Tag Archives: Kremlin

Russian diplomats to leave UK on 20th of March

Russian ambassador to UK confirms expelled diplomats will leave on March 20, 2018.

The UK this accused Russian government of a chemical-weapons with attack on British soil targeting Sergei Skripal, a former double agent. Any evidence in support of the accusation has yet to be made public. British officials claim that the nerve agent Novichok used against Sripals was invented in the Soviet Union and that Kremlin was culpable either for carrying out the attack or for losing control of this weapon of mass destruction.

Lavrov expects samples of poison from UK

Moscow will not respond to the UK request about a clandestine USSR chemical weapon allegedly ‘Novichok’ used in an ex-double agent’s poisoning until a sample of the element is provided, the Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said.

 

Moscow considers U.S. anti-Russian sanctions “unlawful”

Moscow considers sanctions against Russia over the situation in Ukraine unlawful, Russia’s RIA news agency reports, referring to the Kremlin spokesman. The measures extended for one year were announced by U.S. President Donald Trump, in a letter dated March 2 and published on the White House website, in which he underlining that the sanctions against Russia were imposed for its role in the Ukrainian crisis and annexation of Crimea, and they should remain in place beyond March 6.

Dmitry Peskov (pictured), spokesman for President Vladimir Putin, said Russia has never been the initiator of these sanctions.

“We consider them as unlawful and harmful not only for the people of our two countries but for the whole world,” Peskov said.

 

 

Russia labels American outlets as ‘foreign agents’

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law on  new measures allowing authorities to list media outlets as “foreign agents” in response to what Kremlin says is unacceptable Washington pressure on Russian media abroad.

The law passed through both Russian houses of parliament in the last two weeks. It will allow Moscow to force foreign media to brand news they provide to Russians as the work of “foreign agents” and oblige them disclose their funding sources.

A copy of the law was published on the Russian government’s online legislation database on Saturday, saying it entered into force from the day of its publication.

Russia’s move against American media is part of the fallout from allegations that Russia interfered in last year’s presidential election in favor of Donald Trump.

US intelligence officials have accused Kremlin of using Russian media organizations it finances to influence voters, and Washington has since required Russian state broadcaster RT (Russia Today) to register a U.S.-based affiliate company as a “foreign agent”.

The Kremlin has repeatedly denied meddling in the election and said the restrictions on Russian broadcasters in the United States are an attack on freedom of speech.

The Russian Justice Ministry last week published a list of nine American news outlets which could fall under new rules.

It said it had written to the government-sponsored Voice of America (VOA) and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), along with seven separate Russian or local-language news outlets run by RFE/RL.

A released Russian activist escapes in Prague

A Russian activist Ivan Nepomnyashchy (Nepomnyashchikh), convicted for 2.5 years in framework of ‘Bolotnaya’ trials and released from the colony in late August,  left Russia, according to Russian media. On September 7 Ivan flew to Prague, and later plans to move to the USA to study.
An engineer and activist, Ivan (33), is one of involved in a large-scale case in aftermath of the events at the Bolotnaya square of Moscow on May 6, 2012. He was accused of involvement in mass riots and the use of violence against a policeman and was convicted in December 2015.

The case of activists accused of clashing with riot police during a rally against Vladimir Putin permanent rule has been  dubbed a political show by Kremlin critics.

The “Bolotnaya case”, which takes its name from the square in central Moscow where the clashes took place, has drawn stinging criticism from local rights groups, which accuse Putin of crushing dissent since returning for a third term as president.

“We have been discussing with Ivan, even when he was serving his sentence, this option,” said his lawyer Irina Biryukova,  describing the motives of the activists to leave Russia.  “The last three days have been like penal servitude. Constantly in touch, almost every step discussed. From the moment of arrival at the airport before departure, we were always in touch. “
Earlier it was reported that on April 24 Ivan and the other two prisoners were beaten while transferring to jail for disobedience to the staff of the colony. Two days later, the authorities recognized the use of force, but denied the beating.
After this incident, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ordered Russia to conduct a medical examination of the convict. The commission of local doctors inspected Ivan and found no injuries, but human rights activists told that the doctors had carried out a ‘strange’ physical examination without looking at the convict’s feet, severely damaged.
The term of Ivan stay in prison was prolonged several times. He left there in May and a month later got there again. On June 16, the term of stay in the punishment cell was extended one more time.
On December 24, 2015, the human rights center Memorial recognized Ivan as a political prisoner.
On May 6, 2012 during a sanctioned rally there were clashes of demonstrators and policemen. In the case of mass riots, a total of 35 people were held, about 20 of them were convicted and had already served their sentence.

Moscow to Washington – ‘quid pro quo’

Kremlin has been actively preparing a response to the highly probable sanctions from the US awaited by the end of this week. According to Kommersant newspaper sources, the Foreign Ministry suggested the Russian authorities seizure of  the summer residence of the American Embassy in woodland ‘Serebryany Bor’ (‘Silver forest’), situated on artificial island of Moskwa river, and their storage facilities. This will be a symmetrical response to the arrest imposed on Russian diplomatic property in the US by the previous administration.

In addition, 35 American diplomats can be expelled from the country – the same number of staff of the Russian Embassy in Washington was ordered to leave the US in December last year. Also, the Russian side is considering the possibility of limiting the maximum number of employees of the American diplomatic mission in Moscow, currently exceeding the number of Russians in the embassy in Washington.

“Kommersant” also describes possible asymmetric economic measures.

Kremlin can create complications for the United States in the UN Security Council, where the States are seeking to increase pressure on North Korea.

Moscow’s economic sanctions against Washington can be expressed in direct circumcision of trade turnover, restrictions on the work of American companies in the country and some form of withdrawal of investments already made by them in Russia.

Possible restrictions on the part of exports from Russia to the United States may be quite sensitive, but with no less serious adverse effect.

Kommersant points out that the United States has been critically dependent on deliveries of a Russian enriched uranium product for its nuclear power plants over the last decades. Since 2015, the supplies have gone through direct commercial contracts with US energy companies and Russia has received a quota of 20% of the market. The possible halt of supplies will hurt both sides: the US will have to seek replacement of the Russian deliveries in the market with a small number of players, and Russia to quickly find a replacement for American buyers.

Another double-edged area is the supply of titanium. The US remains the main export market for Russian VSMPO-AVISMA, the world’s largest titanium producer operating in business with aerospace companies around the world. In 2016 the country provided the company with 32% of shipments and 48% of export sales. It is Russia that covers more than a third of the needs of the aircraft-building  Boeing.

Even stronger economic impact can be caused by the limitation of the work of American companies in Russia. They are most widely represented in the consumer market and in IT.  Moscow has already successfully tested in the case of Europe. American Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are the absolute leaders in the production of soft drinks: companies in Russia have their own plants for the production of soda and juices. No less popular in Russia are American IT companies Google, Facebook, Apple, Adobe and Microsoft. Also, the ban can affect the pharmaceutical  market.

The US Congress announced that the upper house – the Senate – could vote on the draft law on sanctions until the end of this week.

Russians considering US diplomats expulsions

Russian Foreign Ministry suggested that too many American spies operated in Moscow under diplomatic cover and clearly articulated a possible, although not imminent expulsion of some of them to retaliate against the Obama administration ejection of 35 Russian diplomats last year.

The warning , delivered in staccato by Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova (pictured) ‘  reflects rising tensions between Kremlin and the Trump administration’s unwilling to hand back two Russian diplomatic compounds which were seized simultaneously with the expulsions.

Barack Obama ordered the expulsion of 35 diplomats for alleged spying activities in December 2016, along with the seizure of the two diplomatic compounds, causing criticism on breaking Vienna conventions, according to Russian Ambassador to US Sergey Kislyak.

President Vladimir Putin decided not to retaliate immediately, saying he prefers to look forward working with the new US administration.

Zakharova also expressed discontent with the U.S. officials declining to issue visas to Russian diplomats to allow Moscow to replace the expelled employees and get its embassy back up to full strength.

Trump administration finds itself in increasingly difficult situation vis-à-vis Kremlin, from one hand  attempting to fulfill the election promises of the Republicans creating alliance against terrorism, from the other facing the need to deter the ongoing assault of the Democrats unwilling to accept the failure in presidential elections. The highly politicised campaign claiming Russian interference in the US elections via internet has removed the responsibility for the failure from the Democrats, attributing it to foreign ‘evil’ forces.

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