Tag Archives: Moscow

Russian Army to hold first mountain drills with Pakistan this year

BY DAWN.COM

MOSCOW: The Russian Army’s Commander-in-Chief Oleg Salyukov on Friday announced that Russian ground forces will hold its first ever military exercises with Pakistan in the coming year, according to TASS news agency.

The Russian Army is scheduled to hold seven international drills in 2016, including the “the first ever Russian-Pakistani special drills in mountainous terrain.”

“As part of interaction with our foreign colleagues in 2016, we have scheduled seven joint exercises with the involvement of the relevant units of foreign states,” the Russian Army Commander-in-Chief said.

The Russian Army will also hold joint anti-terror command and staff exercises of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, as well as a Russian-Vietnamese exercise, Salyukov added.

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1234906/

Russia to halt visa-free status for visiting Turks

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s announcement comes amid continuing tension over downing of Russian warplane by Turkey.

Moscow is to suspend its visa-free agreement with Turkey at the beginning of next year, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said.

Friday’s announcement comes as tensions mount after the downing of a Russian fighter jet by Turkey earlier this week.

Russia has ruled out any military response against NATO member Turkey, but it has pledged broad retaliatory measures targeting entire sectors of the Turkish economy, including tourism, agriculture and investments.

On Thursday, two Turkish businessmen with investments in Russia told Al Jazeera that Russian police have been raiding Turkish companies in different regions of the country and, in some cases, have suspended their operations.

Moscow has also started sending back Turkish trucks loaded with exports at the border and stopped Turkish tourists – who normally do not need visas  – entering the country, at least two businessmen said.

“A decision has been made to halt the visa-free regime with Turkey,” Lavrov told reporters after talks with his Syrian counterpart Walid Muallem in Moscow.

Read more » Aljazeera
See more » http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/11/russia-halt-visa-free-agreement-visiting-turks-151127153708184.html

Turkey’s Erdogan warns Russia not to ‘play with fire’

ANKARA: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan warned Russia not to “play with fire” on Friday, but added he did not want to harm relations with Moscow, comments that look more likely to inflame than quell the dispute over a downed Russian bomber this week.

Read more » Aaj Tv
See more » http://aaj.tv/2015/11/turkeys-erdogan-warns-russia-not-to-play-with-fire/

Downing of Russian plane is a ‘stab in the back’ from Turkey, says Putin

 

BY AGENCIES

MOSCOW: President Vladimir Putin called Turkey’s downing of a Russian fighter jet a stab in the back administered by “the accomplices of terrorists,” saying the incident would have serious consequences for Moscow’s relations with Ankara.

Speaking in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi on Tuesday before a meeting with Jordan’s King Abdullah, Putin said the downed plane had been attacked inside Syria when it was one kilometre from the Turkish border and had come down four kilometres inside Syria.

That contradicted Turkey’s assertion that the aircraft had been warned multiple times that it was straying into Turkish airspace before it was shot down.

“Today’s loss is a stab in the back delivered to us by accomplices of terrorists. I cannot qualify what happened today as anything else,” said a visibly furious Putin.

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1221963/

 

Putin: Those guilty of terrorist attack on board A321 will be found and punished

 

We will find them in any point of the globe and they will be punished,” the president stresses

MOSCOW, November 17./TASS/ Russian President Vladimir Putin said that those guilty of the terrorist act on board the Russian A321 airliner in Egypt would be found and punished.

“It is not for the first time that Russia is facing barbarous terrorist crimes, largely without apparent causes, external or domestic, as it was the case with the blast at a railway station in Volgograd at the end of 2013. We have not forgotten anything and anyone,” Putin said at a session he chaired late on Monday.

“The murder of our nationals in Sinai is among the bloodiest crimes as to the number of casualties,” he said. “We will not be wiping tears away from our souls and our hearts. This will stay with us forever,” Putin continued.

“But this will not prevent us from finding and punishing the criminals,” Putin pledged.

“We must be doing this without limitations period, and know each of them by name. We will be searching them everywhere, no matter where they hide. We will find them in any point of the globe and they will be punished,” the president stressed.

Read more » TASS
See more » http://tass.ru/en/politics/837089

Russia, Pakistan Preparing for First Cultural Exchange Year

Pakistani ambassador to Russia said that Russia and Pakistan are working on the first ever year of cultural exchange, as part of a larger effort to boost “multidimensional” ties between the two countries.

MOSCOW (Sputnik), Svetlana Alexandrova – Russia and Pakistan are working on the first ever year of cultural exchange, as part of a larger effort to boost “multidimensional” ties between the two countries, the Pakistani ambassador to Russia told Sputnik on Saturday.

“Celebrating a year of a country is always a good idea. We have not celebrated a Year of Pakistan in Russia or a Year of Russia in Pakistan but this is an idea that we are working on. We hope that in the near future we will be able to do a Year of Pakistan in Russia,” Zaheer Janjua said.

More » Sputnik
Read more: http://sputniknews.com/world/20150905/1026633159.html#ixzz3qAJJJvSf

Saudi starts oil supplies to Poland, in set-back for Russia

* Russia’s Sechin says Saudis are “actively dumping”

* Moscow needs to act to preserve market share – Sechin

* Poland received at least 3 Saudi cargos – trade (Adds details, quotes, details)

By Gleb Gorodyankin, Denis Pinchuk and Katya Golubkova

MOSCOW, Oct 13 (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia has started supplying crude oil to Poland, the head of Russia’s biggest oil company Rosneft said on Tuesday, becoming another Middle Eastern producer to enter a market traditionally dominated by Russia.

A global battle is underway among oil exporters for market share, with producers with the deepest pockets, such as Saudi Arabia, using low prices to enter new markets, often at the expense of Russia.

If Russia appears to be losing that battle for market share, it could have an impact on decisions made about crude production at a meeting of oil exporters’ club OPEC in December.

“We are working under conditions of tough competition,” Rosneft Chief Executive Igor Sechin told an investor conference in Moscow.

“Saudi Arabia has entered the Polish market for the first time, with deliveries via Gdansk,”

Read more » Reuters
See more » http://af.reuters.com/article/commoditiesNews/idAFL8N12D1W920151013

US On The Ropes: China To Join Russian Military In Syria While Iraq Strikes Intel Deal With Moscow, Tehran

by Tyler Durden

Last Thursday, we asked if China was set to join Russia and Iran in support of the Assad regime in Syria.

Our interest was piqued when the pro-Assad Al-Masdar (citing an unnamed SAA “senior officer”), said Chinese “personnel and aerial assets” are set to arrive within weeks. To the uninitiated, this may seem to have come out of left field, so to speak. However, anyone who has followed the conflict and who knows a bit about the global balance of power is aware that Beijing has for some time expressed its support for Damascus, most notably by voting with Russia to veto a Security Council resolution that would have seen the conflict in Syria referred to the Hague. Here’s what China had to say at the May 22, 2014 meeting:

 For some time now, the Security Council has maintained unity and coordination on the question of Syria, thanks to efforts by Council members, including China, to accommodate the major concerns of all parties. At a time when seriously diverging views exist among the parties concerning the draft resolution, we believe that the Council should continue holding consultations, rather than forcing a vote on the draft resolution, in order to avoid undermining Council unity or obstructing coordination and cooperation on questions such as Syria and other major serious issues. Regrettably, China’s approach has not been taken on board; China therefore voted against the draft resolution.

In other words, China could see the writing on the wall and it, like Russia, was not pleased with where things seemed to be headed. A little more than a year later and Moscow has effectively called time on the strategy of using Sunni extremist groups to destabilize Assad and given what we know about Beijing’s efforts to project China’s growing military might, it wouldn’t exactly be surprising to see the PLA turn up at Latakia as well.

Sure enough, Russian media now says that according to Russian Senator Igor Morozov, Beijing has decided to join the fight. Here’s Pravda (translated):

According to the Russian Senator Igor Morozov, Beijing has taken decision to take part in combating IS and sent its vessels to the Syrian coast.

Igor Morozov, member of the Russian Federation Committee on International Affairs claimed about the beginning of the military operation by China against the IS terrorists. “It is known, that China has joined our military operation in Syria, the Chinese cruiser has already entered the Mediterranean, aircraft carrier follows it,” Morozov said.

According to him, Iran may soon join the operation carried out by Russia against the IS terrorists, via Hezbollah. Thus, the Russian coalition in the region gains ground, and most reasonable step of the US would be to join it. Although the stance of Moscow and Washington on the ways of settlement of the Syrian conflict differs, nonetheless, low efficiency of the US coalition acts against terrorists is obvious. Islamists have just strengthened their positions.

As Leonid Krutakov told Pravda.Ru in an interview, the most serious conflict is currently taking place namely between China and the US. Moscow may support any party, the expert believes, and that is what will change the world order for many years.

Clearly, one has to consider the source here, but as noted above, if Beijing is indeed set to enter the fray, it would be entirely consistent with China’s position on Syria and also with the PLA’s desire to take a more assertive role in international affairs.

Meanwhile, it now looks as though the very same Russian-Iran “nexus” that’s playing spoiler in Syria is also set to take over the fight against ISIS in Iraq, as Baghdad has now struck a deal to officially share intelligence with Moscow and Tehran. Here’s CNN:

Iraq says it has reached a deal to share intelligence with Russia, Iran and Syria in the fight against ISIS militants.

The announcement on Saturday from the Iraqi military cited “the increasing concern from Russia about thousands of Russian terrorists committing criminal acts within ISIS.”

The news comes amid U.S. concerns about Russia’s recent military buildup in Syria and would appear to confirm American suspicions of some kind of cooperation between Baghdad and Moscow.

We’d be remiss if we failed to note the significance here. The entire narrative is falling apart for the US, as Russia and Iran are now moving to transform the half-hearted Western effort to contain ISIS into a very serious effort to eradicate the group.

Read more » Zero Hedge
Learn more » http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-09-27/us-ropes-china-join-russian-military-syria-while-iraq-strikes-intel-deal-moscow-tehr

US warns Kremlin that Assad has no role in anti-IS fight

Moscow’s actions in Syria have raised concerns in Washington. US Secretary of State John Kerry has placed his third call in 10 days to his counterpart Sergei Lavrov.

Russia’s recent military buildup in Syria has left the Obama administration in a quandary as to how to respond. It has also complicated Washington’s efforts to both combat “Islamic State” extremists and help moderate rebels who are trying to oust Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Secretary of State John Kerry has called his Kremlin counterpart Sergei Lavrov to restate the US position after Russia’s President Vladimir Putin promised to maintain military support for Assad.

“Secretary Kerry made clear that Russia’s continued support for President Assad risks exacerbating and extending the conflict, and undermining our shared goal of fighting extremism,” said his office.

Read more » DW
See more » http://www.dw.com/en/us-warns-kremlin-that-assad-has-no-role-in-anti-is-fight/a-18716837?maca=en-rss-en-all-1573-rdf

Russia, OPEC Jostle to Meet China Oil Demand

Glut of Crude Fuels Rivalry Between the Major Producers

By BRIAN SPEGELE

BEIJING—Warming ties between China and Russia are giving a big boost to Chinese imports of Russian oil, to the chagrin of OPEC nations jockeying for a slice of China’s market.

Faced with falling prices and lower demand from the U.S., oil-exporting nations are increasingly putting their hopes in China’s still-robust demand for crude. But Saudi Arabia and other big producers like Venezuela have seen such sales drop as Moscow’s isolation from the West over Ukraine prompts it to turn to Beijing.

Read more » The Wall Street Journal
See more » http://www.wsj.com/articles/russia-opec-jostle-to-meet-china-oil-demand-1421987738

China’s Xinjiang launches cargo train service to Moscow

URUMQI, June 10 (Xinhua) — Railway authorities in China’s far western Xinjiang region on Wednesday launched a cargo train service linking its regional capital of Urumqi with Moscow.

The one more cargo train service westward can help boost the development of the northwestern autonomous region, a “core area” of the Silk Road economic belt, said Liu Jianxin, vice governor of Xinjiang, at the launch ceremony.

Since March 2014, Xinjiang has opened cargo train service to Kazakhstan, Georgia, Iran, Turkey and also Chelyabinsk of Russia.

The first train, loaded with 1,300 tonnes of PVC, left Urumqi at 6:15 p.m. and is scheduled to reach Moscow more than 4,000 km away in about ten days. It will return with wood pulp from Russia.

Wang Hongxin, chairman of Xinjiang Zhongtai Chemical Co., Ltd., said the cargo service can help drive the company’s annual sales of PVC by 10 percent.

By the second half of the year, more than three cargo trains will run between Xinjiang and the destinations in Russia and also central and western Asia per week.

The trains can then transport 50 billion yuan (8.1 billion U.S. dollars) of cargo a year, Liu said.

Editor: yan

News courtesy: Xinhuanet
Read more » http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2015-06/10/c_134315616.htm

Russian President Putin will visit Pakistan soon

BY IFTIKHAR MASHWANI

ISLAMABAD: Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit Pakistan soon to boost bilateral relations between Pakistan and Russia.This was disclosed by Adviser to Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz on Sunday in Islamabad.
He said the date is not finalized for Putin visit, but Pakistan already invited Russian President and he accepted the our invitation. Pakistan and Russia have great potentials to boost their relations in all Fields including social,economic and defense and strategic sectors. Pakistan and Russia are important countries of the region and both countries can play pivotal role in the stability in the region.

In the present circumstances, Russia become a most important country for Pakistan. Now Russia is no longer ignored by Pakistani policymakers. Ties are warming up between Islamabad and Moscow in the past few years as geo-strategic ties have been changing the world over.

When the relationship was set to emerge, Pakistan and Russia have been repairing their fences hard hit by the hard Cold War realities. China in the Pakistan-Russia framework is a guarantor and an honest broker. These relations have been fast emerging against the backdrop of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) where Pakistan stands as an observer but trying to seek full-membership of the organization, hopefully this year when the organizations will meet in Russia.Russia already ready to support Pakistani membership in the SCO. Beijing guides Moscow toward Islamabad.Russia,China and Pakistan will becomes strong regional allies for all level.

Read more » World Tribune Pakistan
See more » http://worldtribunepakistan.com/2015/03/08/russian-president-putin-will-visit-pakistan-soon/

Former PM Jean Chrétien to meet with Vladimir Putin in Moscow

By STEVEN CHASEThe Globe and Mail

OTTAWA – Former prime minister Jean Chrétien is meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin next week, a tête-à-tête that comes even as relations between Ottawa and Moscow are severely strained over the invasion of Ukraine.

The former Liberal leader, whose law firm, Dentons, has an office in Moscow, is expected to meet Mr. Putin on Thursday in the Russian capital and discuss the current state of relations between his country and the West.

Read more » The Globe And Mail
See more » http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/former-pm-jean-chretien-to-meet-with-vladimir-putin-in-moscow/article24124208/

Greek PM Tsipras to meet with Putin in Moscow.

Russia, Greece to discuss EU sanctions, economy in Moscow

(Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras plan to discuss economic ties and the European Union’s sanctions against Moscow when they meet for talks next week, a Kremlin spokesman said on Friday.

Russia wants the EU to lift the sanctions imposed over Moscow’s role in the turmoil in Ukraine and hopes to get support from some EU member states, notably Hungary and Greece.

The Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said it was too early to talk about any possibility of Moscow providing financial help to the cash-strapped Greece before the talks.

“Relations between Moscow and the European Union will be discussed in the light of Brussels’s policy of sanctions and Athens’ quite cold attitude to this policy,” Peskov said.

Greece’s new left-wing government has said it will not seek aid from Moscow but has so far failed to reach a deal with its EU/IMF creditors to unlock fresh funds.

Putin and Tsipras will meet in Moscow on Apr.8. It will be Tsipras’ first visit to the Russian capital after his leftist Syriza party swept to victory in a snap election in January.

Tsipras visited Moscow in May, 2014, and attended a conference on ties between Russiaand Greece, as well as being received by senior Russian state officials. Five other members of the Greek delegation now also hold senior government roles in Athens. (Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin)

News courtesy: Reuters
Read more » http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/04/03/us-ukraine-crisis-russia-greece-idUSKBN0MU0NF20150403

Leaving the West Behind – Germany Looks East

By Hans Kundnani

Russia’s annexation of Crimea in March 2014 was a strategic shock for Germany. Suddenly, Russian aggression threatened the European security order that Germany had taken for granted since the end of the Cold War. Berlin had spent two decades trying to strengthen political and economic ties with Moscow, but Russia’s actions in Ukraine suggested that the Kremlin was no longer interested in a partnership with Europe. Despite Germany’s dependence on Russian gas and Russia’s importance to German exporters, German Chancellor Angela Merkel ultimately agreed to impose sanctions on Russia and helped persuade other EU member states to do likewise.

Nevertheless, the Ukraine crisis has reopened old questions about Germany’s relationship to the rest of the West. In April, when the German public-service broadcaster ARD asked Germans what role their country should play in the crisis, just 45 percent wanted Germany to side with its partners and allies in the EU and NATO; 49 percent wanted Germany to mediate between Russia and the West. These results led the weekly newsmagazine Der Spiegel, in an editorial published last May, to warn Germany against turning away from the West.

Germany’s response to the Ukraine crisis can be understood against the backdrop of a long-term weakening of the so-called Westbindung, the country’s postwar integration into the West. The fall of the Berlin Wall and the enlargement of the EU freed the country from its reliance on the United States for protection against a powerful Soviet Union. At the same time, Germany’s export-dependent economy has become increasingly reliant on demand from emerging markets such as China. Although Germany remains committed to European integration, these factors have made it possible to imagine a post-Western German foreign policy. Such a shift comes with high stakes. Given Germany’s increased power within the EU, the country’s relationship to the rest of the world will, to a large extent, determine that of Europe.

THE GERMAN PARADOX

Germany has produced 
the most radical challenge to the West from within.

Germany has always had a complex relationship with the West. On the one hand, many of the political and philosophical ideas that became central to the West originated in Germany with Enlightenment thinkers such as Immanuel Kant. On the other hand, German intellectual history has included darker strains that have threatened Western norms—such as the current of nationalism that emerged in the early nineteenth century. Beginning in the latter half of the nineteenth century, German nationalists increasingly sought to define Germany’s identity in opposition to the liberal, rationalistic principles of the French Revolution and the Enlightenment. This version of German nationalism culminated in Nazism, which the German historian Heinrich August Winkler has called “the climax of the German rejection of the Western world.” Germany, therefore, was a paradox: it was part of the West yet produced the most radical challenge to it from within.

Read more » Foreign Affairs
Learn more » http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/142492/hans-kundnani%E2%80%A8/leaving-the-west-behind

Russian Rouble falls further

UPDATE 3-Rouble falls further as central bank seen intervening

Rouble has tumbled more than 40 percent vs dollar in 2014

* Central bank seen intervening on Friday to halt slide

* Rosneft’s dollar buying adds pressure – traders (Updates prices, adds extension of FX swap limit)

By Vladimir Abramov and Vladimir Soldatkin

MOSCOW, Dec 12 (Reuters) – The Russian rouble dropped to a new low of almost 58 to the dollar, continuing a slide that traders said led the central bank to intervene in the market on Friday after a rate hike failed to break the currency’s fall.

Read more » REUTERS
See more » http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/12/12/russia-rouble-idUSL6N0TW0KE20141212

Bullet Train Could Connect Moscow and Beijing

China and Russia are considering building a high-speed rail line thousands of kilometers from Moscow to Beijing that would cut the journey time from six days on the celebrated Trans-Siberian to two, Chinese media reported Friday.

The project would cost more than $230 billion and be over 7,000 kilometers (4,350 miles) long, the Beijing Times reported — more than three times the world’s current longest high-speed line, from the Chinese capital to the southern city of Guangzhou.

Read more » Discovery
http://news.discovery.com/autos/transportation-infrastructure/bullet-train-could-connect-moscow-and-beijing-141017.htm

Moscow will respond to NATO’s expansion towards Russia’s borders, President Vladimir Putin said

‘We will react to NATO build-up!’ Key Putin quotes from defense policy address

Moscow will respond to NATO’s expansion towards Russia’s borders, President Vladimir Putin said at the emergency Security Council meeting in Moscow. Here are his key quotes on Russia’s defense, Western sanctions, and violence in eastern Ukraine.

Read more » RT
http://rt.com/news/174768-putin-security-nato-ukraine/

Russia lifts arms embargo to Pakistan: report

By AFP

MOSCOW: Russia has lifted its embargo on arms supplies to Pakistan and is holding talks on supplying Islamabad with combat helicopters, the head of state-owned Rostec, Sergei Chemezov, said Monday, the ITAR-TASS news agency reported. “Such a decision has been taken. We are holding talks on supplying the helicopters,” Chemezov said, adding that the negotiations were about Russian Mi-35 Hind attack helicopters.

Read more » DAWN
http://www.dawn.com/news/1110131

 

Stalin-Mao roles reversed as Putin visits China seeking investment

Stalin-Mao Roles Reverse as Putin Courts China Investment

By Stepan Kravchenko and Henry Meyer

China, which relied on Soviet aid during the era of Joseph Stalinand Mao Zedong, has turned the tables as Russian PresidentVladimir Putin visits Shanghai.

The Russian leader starts a two-day visit to China today, seeking to complete an agreement on natural gas supplies to the world’s second-largest economy, held up for more than a decade because of a debate over the price. The contract is “nearly finalized,” Putin told Chinese media in aninterview published yesterday.

Putin is looking to cement ties with China as the conflict in Ukraine alienates him from the U.S. and its European allies. The relationship with China, Russia’s biggest trading partner after the two-way volume surged sevenfold in the past decade to $94 billion last year, is becoming even more important as escalating sanctions threaten to tip the economy into recession.

“As Russia’s relations with the West deteriorate, its ties with China will need to grow stronger,” Dmitri Trenin, director of the Carnegie Moscow Center, said by e-mail. “Beijing, rather than Moscow, will be the senior power.”

That role reversal is underscored by the disparity of the two countries’ economic development during the past 35 years. In 1979, as Deng Xiaoping started an economic overhaul, China’s output was 40 percent of the Soviet Russian Republic’s — the present-day Russian Federation, according to astudy published this year by the Center for European Reform. By 2010, China’s economy had become four times the size of Russia’s, it said.

Read more » Bloomberg
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-05-19/stalin-mao-roles-reverse-as-cold-shouldered-putin-courts-chinese.html

Pakistan, Russia to improve relations

By Muhammad Saleh Zaafir

Islamabad: Pakistan and Russia have decided to improve their multi-dimension ties and for the first time, Pakistan’s parliamentary delegation led by its speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq is proceeding to Moscow next Sunday on a bilateral visit.

The six-member delegation is undertaking the visit on the invitation of Chairperson of Federation Council Ms Valentina Matviyenkov, who is in order of precedence, comes after president and prime minister of her country. She is an experienced diplomat and of Ukrainian origin. Well placed sources told The News that the Foreign Office will provide special briefing to the members of the delegation before embarking for the trip.

Former federal minister Haji Ghulam Ahmad Bilour, who is member of the National Assembly from Peshawar, will accompany the speaker as deputy leader of the delegation. Haji Bilour, belongs to the Awami National Party (ANP), that has the history of having close association with the Russian leaders. The parliamentary delegation will also have meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has expressed his keenness to improve relations with Pakistan.

Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq will convey message from Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to the Russian leader, the sources said. 

The occasion will help strengthening relations between parliaments of the two countries. The delegation from Pakistan will also visit State Duma, the lower house of the Russian Parliament. The delegation will be meeting the Chairman State Duma and will watch the proceedings of the two houses of the Parliament during its stay in the Russian capital.

The delegation from the Russian Parliament will also undertake return visit to Pakistan later and for the purpose an invitation would be extended by Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq. The delegation will stay in Moscow from 21st of this month till 23rd, and its members will also visit St Petersburg before returning home, the sources said.

– See more at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-6-244062-Pakistan-Russia-to-improve-relations#sthash.9GbC0DiO.dpuf
http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-6-244062-Pakistan-Russia-to-improve-relations

Russia, Ukraine and the West: Will there be war?

Written by Alan Woods

As Ukraine slides deeper into chaos, the sound of war drums gets ever louder. On Saturday President Vladimir Putin secured his parliament’s authority to send the Russian army, not just into Crimea but also into Ukraine itself.

This threat was issued only days after “unidentified” armed men seized control of the Crimea peninsula. These were later unsurprisingly identified as troops from Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, based in Crimea. The new pro-Russian president of Crimea equally unsurprisingly immediately called on Moscow to intervene. At the same time, pro-Moscow demonstrators hoisted flags above government buildings in two eastern cities.

Western leaders shook their heads and said that Russia must not intervene. Moscow held up its hands, indignantly protesting that it would not do so. But the facts seem to indicate otherwise. For the whole of last week Russian troops were staging what were described as “routine manoeuvres” on the borders of Ukraine.

Putin secured without difficulty the unanimous approval of the Russian senate for the use of armed force on the territory of his neighbour, citing the need to protect Russian citizens. He asked that Russian forces be used “until the normalisation of the political situation in the country”: a very reasonable sounding request, a velvet glove that barely conceals the iron fist within, for he gave exactly the same reason for invading Georgia in 2008.

This threat to what was supposed to be an independent country of 46 million people on the edges of central Europe creates the biggest direct confrontation between Russia and the West since the Cold War. There has been a flurry of diplomatic activity in different capitals aimed at “calming the situation”. The government in Kiev protested. The EU protested. Obama protested.

Britain summoned the Russian ambassador to voice its “concern”. Soon after the UK’s Foreign Minister William Hague flew to Kiev, presumably to express his sympathy to the provisional government there. EU ministers were due to hold emergency talks. Czech President Milos Zeman recalled the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968.

Washington has warned that Russia’s actions would have “consequences”. But nobody is saying what these would be. In reply Putin calmly asserted his right to deploy troops in Ukraine “to defend the interests of Russian people”. Western politicians have hundreds of arguments, but Putin has hundreds of thousands of troops, tanks and guns. And whereas the forces of NATO are rather far away, his own forces are conveniently massing right on the Ukrainian border, and some are already on the ground in Crimea as Russia has a permanent naval base there.

The tension between the two sides increases by the hour. In a televised address, Ukraine’s acting President Olexander Turchynov urged people to remain calm. (Everyone is urging exactly the same thing). He asked Ukrainians to bridge divisions in the country and said they must not fall for provocations. But in the same breath said he had put the army on full alert, which is hardly a very calming message.

Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who was standing next to Mr Turchynov, said he was “convinced” Russia would not intervene militarily “as this would be the beginning of war and the end of all relations.”

Fear and misery in Ukraine

The situation in Ukraine is dramatic. The euphoria of the first few days after the fall of Yanukovych has dissipated and is being replaced with an anxious and tense mood.

Continue reading Russia, Ukraine and the West: Will there be war?

Obama: ‘There will be costs for military intervention in Ukraine’

International community scrambles to  Russian moves in Crimea

President Barack Obama said the United States stands with the international community in affirming that “there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine” and defended the country’s citizens’ right to “determine their own future,” at a press conference Friday.

A senior U.S. official said Obama and European leaders would consider skipping the G8 summit in Sochi, Russia, if the country intervenes militarily in Ukraine. He also said a possible response could include avoiding deeper trade and commerce ties Moscow is seeking. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor called for sanctions against “Russian individuals and entities who use force or interfere in Ukraine’s domestic affairs.”

Read more » Aljazeera
http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/2/28/obama-there-willbecostsformilitaryinterventioninukraine.html

Ukraine – Will Putin Send in the Tanks?

By

“In the words of the popular proverb, Moscow was the heart of Russia; St Petersburg, its head. But Kiev, its mother…”

By James H. Billington

Just hours after a truce had been established between protesters and the government, violence erupted again today in the central square of Kiev, Ukraine’s capital city.

A trio of officials from the European Union—the foreign ministers of Germany, France and Poland—now head to Kiev to try to breach the fundamental divide roiling the country: a struggle between east and west, its outcome highly uncertain, the possibility of a civil war undeniably looming.

This divide has been at Ukraine’s core for centuries. What’s unfolding now is nothing less than the violent struggle for a nation’s soul. To some current and former diplomats, what is surprising is not that Ukraine appears to be coming apart, but that it has taken this long into the post Soviet era for something like this to happen.

At its origins, more than ten centuries ago, what was known as “Kievan Russia” was, as James Billington wrote in his classic study of Russian culture, “closely linked with Western Europe—through trade and intermarriage with every important royal family of Western Christendom.”

But , he continued, “those promising early links with the West were, fatefully, never made secure.”

Focus on that one word. “Fatefully.”  “Increasingly,” Billington writes, “inexerorably, Kievan Russia was drawn eastward into a debilitating struggle for control of the Eurasian steppe.”

What we’re witnessing now, make no mistake, is the latest chapter of that struggle. And it is one in which Moscow has an important, inherent and obvious advantage: Ukraine matters more to President Vladimir Putin, and Russia, than it does to Barack Obama, or German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

 The dissolution of the Soviet Union is the central, disastrous geopolitical fact of Putin’s life (See Newsweek cover story February 13, Putin’s Games). And among the new states that were created when the empire imploded, Ukraine was first among equals. It was, as Walter Russell Mead, professor and author at Bard College wrote recently, “the largest and most important republic within the Soviet Union.”

If Putin dreams of reassembling a reasonable facsimile of the Soviet empire—and he does—then, as Russell wrote, “everything pales beside the battle for Ukraine.”

When it appeared last fall that the government in Kiev was going to more closely align itself politically and economically with Europe than ever before, Putin moved forcefully to block it. Flush with oil and gas revenue—the beginning and the end of Russian economic strength–he offered Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych a $15 billion bribe to spurn the European Union.

Read more » News Week
http://www.newsweek.com/will-putin-send-tanks-229631

New post-Soviet alliance to launch 2015: Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin says the new post-Soviet alliance with Belarus and Kazakhstan is set to launch in 2015, with hopes that Ukraine will join the union.

The final pieces were in place for the 2015 inaugural launch of the Eurasian Economic Union, Putin said following talks with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko in Moscow on Tuesday.

Read more » Press Tv
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2013/12/24/341740/postsoviet-union-to-launch-2015-putin/

U.S. lashes at Russia for allowing Edward Snowden to transit through Moscow

Kerry Reproaches Russia as Ecuador Considers Snowden Asylum

By Bloomberg News

The U.S. lashed out at Russia for letting former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden transit through Moscow as Ecuador considered his bid for asylum.

Secretary of State John Kerry said today it will be “deeply troubling” if Russia had advance notice of Snowden’s arrival in Moscow and “notwithstanding that, they make the decision willfully to ignore that and not live by the standards of the law.”

Snowden, who had been booked to fly from Moscow to Havana today after arriving from Hong Kong yesterday, didn’t board the flight at Sheremetyevo International Airport, said an official for state-owned OAO Aeroflot, asking not to be identified because the information is confidential.

Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy group, said Snowden was “healthy and safe,” though he declined to give Snowden’s current location on a conference call with reporters today.

Read more » Bloomberg
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-06-23/u-s-says-it-will-chase-down-snowden-after-hong-kong-departure.html

Via – Twitter

Who says countries are permanent?

Ayaz AmirBy Ayaz Amir

Islamabad diary

We should know this more than others. The Pakistan of 1947 is not the Pakistan which exists today, one half of it having broken away to form another country. I served in Moscow in the seventies and nothing seemed more solid or permanent than the Soviet Union, a mighty power which cast a shadow far and wide. Who could have thought that in a few years’ time it would fracture, leaving a trail of small, independent republics behind?

Germany before the fall of the Berlin Wall was two countries. Now it is back to being one. Czechoslovakia was one country then. Now it is two. In the UK, of all places, the Scots, or a goodly part of them, are demanding independence. A referendum is set to decide this question in 2014.

After the fall of the Soviet Union it seemed as if American pre-eminence was an assured thing, lasting for the next hundred years. Bright-eyed scholars announced not just the closing of an era but the end of history. As hubris goes, this had few equals. There were other Americans who said that reality would be what America wanted it to be. Yet American power has declined before our eyes, nothing more contributing to this than the wars President Bush ventured upon in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Clash of civilisations was another phrase current just ten years. Something of the sort has happened but not in a way that the US could have intended. Wouldn’t the Taliban, wouldn’t Al-Qaeda, define their struggle as a clash of civilisations?

Ten years ago in a Jamaat-ud-Dawaah mosque in Chakwal (not far from my house) I heard one of their leaders talking of America’s eventual but sure defeat in Afghanistan. I thought his rhetoric too fanciful then. It sounds much closer to home now.

I have just read a longish review of Norman Davies’ ‘Vanished Kingdoms: The Rise and Fall of States and Nations’. This book should be required reading for anyone concerned about the future of Pakistan. For the lesson it emphasises is that history does not promise progress. All it promises is change. Nothing is fixed, all is movement, nations rising and falling, the old disappearing to make way for the new, the new in turn becoming the old and morphing into something else – the philosophy of Heraclitus and Hegel, even of Marx.

Continue reading Who says countries are permanent?

The Kayani doctrine

By Dr Farrukh Saleem

Capital suggestion

The Kayani Doctrine, built on four pillars, comprises: American troops would have to withdraw from Afghanistan; reconciliation among Afghan factions is not possible without the ISI; the Jalalabad-Torkham-Karachi route remains the most viable for withdrawing American forces and India cannot be allowed to encircle Pakistan. In 2009, General McChrystal, commander Isaf and commander US forces in Afghanistan (USFOR-A), refusing to buy the Kayani Doctrine, requested a ‘troop surge’ numbering 30,000-40,000. In 2010, 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 187th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team and the 101st Sustainment Brigade were deployed to Afghanistan.

In 2010, General Petraeus, commander Isaf and commander USFOR-A, refusing to buy the Kayani Doctrine, began implementing his “comprehensive counterinsurgency (COIN) strategy”. General Petraeus’ COIN had four pillars: “securing and serving the population, understanding local circumstances, separating irreconcilables from reconcilables and living among the people”.

By 2011, America’s cost of war in Afghanistan hovered around a colossal $500 billion and the US had incurred 1,814 fatalities. By 2011, Petraeus’ four pillars had begun to fall flat – one by one. America could no longer sustain the war in Afghanistan – neither politically nor financially. Finally, President Obama, in a prime time speech, bought into the Kayani Doctrine by announcing a troop drawdown schedule. On December 2, 2012, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton held talks with COAS General Ashfaq Kayani. This may have actually been the first formal buy-in of the Kayani Doctrine.

On December 17, the principal deputy assistant attorney general told a federal court in New York: “In the view of the United States, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) is entitled to immunity because it is part of a foreign state within the meaning of the FSIA (Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act).” This may have actually been an implicit acceptance by the US of the ISI’s indispensability in the Afghan endgame (the doctrine’s second pillar).

On December 29, Pakistan received $688 million under the Coalition Support Fund (CSF). According to the Ministry of Finance, “from May 2010 onwards Pakistan had asked for $2.5 billion under the CSF but only $1.9 billion have been reimbursed.”

On February 10, “two convoys each hauling 25 shipping containers entered Pakistan at the Chaman and Torkham borders” heading back to where they came from. To be certain, these convoys will be followed by a few thousand taking back around 750,000 major military items valued at close to $40 billion (the doctrine’s third pillar).

Indian defence analysts claim that the British have acted as the intermediaries in the latest US-Pakistan rapprochement and that Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are also involved in the game. Pakistan is once again becoming the centre piece in the Afghan endgame.

India’s Ambassador MK Bhadrakumar, who served in Islamabad, Kabul, Tashkent and Moscow, opines, “Washington is stonewalling India’s requests for the extradition of two key protagonists who are in the US jails – David Headley and Tahawwur Rana” and that “India’s worst fears with regard to the situation in Afghanistan are probably coming true.”

Continue reading The Kayani doctrine

Terrorism in Pakistan: A View from Moscow

By: Andrei Volodin, specially for RIR

Russia should make every effort to help recover the pattern of civil society in Pakistan by supporting the role of political parties, civil groups and any organisations that aim to fight terrorism.

Terrorism has grown into probably the most destructive phenomenon in today’s Pakistan. The sorrow list of victims of terrorist attacks is expanding rapidly, going up from 164 casualties in 2003 to 40,000 in 2011. According to official data, damage suffered by the country from 2000 to 2011 exceeded $70 billion.

The official government acknowledgement of terrorism as the main threat to the unity and integrity of Pakistan has proved unable to reverse the situation as terrorist efforts retain their momentum.

The sources of terrorism in Pakistan are usually linked to the policy of Islamisation of the country by General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq (years in office: 1977 to 1988). An important element of the then emerging terrorist activity was Pakistan’s direct involvement in military actions in Afghanistan and the actual creation of the mujahideen units, who after the end of the military actions rose to prominence as a military and political force first in Afghanistan and then in Pakistan.

The government and society at large have no clear understanding of the strategy and tactics of fighting terrorism. The point of view of George Friedman, a U.S. analyst, is that Pakistan is losing its “trajectory into the future.” This opinion is underpinned by the increasingly chaotic social and political life in Pakistan, the army’s involvement in domestic processes, the poorly regulated government economy and the inability of political parties to set up adequate political life for more than five years. This “institutional vacuum” is inevitably filled up by other organisations, in case of Pakistan, terrorist structures.

Experts often describe Pakistan as a “pendulum state,” meaning the country’s typical alternation of military and civil government. However, following the resignation of Pervez Musharraf and with certain influence from the US, which disrupted the usual cyclicality, this constraint of political struggle was withdrawn from the political process. As a consequence, Pakistani parties were made even more fragile and unpredictable in their actions. There are basically personal problems that are substituting the existing controversies in the diverse social and political programmes of the Pakistan People’s Party, on the one hand, and the Pakistan Muslim League, on the other hand.

Continue reading Terrorism in Pakistan: A View from Moscow

Radical Islamic Attacks in a Moderate Region Unnerve the Kremlin

By DAVID M. HERSZENHORN

KAZAN, Russia — A string of violent attacks by Islamic militants has shattered this city’s reputation as a citadel of religious tolerance and unnerved federal officials in Moscow, who have worked for decades to prevent the spread of radical Islam out of the southern borderlands and into places like this city 500 miles east of Moscow.

Officials have long sought to contain Islamic fervor in the Caucasus to the south while insisting that places like the republic of Tatarstan, where Kazan is the capital, were different, representing a moderate “Russian Islam,” said Aleksei Malashenko, the co-chairman of the Carnegie Moscow Center’s religion, society and security program.

But that comfortable assumption began to crumble just before the start of Ramadan in late July, when a senior cleric in charge of education was shot outside his apartment building on Zarya Street. Roughly an hour later, the city’s chief mufti survived a bomb attack that demolished his Toyota Land Cruiser. A previously unheard-of group, the mujahedeen of Tatarstan, claimed responsibility.

Continue reading Radical Islamic Attacks in a Moderate Region Unnerve the Kremlin

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