20 August 2018

Russia

Putin and Merkel discuss Nord Stream 2, Syrian reconstruction

KONFRONTASI-Russian President Vladimir Putin has said a planned trans-Baltic natural gas pipeline linking Russia and Germany is exclusively an economic project, in his latest remarks over a controversial venture that has divided Europe and raised concerns in Washington.

Speaking alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday, Putin said the Nord Stream 2 pipeline would not "close the door to shipping gas through Ukraine".

The comments came ahead of a meeting between the two leaders at a German government guest house outside the capital, Berlin.

China, Russia defend trade ties with Iran after US sanctions

KONFRONTASI - China and Russia have repudiated new US sanctions on Iran, pledging to maintain trade ties with Tehran after President Donald Trump warned countries against doing business with the Islamic Republic.

"China has consistently opposed unilateral sanctions and long-armed jurisdiction," the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Wednesday, addressing Trump's decision Monday to reimpose sanctions on Tehran.

EU leaders extend economic sanctions against Russia

KONFRONTASI - European Union leaders have agreed to extend the bloc’s economic sanctions against Russia for another six months.

The EU slapped the sanctions against the Kremlin for its alleged support for pro-Russia militia fighting against the Ukrainian government since 2014.

"EU leaders extended economic sanctions against Russia for 6 months," the European Council said in a statement on Friday after the EU leaders’ summit in Brussels.

Putin: New Russian weapons decades ahead of foreign rivals

KONFRONTASI-Russian President Vladimir Putin has boasted about his country's prospective nuclear weapons, saying they are years and even decades ahead of foreign designs.

The new weapons represent a quantum leap in the nation's military capability, Putin told graduates of Russian military academies in the Kremlin on Thursday.

He said that Russia has made a "real breakthrough" in designing new weapons.

West, Russia face off over empowering chemical weapons body

KONFRONTASI-Britain, which has condemned Russia over the nerve agent poisoning of an ex-spy, is pushing to give more teeth to the global chemical weapons watchdog so that it can identify those responsible for attacks with banned toxic substances.

The 20-year-old Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which oversees a 1997 treaty banning the use of toxins as weapons, is a technical, scientific body which determines whether chemical weapons were used.

But it does not have the authority to identify perpetrators.

A British-led proposal, which is backed by Western powers including France, Germany and the United States, but opposed by Russia, Iran and Syria, was to be debated at a special session of the OPCW starting on Tuesday. The proposal would give the world body greater powers to assign responsibility for violations of the Chemical Weapons Convention.

“Attribution goes beyond the mandate of the OPCW,” the Russian delegation said on Twitter. “The decision to create such a mechanism within the OPCW cannot be made at the special session” being held in The Hague.

The meeting was stalled for nearly three hours by procedural bickering, with Russia and its allies questioning the rules on voting rights until the United States forced a vote to have the agenda adopted. It passed by a wide majority.

The draft proposal circulated by Britain, a copy of which has been seen by Reuters, would thrust the OPCW to the forefront of the diplomatic confrontation between the West and Moscow which has seen relations deteriorate to their lowest point since the Cold War.

Russia and Indonesia submitted rival proposals, but Western diplomats said they were not believed to have strong political backing.

US imposes fresh sanctions on Russia over cyber attacks

KONFRONTASI - The United States has announced a raft of new sanctions targeting several Russian entities and individuals over their allege contribution to hacking schemes against Washington and its allies.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin alleged in a statement Monday that those affected in the new sanctions had worked with the Russian military and intelligence services to help cyber attacks against the US and other states.

US to cut special forces in Africa to counter China, Russia: Report

KONFRONTASI - The United States plans to sharply reduce the number of American Special Operations forces in Africa as part of a new Pentagon strategy that focuses on countering “rising threats” from Russia and China, according to a report.

Defense Secretary James Mattis has ordered a review of America’s elite commando missions in recent weeks which could see counterterrorism forces in Africa slashed by as much as half over the next three years, The New York Times reported on Monday.

Russia's telecommunication regulator urges Apple to help block Telegram

KONFRONTASI - Russian authorities have asked Apple to help the country’s telecommunication regulator Roskomnadzor block the popular messaging application Telegram.

Roskomnadzor said Monday it had requested that Apple make changes to its services so that two main features of Telegram, namely its push notifications and downloads, would not be accessible in Russia.

Rusia Anggap Keputusan AS Tarik Diri dari Pakta Nuklir Iran Gegabah

KONFRONTASI-Wakil Menteri Luar Negeri Rusia Sergei Ryabkov hari ini menyatakan bahwa adalah mungkin saja membahas masa depan perjanjian nuklir Iran tanpa keterlibatan Amerika Serikat, lapor kantor berita RIA Novosti.

Sebaliknya Ryabkov menyatakan adalah mustahil melindungi pakta nuklir itu tanpa ada konsesi dari Iran.

Ryabkov kemudian menyebut keputusan AS menarik diri dari pakta nuklir Iran sebagai gegabah, padahal AS sedang membahas masalah nuklir di Semenanjung Korea.[mr/tar]

Russian army hints at providing advanced air defences to Assad

KONFRONTASI-The Russian army has hinted that it would supply the Syrian government with a sophisticated air defence system.

Colonel General Sergei Rudskoi said on Wednesday that Moscow would supply Damascus with "new missile defence systems soon".

The statement did not specify what kind of system would be given to the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a major ally of Russia.

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