Tag Archives: Russia

Black sea: Russia restricts navigation

Brusssels 20.04.2021 The United States voiced deep concern over Russia’s plans to restrict navigation for foreign naval ships and other state vessels in its territorial waters in the Black Sea, slamming this as “unprovoked escalation,” the State Department said in a statement.

“The United States expresses its deep concern over Russia’s plans to block foreign naval ships and state vessels in parts of the Black Sea,” the statement reads.

“This represents yet another unprovoked escalation in Moscow’s ongoing campaign to undermine and destabilize Ukraine,” the US State Department said.

The State Department also noted that this development “is particularly troubling amid credible reports of Russian troop buildup” on the border with Ukraine.

According to a bulletin of the Russian Defense Ministry’s navigation and oceanography department, on April 24-October 31 navigation of foreign naval ships and other state vessels in some parts of the Black Sea in Russia’s territorial waters will be suspended. The document did not specify the particular reason for the move.

Earlier Russia asked Washington many times about the goal of US warships’ navigation in the Black Sea.

EU deplores Czech diplomats expel

Brussels 19.04.2021 “The European Union stands in full support and solidarity with the Czech Republic and deplores Russia’s response to expel 20 Czech diplomats. Russia’s decision follows the announcement by the Czech Republic on 17 April to expel 18 Russian embassy staff, based on reasonable suspicion about the involvement of Russian military intelligence service (GRU) agents in the 2014 explosion of an ammunition depot in the town of Vrbětice, resulting in the death of two Czech nationals. These GRU agents were also in charge of the attempted murder of the Skripals in Salisbury in 2018” reads the statement of the EU spokesperson.

“The European Union is deeply concerned about the repeating negative pattern of dangerous malign behaviour by Russia in Europe. Russia must stop with these activities, which violates well-established international principles and norms and threaten stability in Europe”.

Prague authorities demand that Russian Embassy vacate an area of 5,000 square meters, currently occupied by the diplomatic mission. Before 1968, the mentioned area was a part of the adjacent Stromovka Park, Prague-7 district head Jan Cizinsky said on Twitter.

“The Prague city council called on the Czech government to hold negotiations in a bid to bring the Russian Embassy territory to the state that preceded the Warsaw Pact forces invasion in 1968,” he tweeted.

According to the Czech media, the area in question is about 5,000 square meters. The city authorities plan to plant trees and flowers on this area, as it was prior to August 1968, when a Soviet military camp was deployed there.

This decision was made amid a sharp escalation of relations between Russia and the Czech Republic, following the expulsion of 18 Russian Embassy employees and accusations of Russian intelligence’s involvement in explosions at arms depots in 2014.

Russia expels 5 Polish diplomats

Brussels 16.04.2021 Russia will expel five Polish diplomats in response to Warsaw’s actions, the Russian Foreign Ministry (MFA) said in a statement published on Friday, April 16.(Image above: Moscow city).

“By the way, we noted how quick Warsaw was to chime in with the U.S. administration, demanding that three Russian diplomats leave Poland. In turn, five Polish diplomats will be expelled from Russia,” the ministry said.

On April 15, Poland declared three Russian diplomats personae non gratae.

Poland expelled on Thursday three Russian diplomats accused of “hostile actions,” the Polish Foreign Ministry said. The move comes after the US expelled 10 Russian diplomats earlier on Thursday and imposed sanctions against dozens of companies and people.

Washington says the measures are retaliation for alleged Kremlin interference in last year’s presidential election and a massive cyber attack on federal agencies known as SolarWinds.

Russia retaliates U.S.measures

Brusssels 16.04.2021 Moscow will shortly publish a list of eight senior US officials and public figures that will be permanently banned from entering Russia, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement published on Friday, April 16. (Image above: Moscow City).

“Soon, the official website of the Russian Foreign Ministry will publish the names of eight current and former American high-ranking officials and public figures involved in developing and implementing the anti-Russian policy course. They will be permanently banned from entering the Russian Federation. This is a tit-for-tat measure in response to the sanctions against Russian officials blacklisted by the US last month,” the statement says.

Moscow calls on Washington to display wisdom and reject confrontation, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in its statement Friday, adding that now is high time to do so. “It is high time for the US to display wisdom and reject the confrontational course. Otherwise, we will implement a set of decisions, sensitive to the US, such as ordering US diplomatic missions in Russia to reduce their staff to 300 people,” the statement says. Thus, the ministry points out, real parity will be reached regarding the number of employees of diplomatic missions, with the exception of Russia’s Permanent Mission to the UN in New York.

Italy: two Russian diplomats expelled

Italy expelled two Russian officials on Wednesday,March 31,2021, after an Italian navy captain was arrested for allegedly selling confidential documents for cash to a Russian military officer, Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said.

According to Corriere della Sera newspaper the navy officer sold “top secret” NATO files, and some other sensitive Italian military dossiers to a Russian official.

Italian authorities became suspicious a few months ago, after Italy’s intelligence, began monitoring contact between the Italian navy captain and the Russian military officer. After close surveillance and assembled evidence, the police intervened last night, and moved in “during a clandestine meeting” between the Italian captain and Russian military official.

According to police, “The Italian official was taken into custody, while the position of the foreign national is still under consideration in relation to his diplomatic status.”

“We regret the expulsion from Rome of two employees of the Russian embassy. We are investigating the circumstances of the decision. We will make a further announcement on our possible next steps in relation to this measure, which does not correspond to the level of bilateral relations” Russia’s foreign ministry reacted.

“We do not currently have information about the reasons and circumstances of this detention. But in any case, we hope that the very positive and constructive nature of Russian-Italian relations will continue and will continue,” Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov has underlined.

Following the arrests, this morning Italy’s foreign ministry summoned Russia’s ambassador, Sergey Razov.

This comes weeks after Russian military intelligence GRU operation was uncovered in Bulgaria leading to expulsion of Russian diplomats and arrest of six officers.

EU-Russia: “many disagreements”

Brussels 22.03.2021 With a view to the European Council meeting of 25 and 26 March a phone call between the President of the European Council Charles Michel and President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin took place on Monday 22 March 2021.

The Presidents discussed relations between the EU and Russia.

President Michel expressed the view that EU-Russia ties are at a low point and confirmed the EU’s approach of the five guiding principles, based on the EU’s core values.

There is currently disagreement in many areas.

From the EU perspective, the relationship with Russia can only take a different direction if there is sustained progress on issues like the implementation of the Minsk agreements, stopping hybrid and cyber-attacks on Member States and respect for human rights. In this context Alexey Navalny’s case was raised. Charles Michel reiterated the EU’s call on the Russian authorities to release Mr Navalny and proceed with a transparent investigation into the assassination attempt on him.
The leaders also exchanged views on the Covid pandemic, on vaccines and on regional and global issues.

Kremlin readout: “Taking into account the upcoming discussion at the European Council meeting on March 25-26 of the problems of relations between Russia and the EU, Charles Michel touched upon a number of issues concerning the current state of affairs and the prospects for dialogue between Moscow and Brussels.

Vladimir Putin assessed the unsatisfactory state of Russian-EU ties, which has developed due to the non-constructive, sometimes confrontational line of partners. The Russian side emphasized its readiness to restore a normal, depoliticized format of interaction with the European Union, if a real reciprocal interest is shown in this.

The issues of combating the coronavirus pandemic were also touched upon, in particular the possibility of using the Russian Sputnik V vaccine, the political settlement of the internal Ukrainian conflict, the situation in Belarus and some other topical issues”.

EU actions for Human Rights

Brussels 22.03.2021 The EU Foreign Ministers Council today decided to impose restrictive measures on eleven individuals and four entities responsible for serious human rights violations and abuses in various countries around the world. Together with the listing of four Russian individuals earlier this month, these 15 designations are part of the first broader package of listings under the EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime. The sanctions signal the EU’s strong determination to stand up for human rights and to take tangible action against those responsible for violations and abuses. EU actions for Human Rights

The violations targeted today include the large-scale arbitrary detentions of, in particular, Uyghurs in Xinjiang in China, repression in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances in Libya, torture and repression against LGBTI persons and political opponents in Chechnya in Russia, and torture, extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions and killings in South Sudan and Eritrea.

Under the EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime established on 7 December 2020, the listed individuals and entities are subject to an asset freeze in the EU. In addition, listed individuals are subject to a travel ban to the EU. Moreover, persons and entities in the EU are prohibited from making funds available, either directly or indirectly, to those listed.

The relevant legal acts, including the names of the persons and entities concerned, have been published in the Official Journal.

EU leaders spring Council

Brussels 19.03.2021 On 25 and 26 March, EU leaders will meet in Brussels to discuss the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Single Market, industrial policy, digital transformation and the economy, the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean, and relations with Russia.

COVID-19
The European Council will take stock of the roll-out of vaccines and the epidemiological situation and pursue the coordinated response to the pandemic crisis.

COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic: the EU’s response
Single market, industrial policy, digital transformation and the economy
The European Council will discuss the key priorities for the single market, industrial policy and the digital transformation. The leaders will look at the Digital Compass, including targets set for 2030, and review work on digital taxation.

The European Council will address the priorities for the 2021 European Semester and leaders will be invited to endorse the recommendation on the economic policy of the Eurozone.

A digital future for Europe
EU single market
Eastern Mediterranean

The European Council will discuss the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean. The High Representative and the Commission are expected to submit a report on EU-Turkey relations ahead of the meeting, following the conclusions of the European Council in December 2020.

Russia

The EU leaders will hold a strategic debate on the relations with Russia.

Russia: Borrell condemns expulsion of diplomats

“During my meeting earlier today with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow, I learned that three European diplomats are going to be expelled from Russia. I strongly condemned this decision and rejected the allegations that they conducted activities incompatible with their status as foreign diplomats. The decision should be reconsidered. I stressed the European Union’s unity and solidarity with the Member States concerned” reads the Statement by High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell on the expulsion of European diplomats from Russia.

Russia informed that the diplomats from Sweden, Poland and Germany would be expelled over their alleged participation in recent “unauthorized” rallies in support of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, the Foreign Ministry said Friday, February 5.

Moscow against #BigTech censorship

Moscow stands for the formation of international norms and standards for the moderation of content by social networks in connection with the actions of the US IT giants #BigTech. This is announced in a statement issued by the Russian Foreign Ministry on Wednesday, January 27. The Ministry also handed the American side a note expressing dissatisfaction with the spread of “fakes” about Russia.

“It is obvious that the media sphere is subject to regulation and codification. It is necessary to establish a constructive dialogue with all stakeholders in order to mobilize efforts to develop and consolidate in international documents clearly defined requirements for the transparency of the content moderation policy on social networks. There is a need for joint substantive work in relevant international structures, first of all, within the framework of the UN, the Council of Europe and the OSCE, “the Russian diplomatic service underlined.

The Foreign Ministry said that the restrictive actions of the administrations of American social networks in relation to the content posted in them “dealt a blow to the democratic value system and international information architecture.” “We support the statement of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation in connection with the violation of the principle of freedom of speech by global American Internet companies,” Russian diplomacy continued.

“The admissibility of arbitrary and non-transparent censoring by digital platforms of media content in the absence of an appropriate court decision calls into question the purpose of the state as a guarantor of the fulfillment of international obligations to ensure freedom of expression by those subjects under its jurisdiction,” the statement said. “The provisions of the International Covenant on Civilians have been violated. and political rights, the Helsinki Final Act and a number of other OSCE decisions – these documents were signed by the United States. ”

The latest precedents show that American IT giants “are able to freely independently shape the face of modern communication infrastructure in the interests of their corporations and their” curators “, ignoring fundamental democratic and ethical norms,” ​​marked the position in the Russian foreign policy department. As pointed out in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, the international community is faced with the challenges of the complete uncontrollability of the information space and the insecurity of personal data accumulated by social networks.

The diplomatic service reported that the US embassy had been warned of Moscow’s right to retaliate in connection with the spread of false information about Russia. “We note the large-scale dissemination of false fakes about Russia by American digital platforms, which systematically replicate provocative content, which is coordinatedly distributed, in turn, by the US Embassy in Moscow. His representative, summoned to the Foreign Ministry on January 27, was handed a protest note warning that the Russian side would have the right to retaliate, “the ministry said.

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