NATO MADRID PIVOTAL SUMMIT

Brussels 25.06.2022 NATO Leaders are meeting in Madrid at a pivotal time for our security. Russia’s war against Ukraine has shattered peace in Europe, caused far-reaching energy and food crises, and shaken the rules-based international order. NATO’s response has been swift and united.

How has Russia’s brutal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and the new security reality in Europe affected NATO’s approach to deterrence and defence?

What is the Alliance doing to address other challenges, like China’s growing influence and assertiveness or the security consequences of climate change?

What will be included in NATO’s next Strategic Concept, the blueprint for the Alliance’s future adaptation to a more competitive world where authoritarian powers try to push back against the rules-based international order?

These are just some of the important questions that NATO Leaders will discuss during the Madrid Summit.

More than ever, NATO is the indispensable platform for transatlantic consultations and cooperation on security and defence. At the Madrid Summit, Allies will continue to adapt, taking decisions to keep NATO strong and ready in a more dangerous world. Heads of State and Government will agree to strengthen deterrence and defence, and support Ukraine for the longer term. They will agree the 2022 Strategic Concept, which will be a roadmap for the Alliance in the years to come. Allies will also boost cooperation with partners, enhance resilience and sharpen NATO’s technological edge – all underpinned by the necessary investments in our collective defence.

NATO Leaders are gathering in Madrid, Spain to discuss important issues facing the Alliance. The Madrid Summit will set NATO’s strategic direction for the next decade and beyond, ensuring that the Alliance will continue to adapt to a changing world and keep its one billion people safe.

Lavrov: Russian troops avoid civil infrasturcture

Brussels 29.05.2022 The timing of the Russian “special operation” in Ukraine is due to the order to categorically avoid strikes on civilian infrastructure, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview with the French TV channel TF1 on Sunday, May 29.
Earlier President Vladimir Putin said that the timing of the completion of the special military operation in Ukraine depends on the intensity of hostilities, and the Russian side will “act rhythmically, calmly, according to the plan that was originally proposed by the General Staff.”

Russia launched a military operation in Ukraine on the morning of Thursday, February 24, 2022. President Vladimir Putin said that its goal is “to protect citizens who have been subjected to abuse and genocide by the Kyiv regime for eight years.”

The situation in Donbass is still tense, the Ukrainian military continues shelling from positions that are still under their control.

Meanwhile President Zelensky visited Ukrainian forces in the Kharkiv region.

Lavrov: West declared total war on Russia

Brusels 27.05.2022 The West has declared a total war on Russia and the Russian world, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (pictured) said on Friday, May 27.

“The West has declared a total war on us, on the Russian World. Nobody makes any secret of this,” Lavrov said at a meeting of the Council of the heads of Russia’s constituent territories at the Foreign Ministry.

Lavrov warned that the Western policy of “cancelling” Russia would continue for a long time.

“The culture of cancelling Russia and everything related with our country has reached a point of absurdity. Bans have been imposed on such classics as Tchaikovsky, Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy and Pushkin. Persecution is underway against Russian culture and art workers. In general, one can be certain that this situation will last,” Lavrov said.

“We must realize that it has exposed the West’s real attitude to the beautiful slogans that were put forward 30 years ago after the end of the Cold War, the calls for universal humanitarian values, for building a common European home from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Now we can see the real worth of these fine words,” Lavrov said.

The top diplomat has underlined that Russia would certainly not agree to put up with these policies.

“In this situation there is a great demand for a concrete discussion on how we develop our cooperation, cooperation between our ministry and civil society, including at the level of regions,” he added.

Russia accuses EU for grain shortage

Brussels 20.05.2022 Russia can export 25 million tonnes of grain via the port of Novorossiysk starting from August 1 and until the end of this year, Russian Permanent Representative to the UN Vasily Nebenzya said, speaking at UN Security Council meeting on conflicts and food security Thursday,May 19.

According to Nebenzya, Russia “continues to remain a responsible supplier of food and energy.”

“This year, we expect a record high wheat harvest. In this regard, we can offer 25 million tonnes of grain for export from the port of Novorossiysk starting on August 1 and until the end of this year,” the envoy said.

“We can also discuss other procurements, including considering that, between June and December, potential export of fertilizers will stand at least 22 million tonnes. But, if you have no intention to withdraw your sanctions, imposed on your own initiative, then why do you accuse us? Why do the poorest nations and regions have to suffer because of your irresponsible geopolitical games?” the diplomat pointed out, addressing the representatives of Western states.

In the current circumstances, attempts to “groundlessly shift responsibility” for deteriorating food situations in the world to Russia “are not just absurd, they are sacrilegious.”.

Nebenzya said that grain exports from Ukrainian ports have been blocked because of Ukraine’s military actions, and they are not the result of decisions of Russian Federation.

“You claim that we are allegedly blocking the possibility of exporting agricultural products from Ukraine by sea,” he said at a UN Security Council meeting on food security. “However, the truth is that it’s Ukraine, not Russia, that continues to block 75 foreign ships from 17 states in the ports of Nikolayev, Kherson, Chernomorsk, Mariupol, Ochakov, Odessa and Yuzhny, and it was Ukraine that mined the waterways.”

“Given that, how can we talk about grain export?” he said. “And no matter what you say here today, only you can change this situation, gentlemen.”.

Exported Ukrainian grain is not directed to countries in need, but is being loaded in EU storages – possibly as payment for arms shipments, Nebenzya accused.

“A logical question arises: where do these shipments [of Ukrainian grain] go? What do they have to do with ensuring food security in the world?” Nebenzya said. “We have justified suspicion that the grain does not go to aid the starving global South, but is being loaded in European states’ grain storages. As we understand, this is how Ukraine pays for weapons being shipped by the West.”.

EU: VI Russia sanctions package blocked

Brussels 18.05.2022 The sixth package of EU sanctions against Russia has been blocked, European Commissioner for Economy Paolo Gentiloni said on Wednesday, May 18, in an interview to Rai News 24 TV channel.

“We adopted five packages of sanctions very quickly and unanimously, but the sixth package is still held off for known reasons. I am optimistic about the prospects for finding a compromise,” Gentiloni said.

The Commissioner explained that the Hungarian government does not object to the principle of introducing an energy embargo, but pointed to the difficulties in terms of a certain geographical location and energy supply model.

The permanent representatives of the EU countries (Coreper) have been not able reach an agreement on the sixth package of sanctions against Russia, which includes a draft oil embargo – the European Commission has proposed a ban on imports of crude oil from Russia six months after the sixth package enters into force, and on oil products – from 2023. At the same time, the European Commission proposed to allow Hungary and Slovakia to purchase Russian oil until the end of 2024 in an exemption gesture.

According to sources, the European Commission already had to soften a number of its proposals on the timing, parameters, and possible exceptions to the oil embargo. Hungary opposes the oil embargo, with the support of a number of other countries who believe that the damage from the measure will be catastrophic for Europe.

Russia: G7 and border lines

Brussels 15.05.2022 Russia does not care if G7 states recognise the changes of the new borders, Russian Security Council Deputy Head Dmitry Medvedev said Saturday, May 14, adding that the only thing that matters is the opinion of the people living on these territories.

“Let’s put it mildly: out country doesn’t care about G7’s non-recognition of the new borders; what matters is the genuine will of the people living there. Do not forget the Kosovo precedent, Western friends!” Medvedev said in his Telegram channel.

The G7 decisions are interfering in China’s internal affairs and a continuation of the sanctions war against Russia, Medvedev said.

Degas: Ukrainian dances from Little Russia

Anna Van DENSKY OPINION 08.05.2022 The National Gallery in London has changed the title of Edgar Degas’s drawing “Russian Dancers” (1899) to “Ukrainian Dancers” after a number of claims by Ukrainians on social media in a sympathetic but totally obscurantist gesture.

In times of the creation of the Degas masterpieces there was no Ukrainian identity, ethnicity or language. The very term “Ukraine” descended from “Ocraine” which means Rimland in Russian. The territories of the modern state of Ukraine were an integral part of the Russian Empire, and those who lived there called themselves “Maloross”, or Little Russians.
Logically, being strictly scientific and correct, the Degas’ ouvre should be named “Maloross Dancers”.
The same way we do not name Romans “Italians”, or Portuguese “Iberians”.

The pastel picture by the famed French Impressionist shows a troupe of young performers sporting hair ribbons in vivid blue and yellow, the national colours of modern Ukraine flag.

A spokesperson for the National Gallery told the Guardian, “The title of this painting has been an ongoing point of discussion for many years and is covered in scholarly literature; however there has been increased focus on it over the past month due to the current situation so therefore we felt it was an appropriate moment to update the painting’s title to better reflect the subject of the painting.”

Baltics non-nuclear status in question

Brussels 16.04.2022 Russia is warning of new nuclear deployments in the Baltics if Finland and Sweden join NATO, as the two countries discussing a perspective to becoming part of the military alliance.

Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council and former President of Russia, wrote in a Telegram post on Thursday, April 14, that “there can be no talk of non-nuclear status for the Baltic” if Finland and Sweden join NATO.

The chairman said that should Finland and Sweden join NATO, Moscow would need to “seriously strengthen the grouping of land forces and air defense, deploy significant naval forces in the waters of the Gulf of Finland.”

“In this case, it will no longer be possible to talk about any nuclear-free status of the Baltic — the balance must be restored,” he added, according to CNBC.

Medvedev said that previously “Russia has not taken such measures and was not going to,” according to Reuters.

“If our hand is forced well … take note it wasn’t us who proposed this,” he added.

Lavrov deplores West “total war” on Russia

Brussels 25.03.2022 Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Russia is facing a total war declared by the West.

Lavrov said at a meeting on Friday, March 22, that “a real hybrid war, total war was declared on us.” He added the goal was “to destroy, break, annihilate, strangle the Russian economy, and Russia on the whole.”

During the first month of what Russia describes as a “special military operation” in Ukraine, the West imposed a range of measures targeting Russia’s economy and financial system as well as President Vladimir Putin and Russian oligarchs individually.

Despite that, top diplomat insisted that as a result of this multitude of efforts Russia was not isolated.

“We have many friends, allies, partners in the world, a huge number of associations in which Russia is working with countries of all continents, and we will continue to do so,” Lavrov continued. The Minister is convinced that the vast majority of states won’t join the Western sanctions policy against Russia.

Russia-Japan: blaming U.S. for failures

Brussels 08.02.2022 Washington seeks to keep Japan’s unfounded territorial claims against Russia afloat in order to prevent the two countries from full-scale cooperation, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova said in a TV interview. Japan claims the four southernmost islands, including two of the three largest ones – Iturup and Kunashir, – as an integral part of its territory along with Shikotan and the Habomai islets, which has led to the ongoing Kuril Islands dispute between Japan and Russia.

While commenting on U.S. Ambassador to Tokyo Rahm Emanuel’s statement that Washington supported Tokyo in the issue of the Northern Territories (southern Kuril Island) and recognised Japan’s sovereignty over them, the diplomat pointed out that “over the past decades, the United States has transformed Japan from an independent state into a dependent one.”

The spokesperson reminded that Moscow had repeatedly called for abandoning the “attempts to artificially pump up hysteria” and tensions around the territorial issue, while the Japanese leadership kept neglecting “the need to build normal and full-fledged economic, financial and cultural ties” with Russia. “Every time, we highlighted the artificial nature of this issue and the related tensions,” the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman underlined.

“It is being fueled by a certain part of Japan’s political establishment. And who’s behind it? The U.S. ambassador has stepped forward and made it clear,” she added. Zakharova explained that Washington benefited from keeping the issue afloat because “this artificial problem prevents Japan from engaging in full-scale, mutually beneficial and long-term cooperation with Russia.”

The Russian diplomat recommended that the US envoy to Japan “should spend more time telling the Japanese public about the United States’ crimes.” “Particularly, about how the United States used nuclear weapons to attack the country’s civilians in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Unfortunately, the Japanese public knows little about the U.S. role in those tragic events,” Maria Zakharova concluded.