Tag Archives: Russia

Russia to build gas pipeline in Pakistan

Russia and Pakistan have signed an agreement to construct the North-South gas pipeline, according to the Russian Energy Ministry.

The project will be headed by RT Global Resources, a subsidiary of Russia’s state technologies corporation Rostec. In 2014, RT Global along with Pakistan’s Inter State Gas System (ISGS) announced they would build oil and gas infrastructure in Pakistan.

Read more » RT
See more » https://www.rt.com/business/318840-russia-pakistan-gas-pipeline/

Syria: What can Russia’s military do?

This is the first Russian military operation beyond the boundaries of the former Soviet Union since the end of the Cold War.

But the US and its coalition partners have already conducted more than 7,000 air strikes in Syria and Iraq against the so-called Islamic State (IS). And even on the most optimistic assessment their impact has been limited.

IS is contained but in no sense defeated. So why should Russia be able to do any better?

Russia of course is restricting its strikes to Syria. Its initial combat missions suggest that its fundamental aim is to relieve pressure upon President Bashar al-Assad’s embattled forces and that its list of targets will go well beyond those exclusively linked to IS.

But what military capabilities do the Russians actually have? What weapons can they use? How does the Russian air force compare to its Western equivalents? And what ultimately can it achieve?

Read more » BBC
See more » http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-34411477?SThisFB

Pakistan: Russia’s New Best Friend?

We may be entering a period in which India’s tighter embrace of the United States brings Russia closer to Pakistan, and Russia’s bolstering of ties with Pakistan brings India closer to the United States.

By Arif Rafiq

As the U.S.-India embrace tightens, former Cold War foes Pakistan and Russia are bolstering ties with one another. Pakistan was an early Cold War partner of the United States, ultimately helping to evict the Soviets from Afghanistan in 1989. While India proclaimed a policy of non-alignment, it was firmly allied with the Soviet Union, which served as its chief defense supplier for decades. Those strong ties continued following the end of the Cold War into recent years.

While India’s defense arsenal remains overwhelmingly Russian in origin, over the past four years, Washington has supplanted Moscow to become New Delhi’s top defense supplier. Moscow, realizing that its longtime partner is now seeing other people, has lifted an arms embargo on Islamabad, which is keen on modernizing its military and reducing its dependence on Washington.

Budding cooperation between Pakistan and Russia goes beyond military sales. The two countries will also boost economic and energy cooperation. And a strategic partnership may be down the road—potentially involving China.

Read more » The National Interest
See more » http://www.nationalinterest.org/feature/pakistan-russias-new-best-friend-13945

Putin and Saudi defense minister meet in Russia, agree on common goals in Syria

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Arabia’s defense minister have agreed that Moscow and Riyadh should pursue common goals in Syria, including national reconciliation and combating terrorists, Russian FM Sergey Lavrov said.

Putin met with Sheikh Mohammed bin Salman for talks on the sidelines of a Formula 1 race in Sochi on Sunday. The meeting was also attended by the foreign ministers of both states.

“The sides confirmed that Saudi Arabia and Russia have similar goals concerning Syria,” said Russian FM Sergey Lavrov following the talks. “First of all, they are to prevent a terrorist caliphate from getting the upper hand in Syria.”

Read more » RT
See more » https://www.rt.com/news/318324-putin-saudi-goals-syria/#.Vhrac8rfWWE.facebook

 

Syria conflict: Russia intensifies air strikes

Russia is increasing the number of air strikes against Islamic State in Syria, its defence ministry has said.

It said on Saturday morning that it had hit 55 Islamic State (IS) group targets in Syria in the last 24 hours.

Later, US defence officials said progress had been made during talks with their Russian counterparts on avoiding accidents over Syria.

Read more » BBC
See more » http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-34496583

Gulf Arabs ‘stepping up’ arms supplies to Syrian rebels

Saudi Arabia is responding to the recent Russian air strikes on Syrian rebels by stepping up its supplies of lethal weaponry to three different rebel groups, a Saudi government official has told the BBC.

The well-placed official, who asked not to be named, said supplies of modern, high-powered weaponry including guided anti-tank weapons would be increased to the Arab- and western-backed rebel groups fighting the forces of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad and his Russian, Iranian and Lebanese allies.

He said those groups being supplied did not include either Islamic State (IS) or al-Nusra Front, both of which are proscribed terrorist organisations. Instead, he said the weapons would go to three rebel alliances – Jaish al-Fatah (Army of Conquest), the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and the Southern Front.

The official added that Qatar and Turkey have been instrumental in maintaining Saudi support for Sunni rebels fighting both Assad’s forces and, at times, the extremists of IS. Russia brands as terrorists all rebels opposing its ally, President Assad, including those trained by the US.

The Saudi official did not rule out supplying surface-to-air missiles to the rebels, a move resisted by many in the West for fear that they would fall into the hands of IS and end up being used to shoot down warplanes of the US-led Coalition or even civilian airliners.

Read more » BBC
See more » http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-34479929

Syria and The New World Disorder

The New World Disorder

BY

On October 20, 2011, the day that Libyan rebel fighters found Colonel Muammar Qaddafi hiding in a desert culvert, hauled him out, and killed him, President Barack Obama called a press conference in the Rose Garden, and announced that we had “achieved our objectives.” (Hillary Clinton, who was then Secretary of State, put it more archly, telling a reporter, “We came, we saw, he died.”) The previous spring, when the United States had decided to join in the NATO air strikes against Libya, the White House said that regime change was not the objective, and that persuaded Russia not to veto a Security Council mandate authorizing action to protect Libyans from their ruler “by all necessary measures.” Russia was furious about NATO’s mission creep, but Obama said, “Faced with the potential of mass atrocities, and a call from the Libyan people, the United States and our friends and allies stopped Qaddafi’s forces in their tracks.” Now, he said, America’s part was done and the Libyans were free to establish full democracy. The President added, “This comes at a time when we see the strength of American leadership across the world. We’ve taken out Al Qaeda leaders, and we’ve put them on the path to defeat. We’re winding down the war in Iraq, and have begun a transition in Afghanistan.”

Four years later, Libya is a battle-worn wasteland, a bitter outcome;

Read more » The New Yorker
See more » http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/10/12/the-new-world-disorder-comment-philip-gourevitch

Syrian rebel groups call for unity, attacks on Russia

A group of 41 Syrian rebel factions have called for their forces to unite against the Assad regime and its backers, Iran and Russia. Meanwhile, the Syria Muslim Brotherhood and Saudi clerics have issued calls for jihad.

The group of 41 rebel factions, including the powerful Islamist groups Ahrar al-Sham, Islam Army and the Levant Front said Russia and Iran were occupying forces and should be attacked.

“All Syrian armed revolutionary factions must realize we are in a war to push an aggressor, a war that makes unifying ranks and word a duty on all brothers,” the factions said a statement. “Any occupation force to our beloved country is a legitimate target.”

The statement of unity from an otherwise fractured Syrian opposition comes as Russia continues to bomb what it says are targets belonging to “Islamic State” group and al-Qaeda’s Syrian branch, al-Nusra. On Monday, the Russian defense ministry said its planes hit nine “Islamic State” targets in the past twenty-four hours.

Russian airstrikes have also reportedly hit Ahrar al-Sham and other groups dubbed by Moscow and Syria as terrorist organizations.

Read more » DW
See more » http://www.dw.com/en/syrian-rebel-groups-call-for-unity-attacks-on-russia/a-18762524?maca=en-rss-en-all-1573-rdf

The ‘moderates’ have disappeared — there are no good guys and bad guys in the Syrian war

BY ROBERT FISK

The Russian air force in Syria has flown straight into the West’s fantasy air space. The Russians, we are now informed, are bombing the “moderates” in Syria – “moderates” whom even the Americans admitted two months ago, no longer existed.

It’s rather like the ISIS (the self-styled Islamic State) fighters who left Europe to fight for the “Caliphate”. Remember them? Scarcely two months ago, our political leaders – and leader writers – were warning us all of the enormous danger posed by “home-grown” Islamists who were leaving Britain and other European countries and America to fight for the monsters of ISIS.

Then the hundreds of thousands of Muslim refugees began trekking up the Balkans towards Europe after risking death in the Mediterranean – and we were all told by the same political leaders to be fearful that ISIS killers were among them.

It’s amazing how European Muslim fighters fly to Turkey to join Isis, and a few weeks later, they’re drowning in leaky boats or tramping back again and taking trains from Hungary to Germany. But if this nonsense was true, where did they get the time for all the terrorist training they need in order to attack us when they get back to Europe?

It is possible, of course, that this was mere story-telling. By contrast, the chorus of horror that has accompanied Russia’s cruel air strikes this past week has gone beyond sanity.

Let’s start with a reality check. The Russian military are killers who go for the jugular. They slaughtered the innocent of Chechnya to crush the Islamist uprising there, and they will cut down the innocent of Syria as they try to crush a new army of Islamists and save the ruthless regime of Bashar al-Assad.

The Syrian army, some of whose members are war criminals, have struggled ferociously to preserve the state – and used barrel bombs to do it. They have also fought to the death.

“American officials” – those creatures beloved of The New York Times – claim that the Syrian army does not fight Isis. If true, who on earth killed the 56,000 Syrian soldiers – the statistic an official secret, but nonetheless true – who have so far died in the Syrian war? The preposterous Free Syrian Army (FSA)?

This rubbish has reached its crescendo in the on-again off-again saga of the Syrian “moderates”. These men were originally military defectors to the FSA, which America and European countries regarded as a possible pro-Western force to be used against the Syrian government army. But the FSA fell to pieces, corrupted, and the “moderates” defected all over again, this time to the Islamist Nusrah Front or to Isis, selling their American-supplied weapons to the highest bidder or merely retiring quietly – and wisely – to the countryside where they maintained a few scattered checkpoints.

Washington admitted their disappearance, bemoaned their fate, concluded thatnew “moderates” were required, persuaded the CIA to arm and train 70 fighters, and this summer packed them off across the Turkish border to fight – whereupon all but 10 were captured by Nusrah and at least two of them were executed by their captors. Just two weeks ago, I heard in person one of the most senior ex-US officers in Iraq – David Petraeus’s former No. 2 in Baghdad – announce that the “moderates” had collapsed long ago. Now you see them – now you don’t.

But within hours of Russia’s air assaults last weekend, Washington, The New York Times, CNN, the poor old BBC and just about every newspaper in the Western world resurrected these ghosts and told us that the Ruskies werebombing the brave “moderates” fighting Bashar’s army in Syria – the very “moderates” who, according to the same storyline from the very same sources a few weeks earlier, no longer existed. Our finest commentators and experts –always a dodgy phrase – joined in the same chorus line.

So now a few harsh factoids. The Syrian army are drawing up the operational target lists for the Russian air force. But Vladimir Putin has his own enemies in Syria.

Continue reading The ‘moderates’ have disappeared — there are no good guys and bad guys in the Syrian war

Russian church: The fight in Syria is a ‘holy war’

Read more » Al Arabiya
See more » http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/09/30/Church-says-Russia-fighting-holy-battle-in-Syria.html

US ‘willing to work with Russia and Iran’ on Syria

President Barack Obama has said the US is prepared to work with any nation, including Russia and Iran, to resolve the conflict in Syria.

He told the UN General Assembly in New York compromise would be essential for ending the long civil war.

But he said realism required a “managed transition” away from Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad to an inclusive leader.

He and Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is a key ally of Syria, are to hold rare talks later.

Read more » BBC
See more » http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-34378889

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

Reports: Chinese ships head to Syria

Translated by Kristina Rus

China deploys troops to help Russia in Syria

Remember the joint military exercises of Russia and China in the sea and on land? With landing on shore and fighting against terrorists?

And here is the answer to the question of why they trained together.

Rusvesna:

“An Arab news source [Al Masdar News] reports that a military contingent of the PRC is on the way to Latakia and will arrive in Syrian ports any day. Chinese transport with military cargo was spotted on Tuesday morning, passing through the Suez canal.

Information about the Chinese military experts heading to Tartus was confirmed by the commander of the Syrian army. The report concludes that Moscow will create in Syria an anti-terrorist coalition that will become the alternative version of the military alliance formed by the US  for dropping supplies to ISIS. Military entrance of China into the struggle for Syria will be an important addition to today’s statement by the Iranian Foreign Ministry. At a press conference with “Russia Today” deputy foreign minister of Iran, Hossein Amir Abdollahian stated that Iran will fight ISIS together with Russia. Notably Amir talked not just about an alliance, but a creation of a broad military coalition.

“We welcome the Russian President’s proposal on establishment of a common front in a fight against terrorism and are even ready in realizing this initiative to carry out joint operations and cooperate together,” – said deputy foreign minister of Iran.

That Russia will fight terrorists with Iran’s hands, English resources have been writing for a week. And the joining of China into the support group has exceeded all imaginable expectations. The presence of the international coalition significantly changes the balance of power in favor of Moscow, untying Russian hands for direct military action in the Middle East.”

It seems that Russia has finally returned to the Middle East.

Courtesy: Fort Russ
Read more » http://fortruss.blogspot.com.ar/2015/09/reports-chinese-ships-head-to-syria.html

Russian Marines on the move in Syria, showdown with ISIS expected soon

By Timothy Whiteman Wilmington Conservative Examiner

While the American media focuses in on the Trump vs. Fiorina zinger-fest with laser-like precision, foreign news services are picking up the Yankee slack on reporting of the Russian military build-up in the Middle East. As reported by Great Britain’s The Guardianand Israel’s military-centric new media portal DEBKAfile, both on Sept. 17, 2015, and alsoThe Manila Times on Sept. 16, 2015, Russian Naval Infantry (Marines) have left their coastal bases and heading for a showdown with the Islamic jihadists situated further inland.

The Russians have seemingly overnight beefed up their Jableh airbase in the coastal province of Latakia from essentially a dirt airstrip into an advanced military base capable of housing 1,500 Russian Marines. Citing multiple sources here, the Pentagon has verified as of 48 hours ago a total of 15 of the massive Russian Antonov-124 Condor flights have touched down at Jableh, reflecting a steady stream of military cargo flooding into the Middle Eastern nation.

Between the Condor cargo aircraft and two amphibious assault ships at their naval base at Tartus, the Russians have so far unloaded at least a half-dozen third-generation T-90 main battle tanks; 15 fresh artillery pieces; 35 armored personnel carriers, similar to the U.S. Army’s Bradley fighting vehicles; and an yet to be released number of additional Russian Marines. As it turns out, the boys from Mother Russia are on a high tech road trip to pick a fight with the ISIS terrorist organization.

As reported by the DEBKAfile, an unspecified number of R-166-0.5 (ultra) high-frequency signals (HF/VHF) vehicles have been spotted on Highway 4, which links Latakia province to the ISIS-held interior of the war-ravaged country. Often referred to as “mobile war rooms” by the Israeli and Western armies, a “large convoy” of the R-166-0.5 command and control vehicles were accompanied by a yet to be released number of BTR-82 armored personnel carriers (APC) chock full of Russian Marines. The R-166-0.5 enables communication with forces located on battlefields as far as 620 miles (1,000 kilometers) distant using their high frequency and ultra-high frequency signals.

Meanwhile, The Guardian notes that a convoy of Russian APCs and up-armored trucks has left Jableh heading southeast. According to the British newspaper’s sources, this particular Russian motorized force is heading straight for the government-held city of Hama. Syrian National Army troops loyal to President Bashir al-Assad have a tentative hold on the city against militant Islamists. Much like the WWII Battle of Stalingrad, control of Hama see-saws between forces in battles where gains and losses are measured by the city block.

Read more » Examiner.com
See more » http://www.examiner.com/article/russian-marines-on-the-move-syria-showdown-with-isis-expected-soon

Via Facebook (Social media)

Syria crisis: US concern over Russia ‘military build-up’

US Secretary of State John Kerry has expressed concern to Moscow over reports of Russian military build-up in Syria, the state department says.

US media reports said Russia has sent advisers and hardware to Syria, in what Washington fears is an expansion of its support for President Bashar al-Assad.

Any such development would “escalate the conflict”, Mr Kerry told his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.

Russia has been a key ally of Syria throughout its four-year civil war.

The New York Times cited US officials as saying Russia had despatched an advance military team to Syria, as well as housing units and an air traffic control centre to an airfield.

The officials quoted admitted they were unsure of Moscow’s intentions, but said the deployments could enable Russia to use the airbase to facilitate supply of military gear or to launch air strikes against Mr Assad’s enemies.

Mr Kerry made his concerns over the reports known to the Russian Foreign Minister in a phone call.

“If such reports were accurate, these actions could further escalate the conflict, lead to greater loss of innocent life, increase refugee flows and risk confrontation with the anti-Isil coalition operating in Syria,” the state department said, using an alternative acronym for Islamic State (IS).

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday it was “premature” to talk about Moscow getting involved in direct fighting.

Russia and the US disagree sharply on Syria. While Russia has backed the Syrian government, and provided it with arms, the US wants to see the removal of President Assad.

In the latest fighting on the ground, at least 47 people died in fierce clashes between IS militants and other rebels in the northern town of Marea.

At least six members of Syria’s security forces were shot dead in the south-western city of Sweida, after a prominent cleric in the minority Druze community died in a car bomb blast.

News courtesy: BBC
Read more » http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-34166623

Pakistan Warms Up to Russia With Helicopter Deal

$2 billion natural-gas pipeline also in the works as political tensions with U.S. mount

By SAEED SHAH in Islamabad, Pakistan, and JAMES MARSON in Moscow

Russia has agreed to sell military helicopters to Pakistan and is poised to build a $2 billion natural-gas pipeline in the South Asian country—its biggest investment there in decades—as Islamabad turns toward a former adversary and away from the U.S., its longtime ally.

Islamabad has been weighing its strategic options amid rising tension with Washington, which views Pakistan as an unreliable ally in combating Islamist militants in the region, including neighboring Afghanistan.

On Thursday, Pakistan said it would buy four Russian Mi-35 attack helicopters for an undisclosed price, after a spate of high-level visits between the two countries.

In the Russian city of Ufa last month, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met Russian President Vladimir Putin and declared that he wanted a “multidimensional relationship” encompassing defense, commerce and energy.

That represents a major shift for both countries, in response to a changing geopolitical dynamic. Pakistan worked alongside the U.S. to defeat Soviet forces that occupied Afghanistan in the 1980s, while Russia built close ties with India, Pakistan’s estranged neighbor and rival.

Continue reading Pakistan Warms Up to Russia With Helicopter Deal

Russia agrees to sell Pakistan four MI-35 attack helicopters

By Kamran Yousaf

Pakistan on Wednesday signed an agreement with Russia to purchase MI-35 ‘Hind’ attack helicopters.

“An agreement was signed between Pakistan and Russian authorities in Rawalpindi for the purchase of four MI-35 helicopters,” said a senior military official on Wednesday.

Read more » The Express Tribune
See more » http://tribune.com.pk/story/941225/russia-agrees-to-sell-pakistan-four-mi-35-attack-helicopters/

Russia, China and Pakistan: An Emerging New ‘alliance’?

Russia, China and Pakistan: An Emerging New Axis?

Regional realities are shifting fast, with some significant ramifications for India.

By Joy Mitra

In geopolitics, strategic realities can change with surprising speed, and even before countries realize it decisive shifts occur that shape the future for the years to come. That seems to be the case with traditional Cold War rivals Russia and Pakistan, which have of late seen a gradual warming of ties. Traditionally an ally of India and hitherto supportive of India’s stance on Kashmir, Russia has shown clear signs of cozying up to Pakistan.

Having earlier lifted its self-imposed arms embargo on Pakistan, in November 2014 Russia signed a landmark“military cooperation” agreement with Pakistan, which spoke about “exchanging information on politico-military issues, strengthening collaboration in the defense and counter-terrorism sectors, sharing similar views on developments in Afghanistan and doing business with each other.” There have been reports that Pakistan may purchase Mi-35 combat helicopters apart from directly importing the Klimov RD-93 engines from Russiarather than via China for its JF-17 multi-role fighters. This could also mean a significant role for Russian equipment and spares in future development of the fighter. In addition, Russian state-owned firm Rostekh Corporation is planning to build a 680 mile gas pipeline in Pakistan in 2017 at an estimated cost of $2.5 billion.

The mutual overtures between Russia and Pakistan are part of a greater shift in international relations. In Europe, Russia is embroiled in a showdown with the West over Ukraine, with Moscow’s military adventure in Crimea being followed by Western sanctions. In the Asia-Pacific, China’s encroachments in the South China Seahas inflamed tensions with other Asia-Pacific countries allied with the U.S. These developments have forced Russia and China to look for allies, which explains the bonhomie between the two powers of late. Some analysts question whether a partnership motivated by external factors could lead to an alliance of countries that formerly distrusted each other. But the old adage “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” fits perfectly well here; the single most important factor that overrides all others is their concurrent perception of the U.S. and its “policy of containment” towards them. China needs allies to change the world order and it begins with Asia.

Continue reading Russia, China and Pakistan: An Emerging New ‘alliance’?

Putin: Let’s trade in BRICS currencies

President Vladimir Putin says Russia is interested in using national currencies with other BRICS members after agreeing on such an arrangement with China.

He made the announcement after meeting leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa in Ufa in the Urals for a summit of BRICS nations.

“I think that such development with India, Brazil and South Africa would be interesting and could no doubt lift the level of trade turnover,” Putin said.

The BRICS accounts for almost half the world’s population and about one-fifth of global economic output. Member states have established the New Development Bank with an initial capital of $100 billion and an additional pool of $100 billion currency reserves.

“A pool of nominal currency reserves, with capital of $100 billion, will give us an opportunity to react to financial market fluctuations in a timely and appropriate manner,” Putin said.

The Russian leader said the new development bank will begin financing energy projects next year.

“The New Development Bank will be financing large-scale transport and energy projects and industrial development,” he said.

Economists see the new bank as a challenge to the domination of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund which are under the US influence.

Putin said BRICS nations will work out a roadmap for investment cooperation by the end of the year when the first projects will be launched.

Read more » Press Tv
See more » http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/07/10/419593/brics-summit-putin-russia-sco-currency

Russia Opens Door To Greece As Sixth Member Of New BRICS World Bank: Russian Oil Makes Athens Europe’s Energy Hub!

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Monday held a telephone conversation with Russian Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak. During the conversation, Storchak invited Greece to become the sixth member of the New Development Bank of BRICS countries, Greece’s Syriza party reported on its website. Storchak is a representative of the BRICS Bank which is now being established.

Read more » Political Vel Craft
See more » http://politicalvelcraft.org/2015/05/14/russia-opens-door-to-greece-as-sixth-member-of-new-brics-world-bank-russian-oil-makes-athens-europes-energy-hub/

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

Army chief arrives in Russia for crucial talks: ISPR

By Kamran Yousuf

ISLAMABAD: Army chief General Raheel Sharif arrived in Moscow on a three-day official visit to Russia against the backdrop of realignments taking place in the region.

The chief military spokesperson, who is also accompanying the army chief, said General Raheel was given an “elegant guard of honour” at a ceremony held at Kremlin on Monday.

“Wreath laying at tomb of unknown soldier. Heart warming to see Russian band play Pakistan anthem perfectly,” Major General Asim Bajwa tweeted.

Read more » The Express Tribune
See more » http://tribune.com.pk/story/904003/army-chief-arrives-in-russia-for-crucial-talks-ispr/

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

Toe-to-Toe with Putin: Canada Is Keeping an Eye on Expanding Russian Military In the Arctic

by Ben Makuch

Today, in the morning hours of Moscow time, Russian President Vladimir Putin gave orders for snap military exercises in the Russian Far North. The sudden “combat readiness” maneuvers of the Northern Fleet are just the latest military flexing in the Arctic by Putin since the Ukraine crisis began in 2013.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu is quoted in Sputnik News, the English wing of the state media apparatus, explaining that the exercises are designed to test Russia’s ability to defend its Arctic regions.

“New challenges and threats of military security demand the further heightening of military capabilities of the Armed Forces and special attention will be paid to the state of the newly formed strategic merging [of forces] in the North,” said Shoigu.

Back in January, Putin announced major spending plans for Russian military infrastructure in the Arctic as well as expanding the very Northern Fleet currently testing its mettle.

Canada, a major Arctic player and key opponent to Russia in the quest for expanded borders in the Far North looked at that military expansionism with concern.

“Canada is aware of Russia’s announced military infrastructure developments in its North,” said a spokesperson for Foreign Affairs at the time, “[W]e remain vigilant in our surveillance of the Arctic.”

Along with Canada, Russia and other Arctic nations are making competing United Nations bids over potentially lucrative Arctic lands, staking a claim on a region with reportedly 90 billion barrels worth of oil sitting untapped beneath the frozen crust.

“Our objective has been to obtain the most expansive continental shelf for Canada. We are working to ensure that Canada secures international recognition of the full extent of our continental shelf, including the North Pole,” said the Foreign Affairs spokesperson.

At the same time, the North American Aerospace Defense (NORAD) is detecting an uptick in Russian long range bombers approaching the the US and Canadian Air Defense Identification Zones (ADIZ)—something that hasn’t happened as regularly since the end of the Cold War.

Continue reading Toe-to-Toe with Putin: Canada Is Keeping an Eye on Expanding Russian Military In the Arctic

Russia Just Closed NATO’s Land Corridor to Afghanistan

By RI Staff

“The graveyard of empires” just got a little bit more graveyardy: Medvedev has‬ canceled the decree that allows ‪NATO‬ forces to use Russian territory as a transit corridor to Afghanistan. The decision comes just as it was revealed that the U.S. plans on extending its already over-extended “stay” in Afghanistan

Read more » Russia Insider
See more » http://russia-insider.com/en/russia-just-closed-natos-land-corridor-afghanistan/ri7078

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/

Russia, China agree to integrate Eurasian Union, Silk Road, sign deals

Russia and China have signed a number of energy, trade and finance deals on Friday aimed at strengthening economic ties. The two countries have multiple mutual projects which “achieved a unity of views on a wide range of issues.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping have signed a decree on cooperation in tying the development of the Eurasian Economic Union with the “Silk Road” economic project.

“The integration of the Eurasian Economic Union and Silk Road projects means reaching a new level of partnership and actually implies a common economic space on the continent,” Putin said after the meeting with his Chinese counterpart. President Xi Jinping arrived in Moscow on Friday for the 70th anniversary celebration of the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II.

China will also invest $5.8 billion in the construction of the Moscow-Kazan High Speed Railway, the Russian President said. The railway is to be extended to China, connecting the two countries through Kazakhstan. It can become part of the route of the new Silk Road project, which is aimed at tying China with European and Middle Eastern markets. The total cost of the Moscow-Kazan high speed railroad project is $21.4 billion.

Russia’s largest gas producer Gazprom and China’s National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) signed an agreement on the basic conditions of gas supplies from Russia to China through the Western route. The two companies decided to extend a strategic partnership agreement for five years, according to Gazprom’s CEO Aleksey Miller. The agreement provides for the construction of the first, second and third Altai pipelines.

Sberbank – Russia’s biggest lender – has signed a facility agreement with China’s Development Bank in the amount of $966 million. They also agreed on financing an industrial project by Sberbank to the tune of $256.4 million.

Read more » http://rt.com/business/256877-russia-china-deals-cooperation/#.VU02RKPqB40.facebook

Putin ratifies BRICS $100bn currency pool deal

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ratified a deal to establish a $100 billion foreign currency reserve pool for the BRICS group. The pool’s purpose is to protect national currencies from volatility in global markets.

The document was “to ratify the treaty on the establishment of a pool of foreign exchange reserves of the BRICS.”

On Wednesday the deal was ratified by Russia’s upper house of Parliament, the Federation Council. According to the deputy head of the Federal Council Committee for Budget and Financial Markets, Sergey Ivanov, the currency pool will primarily support the balance of payments of the BRICS member states.

“Realization of the agreement will also contribute to the effective protection of the national currencies against the volatility in the world currency markets,” Ivanov said.

The goal of the pool is so that BRICS member states can urgently replenish their liquidity from it in different proportions to resolve problems with their balance of payments.

China will make the biggest contribution to the pool – $41 billion. Russia, Brazil and India will donate $18 billion each, while South Africa’s investment will be $5 billion.

The fund is expected to be maintained by a managing council, a permanent committee and a coordinator who will be from the country of the current president.

In July Russia, Brazil, India, China and South Africa signed the document to a reserve currency pool worth over $100bn as well as $100bn BRICS Development Bank

BRICS represents 42 percent of the world’s population and roughly 20 percent of the world’s economy based on GDP, and 30 percent of the world’s GDP based on PPP, a more accurate reading of the real economy. Total trade between the countries is $6.14 trillion, or nearly 17 percent of the world’s total.

News courtesy: http://rt.com/business/255141-putin-brics-pool-currency/

Russia to invest $2 billion to build natural gas pipeline in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Russia will invest a whopping $2 billion in Pakistan to build a 1,100-kilometre pipeline from southern port city of Karachi to Lahore to transport liquefied natural gas.

“Pakistan and Russia have finalized an LNG pipeline deal in a recent meeting in Moscow and the two countries will sign a government-to-government basis deal next month,” petroleum minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was quoted as saying by The Express Tribune.

Abbasi said that in return for the investment, Russian companies will be awarded the contract to build the pipeline.

News courtesy: THE TIMES OF INDIA
Read more » http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/international-business/Russia-to-invest-2-billion-to-build-natural-gas-pipeline-in-Pakistan/articleshow/46970624.cms

Putin lifts ban on delivery of S-300 missile systems to Iran

The Russian president has repealed the ban prohibiting the delivery of S-300 missile air defense systems to Iran, according to the Kremlin’s press service. The ban was introduced by former President Dmitry Medvedev in 2010.

“[The presidential] decree lifts the ban on transit through Russian territory, including airlift, and the export from the Russian Federation to the Islamic Republic of Iran, and also the transfer to the Islamic Republic of Iran outside the territory of the Russian Federation, both by sea and by air, of air defense missile systems S-300,” says the information note accompanying the document, RIA Novosti reported.

The decree enters into force upon the president’s signature.

Read more » RT
See more » http://rt.com/news/249229-russia-s300-delivery-iran/