Kissinger: U.S. on brink of war

Brussels 14.08.2022 Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger believes that Washington is currently on the brink of war with Moscow and Beijing, he said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.

“We are at the edge of war with Russia and China on issues which we partly created, without any concept of how this is going to end or what it’s supposed to lead to,” he underscored.

“You can’t just now say we’re going to split them off and turn them against each other. All you can do is not to accelerate the tensions and to create options, and for that you have to have some purpose,” Kissinger added.

Russia-Serbia relations in process

Brussels 02.08.2022 The issue of Serbia’s possible membership in the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) has not yet been included on the agenda, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists on Monday, August 1.

“Frankly speaking, such an issue has not been on the agenda,” the Kremlin official said replying to a question on the matter.

Putin’s press secretary could not answer a question whether an agreement with Serbia, similar to agreements on friendship, cooperation and mutual aid with the sefl-proclaimed Donbass Republics, was possible.

“You know that we have allied, very sincere and very profound relations with Serbia. So, undoubtedly, our relations should continue to develop and the legal base will develop but I cannot say at the moment whether there will be such elements,” he explained.

On Sunday night, July 31, the situation in Kosovo and Metohija sharply escalated after Kosovo’s police had closed a checkpoint on the border with Serbia, intending to introduce a ban on Serbian documents on Monday. In response, Serbs in the north of Kosovo took to the streets and blocked key highways. The police and the Kosovo Force (KFOR), a NATO-led international peacekeeping force in Kosovo, were pulled to the bridge across the Ibar River, which links Kosovska Mitrovica’s northern and southern parts.

As a result of international efforts, Pristina decided to postpone the procedure of banning Serbian documents until September 1.

Nord Stream: Canada promises to return compressor

Brussels 10.07.2022 Gazprom had to reduce natural gas supplies over the Nord Stream pipeline lower than planned due to the delayed return of gas compressor units from repair by Siemens and malfunctions in technical engines, the Russian gas holding said.

Canada will return to Germany a repaired Siemens turbine for the Nord Stream pipeline, Minister of Natural Resources Jonathan Wilkinson ensured, according to The Globe and Mail newspaper.

“Canada will grant a time-limited and revocable permit for Siemens Canada to allow the return of repaired Nordstream 1 turbines to Germany, supporting Europe’s ability to access reliable and affordable energy as they continue to transition away from Russian oil and gas,” the newspaper quoted him as saying on Saturday, July 9.

The official underscored that “absent a necessary supply of natural gas, the German economy will suffer very significant hardship and Germans themselves will be at risk of being unable to heat their homes as winter approaches.”

Gazprom had to face the necessity to reduce natural gas supplies over the Nord Stream pipeline lower than planned due to the delayed return of gas compressor units from repair by Siemens and malfunctions in technical engines, the Russian gas holding said on June 14. Siemens Energy said one of the gas turbines cannot be returned to Germany from Montreal due to Canada’s sanctions against Russia.

As a result, gas throughput over the Nord Stream has been constrained to 40% of maximum capacity.

Russia-U.S. talks on mercenaries failed

Brussels 09.07.2022 Talks on American mercenaries in Ukraine going nowhere — Russian diplomat
“The U.S. earlier sent some kind of a signal, mostly stressing that these people should be regarded as combatants under the Geneva Convention and the corresponding obligations should be applied to them,” Deputy Foreign minister Sergey Ryabkov said.

Russian-U.S. exchanges on the issue of American mercenaries in Ukraine failed to proceed, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told reporters on Friday, July 8.

“As far as I understand, the discussions failed to develop,” he said in response to a TASS question. “The US earlier sent some kind of a signal, mostly stressing that these people should be regarded as combatants under the Geneva Convention and the corresponding obligations should be applied to them,” Ryabkov added.

The senior Russian diplomat has underlined that “the circumstances of mercenaries’ emergence and the overall presence and activities of foreign mercenaries on the side of Ukraine’s Armed Forces and nationalist battalions are one of the most serious issues in the relations with the United States and their allies.

Russia: Belgorod hit by missile

Brussels 03.07.2022 At least three people were perished and dozens of residential buildings damaged in the Russian city of Belgorod near the Ukraine border, the regional governor said, after reports of several blasts in the city.

At least 11 apartment buildings and 39 private houses were damaged, including five that were destroyed, Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov posted on the Telegram messaging app.

Governor Gladkov said earlier that the “incident” was being investigated, adding: “Presumably, the air defence system worked.”

At least four people were injured and two hospitalised, including a 10-year-old boy, he said.

The news agencies could not independently verify the reports. There was no immediate reaction from the Ukraine relevant authorities.

Belgorod, a city of nearly 400,000 some 40km north of the border with Ukraine, is the administrative centre of the Belgorod region.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesperson Igor Konashenkov confirmed that tonight, from 3:00 to 3:30 Moscow time, the “Kyiv regime” carried out a “deliberate strike with Tochka-U ballistic missiles with cluster munitions and Tu-143 Reis drones on residential areas of Belgorod and Kursk, where there are no military installations”.

All three Tochka-U ballistic missiles with cluster warheads launched by Ukrainian military at Belgorod were destroyed in the air by Russian air defense systems. As a result of the defeat of Ukrainian missiles, the wreckage of one of them fell on a residential building in the city.

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.