Authored by Alex Gorka via The Strategic Culture Foundation, Boris Johnson arrives in Moscow today to hold talks with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov the next day – the first visit to Russia by a British foreign minister in five years. International security issues are to top the agenda, including North Korea, Iran and regional stability in the Middle East as well as security for the 2018 World Cup soccer tournament in Russia. This time the bilateral relationship is at the lowest ebb due to the differences over Ukraine, Syria, and the allegations of Moscow’s meddling in the politics of various European countries. UK Prime Minister Theresa May has dramatically escalated attacks on Russia recently, accusing it of malign influence and hostile intentions. Mr. Johnson gave an interview to the Sunday Times as he prepares for the trip to Moscow, in which he said that ‘Russia has not been so hostile to the UK or to Western interests since the end of the Cold War.’ According to him, ‘In the Crimea, capturing a part of sovereign, besides, European territory from someone else’s country and holding it for the first time since 1945.’
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 21, 2017.
A Russian lawmaker on Friday said that North Korea doesn’t want nuclear war with the US – but that the country is ‘morally ready’ for war after US threats, and if it’s left with no other option, RIA reported. At the same time, Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, chimed in, and according to interfax, said there are people in Washington “who wish to provoke Pyongyang to reckless actions” and warned the US that if it “wants to destroy North Korea” then it is playing with fire and making a great mistake. In this context, some have speculated that should Rex Tillerson leave the Trump admin, once the former Exxon CEO – who has been the most vocal opponent to a North Korea war – departs, then North Korea’s challenge may be promptly answered by the various generals currently inhabiting the White House.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 1, 2017.
Russia is getting irritated at the United States’ unwillingness to give back two Russian intelligence compounds seized in the United States because of Barack Obama’s temper tantrum and manufactured narrative. Since the US refuses to act to stabilize relations with the former Soviet Union, and return property seized because of an emotional outburst over Hillary Clinton’s loss, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said he was ‘considering specific measures’ in response to the US government’s incompetence. Regardless of the action or inaction, Donald Trump decides to take, he will be on the losing side of this political game Barack Obama started. As if the United States couldn’t become an even bigger laughingstock on the world stage, Russia is now making threats that will certainly push the nations toward dissolving relations, if not an all out war. Ex-President Barack Obama tried to set into action a war with Russia before he left office when the Obama administration expelled 35 Russian diplomats and shut down two intelligence compounds in December of 2016. He acted against Russia after US intelligence sources falsely accused Russian state agents of hacking into Democratic Party computers to undermine Hillary Clinton’s poor attempt at a presidential campaign and tied Trump’s hands, making peace and diplomacy all but impossible.
Syrian ceasefire seems to be holding. Many lives can be saved. Came out of meeting. Good! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 9, 2017
A ceasefire agreement brokered by the United States and Russia was implemented in Southwestern Syria on Sunday. It appears to have held throughout Monday, despite minor violations. ‘The situation is relatively calm,’ said Suhaib al-Ruhail, a spokesman for Alwiyat al-Furqan, a rebel faction active in al-Quneitra. Other rebel groups reported no significant fighting since the deal took effect. A Syrian official said the government’s lack of comment on the implementation of the deal should be taken as a ‘sign of satisfaction.’ ‘We welcome any step that would cease the fire and pave the way for peaceful solutions,’ the official told Reuters. The de-escalation plan was announced after President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin met on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg last Friday; Jordan also announced its participation in the plan soon after that meeting. According to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, in addition to halting the fighting, the deal aims to secure access to humanitarian aid for Syrians, establish contacts with opposition groups in the south and set up a ‘monitoring center’ in Jordan’s capital city.
Trump and Putin met Friday for the first time, the most highly anticipated sit-down at the Group of 20 summit, with repercussions for Trump’s political standing at home and security around the world in hot-spots from Syria to Ukraine. “President Putin and I have been discussing various things. I think it’s going very well,” Trump said as the meeting began. “We look forward to a lot of positive things happening, for Russia, for the United States and for everybody concerned,” Trump said, telling Putin, “It’s an honor to be with you.” The Russian president addressed Trump as “your Excellency, Mr. President” and noted that the two men have spoken by phone several times. “But phone conversation is never enough definitely,” Putin said. “I’m delighted to be able to meet you personally, Mr. President, and as you have said, I hope our meeting will yield positive results,” Putin said. It’s the first meeting between the two men following Trump taking office in January, with the backdrop of a U. S. intelligence finding that Russia meddled in the U. S. election in an attempt to help Trump. The meeting included only Trump, Putin, U. S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and two translators. The two leaders had shaken hands hours earlier at the start of the summit in Hamburg, Germany, and the U. S. president said in a tweet: ‘I look forward to all meetings today with world leaders, including my meeting with Vladimir Putin. Much to discuss.’
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 7, 2017.
The Syrian and Russian governments have responded to allegations by White House officials made earlier this week that the Syrian regime was planning to carry out a chemical weapons attack, with the Russians threatening retaliation to any ‘preemptive’ American strike. ‘We will react with dignity, in proportion to the real situation that may take place,’ Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a press conference on Wednesday. ‘I expect that our partners in the region – American, European – will also have an open and comprehensible approach, aimed at de-escalation through normalization of the humanitarian situation,’ Lavrov added, perhaps charitably. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters he was ‘not aware of any information’ about a chemical attack, adding that ‘such threats to Syria’s legitimate leaders are unacceptable.’ The claims initially emanated from the White House on Monday, when officials said they had intelligence that indicated the Syrians were preparing for a chemical weapons attack and warned that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would ‘pay a heavy price’ if his military did so.
The shooting down of a Syrian fighter jet by US forces this week comes on the back of several aggressive actions by American military on the ground. Taken together the US actions mark an alarming escalation of intervention in the Syrian war – to the point where the Americans can be said to be now openly at war against Syria. The American military actions also come despite repeated warnings from Russia against such unilateral deployment of force. Following the shoot-down of the Syrian SU-22 fighter bomber this week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov denounced the American violence as an act of flagrant aggression against a sovereign state. Some Russian lawmakers such as Duma foreign affairs chief Alexei Pushkov went further and condemned it as an act of war by the Americans. Of course, Washington’s logic is riddled with absurdity. To claim that its forces are acting in self-defense overlooks the glaring reality that the US-led military coalition has no legal mandate whatsoever to be in Syria in the first place. Its forces are in breach of international law by operating on Syrian territory without the consent of the government in Damascus and without a mandate from the UN Security Council. Another absurdity is the claim that the US forces are protecting militants whom they are supposedly training to fight the Islamic State terror group (ISIS). On at least three occasions over the past month, American military have carried out air strikes on Syrian government forces and their allies near a strategically important border crossing between Syria and Iraq. The Americans claim that the Syrian government forces were posing a threat to a military base at Al Tanf on the Syrian side of the border where they are training militants belonging to a group called Maghawir al Thawra.
21st Century Wire says… Yesterday a US F/A-18E Super Hornet is reported to have shot down a Syrian Army SU-22 jet near the village of Rasafah, south of Raqqa. Washington claims it was an act of ‘collective self-defense’ because the Syrian jet had dropped bombs ‘near US-backed forces.’ Syrian officials in Damascus deny the US claims, stating that their plane was downed while conducting a strike on an ISIS position. According to a statement released by Damascus, the US act of aggression in Syria airspace was a ‘flagrant attack was an attempt to undermine the efforts of the army as the only effective force capable with its allies… in fighting terrorism across its territory.’ Officials added that, ‘this comes at a time when the Syrian army and its allies were making clear advances in fighting the (ISIS) terrorist group.’ US officials are claiming that ‘pro-Syrian regime forces’ on the ground attacked the US-backed Kurdish militias under the ‘SDF’ brand (Syrian Democratic Forces) near Tabqa outside Raqqa, after which time the US-led Coalition planes engaged Syrian military. US officials then claim that a Syrian planes ‘dropped bombs near the US-backed forces.’ Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov issue this statement: ‘We call on the United State and all others who have their forces or advisors on the ground [in Syria] to ensure the coordination in our work. Zones of de-escalation are one of the possible options to jointly move forward. We call on everyone to avoid unilateral moves, respect Syrian sovereignty and join our common work which is agreed with the Syrian Arab Republic’s government.’
From day one, President Trump’s administration has been dogged with accusations that he is somehow in league with the Russians. To be fair, Trump has a lot of flaws that are worth criticizing, but the mainstream media has refused to relent on this particular issue, even though there isn’t any real proof. They won’t back down from the Russia allegations, because they know that if they can get them to stick, it could end Trump’s presidency. The latest accusation has resulted in just about everyone in the mainstream media and the Democratic party, calling for Trump’s impeachment. Again, there’s no proof that Trump leaked classified material to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov last week. There’s only the word of one anonymous source who offered this revelation to the Washington Post. Members of Trump’s administration have provided a very different take on what happened. National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster told the press that ‘The story that came out tonight as reported is false… I was in the room. It didn’t happen.’ Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell claimed ‘The story is false. The president only discussed the common threats that both countries faced.’ And Rex Tillerson has since added that ‘the nature of specific threats were discussed, but they did not discuss sources, methods or military operations.’
This post was published at shtfplan on May 17th, 2017.
On Monday, the Washington Post ran a story claiming U. S. President Donald Trump had divulged highly classified information to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in a meeting in the Oval Office. The Post came by this information via former and current U. S. officials who continue to remain anonymous. Trump’s national security advisor, H. R. McMaster, was tasked with mitigating the damage of this leak. However, any success he had at the time (which was very little) was seriously undermined by Trump’s statements that he did, in fact, divulge the information – and that he had every right to do so. Let’s examine the issues here. According to the Washington Post, Trump gave his Russian counterparts information ‘considered so sensitive that details have been withheld from allies and tightly restricted even within the U. S. government.’ Specifically: ‘Trump went on to discuss aspects of the threat that the United States learned only through the espionage capabilities of a key partner. He did not reveal the specific intelligence-gathering method, but he described how the Islamic State was pursuing elements of a specific plot and how much harm such an attack could cause under varying circumstances. Most alarmingly, officials said, Trump revealed the city in the Islamic State’s territory where the U. S. intelligence partner detected the threat.’
Following the latest provocative story from the Washington Post earlier suggesting that Trump shared “highly classified information” with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during their White House meeting last week, National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster just spoke to reporters outside the White House to offer an unequivocal denial of the story: “The story that came out tonight as reported is false. I was in the room. It didn’t happen.” “There is nothing that the President takes more seriously than the security of the American people. The story that came out tonight as reported is false. The president the foreign minister reviewed a range of common threats to our two countries, including threats to civil aviation. At no time, at no time were intelligence sources or methods discussed. And the president did not disclose any military operations that were not already publicly known. Two other senior officials who were present, including the Secretary of State, remembered the meeting the same way and have said so. Their on-the-record accounts should outweigh those of anonymous sources. I was in the room. It didn’t happen.”
This post was published at Zero Hedge on May 15, 2017.
After an ‘icy’ (pardon the pun) meeting between Rex Tillerson and Russia Foreign Secretary Sergei Lavrov last week in Moscow, Vladimir Putin has just released the first public photos of a giant, top-secret military base recently built on the arctic island of “Alexandra Land.” According to media reports, the base is believed to be fully-armed with missile systems and nuclear-ready fighter jets. A virtual tour of the facility can be viewed here.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Apr 19, 2017.
21st Century Wire says… Following Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Professor Theodore Postol’s direct challenge to evidence released regarding that the alleged chemical weapons attack in the Idlib province of Syria, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov states that the event was ‘orchestrated.’ In 2013, western claims were discredited, as evidence for the alleged sarin gas attacks which took place pointed directly at the western and Gulf state-backed ‘rebels’ (aka terrorists) as being the true criminals. Bear in the mind that the entire western mainstream media had already cast blame on Syrian President Bashar al Assad for the chemical attacks (just as they’ve done now without providing proof) – making this WMD redux yet another pretext for war and ‘humanitarian intervention by the west. Did the Western establishment get things wrong once again? More from Bloomberg below…
Despite numerous earlier reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin would not meet U. S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, moments ago the “breathless speculation” and suspense whether the Russian president would indeed skip the opportunity to meet with the top US diplomat – who has been repeatedly portrayed in the press as a friend of the Russian president – ended when Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Putin is currently meeting with Tillerson, together with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in the Kremlin. The surprise meeting comes one day after Kremlin officials said the top American diplomat would not meet with the Russian leader during his first official trip to Moscow. “Russian President Vladimir Putin is meeting with the US Secretary of State Tillerson and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov in the Kremlin,” Peskov told Sputnik. Peskov refrained from revealing what the President discussed with the diplomats. Earlier Tillerson met with Lavrov, when in a closed door meeting the Russian foreign minister warned Tillerson no to strike Syria again. So, can the breathless speculation about a Tillerson/Putin meeting end now? — Matt Lee (@APDiploWriter) April 12, 2017
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Apr 12, 2017.
Trust between Russia and the US has collapsed under the Trump administration, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated on Wednesday, as Moscow delivered an unusually frigid if not hostile reception to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in a face-off over Syria, shortly after Putin said the recent chemical attack was a staged “false flag” and predicted that more are coming, while at the same time the US accused Russia of a gas attack “cover up.” In an interview on Wednesday, Putin said that if Donald Trump had intended to bring about a thaw in US relations with Russia, he has failed to see this intention through. “One could say that the level of trust on a working level, especially on the military level, has not improved but has rather deteriorated,” Putin said in an interview broadcast on Russian television moments after Tillerson sat down with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in an ornate hall. Putin doubled down on Russia’s support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, repeating denials that Assad’s government was to blame for the gas attack last week and adding a new theory that the attack may have been faked by Assad’s enemies.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Apr 12, 2017.
Amid attempts to “clarify areas of sharp difference,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov blasted the Trump administration’s “ambiguous and contradictory” foreign policy at the start of talks with Tillerson in Moscow Wednesday calling the demand for the Kremlin to abandon Assad “absurd.” Furthermore, he warned Tillerson that Russia “believes it’s fundamentally important not to let these actions happen again.” Russia pushed back against demands that it abandon Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad over a chemical-weapons attack as Bloomberg reports that the Kremlin said President Vladimir Putin is likely to meet with U. S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Putin complained that relations with the U. S. are worse than under President Barack Obama, while Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov criticized the Trump administration’s ‘ambiguous and contradictory’ foreign policy at the start of talks with Tillerson in Moscow Wednesday.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Apr 12, 2017.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov commented on Monday about the U.S.-led operation to block the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) from marching on the Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa. Responding to a journalist’s question about the development, Lavrov stated that Russia supports any international efforts to combat Islamic State, but warned the U.S. “to fight terror rather than gain geopolitical advantages in Syria“: “umerous uninvited players : the US-led air force coalition, Turkish servicemen, and commandos from the United States and a number of European countries. All of this creates a rather motley picture, but we are confident (and have advocated this for a long time) that the main criterion should be our common concern in the fight against terrorism. So far, coordination leaves much to be desired. We have reason to believe that our partners, including the Americans, are beginning to realise the need for remedying this situation. Let us hope that all of us will be driven by the well-understood priority to fight terror rather than gain geopolitical advantages in Syria.” Lavrov seems to be keeping his cards close to his chest, but it’s clear that he’s less than thrilled about Washington’s posturing around Raqqa. It could be as simple as a “lack of coordination” – but let’s be honest: There’s very likely a lot more at play here. Any attempt by Washington to prevent Syrian forces from liberating their own country from Islamic State should be seen as extremely worrying. According to a trusted Syria expert, preventing the SAA from taking Raqqa signals that Washington is quietly preparing to “Balkanize” Syria – an analysis that we agree with.
This is perhaps one of Sergei Lavrov’s finest addresses. It needs to be read in its entirety to fully appreciate the scale and depth of Lavrov’s observations – although we’ve provided a very short excerpt for those with short attention spans. Lavrov’s driving thesis is that the U.S.-led global order has abandoned the concepts of state sovereignty and international law, choosing political expediency over consensus. Lavrov believes that shifting economic centers will bring this era to an end: “Ironically, the American elite, which emerged as freedom fighters and separatists anxious to cast off the yoke of the British crown, had transformed itself and its state by the 20th century into a power thirsting for global imperialist domination. The world is changing, however, and – who knows – America might yet purify itself and return to its own forgotten sources.” “The redistribution of the global balance of power continues. We are witnessing new centres of economic power and associated political influence come into being in the world…The formation of a polycentric international order is an objective process. It is in our common interest to make it more stable and predictable.” The speech was given to senior officers of the Military Academy of the General Staff in Moscow on March 23.
It’s not even up for debate – Sergei Lavrov is in a league of his own. Russia’s Foreign Minister mutilates Washington soundbites in his sleep and eats NATO press releases for breakfast – no salt. As you are well aware, Sergei dropped a payload of painful truth on Mike Pence’s smug, smarmy face during the Munich Security Conference on Saturday. But that was just a warm-up. Pence is a small fish in a big ocean of idiots. On the sidelines of the Munich conference, Lavrov participating in a meeting with top diplomats from the Normandy Four (Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine). Angela Merkel used this opportunity to lecture Lavrov and the rest of the audience about the dangers of Russian hacking. You think Lavrov just sat there and took it on the chin? No. When it was his turn to speak, he reminded the entire world that Angela Merkel’s phones were tapped by her “ally”, and that this is a confirmed fact, and that Angela Merkel is a sad puppet.
“Aiming to calm European fears about US-Russia ties, Vice President Mike Pence told world leaders Saturday that the United States will stand firm against Moscow while also seeking avenues for cooperation.” This is the opening line to CNN‘s report on the predictable saber-rattling that took place at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday. Pence also told the audience that Washington remained “unwavering” in its commitment to NATO as it faced a “more assertive Russia.” Shortly after Pence had finished his war liturgy, Russia’s Foreign Minister took to the podium. Sergei Lavrov phrased his comments in a very simple manner, so that his American counterparts could understand: Lavrov said that the time when the West called the shots was over and, dismissing NATO as a relic of the Cold War, added: “I hope that (the world) will choose a democratic world order — a post-West one — in which each country is defined by its sovereignty.” Lavrov said Moscow wanted to build relations with Washington which would be “pragmatic with mutual respect and acknowledgement of our responsibility for global stability.” Lavrov is a career diplomat and a true gentleman. But we’ve noticed a subtle change in his approach to U.S. bullshittery over the last two years.