placing stricter regulations on the project. France said it wanted to “ensure European control” of its own energy needs. DW France and Germany have reached a compromise that will allow Berlin to remain the lead negotiator with Russia on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, European leaders confirmed on Friday. “Regarding the gas directive, we have reached an agreement and this was possible because Germany and France worked closely together,” ... Read More »

Old Conflict, New Armenia: The View from Baku

The April 2018 “velvet revolution” in Armenia has brought new meetings and helped improve the dynamics of the three-decade-long conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. Zaur Shirivev ICG Much more needs to happen to reach peace, but Azerbaijan’s old scepticism is giving way to cautious hope in diplomacy. A series of direct contacts between Azerbaijan and Armenia have brought hope to the two countries’ decades-long impasse over Nagorno-Karabakh, a conflict that began as the Soviet Union collapsed. But while these meetings, on the heels of ... Read More »

The future of arms control is global: Reconsidering nuclear issues in the Indo-Pacific

On Feb. 1, a reporter asked President Donald Trump if the announced U.S. withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty was as much about the Western Pacific as it was about Russia. Andy Weber and Christine Parthemore War on the Rocks In response, Trump affirmed his view that for the arms control pact to work, more countries would need to be added: “I hope that you’re able to get everybody in a big and beautiful room and do a new ... Read More »

INF nuclear treaty: Russia plans new missile systems after pullout

Russia says it is planning to develop new missile systems after both Russia and the US suspended their involvement in an arms control pact. BBC The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) banned the pair from using short- and medium-range missiles. The US has long accused Russia of violating the pact, and last week US President Donald Trump announced he would exit it. Russia followed suit. The moves have raised concerns about a new arms race. The INF was signed during ... Read More »

Hackers Turn the Tables on Russia

A new website features documents pilfered from Kremlin officials and agencies. By Amy Mackinnon, Elias Groll FP Russian government officials are getting a taste of their own medicine. A new site that collects hacked and leaked material from around the web late last week published a major collection of documents and emails belonging to Russian government officials and… On Friday, a site calling itself Distributed Denial of Secrets published a 108-gigabyte archive dubbed the “Dark Side of the Kremlin,” which ... Read More »

The strange normality of life in a breakaway state

A postal address is the marker that identifies our home’s place in the world. The last line designates our country, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. By Thomas de Waal, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace BBC But for a few million people worldwide, that last line of the address is a problem. The international postal service does not recognise a letter marked Abkhazia, Trans-Dniester, or Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Letters find their way after being re-routed via other countries. Open up ... Read More »

Turkey and the Kurds turn to Russia to solve problems sparked by U.S. exit from Syria

BEIRUT — Both Turkey and the Syrian Kurds are now pinning their hopes on Russia to resolve the problems created by President Trump’s abrupt decision last month to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, which has threatened to ignite a… Liz Sly The Washington Post Turkish officials said Wednesday that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is planning to visit Moscow this month for talks on Syria and other issues with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Kurds have already reached out to Russia ... Read More »

Is Venezuela Willing to Start a Caribean War?

The timing of Russia sending two long-range bombers to Venezuela earlier in December was Washington wondering what Caracas is thinking. Scott B. MacDonald The National Interest On December 22, 2018, the Bolivarian Navy of Venezuela ‘íntercepted” the ExxonMobil research ship, the Ramform Tethys, in the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana. The ship is flagged by the government of Bahamas and was contracted to to contact seismic work by ExxonMobil and has a crew ... Read More »

The other Khashoggi

A gruesome death in Ukraine provides a warning for those following the murder of the Saudi journalist. Mary Mycio Politico An opposition journalist disappears. Anonymous tapes hint at his gruesome murder. An autocrat selling himself as a pro-Western reformer, beset by intrigue at home, is blamed for the death. In moral repugnance, the democratic world shuns him, sparking a foreign policy crisis. If this sounds like the case of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, that’s because it is. But the scenario ... Read More »

10 Conflicts to Watch in 2019

As U.S. leadership of the international order fades, more countries are seeking to bolster their influence by meddling in foreign conflicts. In this new era of limit testing, Crisis Group’s President Robert Malley lists the Ten Conflicts to Watch in 2019. In a world with fewer rules, the only truly effective one is knowing what you can get away with. The answer today, it turns out, is: quite a lot. As the era of uncontested U.S. primacy fades, the international ... Read More »

Trump’s Syria Withdrawal Hinges on Turkey

Whether pulling the remaining U.S. troops from Syria turns out to be a bold and beneficial move or a stupid, harmful one depends on what Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will do. Angelo M. Codevilla American Greatness That, in turn, depends in no small part on what constraints he senses from President Trump—as well as from Russia’s Vladimir Putin. Here, to the best of my understanding, are the circumstances and the possible consequences of the president’s decision to withdraw from Syria. ... Read More »

Russia-Ukraine War: Kiev’s Navy Says ‘We Will Be Ready’ and Prepared to Use ‘Weapons’ If Moscow Attacks Again

One month after Russia attacked three Ukrainian navy ships in the Kerch Strait, Ukraine’s navy chief said his country was prepared to defend its sovereignty from its bigger neighbor and exert its freedom to navigate in the… Cristina Maza Newsweek “There’s a war going on, initiated by Russia…and this war is raging at the sea too, since 2014. Whether we want and don’t want to lay low at bases and offices; we have to fulfill our duties regarding the… And the ... Read More »

Avoiding a Free-for-all in Syria’s North East

President Donald Trump has ordered U.S. troops to withdraw from north-east Syria. ICG This risks chaos and drives home the urgent need for a deal that restores Syrian state sovereignty to its north east, assuages Turkish security concerns and allows for some degree of Kurdish self-rule. What’s new? President Trump’s surprise decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria followed previous warnings that he justified their presence only as part of the campaign to defeat the Islamic State (ISIS). Trump said ... Read More »