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The EU Parliament’s Anti-Russian Resolution Is Dangerous

30 APRIL 2021

The EU Parliament

Russia is a major world power, and if the EU can attempt to bully it in such a dangerous way, then there’s nothing stopping the bloc from doing the same to comparatively weaker countries.

The European Parliament (EP) passed a resolution on Thursday threatening very serious consequence against Russia if it carries out an “invasion” of Ukraine. These include immediately stopping oil and gas imports from the country and cutting it off from the SWIFT payment system, as well as freezing the assets of so-called “oligarchs” and their families on top of canceling their visas. The text also condemns alleged Russian intelligence operations in Europe, including disinformation operations and the latest claims that its agents were behind the 2014 munitions blast in Czechia. They also want to stop Nord Stream II.

The EP also supports meddling in Russia’s internal affairs. Examples of this include criticism of the country’s recent jailing of anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny due to his parole violations and the authorities’ decision to investigate whether his organization is extremist. The resolution expresses support for unsanctioned rallies in Russia too while criticizing the authorities’ response to them. One of the most disturbing proposals put forth is to seriously consider the UK’s proposal for a “Global Anti-Corruption Sanctions Regime”, which could predictably be exploited for political purposes considering the tense relations with Russia.

The EP’s resolution is therefore very dangerous because it shows that ideologically driven anti-Russian political forces in Europe are serious about imposing extreme costs on Moscow solely for warning that it might defend its legitimate border interests and those of its citizens in Eastern Ukraine in the event that Kiev launches a military operation there. Cutting Russia off from the SWIFT payment system might be akin to an unofficial declaration of war considering the country’s international financial dependence on it. In addition, it’s counterproductive to stop importing Russian oil and gas when no viable alternatives exist at the moment.

Russia, like all countries, has an obligation to enforce its laws. Navalny’s jailing was done in accordance with existing legislation on this issue, as is its breaking up of unsanctioned rallies and temporary detainment of their participants. As a case in point, some EU countries have also detained participants of unsanctioned rallies that were organized against their COVID-19 lockdowns in recent months, especially whenever they clash with police. Furthermore, France is currently investigating various organizations as extremist ones, just like Russia is doing too. The basis of Brussels’ proposed meddling in Moscow’s internal affairs is therefore hypocritical.

The rest of the world is rightly concerned after this resolution was just passed. Russia is a major world power, and if the EU can attempt to bully it in such a dangerous way, then there’s nothing stopping the bloc from doing the same to comparatively weaker countries. In addition, similar resolutions might one day be tabled against China too on a similar basis as well. Basically, nobody would be safe if the EU succeeds in cutting Russia off from SWIFT and so openly meddling in its internal affairs by criticizing its law enforcement agencies and their work. That’s why this resolution is so dangerous to world peace.

COVID-19 is still sweeping across the world, and the extended effect of lockdown has been disastrous for the EU member states’ economies, not to mention the psychological health of their citizens. There are much more urgent tasks at hand for the EP to tackle than concocting a list of threats and criticisms to officially make against Russia. It’s disappointing to see that it’s more focused on such issues than those much closer to home. Their supporters might argue that Russia’s alleged assassinations, attacks, and disinformation plots constitute pressing domestic threats, but none of these have been publicly proven and thus remain speculation.

The EU is approaching an historic crossroads whereby it can finally become more independent of American influence or it can continue to languish under the boots of US neo-imperialism. Judging by the latest resolution, it regrettably appears that the EP is opting for the latter after jumping on America’s anti-Russian bandwagon to score political points with their patron across the Atlantic. This is dangerous and counterproductive to EU interests. What’s more, it’s also deeply unfortunate too since the EP can and should put its legislative skills to work trying to solve more urgent crises like COVID-19 instead.

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By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Tags: EU, Russia, SWIFT, Ukraine, Nord Stream II, Navalny, Color Revolution, Regime Change, Hybrid War, Sanctions, US.


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What’s Everything That Biden & Putin Have To Discuss?

15 APRIL 2021

What

The American and Russian Presidents have a slew of issues to discuss in the event that they meet in person sometime in the coming future like Biden proposed doing during their last phone conversation, but the most important topics on the itinerary would arguably be strategic security and peacefully resolving the conflicts in Ukraine, Afghanistan, and Syria.

Biden-Putin Summit Plans

Russian-American tensions are at an historic high for the post-1991 period so it’s sensible that President Biden proposed to hold an in-person meeting with his Russian counterpart during their last phone conversation in order “to discuss the full range of issues” facing their countries. The most important topics on the itinerary would arguably be strategic security and peacefully resolving the long-running conflicts in Afghanistan, Syria, and Ukraine, but other issues would of course also be brought up. What follows is a list of the most pressing problems between these two Great Powers in the order of their significance. Each point includes a summary of their respective positions and what a compromise might look like if one’s realistically possible:

Strategic Security

The White House’s readout of their call noted “the intent of the United States and Russia to pursue a strategic stability dialogue on a range of arms control and emerging security issues, building on the extension of the New START Treaty”, which was reflected by the Kremlin also referencing “strategic stability and arms control”. Both countries therefore share the common desire to build upon the New START Treaty’s last-minute extension in February, though it’s unclear in what direction this might go. The prior US administration demanded that China join all such forthcoming talks while Russia respects Beijing’s right not to do so. The ideal scenario would be if all relevant powers made proportionate cuts to their pertinent arsenals, but that might not be realistic.

Ukraine

This hot button issue concerns more than just politically resolving the Eastern European country’s civil war in line with the Minsk Accords that US-backed Kiev has thus far refused to implement despite previously agreeing to them. It also involves NATO’s aggressive forward posturing in the region and its support for Ukraine’s anti-Russian activities, including against Crimea. The situation is so tense at the moment that a war might even break out before the Russian and American leaders meet, with the subsequently feared brinksmanship potentially serving as the reason to expedite their summit plans. The best-case scenario would be if the US assesses the seriousness of the situation and finally pressures Kiev to implement the Minsk Accords.

Afghanistan

The Kremlin’s readout reported “the situation in Afghanistan”, which was missing from the White House’s, but this issue will likely be at the fore of their discussions considering that the US plans to fully withdraw from that country by 9/11 this year. Both Great Powers have recently seen their positions converge insofar as supporting an inclusive transitional government in which the officially terrorist-designated Taliban participates as the only pragmatic political outcome of the conflict. The challenge is that the Taliban reacted negatively to the US’ announcement that it’ll miss its originally scheduled deadline for withdrawing by 1 May, so it remains to be seen whether the fragile ceasefire between those two holds long enough for the meeting to occur.

Syria

Syria didn’t warrant a mention on either government’s readout so it’s unclear whether it was brought up during their last discussion, but it’s nevertheless a major issue between them that can’t be ignored. The US retains occupation forces in the northeast beyond the de facto “internal partition” line of the Euphrates River, and its widely reported support of terrorist forces in the country is a major impediment to the conflict’s resolution. Moreover, the US’ political proxies have hitherto obstructed the parallel peace processes, so something must be done in order to make progress on these tracks. The only realistic compromise would be “decentralization” and Damascus requesting Iran’s dignified but phased withdrawal from the country, but the latter still seems unlikely.

China

The US is slowly realizing that it made a major mistake by triggering Russia’s historical siege mentality, pushing it closer to China in response, and provoking Moscow to actively seek Washington’s containment all across the world. Even a simple thought exercise embracing the US’ infamous zero-sum outlook on International Relations suggests that this works out to America’s grand strategic disadvantage while being one of the best-ever scenarios for China. Accordingly, Biden’s team might attempt to court Russia into reversing its recent American-provoked foreign policy pivot so as to restore Moscow’s traditional “balancing” act between East and West, but this outcome is only possible in the event credible progress is made on a “New Detente”.

Iran

The Islamic Republic’s nuclear program is another major issue of disagreement between the US and Russia, but one which also attracts their interest more than ever after Iran recently clinched a 25-year strategic partnership deal with China. That agreement stands the chance to revolutionize the greater region’s geostrategic situation through the expansion of Beijing’s Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) to West Asia via W-CPEC+, which was an unexpected game-changing development that seemingly caught both the US and Russia off guard. Not only will they seek to address the immediate nuclear-related issue, but they might also discuss ways to manage this new regional geostrategic reality, perhaps in an indirectly joint way if they make progress on a “New Detente”.

Palestine

The so-called “Mideast Peace Process” (MEPP) is also an area of mutual concern for Russia and the US. Both Great Powers are also allied with “Israel” to different extents, with Russia’s largely under-discussed relationship being the result of skillful policymaking at the presidential level through Putin’s personal diplomacy with his close friend Prime Minister Netanyahu (background context herehereherehere, and here). Since Biden is attempting to balance the US’ regional relationships a bit more than Trump did, it’s possible that he’ll walk back his predecessor’s so-called “Deal of the Century” and thus help pave the way for his country and Russia to jointly herald at least the symbolic creation of a Palestinian state, though it’ll still take a while for this to occur.

Russiagate/Navalny/Climate

Biden will almost certainly bring up the discredited Russiagate conspiracy theory due to domestic pressure from his base. This speculative aspect of their discussion would be entirely symbolic since it’s what many have rightly called a “nothingburger”. It’ll only be talked about for appearance’s sake, the same as Navalny‘s imprisonment might too if that’s even brought up that is. As for climate change, this is a “neutral” means through which the two could at least superficially cooperate more closely and result in a semi-tangibly positive outcome to their planned summit. Both of their leaders agree on the need to thwart this threat, but there really isn’t much that they can do together. Still, it could make for some good headlines if they release a joint statement about it.


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Bild’s Libelous Spy Claim Against RT Is Part Of The German Hybrid War On Russia

11 MARCH 2021

Bild

Russian-German relations continue to tank after Bild’s libelous spy claim against RT left little doubt that Germany is waging a Hybrid War on Russia, though Berlin still hopes to complete Nord Stream II in order to retain a limited degree of strategic autonomy in Europe vis-a-vis its Washington patron and enable the Central European country to possibly influence Moscow’s “balancing” act with Beijing.

The Gist Of Germany’s Hybrid War On Russia

Contrary to what many in the Alt-Media Community inaccurately claimed for years, Germany isn’t trying to partner with Russia as part of some “master plan” to remove American influence from Europe but is actively waging a Hybrid War against the Eurasian Great Power to expand Berlin’s influence there at Moscow’s expense. Bild’s libelous spy claim against RT are but the latest iteration of this comprehensive strategy, which follow in the footsteps of German banks refusing to do business with RT-affiliated companies shortly after the outlet announced its plans to launch RT Deutsche at the end of the year. It also shouldn’t be forgotten that not only did Germany earlier treat allegedly poisoned anti-corruption blogger and NATO agent Alexei Navalny, but it also supported the 2013-2014 urban spree of terrorism in Ukraine that’s commonly known as “EuroMaidan” as well as presently backs the spiritually similar Color Revolution movement that erupted in neighboring Belarus last summer. The Central European country still hopes to complete Nord Stream II, but only in order to retain a limited degree of strategic autonomy in Europe vis-a-vis its American patron and enable Germany to possibly influence Russia’s “balancing” act with China. All of this insight will now be explained in detail.

Bild’s Libelous Allegation Against RT

Regarding Bild’s libelous allegation, the tabloid claims that a former RT investigative journalist suspected that he was being exploited as a useful idiot to illegally spy on Navalny during his period of treatment in the German capital. Their full article in German can be read here. Upon reviewing the piece, it’s clear that the Russian outlet did nothing wrong. If anything, the only criticism that can be leveled against the company is that its management might have been so eager in their competitive drive to get the scoop about this globally relevant story that they unintentionally made one of their former employees feel uncomfortable. Their reported tactics, however, aren’t anything exceptional in this industry but are par for the course even if the average news consumer is largely unaware that this is how that line of work generally operates. Real-time brainstorming between some senior managers and the employee in question over Telegram is dishonestly misportrayed in a scandalous way akin to a spymaster giving their agent secret orders. RT vowed legal action to clear its name and seems to stand a solid chance at succeeding, especially since the former employee released a book about his experiences the day before the scandal broke and thus seems to have provoked all of this just for publicity.

Banking Obstacles

On the topic of German banks refusing to do business with RT-affiliated companies, this clearly seems to be part of the host country’s campaign against the Russian outlet. Bild’s libelous allegation adds fuel to the fire that RT’s network of affiliates is toxic to associate with, which might have also been one of the supplementary objectives behind the latest scandal. It’s evident that Germany is doing all that it can to impede the launch and subsequent activities of RT’s forthcoming German-language channel by the end of the year. There are also active efforts underway to discredit its activities far ahead of time, potentially to manufacture the supposedly “plausible pretext” for the government to promulgate legislation to prevent it from operating. That theory makes sense from a strategic standpoint because everything that the company has endured over the past month points to a concerted campaign aimed towards that end. German officials fear the influence that RT’s German-language channel could have on shaping the domestic debate, yet they’re currently powerless to apply existing legal mechanisms to stop it. That might soon change as a result of the latest scandals in addition to whatever other provocations might be still committed before the planned December launch.

Merkel’s Color Revolution Mania

Germany’s prior treatment of Navalny following his alleged poisoning was officially a humanitarian gesture but one that was politically exploited for the purpose of discrediting Russia after the patient’s speculative claims that his homeland’s security services were responsible for his medical emergency. German officials participated in this latest escalation of the West’s long-running information war against Russia, which served to incite unauthorized rallies across some of the Eurasian Great Power’s main cities, especially its capital. In fact, the Russian government even expelled a German diplomat alongside two of their Polish and Swedish counterparts who directly took part in those proto-Color Revolution events. This shouldn’t have been surprising since one mustn’t forget that Berlin supported the infamous 2014 “EuroMaidan” Color Revolution regime change operation and subsequent coup in Ukraine. The Central European country also backs a similar albeit much less successful movement in Belarus. An indisputable pattern of behavior is on full display in which Germany actively aids Eastern European Color Revolutions in Ukraine, Belarus, and nowadays even Russia itself as part of its efforts to assert itself as the continent’s hegemon at the “Lead From Behind” behest of its American patron.

Germany’s Ulterior Motives For Supporting Nord Stream II

Even so, Germany also doesn’t want to surrender all of its strategic autonomy to the US either, ergo why it continues to press ahead with Nord Stream II. Although that megaproject is officially apolitical, it’ll nevertheless enable Berlin to retain a limited degree of strategic autonomy upon its full completion, which explains why the US is so adamantly against it since Washington fears that Berlin might subsequently feel emboldened to undertake certain political courses that America doesn’t approve of. Some of these might speculatively relate to the Central European state leading an EU rapprochement with Russia that some countries like Poland fear would be at the eventual expense of their regional interests. The US in turn has been preemptively seeking to support the rise of the Polish-led “Three Seas Initiative” (3SI) for the purpose of carving out a “sphere of influence” between the Adriatic, Baltic, and Black Seas that could serve as a pro-American geostrategic wedge between Germany and Russia in that scenario. In his country’s defense, German Foreign Minister Heiko Mass suspiciously claimed last month that Nord Stream II would actually enhance “Europe’s abilities to influence Russia” by not pushing the Eurasian Great Power into China’s arms like would happen if the project is scuttled.

It’s Against German Interests To Push Russia Into China’s Arms

Some further elaboration is required in order for the reader to better understand the complex strategic dynamics at play. To simplify, Russia’s 21st-century grand strategic ambition is to become the supreme “balancing” force in Eurasia, to which end it seeks to work a lot closer with China following the imposition of the West’s anti-Russian sanctions in 2014 but is nevertheless also seeking to “balance” the People’s Republic in a “friendly” manner via their fellow BRICS and SCO partner India. From the standpoint of EU-leader Germany, the continent’s full compliance with its American patron’s strategic demands to impose a policy of so-called “maximum pressure” against Moscow through the scuttling of Nord Stream II would accelerate Russia’s “Eastern Pivot” and ultimately be disadvantageous for German interests. This would be especially so if the Eurasian Great Power implemented some of the 20 proposals that the author shared last month for how it could “contain” the US in response to intensified Western pressure upon it. German rhetoric has been more aggressive against Russia lately, which is why the latter fears the seemingly inevitable establishment of an ideological wall between them as a consequence of the New Cold War, so this scenario isn’t purely speculative.

The German-American Strategic Divergence Over Russia

It’s here where the German and American strategies diverge in their joint Hybrid War on Russia. Berlin agrees with Washington insofar as keeping up the pressure on Moscow, but it doesn’t want to push Russia too far lest it risk the consequences of the Eurasian Great Power being compelled to abandon Europe per the gist of the 20 aforementioned proposals, wholeheartedly embracing China in response, and therefore qualitatively empowering the People’s Republic in its quest to become the leading force in the Eastern Hemisphere. Germany fears that such a state of affairs might eventually entail the EU making “concessions” to China or at the very least being caught up too closely in the New Cold War between Washington and Beijing, which it’s already in the middle of but has yet to become as intense of a scene for strategic competition as it could be in that scenario. Ideally, Germany would prefer for Russia to keep one foot in Europe through Nord Stream II and the other in Asia through its Sino-Indo “balancing” act, which could enable Berlin to “balance” between Washington, Moscow, and Beijing more adroitly. The US, however, prefers the EU’s full submission to its “sphere of influence” and doesn’t care about the consequences of intensified competition with China there.

Russia’s “Asian Pivot” Might Ruin Its Sino-Indo “Balancing” Act

As for Russia, while it’ll pivot eastward in support of its interests if the circumstances compel it to, the country also fears the long-term consequences of becoming strategically over-reliant on China. This explains its tricky “balancing” act between China and India, which it practices in an attempt to preserve as much of its strategic autonomy as possible, exactly as Germany is attempting to do vis-a-vis Russia and the US via Nord Stream II. If that megaproject is scuttled, however, then Russia wouldn’t have as effective of a means of “balancing” Eurasia since it’ll be forced to abandon the Western half of its strategy and thus become entirely dependent on its Eastern one. Russia can’t properly “balance” China and India in such a scenario since those two might inevitably enter into a rapid rapprochement if Washington sanctions New Delhi for its S-400 purchase like it threatened to and thus compels the South Asian state to implement what critics might describe as “concessions” towards the People’s Republic since it would lose the ability to militarily contain Beijing along the Line of Actual Control (seeing as how Moscow wouldn’t replace Washington’s role in this respect in order to avoid provoking a security dilemma with the People’s Republic). Russia might then become less relevant in Asian affairs.

The Convergence Of Russian, German, And American Interests

This strategic insight suggests that Russian, German, and American interests indirectly align over Nord Stream II. Its completion would bolster Moscow’s “balancing” capabilities vis-a-vis Beijing, thus preventing Berlin and Brussels from becoming intensified objects of competition between the US and China if Russia eventually becomes a second-rate geopolitical player in Eurasia as might happen if the project isn’t completed, which could in turn endanger the viability of Washington’s hegemony there. That outcome is entirely possible upon Russia being pushed out of Europe in the event that its pipeline is scuttled and then de facto transformed into the junior partner of what might then become the Asian-wide Sino-Indo alliance that could blossom following speculative “concessions” by New Delhi should Moscow’s tricky “balancing” act between them fail. The worst-case scenario for the US is that China pushes it out of Europe once Russia’s influence there is neutralized by the US first, which could in divide the world between Beijing and Washington along hemispheric axes. With time, China would inevitably win the New Cold War, but America could prevent this if it doesn’t “lose” Europe, which requires saving the viability of Russia’s “balancing” act by allowing Nord Stream II to be completed as planned.

Concluding Thoughts

It might be a lot for the reader to take in, so they should consider rereading the piece after putting it down for a while to ponder the complex strategic insight contained within it. What’s being argued is that Germany’s Hybrid War on Russia veritably exists as evidenced by Bild’s libelous accusation against RT, the country’s banks refusing to service RT-affiliated companies, Berlin’s support of Navalny, and the Central European state’s active backing of Color Revolutions in Ukraine, Belarus, and even Russia nowadays. Nevertheless, this Hybrid War does indeed have its limits since Germany still wants to preserve Nord Stream II so as to prevent the feared collapse of Russia’s Eurasian “balancing” act that could in turn lead to China becoming the preeminent superpower all across the Eastern Hemisphere (which entails speculative eventual “concessions” by Berlin and Brussels to Beijing). The US doesn’t see the situation the same way and arrogantly believes that its hegemonic control over Europe is best preserved by compelling its proxies to fully submit to its strategic diktats, not realizing that America actually needs Russia’s “balancing” act in order to comparatively keep China somewhat more at bay. The fate of Nord Stream II might therefore prove to be a game-changer for Eastern Hemispheric geopolitics.

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By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Tags: Russia, Germany, Merkel, Putin, RT. Fake News, Infowars, Hybrid War, Nord Stream II, China, Balancing, US, EU, Navalny, Color Revolutions, Ukraine, Belarus, Regime Change.


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EURASIA:

RUSSIA:

  • Russia is drawing up “blacklists” of Americans in retaliation for sanctions imposed on Russian officials this week by President Joe Biden’s administration. The sanctions were a response to the attempted murder of pro-democracy and anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny in August, and his arrest upon voluntary return from Germany to Russia in January.

SOURCE: NEWSWEEK


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Geoeconomics

EURASIA:

RUSSIA:

  • The U.S. Department of the State imposed sanctions on six Russian research institutions, which are known to be involved in the development of chemical weapons program. The decision is made within the case of Alexei Navalny’s poisoning last year. The Western governments have been accusing Russian government with the attempt on the life of the major Russian opposition figure.

SOURCE: 112


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WHAT IS HAPPENING IN GEOPOLITICS? EUROPE:

RUSSIAN GAS PIPELINES:

  • The EU countries are divided when it comes to the matter of constructing new Russian gas pipelines. As a result of the imprisonment of Alexei Navalny upon his return to Russia in January 2021 and the repression of the opposition in many Russian cities, the European Parliament adopted a resolution calling to halt the Nord Stream 2 project. However, this decision was not unequivocally supported by Germany, which continues to back the construction of the gas pipeline. Washington’s position is contrary to that of Berlin, which seeks to finish the project regardless of the position of the US.

SOURCE: WARSAW INSTITUTE ORG


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EUROPA:

RUSSIA:

  • La Russia è pronta a recidere i legami con l’UE se il blocco impone nuove sanzioni economicamente dolorose, afferma il ministro degli Esteri russo Sergei Lavrov. L’UE ha sollevato la prospettiva di ulteriori sanzioni in mezzo a una lite sul trattamento del leader dell’opposizione russo incarcerato, Alexei Navalny.

FUENTE: BBC


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EUROPA:

RUSIA:

  • Rusia está dispuesta a romper lazos con la UE si el bloque impone nuevas sanciones, dijo el ministro de Relaciones Exteriores de Rusia, Sergei Lavrov. La UE ha planteado la posibilidad de nuevas sanciones en medio de una disputa por el tratamiento del líder de la oposición rusa encarcelado, Alexei Navalny.

FUENTE: BBC


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EUROPE:

RUSSIA:

  • Russia is ready to sever ties with the EU if the bloc imposes new, economically painful sanctions, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says. The EU has raised the prospect of further sanctions amid a row over the treatment of the jailed Russian opposition leader, Alexei Navalny.

SOURCE: BBC


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NORTH AMERICA:

UNITED STATES:

  • The United States joined Russia in extending the two countries’ last remaining treaty limiting their stockpiles of nuclear weapons, even as the Biden administration has stepped up criticism of Russia over the jailing of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, its involvement in a massive hack of U.S. agencies and other issues.

SOURCE: HUFFPOST


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