Russia & Caucasus

Russia threatens to sever relations if it is classified by the US as a sponsor of terrorism
Russia

Russia threatens to sever relations if it is classified by the US as a sponsor of terrorism

Russia on Tuesday threatened the United States of America (USA) with a rupture of diplomatic relations if the country is declared a state sponsor of terrorism due to the Russian military campaign in Ukraine. "Any action provokes a reaction and the logical result of this irresponsible step could be the rupture of diplomatic relations," Russian diplomacy spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a press conference. The representative stressed that "Washington risks definitively crossing the point of no return with all the corresponding consequences". Zakharova assured that the legal initiative of US congressmen "contravenes international law". "It is possible that senators and congressmen will see it as a terrible punishment capable of forcing Russia to live according to a world order invented b...
‘Night Wolves’, pro-Putin biker group sanctioned by the European Union
Russia

‘Night Wolves’, pro-Putin biker group sanctioned by the European Union

The 'Night Wolves' were considered by the European Commission as a “nationalist motorcycle club” that has been “actively involved” in Russia's military campaign against Ukraine. The new package of European Union (EU) sanctions applied to Russia, adopted this week, includes restrictive measures on an additional 54 individuals and 10 entities for their involvement in the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Among those sanctioned is the biker group 'Night Wolves' and four of its leaders. The US magazine Fortune describes the club as "a gang of rowdy Hell's Angels-type bikers with a long history of supporting Russian President Vladimir Putin". According to the publication, in 2018 the group had more than 5,000 members spread across 45 branches in several countries, including Ramzan Kadyrov, lead...
Cereals. Agreement sealed between praise for Guterres and doubts about Russia
Ukraine, Russia

Cereals. Agreement sealed between praise for Guterres and doubts about Russia

Doubts about Russia's good faith in the agreement to export Ukrainian grain withheld overshadowed the signing of the documents today in Turkey, a long-awaited moment that earned António Guterres and the UN's mediation praise. The distrust between the Russian and Ukrainian parties was evident even in the highly choreographed signing ceremony: rejecting any agreement with invading Russia, Ukraine signed a separate "twin" agreement with Turkey and the UN. After two months of intense negotiations, the documents aim to create a control center in Istanbul, headed by representatives of the parties involved: a Ukrainian, a Russian, a Turkish, and a United Nations representative. These should establish the schedule for rotating ships in the Black Sea, starting with an inspection of ships carry...
Russia’s central bank predicts contraction of Russian economy between 4% and 6%
Russia

Russia’s central bank predicts contraction of Russian economy between 4% and 6%

The Central Bank of Russia (BCR) today predicted that the Russian economy will contract this year by between 4% and 6%, four points less than it estimated last April. In April, the BCR predicted a drop in Russian Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of between 8% and 10% in 2022 due to the impact of Western sanctions. After a regular meeting, at which the Board of Directors decided to reduce the interest rate by 150 basis points to 8%, the Russian monetary institution stated that "the external environment of the Russian economy remains complex and significantly restricts economic activity". in the country. "Overall, the real decline in economic activity in the second quarter is less pronounced than what the Bank of Russia assumed in June," the BCR said in a statement. According to the BCR, i...
MI6 chief says Russian spying capability has been halved
Global Concerns, Espionage, Russia

MI6 chief says Russian spying capability has been halved

The expulsion of agents and the arrest of several spies disguised as civilians across the continent "probably halved Russia's ability to spy in Europe," the M16 official said. The head of the British intelligence agency MI6, Richard Moore, said this Friday that the Russian espionage capacity in Europe has been halved after the expulsion of more than 400 agents. In a speech during the Security Forum held in Aspen, Colorado, quoted this Friday by CNN, Moore assured that it is because of this that the Russian invasion of Ukraine is “losing strength”. The expulsion of agents and the arrest of several spies disguised as civilians across the continent "probably halved Russia's ability to spy in Europe," he added. Source: With Agencies
Russia and Ukraine sign grain export deal on Friday
Turkey, Russia, Ukraine

Russia and Ukraine sign grain export deal on Friday

UN Secretary-General will be in Turkey this Thursday. Russia and Ukraine will sign the agreement on the export of cereals on Friday, according to a Turkish government source, quoted by Agence France-Presse. The announcement comes a day after Turkey's president said he wanted a written deal later this week. "The signing ceremony of the grain shipment agreement, which will be attended by [Turkish] President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and UN Secretary-General António Guterres, will be signed tomorrow at 4:30 pm [2:30 pm in Lisbon] at the Dolmabahçe Palace, with the participation of Ukraine and Russia", notes the text. The agreement was expected this week "An agreement began to emerge last week during talks in Istanbul last week. Now, we want this agreement to be in writing," reads a statemen...
Israel sends delegation to Russia after intention to close Jewish Agency
Israel, Russia

Israel sends delegation to Russia after intention to close Jewish Agency

The Israeli Government today sent a delegation to Russia to address Moscow's intention to close the activity of the Jewish Agency, an organization that promotes and organizes the emigration of people of Jewish origin to Israel. The Jewish community in Russia is deeply linked to Israel", said the Israeli Prime Minister in office, Yair Lapid, assuring that he will continue to "work through diplomatic channels so that the important activity of the Jewish Agency does not cease". A Moscow court today announced that the Russian Ministry of Justice has requested the dissolution of the Jewish Agency in Russia in a context of heightened tension due to the war in Ukraine. "The court received an administrative complaint from the main department of the Ministry of Justice in Moscow asking for the...
Russian justice ministry calls for dissolution of Jewish agency
Russia

Russian justice ministry calls for dissolution of Jewish agency

The Russian Ministry of Justice has called for the dissolution of the Jewish Agency in Russia, which deals with emigration towards Israel, a Moscow court announced today in a context of heightened tension due to the war in Ukraine. The court received an administrative complaint from the main department of the Ministry of Justice in Moscow asking for the dissolution (...) of the non-profit organization "Support of links with the Jewish diaspora, Jewish Sokhnout Agency", said Ekaterina Buravtsova, spokeswoman of Moscow's Basmay Court. Cited by the Interfax agency, he stated that this request was motivated by violations of the law, without further details. In his view, a "judge requested discussion" on this case is expected to take place on July 28. Last week, the Russian Ministry of Jus...
US intelligence estimates that Russia had 15,000 casualties in the war
Russia

US intelligence estimates that Russia had 15,000 casualties in the war

Russia considers military deaths to be state secrets. The United States estimates that Russian casualties in Ukraine so far amount to around 15,000 dead and perhaps 45,000 wounded, according to the director of the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency), William Burns, quoted by The Guardian newspaper. At a press conference at Colorado's Aspen Security Forum, the official said: “The latest estimates from the US intelligence community would be somewhere around 15,000 Russian forces killed and perhaps three times as many wounded. So a pretty significant set of losses.” He adds that “the Ukrainians also suffered – probably a little less than that. But with significant losses.” Remember that Russia considers military casualties to be state secrets even in peacetime and does not update its ...
Kremlin rejects Putin health rumors, says he is fine
Russia

Kremlin rejects Putin health rumors, says he is fine

The reports about Putin's health are "false", confirms the Kremlin. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said this Thursday at a press conference quoted by the Reuters agency that Vladimir Putin is in good health, thus dismissing rumors that he was ill. According to the Kremlin spokesman, who admits there has been speculation in the West about the president's health in recent months, reports about Putin's health are "nothing but false". It is recalled that this controversy stems from the fact that the Russian president coughed during a public appearance, on Wednesday when the Interfax news agency quoted him as saying that he had a slight cold that he had caught on the trip to Iran. "It was very hot in Tehran yesterday, over 38 degrees Celsius, and the air conditioning was very strong. For...