Tag Archive | "Russia VS USA"

‘No surprise if Moscow recalls ambassador’: Russia will lash out against new sanctions, say experts

‘No surprise if Moscow recalls ambassador’: Russia will lash out against new sanctions, say experts
Washington’s latest sanctions have left no room for a constructive response from Moscow, analysts explain, but opinions differ widely on how much the measures will affect relations between the two countries.

All interviewed by RT railed against the framing of the sanctions, nominally prompted by the alleged use of chemical weapons against the Skripals in the UK back in March. Russia will be punished with a first set of measures from August 22, and is given 90 days to assure Washington that it will no longer deploy chemical weapons, and to open up its chemical production facilities to international inspectors.

One problem: Russia denies that it has used chemical weapons in the first place and says that it had already disposed of its stockpile in accordance with international treaties. So, to use the proverbial example, the US is asking Russia: “When will you finally stop beating your wife?”

READ MORE: Sanctioning Russia for false link to UK poisonings ‘unacceptable & unlawful’ – Kremlin

“Russia can’t admit what it hasn’t done. It’s as if the US is asking Russia, ‘Show us your Yeti’ and if you don’t we will punish you. There are literally no facilities to even show,” Vladimir Kornilov, a political analyst for RIA news agency, told RT.

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© Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

“The very way that the conditions of dropping the sanctions are posed by the US –we will abandon them if you confess your sins and repent– is so humiliating and unacceptable that any response will have to be very firm,” said Andrey Kortunov, Director General of the Russian International Affairs Council.

Leonid Polyakov, from the Higher School of Economics, says that Washington must be aware that the Kremlin would never agree to its conditions, so setting them in the first place is a cheap pretense at diplomacy.

“Historically, under the current leadership Russia can never do two things. It can never move from officially stated positions on certain international issues and incidents – for example, on Skripal. Russia is not going to turn around and say ‘Sorry, we actually did poison him,’”he told RT.

“And secondly, Vladimir Putin will never agree to any unilateral concessions. Any previous offers Moscow has made are always on a quid-pro-quo basis,” Polyakov pointed out, citing the recent offer by the Russian president to allow the questioning of its citizens involved in alleged election-meddling, but only in exchange for William Browder and others being interviewed by Moscow’s investigators.

US ‘showing who’s boss’ or playing to home audience?

All three experts agreed that not only will the sanctions be rejected, but they are unlikely to have any indirect effect on Russia’s international policies, or its economic outlook.

So, why implement them at all?

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© Regis Duvignau

Kortunov says this is an attempt to claw back international prestige, particularly in the wake of the US failure to impose its will in Syria, fraying relations with Europe and China, and Donald Trump’s perceived softness in negotiating with Putin in Helsinki last month.

“This is an attempt to make a statement from the US establishment – to show who is boss in international politics. Over the last two or three years the role of the US as the commander-in-chief of world affairs has been cast into doubt, and Russia has been chosen as the whipping boy as Washington tries to reassert control,” Kortunov said.

For Polyakov, this is all about “looking strong on Russia” ahead of October’s mid-term elections.

“The people putting these sanctions forward aren’t aware of the international consequences. First and foremost, they are driven by a desire to play to their domestic audience, particularly with the midterms coming up. Showing you are not beholden to Russia is a campaign move,” he said to RT.

The professor of political science adds that a lack of ideas over how to corral a feisty Russia is pushing American officials to press the sanctions button again and again.

“As the saying goes, when you don’t know what to do, do what you know. The international situation is such that no side can expect to back down without losses. Everyone knows that sanctions don’t work. But it is a simple tool, easy to understand, and one that has been widely used before by the US. It is almost a reflex reaction by now.”

Yet Kornilov believes that sanctions are not just a shield for a beleaguered establishment, but an offensive weapon.

“It is clear that if it wasn’t going to be the Skripals, it would be something else. Sanctions have become a tool in economic and trade wars, and no one is bothering to hide this,” he said.

Can things get worse?

Since hostility between Moscow and Washington is at a post-war high as it is, Polyakov believes it will be impractical for the two nuclear powers to escalate tensions still further, beyond the headlines.

“Any proposed downgrading of diplomatic relations will likely be more symbolic than practical, as there is constant contact between Moscow and Washington that doesn’t go through diplomatic channels, but directly between government departments, for example as in Syria,” he said, referring to the military hotline that has allowed the two countries to operate side-by-side during the ongoing conflict there.

Kortunov is less sanguine.

“I would not be surprised if the Russian ambassador from Washington is recalled as a counter-measure,” he says, adding that this could detonate all tentative plans between the two countries negotiated at the Helsinki summit.

But Vladimir Kornilov isn’t just worried about the State Department steps, but also about a proposed new legislative initiative that aims to stop Russian banks from operating with US clients, and plans to designate the country as a state sponsor of terrorism.

“This isn’t just about worsening relations, this is going to be tantamount to a breakdown of diplomatic relations between Moscow and Washington. This will be beyond the pale. I hope Americans come to their senses and step back from the brink,” said the analyst.

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‘Russia will never be our friend, we’ll slap them when needed’


‘Russia will never be our friend, we’ll slap them when needed’ – US envoy to UN

Zionist Nikki Haley has erupted in another fiery Russophobic rant, warning that Russia will “never be America’s friend.” Moscow can try to behave “like a regular country,” but the US will “slap them when we need to,” Zionist Haley said.

The US ambassador to the UN is not known for her friendly stance toward Moscow, but her new take on US-Russia relations stands out among even her most rabid ramblings. Speaking at Duke University in North Carolina on Friday, Zionist Haley admitted that friendly relations with Russia is an unlikely prospect, adding that the Trump team has done more against Moscow than any other administration since Ronald Reagan’s tenure.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley © Mike Segar

“Russia’s never going to be our friend,” Zionist Haley told students at a Q&A session, responding to a question about “holding Russia accountable” for alleged meddling in the 2016 presidential election. The diplomat said Washington still works with Moscow “when we need to, and we slap them when we need to.”

She then raised the stakes further: “Everybody likes to listen to the words. I’m going to tell you – look at the actions,” Haley urged. “We expelled 60 Russian diplomats/spies, we have armed Ukraine so that they can defend themselves,” she added.

According to the UN envoy, the US is doing “two things Russia would never want us to do,” namely enlarging the military and expanding its energy policy. “So, this president has done more against Russia than any president since Reagan,” she asserted.

“You haven’t seen the end of what this administration will do to Russia. You will continue to see that play out,” she stressed.

READ MORE: Trump suggested meeting with Putin in Washington, DC

Cooling down the degree of Russia-bashing in her speech, Haley said the US and Russia do cooperate on Afghanistan and Africa, looking out for areas of mutual interest. Meanwhile, she claimed, “our relations with Russia depend solely on Russia.”

However, the Russian leadership can make life easier “if they decide to be a good actor and deal in the international community like regular countries,” the ambassador noted, adding that “they will see more countries want to work with them.”

The topic of Russia-bashing and Moscow’s alleged interference in US democratic processes seems far away from dwindling, despite no solid evidence being presented so far to the public. Moscow has repeatedly brushed off the claims. “Until we see facts, everything else will be just blather,” Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in Munich last month.

However, there could be signs of improvement on the horizon. Donald Trump has recently suggested meeting Russian leader Vladimir Putin in Washington, DC. In March, he said the two leaders “will be meeting in the not too distant future to discuss the arms race which is getting out of control.” Putin and Trump have so far met twice.

The first meeting occurred during the G20 summit in Germany last July, and the second took place on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Vietnam in November. President Putin, as well as several Russian officials, has continuously signaled Moscow’s readiness to improve ties with the US and the West, based on trust and respect.

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Russia ‘Opposes’ Latest Massive US-Led War Games in Waters Off Korea, Japan


The drills involve 40 warships from the U.S., Japan and South Korea, as well as three nuclear submarines and a nuclear-powered carrier strike group.


The United States and its Japanese and South Korean junior partners have begun holding massive military drills off the Asian nations’ coasts in a show of force meant to convey to North Korea the allies’ military capabilities while also practicing the neutralization of alleged “threats” from Pyongyang.

The practices, which involve over 40 warships, three nuclear submarines, and a nuclear-powered carrier strike group deployed in a line stretching from the Yellow Sea west of the peninsula into the Sea of Japan, have drawn a swift rebuke from Russia.

“We decisively condemn North Korea’s missile and nuclear tests. At the same time, we oppose the excessive military activity of several countries of the region that provoke such tests,” Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Defense Ministers’ Meeting, noting that the moves simply inflame tensions with Pyongyang.

According to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, the drills are intended to practice the interoperability of the three countries’ fleets and their ability to detect and track any alleged missile threats from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, as North Korea is officially called.

The USS Ronald Reagan – a 100,000-ton, 333-meter nuclear-powered supercarrier – is among the strategic vessels taking part in the drills. The U.S. Navy’s biggest warship in Asia, with a crew of 5,000 sailors, sailed around 160.93 km (100 miles), launching almost 90 F-18 Super Hornet sorties from its deck, in sight of South Korean islands.

The provocative drills also involved American Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Stethem, Japanese Kongo-class guided missile destroyer JDS Kirishima and a South Korean Sejong Great-class destroyer – all of which are equipped with the Aegis combat systems capable of long-range ballistic missile defense.

The exercises come ahead of President Donald Trump‘s first official visit to Asia, set to start in Japan on Nov. 5, with South Korea to follow.

North Korea has slammed the warship gathering as a “rehearsal for war.” On Monday, North Korea´s Deputy U.N. Ambassador Kim In Ryong warned a U.N. General Assembly committee that the Korean peninsula is in the midst of an acutely tense situation especially in light of Trump’s threats to annihilate the North.

In his comments to the ASEAN defense gathering, Shoigu once again raised the proposal that the U.S. and its junior partners suspend military drills in the region in exchange for North Korea ending its nuclear and missile programs. Throughout the year, both Russia and China have raised the so-called “double freeze” as a solution to spiraling tensions.

“We are confident that a roadmap based on the Russian and Chinese initiatives should become the foundation for the use of political and diplomatic mechanisms aimed at resolving the North Korea issue,” Shoigu added.

While Washington has not ruled out the eventual possibility of direct talks with the North to resolve the stand-off, Pyongyang says it won’t hold talks until the White House drops its hostile stance and threats of potential nuclear attack.

“Our nuclear weapons will never be a subject matter of negotiations as long as the United States’ policy of pressure on the DPRK has not been uprooted once and for all,” North Korea´s Foreign Minister Ri Yong-Ho told TASS in an interview earlier this month.

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Lavrov: Russia insists on return of its diplomatic property ‘illegally seized’ by US

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that Moscow insists on the return of its diplomatic properties “illegally seized” by the US, warning of legal consequences and possible retaliation.

“Russia reserves the right to undertake legal action and retaliatory measures,” reads a statement issued by the Russian Foreign Ministry after the phone call.

Both Lavrov and Tillerson, however, expressed support for the ongoing consultations on the issues of Russia-US relations, led by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Ryabkov and US Under Secretary Thomas Shannon.

The diplomatic property row between Moscow and Washington dates back to late 2016, when the outgoing Obama administration expelled a number of Russian diplomats and closed two Russian diplomatic compounds in New York and Maryland. In July 2017, the US Congress imposed new sanctions on Russia. The move prompted Moscow to reduce US diplomatic personnel numbers in Russia to 455. The US responded with new hostile actions early in September, shutting down the Russian Consulate-General in San Francisco as well as trade missions in Washington and New York.

On Monday Lavrov and Tillerson also discussed the conflict in Syria, focusing on the prospects for cooperation between Russia and the US in maintaining the ceasefire in de-escalation zones and political reconciliation between the warring parties. Lavrov also stressed the utmost importance of fighting terrorism in the country.

The crisis in the Korean Peninsula was also a high priority in the talks, with Lavrov warning that the US’s activities in the region were only leading to escalation. The Russian foreign minister urged the US to resolve the conflict solely through dialogue.

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