Tag Archives: USA

U.S. lawmakers send Snowden to war

Brussels 27.09.2022 American officials and Republican and Democrat lawmakers responded to the news of granting Russian citizenship to Edward Snowden by saying he should now be drafted and put on the frontline to fight against Ukraine.

State Department spokesman Ned Price told a briefing: ”Perhaps the only thing that has changed is… apparently now he may well be conscripted to fight in the reckless war in Ukraine.’

GOP Senator Lindsey Graham said: ‘Now that Edward Snowden has been granted full Russian citizenship, I expect he will be on the battlefield in Ukraine fighting for Putin any day now. Or could it be that he will be exempt while other Russian citizens are told to fight in a war of aggression on Putin’s behalf?

President Vladimir Putin on Monday, September 26, granted Russian citizenship to U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden, 39, who exposed massive surveillance by the National Security Agency (NSA) and was granted refuge by Moscow, while fleeing to Latin America from Hong-Kong.

Snowden, who is wanted in the U.S. on espionage charges, is one of 75 foreign nationals listed by the decree as being granted Russian citizenship.

The former NSA staffer has been living in Russia since 2013 to escape prosecution in the U.S. after sharing classified documents detailing government surveillance programs with the British newspaper, The Guardian.

He was granted permanent residency in 2020 and said at the time that he planned to apply for Russian citizenship, without renouncing his U.S. citizenship.

Russia first granted him asylum in 2014 and have refused calls to extradite him to the U.S.

U.S. Ambassador leaves Moscow

Brussels 05.09.2022 The U.S. Ambassador to Russian John Sullivan has concluded his work in Moscow and departed on Sunday, September 4, the U.S. Embassy said in a press statement on its website.

“U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation John J. Sullivan has concluded his tenure as U.S. envoy and departed Moscow today,” it said. “Elizabeth Rood will assume duties as Charge d’Affaires at U.S. Embassy Moscow until Ambassador Sullivan’s successor arrives.”

Sullivan was appointed as the Ambassador to Russia in December 2019 and has served for nearly three years.

“…Why the change? Ambassadors have little power to set policy, but they control the *tone* of daily diplomatic communications. The Biden administration wants to take a harder line with Russia. Expect the new ambassador to be someone the Russians will hate,” the foreign policy analyst Clint Ehrlich writes.

G7 calls on peace in Taiwan Strait

Brussels 03.08.2022 “We, the G7 Foreign Ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and the High Representative of the European Union, reaffirm our shared commitment to maintaining the rules-based international order, peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and beyond” reads the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Statement on Preserving Peace and Stability Across the Taiwan Strait.

“We are concerned by recent and announced threatening actions by the People’s Republic of China (PRC), particularly live-fire exercises and economic coercion, which risk unnecessary escalation. There is no justification to use a visit as pretext for aggressive military activity in the Taiwan Strait. It is normal and routine for legislators from our countries to travel internationally. The PRC’s escalatory response risks increasing tensions and destabilizing the region.

“We call on the PRC not to unilaterally change the status quo by force in the region, and to resolve cross-Strait differences by peaceful means. There is no change in the respective one China policies, where applicable, and basic positions on Taiwan of the G7 members.

“We reiterate our shared and steadfast commitment to maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and encourage all parties to remain calm, exercise restraint, act with transparency, and maintain open lines of communication to prevent misunderstanding”.

Japan fleet Pacific exercise

Brussels 18.06.2022 Japan has dispatched a Maritime Self-Defense Force flotilla on a deployment to 11 Indo-Pacific countries and one foreign territory as part of joint naval exercises with the United States and other countries undertaken to counter a more assertive China.

In the annual deployment that began last Monday and will run to Oct. 28, the MSDF fleet will make port calls in the Pacific island nations of the Solomon Islands, Tonga and Fiji for the first time, according to the Defense Ministry.

The fleet will also take part in the Rim of the Pacific exercis – the world’s largest multinational naval exercise – the Pacific Vanguard exercise involving Australia, Japan, the United States and South Korea, and other drills, the ministry said.

Crimes Group in support of Ukraine

Brusssels 27.05.2022 This week the European Union, the United States, and the United Kingdom announced the creation of the Atrocity Crimes Advisory Group (ACA), a mechanism aimed at ensuring efficient coordination of their respective support to accountability efforts on the ground. The ACA will reinforce current EU, US and UK efforts to further accountability for atrocity crimes in the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It advances commitments made by the European Union, the United States, and the United Kingdom to demonstrate international support and solidarity at this crucial historical moment for Ukraine.

The overarching mission of the ACA is to support the War Crimes Units of the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine (OPG) in its investigation and prosecution of conflict-related crimes. The ACA seeks to streamline coordination and communication efforts to ensure best practices, avoid duplication of efforts, and encourage the expeditious deployment of financial resources and skilled personnel to respond to the needs of the OPG as the legally constituted authority in Ukraine responsible for dealing with the prosecution of war crimes on its own territory.

EU High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell said: “It is critical to ensure that all those responsible for the terrible atrocities committed during the unprovoked Russian military aggression in Ukraine are brought to justice. There can be no impunity for war crimes. The Atrocity Crimes Advisory Group will be providing advice and supporting the ongoing efforts of Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s War Crimes Units to collect, preserve, and analyze evidence of atrocities to help the investigations and ensure justice takes its course.”

US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said: “This initiative will directly support efforts by the Ukrainian Office of the Prosecutor General to document, preserve, and analyze evidence of war crimes and other atrocities committed by members of Russia’s forces in Ukraine, with a view toward criminal prosecutions. The ACA is an essential element of the United States’ commitment that those responsible for such crimes will be held to account.”

UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said: “We are determined to ensure those responsible for the vile atrocities committed in Ukraine are held to account. The UK has already made a clear commitment to supporting Ukraine in its investigations, including through deploying war crimes experts to the region and releasing additional funding to aid the ICC in their investigations. We are now stepping up our efforts through this landmark initiative with our partners in the US and EU. Justice will be done.”

General Prosecutor of Ukraine, Iryna Venediktova said: “There is ample evidence of the atrocities committed by Russia’s forces on the territory of Ukraine against civilians, including children. The creation of this support group and the advice of international experts with experience in other international criminal tribunals and national criminal law practice will help the ongoing work of our teams in investigating and prosecuting these crimes.”

The ACA will bring together multinational experts to provide strategic advice and operational assistance to OPG specialists and other stakeholders in areas such as collection and preservation of evidence, operational analysis, investigation of conflict-related sexual violence, crime scene and forensic investigations, drafting of indictments, and co-operation with international and national accountability mechanisms. This engagement with the OPG and other justice, law enforcement and security agencies of Ukraine has been and will continue to be driven by the needs of the Ukrainian government and the parameters of its support will be developed in close consultation with the OPG. To this end, it will closely associate its activities with the ongoing operational work taking place in cooperation with EU Member States, partner third countries and the International Criminal Court, including the Joint Investigation Team coordinated by Eurojust.

Biden vows to defend Taiwan

Brussels 23.05.2022 President Biden indicated at a news conference in Japan that he would use military force to defend Taiwan in case it ever attacked by China, dispensing with the “strategic ambiguity” traditionally favored by American presidents, and drawing a firmer line at a time of rising tensions in the region.

Responding to a reporter who asked whether the U.S. would be “willing to get involved militarily to defend Taiwan if it comes to that,” Biden said “Yes”. “That’s the commitment we made,” he added. The declaration set the stage for fresh tensions between the U.S. and China, which insists that Taiwan is part of its territory.

Though Biden appeared to be suggesting that he would be willing to go much further on behalf of Taiwan than he has in supporting Ukraine, the White House swiftly asserted that its policy had not changed, and that the U.S. would provide Taiwan with the “military means to defend itself” if necessary.

NATO pledge for heavy weapons to Ukraine

Brussels 07.04.2022 The NATO member states have agreed to supply new types of advanced weaponry to Ukraine, alliance representatives have said, as Kyiv prepares for a next offensive by Russia in the Donbass region.

The pledge has been announced after a plea from Ukraine Foreign minister to move faster with weapons supplies. Six weeks since Russia invasion of Ukraine, some of the troops have largely withdrawn from territory north of Kyiv after failing to seize the capital, but are regrouping and rearming ahead of an attempt to advance in the Eastern region near Donbass.

These events influenced demands from Kyiv for western countries to supply more heavy weapons, armour and more advanced systems. Ukraine foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba said he would use the Alliance meeting in Brussels to ask for aircraft, missiles, armoured vehicles and heavy air defence systems, additionally to the other types of equipment.

UK foreign secretary Liz Truss said to press that member states had agreed to send more weapons.

“There was support for countries to supply new and heavier equipment to Ukraine, so that they can respond to these new threats from Russia,” the top diplomat explained. “And we agreed to help Ukrainian forces move from their Soviet-era equipment to NATO standard equipment, on a bilateral basis.”

Antony Blinken, US secretary of state, said Washington was looking at sending “new systems” to Ukraine.

“We are not going to let anything stand in the way of getting Ukrainians what they need,” he said. “We are looking across the board right now, not only at what we have provided . . . [but] whether there are additional systems that would make a difference.”

Previously the allies have supplied Ukraine with anti-tank missiles, drones and other defensive weaponry before and during the war. However, they have declined to supply other classes of weapons or impose a no-fly zone, as Kyiv has demanded, over the risk of engaging Russia in a wider war.

Ukrainian defence forces with NLAW anti-tank weapons in Kyiv last month: Nato countries have promised to send more advanced systems as a fresh assault by Russia looms
Kuleba said afterwards he was “cautiously optimistic” that alliance states would meet his demand but warned that delays would result in more deaths.

“Either you help us now, and I am speaking about days . . . or your help will come too late,” Kuleba said. The Ukranian diplomat added also added that without these weapons many people might die.

He added: “I was very specific about the requests and the timeline that they should be accommodated. I will be looking forward to the follow-up from allies.”

Ukraine has warned Russia is preparing a fresh offensive in the Donbas, aimed at seizing territory in the two administrative regions of Luhansk and Donetsk, which separatists have partially occupied since a Moscow-backed uprising in 2014.

Ukraine’s military authorities on Wednesday called on residents living in the regions to leave “while they still had the chance”.

Jens Stoltenberg, Nato’s secretary-general, said allies had agreed to “further strengthen” support for Ukraine immediately and in the “medium and long term”.

The promise of further military aid came amid regrets of Dmitry Peskov, Kremlin spokesperson, admitting Russia had suffered “significant losses of troops” during the invasion of Ukraine, which he described as “a huge tragedy” for his compatriots.

Peskov said Russia had withdrawn from Kyiv and Chernihiv in central Ukraine last week as a “goodwill act to lift tension from those regions and show Russia is really ready to create comfortable conditions to continue negotiations”, however fighting would continue in the Donbas, he added.

“It was a clear message from the meeting today that allies should do more and are ready to do more to supply more equipment. They realise and recognise the urgency,” he said.

EU-US:enhancing transatlantic security & defence

Brussels 24.03.2022 Today, the European Council was joined by President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. of the United States have issued the joint readout:

“The leaders discussed the coordinated and united response of the European Union and the United States to Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified military aggression in Ukraine.

“They reviewed their ongoing efforts to impose economic costs on Russia and Belarus, as well as their readiness to adopt additional measures and to stop any attempts to circumvent sanctions.

“Leaders discussed the urgent needs caused by Russia’s aggression, committed to continuing providing humanitarian assistance, including to neighbouring countries hosting refugees, and underscored the need for Russia to guarantee humanitarian access to those affected by or fleeing the violence.

“Leaders welcomed the opening of international investigations, including by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, and ongoing efforts to gather evidence of atrocities.

“In addition, leaders discussed EU-U.S. cooperation to reduce dependence on Russian fossil fuels, accelerate the transition to clean energy, as well as the need to respond to evolving food security needs worldwide.

“The leaders also concurred on the importance of strengthening democratic resilience in Ukraine, Moldova, and the wider Eastern partnership region.

“Finally, leaders underscored the importance of enhancing transatlantic security and defence, including through robust NATO-EU cooperation as described in the EU’s Strategic Compass”.

NATO-Russia: Biden announces new sanctions

Brussels 24.03.2022 President Biden has given a press-conference after NATO and G7 Summits in Brussels touting unity in the Western response to Russia as allies worked behind the scenes to formulate their plans for the next phase of the conflict in Ukraine.

Biden said he supported ejecting Russia from G20, which is scheduled to convene in November, though other members of that grouping would have to sign on, admitting that at the moment there are some state opposing this perspective.

Biden maintained his view that direct U.S. military intervention in Ukraine would result in catastrophe and defended a sanctions regime which, according to him should bring results, if used on a wholesome and permanent basis as long as needed.
“Putin was banking on NATO being split,” Biden said in a news conference at NATO headquarters late afternoon.
“NATO has never, never been more united than it is today. Putin is getting exactly the opposite of what he intended to have as a consequence of going into Ukraine.”

During the critical day of meetings, Biden announced new measures directed at members of Russia’s Parliament – Duma – and unveiled a plan to accept as many as 100,000 refugees fleeing the violence in Ukraine, steps intended to show American resolve in confronting the crisis.

A discussion of NATO’s force posture along its eastern border was also part of the last-minute diplomatic effort. And leaders conferred on what to do if Russia deploys a chemical, biological or even nuclear weapon,the answer should be united, and decided on a consensus basis.

“The nature of the response would depend on the nature of the use,” Biden said, answering a question.

As the Summit got underway Thursday morning, leaders heard a call for more help from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who addressed the gathering online. He stopped short of issuing his usual request for a no-fly zone, however he insisted Ukraine needs fighter jets, tanks and air-defence systems.

Ukraine: EU Council 24-25 March

Brussels 23.03.2022 The March 24-25 European Council will discuss Russian military aggression against Ukraine, security and defence, energy, economic issues, COVID-19 and external relations.(Image above: archive)

US President Joe Biden will be joining EU leaders during the first day of the European Council for a discussion on support for Ukraine and its people and on strengthening transatlantic cooperation in response to Russia’s aggression.

Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine
The European Council will assess the latest developments on the ground, including the humanitarian situation and refugees.

The EU remains committed to Ukraine and its people and is working to provide coordinated political, financial, material and humanitarian support, as well as support for the reconstruction of a democratic Ukraine.

EU response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine (background information)
Security and defence
The European Council will discuss security and defence, building on the Versailles declaration and taking into account the new security situation in Europe.

In this context, EU leaders will discuss how to enable the EU to act more quickly and decisively when facing crises, while also securing its interests and protecting citizens. They will also discuss defence investment and funding instruments.

The European Council is expected to endorse the Strategic Compass, an initiative aiming at strengthening the Union’s security and defence policies around the themes of crisis management, defence capabilities, resilience and partnerships.

EU cooperation on security and defence (background information)
The Versailles declaration (10 and 11 March 2022)
Energy
At the informal meeting in Versailles, EU leaders agreed to phase out dependency on Russian gas, oil and coal imports as soon as possible.

The European Council will discuss sustained high energy prices and its impact on citizens and businesses, also in the context of the Russian aggression against Ukraine. The European Commission will provide a basis for the discussion by putting forward options for ensuring affordable energy prices and security of supply.

Energy prices (background information
Economic issues
The European Council will continue its discussion on how to build a more robust economic base, as laid out in the Versailles declaration, notably by reducing strategic dependencies in sensitive areas like critical raw materials, semi-conductors, health, digital and food.

The European Council will address how to further strengthen the single market to accelerate the green and digital transitions, as well as how to strengthen the resilience of the EU economy.

The European Council will be invited to endorse the policy priority areas for the European Semester in 2022.

European Semester in 2022 (background information)
COVID-19
The European Council will discuss coordination efforts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and take stock of international cooperation on global health governance and solidarity, including through roll-out of vaccines.

The European Council will also discuss the work, under the guidance of the WHO, on a future instrument to strengthen pandemic prevention, preparedness and response.

COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic: the EU’s response.
External relations
In the light of events, the European Council may address specific foreign policy issues.

Euro Summit
EU leaders will meet for a Euro Summit, to be held in inclusive format.

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