VIF News Digest: International Developments (US, Europe and Russia), 1-15 June 2020
US Domestic:
Racial Violence:
Demonstrators in Atlanta protest police killing of black man who fell asleep in drive-thru

14 June 2020
Demonstrators took to the streets in Atlanta on Saturday protesting the fatal shooting by police of a black man who had fallen asleep in his car while waiting in line at a fast food drive thru south of downtown.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said it was probing the killing of Rayshard Brooks, 27, of Atlanta. Police said he resisted arrest after failing a field sobriety test during the Friday night incident.
Protests over Brooks’ killing began Saturday afternoon in Atlanta, and were expected to continue through the day.
The president of the Georgia NAACP, the Rev. James Woodall, has called for the firing of Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution newspaper.
The killing of Brooks came after weeks of intense racial equality protests across the United States following the death of George Floyd, a black man killed in Minneapolis police custody when an officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes. Click here to read....

Trump praises law enforcement response in Minneapolis, says confronting bigotry will ‘go very easily’ at event in Dallas

12 June 2020
President Trump praised the use of tear gas and other force to disperse Minneapolis protesters, calling it a “beautiful scene” and describing the National Guard’s actions “like a knife cutting butter.”
“I’ll never forget. You saw the scene on that road … they were lined up. Man, they just walked straight. And yes, there was some tear gas and probably some other things,” Trump said in opening remarks at a roundtable on policing and race. “And the crowd dispersed and they went through. By the end of that evening, and it was a short evening, everything was fine.”
Trump’s event at a conservative, evangelical and predominantly white church in Dallas on Thursday afternoon came as the White House has yet to announce what new measures it might support in response to the protests against racial injustice that have gripped the nation since the killing of George Floyd by a police officer. Click here to read....

Trump finalizing executive order calling on police to use 'force with compassion'

11 June 2020

President Trump said Thursday that his administration is working on an executive order that will encourage police to meet "professional standards" for the use of force in the line of duty.
“We’re working to finalize an executive order that will encourage police departments nationwide to meet the most current professional standards for the use of force, including tactics for de-escalation,” Trump said during a roundtable with law enforcement, faith leaders and small business owners in Dallas.
Trump said the order would encourage police to use “force with compassion.” He also defended his call for law enforcement to "dominate the streets" in order to quell protests after the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who was killed in police custody on May 25. Protests nationwide have been largely peaceful, with some incidents of looting in larger cities. Click here to read....

US Election:
Trump, Biden hold events in key U.S. states as campaign begins to heat up

12 June 2020

President Donald Trump and his Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, headed to must-win election battlegrounds on Thursday, slowly resuming campaign activities in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Trump hosted a campaign-style roundtable at a church in Dallas focused on aiding minority communities amid ongoing national protests over racism and police brutality. Biden unveiled an economic reopening proposal in Pennsylvania.
Ahead of the Nov. 3 election, recent opinion polls have shown Trump in a dead heat with Biden in Texas, which the Republican won by 9 percentage points four years ago.
“I know we’re doing very well here,” Trump said at the event.
Speaking to faith leaders, small-business owners and law enforcement officials, the president pledged to improve access to capital for minority-owned businesses. Click here to read....

More than 1.5 million file new jobless claims in first week of June

11 June 2020

More than 1.5 million Americans filed new claims for unemployment benefits during the first week of June, according to Labor Department data released Thursday.
In the week between May 31 and June 6, the total number of seasonally adjusted initial claims for jobless benefits fell to 1,542,000 from a revised total of 1,897,000 in the final week of May.
Roughly 705,676 Americans also filed new claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, an extension of jobless benefits to workers who lost their jobs during the pandemic but do not qualify for standard unemployment insurance.
Weekly new claims for unemployment still remain far above historic levels but have dropped steadily from a peak of 6.9 million in April. The new batch of claims also came less than a week after a surprisingly strong May employment report showed the U.S. adding 2.5 million jobs that month, largely due to 2.7 million workers returning from furloughs. Click here to read....

U.S. Hits 2 Million Coronavirus Cases as Many States See a Surge of Patients

10 June 2020

The U.S. has reached another dire landmark in its fight against COVID-19, surpassing 2 million confirmed cases on Wednesday. New coronavirus infections are rising in at least 20 states, even as restrictions on daily life continue to ease across the country.
As of Thursday morning, more than 112,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the U.S. — the most fatalities reported by any nation, according to a tracker from Johns Hopkins University. And most experts believe those numbers underestimate the true toll.
The latest data also reflects the difficulty of quashing the coronavirus. While some early hot spots such as New York state have seen a sustained drop in new cases, COVID-19 hospitalizations have swelled recently in places like Texas, Arizona, Arkansas and California. Click here to read....

Ivanka Trump and Charles Koch Fuel a Cancel-Culture Clash at Wichita State

11 June 2020

A showdown over who rules America’s college campuses came to a head in Kansas on Wednesday, in a clash that might be called Cancel Culture vs. the Big Donors. It began last week, when a technical college affiliated with Wichita State University scrapped plans for a virtual commencement address by Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka, in a bow to student and faculty criticism of the President’s response to the nationwide protests over George Floyd’s killing. On Twitter, Ivanka blamed “cancel culture,” calling it “antithetical to academia.” In a compromise brokered by the university, Ivanka’s remarks, instead of headlining the event, were demoted to being one in a menu of choices during the ceremony, on June 6th. If they wished, students could click on a link and see her dressed for the occasion, in a regal white sheath and turquoise earrings and brooch, as she addressed them as “wartime” graduates. Click here to read....

US Senate committee unveils $1 trillion defence Bill, targets China

12 June 2020
The United States Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday (June 11) unveiled its version of the annual National Defence Authorisation Act, or NDAA, a US$740 billion (S$1.03 trillion) Bill setting policy for the Defence Department on everything from troop salaries and equipment purchases to great power competition with China.
The 2021 Bill also wades into current controversies revolving around racial issues highlighted by protests after Minneapolis police killed Mr George Floyd, an African American.
The proposed NDAA, which is several steps from becoming law, backs renaming bases named after Confederate generals and bars the use of the military against peaceful protests.
This year's Bill, like others in recent years, includes provisions focused on China, including creating the "Pacific Deterrence Initiative", a nearly US$7 billion fund focused on competition in the Indo-Pacific. Click here to read....

Joint Chiefs Chairman Milley discussed resigning over role in Trump's church photo op

12 June 2020

The Pentagon's top general discussed resigning amid criticism over his participation in President Donald Trump's controversial photo opportunity at a Washington church, three defense officials familiar with the matter told NBC News.
Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, apologized over the incident Thursday, saying, "I should not have been there."
The apology came after 10 tumultuous days for Milley, which involved a flash of anger at an Oval Office meeting over the use of active-duty troops to quell protests and culminated in his speaking with confidants about whether he should resign over the staged visit at St. John's Episcopal Church, the officials said. Click here to read....

Trump considering suspending H1B other visas report

12 June 2020

US President Donald Trump is considering suspending a number of employment visas including the H-1B, most sought-after among Indian IT professionals, in view of the massive unemployment in America due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a media report.

The proposed suspension could extend into the government’s new fiscal year beginning October 1, when many new visas are issued, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, quoting unnamed administration officials.

“That could bar any new H-1B holder outside the country from coming to work until the suspension is lifted, though visa holders already in the country are unlikely to be affected,” the daily reported.

H-1B is the most coveted foreign work visas for technology professionals from India. Click here to read....

Rahul Gandhi and Nicholas Burns discuss George Floyd's death and India-US relations

12 June 2020
Continuing with his talks with experts ranging from economy to politics, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, on June 12, spoke with former United States diplomat Nicholas Burns and delved on raging topics such as changing nature of India-US relations, and the custodial death of African American George Floyd.
Burns dubbed Floyd’s death at the hands of a police officer in Minneapolis “horrific” and recalled how Martin Luther King Junior fought “peaceful and non-violent battles” just like Mahatma Gandhi. He then went on to point out that despite the last US President Barack Obama being an African American, racism is resurging in the country.
Commenting on the “Black Lives Matter” protests, he said, “Millions of Americans are protesting peacefully as is our right. And yet, the President (Donald Trump) treats them like terrorists”. Click here to read....

US Gen: If Al-Qaeda Remains, US Troops Should Not Fully Withdraw

11 June 2020

The US Central Command’s top general, Marine Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie, said Wednesday that he cannot recommend a full withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan unless the Taliban demonstrate they no longer support al-Qaida forces there, the Stars and Stripes reported.
“If conditions would allow, we’re prepared to go to zero” by May, McKenzie said in a video conference hosted by the Washington-based think tank Middle East Institute. “If asked my opinion, those conditions have not been fully met.”
The US is currently on track to reduce troops to 8,600 by next month, as part of a larger withdrawal plan, provided that conditions are met by the Taliban.
McKenzie’s remarks come just weeks after news reports indicated President Donald Trump had demanded the Pentagon draw up plans to fully withdraw troops from Afghanistan by the Nov. 3 presidential election.
McKenzie reiterated the US long-stated claim that it maintains troops in Afghanistan to ensure terrorist networks cannot use that country to plan attacks against Americans.
“The threat to the United States is not the Taliban, it’s never been the Taliban, it’s the entities they allow to live in Afghanistan,” McKenzie said, referring primarily to al-Qaida. Click here to read....

US Sanctions ICC Staff Probing Alleged War Crimes in Afghanistan

11 June 2020

President Donald Trump has issued an executive order authorizing U.S. sanctions against International Criminal Court personnel involved in an investigation into whether some American forces committed war crimes in Afghanistan. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the Hague-based court is politically motivated and a threat to U.S. sovereignty. Click here to read....

Afghan conflict: US sanctions 'kangaroo' ICC over war crimes probe

12 June 2020
President Donald Trump has imposed sanctions on court officials who are investigating whether US forces committed war crimes in Afghanistan.
The executive order allows the US to block the assets of International Criminal Court (ICC) employees and stop them from entering the country.
The ICC described the decision as an "unacceptable attempt to interfere with the rule of law".
Mr Trump has repeatedly criticised the court and questioned its independence.
The ICC investigation began after a preliminary report found reason to believe war crimes had been committed.
The US is not a signatory of the Hague-based ICC and does not recognise its authority over American citizens. Click here to read....

China and East Asia:
China not to join so-called China-U.S.-Russia arms control negotiations: FM spokesperson

11 June 2020

China on Thursday reiterated that it has no intention to join the so-called China-U.S.-Russia trilateral arms control negotiations, and this position is "clear and consistent."
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying made the remarks at a news briefing when responding to comments from U.S. Special Envoy for Arms Control Marshall Billingslea who on Tuesday called on China to "reconsider" its decision on not joining the negotiations.
"As is known to all, China's nuclear power is not on the same order of magnitude as that of the United States and Russia. It is not yet the right timing for China to participate in nuclear disarmament talks," Hua said, adding that owners of the largest nuclear arsenals have special and primary responsibilities in nuclear disarmament.
Considering the current circumstances, the United States should respond positively to Russia's call on extending the New START Treaty and further drastically reduce its nuclear arms stockpile, creating conditions for other nuclear-weapon states to join in multilateral nuclear disarmament talks, Hua said. Click here to read....

U.S. naval build-up in Indo-Pacific seen as warning to China

12 June 2020

For the first time in nearly three years, three American aircraft carriers are patrolling the Indo-Pacific waters, a massive show of naval force in a region roiled by spiking tensions between the United States and China and a sign that the Navy has bounced back from the worst days of the coronavirus outbreak.
The unusual simultaneous appearance of the three warships, accompanied by Navy cruisers, destroyers, fighter jets and other aircraft, comes as the United States escalates criticism of Beijing’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, its moves to impose greater control over Hong Kong and its campaign to militarize human-made islands in the South China Sea.
“There have been some indications in Chinese writings that the United States was hit hard by COVID-19, that military preparedness was low, so perhaps there is an effort by the United States to signal China that it should not miscalculate,” said Bonnie Glaser, director of the China Power Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “The Chinese will definitely portray this as an example of U.S. provocations, and as evidence that the U.S. is a source of instability in the region.” Click here to read....

US says full normalization of ties with North Korea requires improving human rights

11 June 2020

The United States has made clear to North Korea that an improvement in human rights conditions, including religious freedom, will be required for a full normalization of bilateral ties, a State Department report said Wednesday.

According to the annual International Religious Freedom Report, the North Korean government continued to deny its people the right to religious freedom and committed violations that constituted crimes against humanity.

The report covered the period between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2019, and mostly summarized observations made by nongovernmental organizations and news media.

"There were reports the government continued to deal severely with those who engaged in almost any religious practices through executions, torture, beatings, and arrests," it said. "The country's inaccessibility and lack of timely information continued to make arrests and punishments difficult to verify." Click here to read....

North Korea says little reason to maintain Kim-Trump ties

12 June 2020

North Korea sees little use maintaining a personal relationship between leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump if Washington sticks to hostile policies, state media reported on Friday - the two-year anniversary of the leaders' first summit.

U.S. policies prove Washington remains a long-term threat to the North Korean state and its people and North Korea will develop more reliable military forces to counter that threat, Foreign Minister Ri Son Gwon said in a statement carried by state news agency KCNA.

Trump and Kim exchanged insults and threats during 2017 as North Korea made large advances in its nuclear and missile programme and the United States responded by leading an international effort to tighten sanctions.

Relations improved significantly around the Singapore summit in June 2018, the first time a sitting American president met with a North Korean leader, but the statement that came out of the meeting was light on specifics. Click here to read....

US Strikes A Deal With Indonesia To Relocate Its Companies From China?

10 June 2020

Indonesia has gained from the US-China trade war that has been continuing since last year and dangerously aggravated in the last few months with US President Donald Trump issuing threats to cut “all ties” with China.

At a time when the global economy is seeing its darkest hours, the bilateral ties between the two biggest global economic leaders have worsened especially after the outbreak of COVOD-19.
Due to the mounting pressure of the trade war, major companies are relocating from China to other South Asian nations. Indonesia is in talks with the US over possible relocation of such companies.
“It is clearing up 4,000 hectares of land in Central Java to accommodate US companies planning to relocate from China in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and an escalating trade war,” a top official said.
“President Jokowi spoke with President Trump. Because he is fighting with China, he wants to relocate his industry (in China), I was asked by the president to speak later with President Trump’s aides,” said Luhut Panjaitan, Indonesia’s coordinating minister for maritime affairs and investment. Click here to read....

West Asia:
Wang Yi opposes U.S. move to reimpose arms embargo on Iran in a letter to UN

11 June 2020

Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi has recently slammed U.S. threats to reimpose an arms embargo on Iran, saying it violates the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231.

Wang urged the U.S. to stop its unilateral sanctions, return to the correct track of observing the Iran nuclear deal and UNSC resolutions, work with all parties to maintain the international nuclear non-proliferation system, and maintain peace and stability in the Middle East.
Both Wang Yi and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov wrote to the 15-member Security Council and UN chief Antonio Guterres as the United States threatens to spark a so-called sanctions snapback under the Iran nuclear deal, even though Washington quitted the accord in 2018.
Wang said China will work with all relevant parties to safeguard the authority of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231 and the effectiveness of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on the Iranian nuclear issue. Click here to read....

US vows to reduce Iraq troop presence in first strategic talks in over a decade

12 June 2020

The United States said Thursday it would reduce troops in Iraq in the coming months as friction between the two countries eased under a new US-friendly premier in Baghdad. The United States also promised support to prop up the struggling Iraqi economy as the two nations held their first strategic dialogue in more than a decade.
Tensions skyrocketed following a US strike on Baghdad in January that killed Iranian general Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, with lawmakers in Baghdad demanding the expulsion of the roughly 5,200 US troops in the country.
President Donald Trump responded by threatening crippling sanctions and, according to US military sources, Washington began planning a vast bombing spree against groups blamed for the rockets.
In a joint statement, the United States said that the reason for its military's return to Iraq in 2014 -- defeating extremists from the Islamic State group -- had made major headway. Click here to read....

I. Europe
Politics and Society
Post-Brexit deadlock: Four areas threatening EU-UK deal on trade and future ties, 6 June 2020

Michel Barnier, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, reiterated that there has been "no significant progress in talks" at the end of the fourth round of negotiations on the future EU-UK relationship. He highlighted four major areas of deadlock as identified at the end of the previous round of talks. These include the future of Common Fisheries policy; rules covering the economy and trade (fair play rules), judicial bodies to oversee future cooperation (governance); police and judicial cooperation (security). Click here to read....

EU calls for greater regulation of US tech companies, 7 June 2020

The need in Europe for tighter rules on US internet giants has become "urgent," said its anti-monopolies chief Margrethe Vestager. Brussels is seeking submissions by September on its planned 'Digital Services Act.' The competitions commissioner at the European Commission said Europe was determined to avert repeats of "monopoly-like situations" involving the likes of Amazon, Google and Facebook." In the past few weeks, we have all been fascinated by what is possible digitally. But the coronavirus showed how dependent we are on US corporations, and that was a wake-up call," said Vestager. Click here to read....

Vietnam ratifies free trade deal with EU, 7 June 2020.

Vietnam ratified a free trade agreement with the EU on Monday that will eliminate 99 percent of tariffs on goods traded between the Southeast Asian country and the bloc, and provide Vietnam with a much-needed post pandemic boost. The EVFTA, expected to take effect in July, is the EU’s second deal with a member of the Association of Southeast Asian nations (ASEAN) after Singapore, and one of few with a developing country. Click here to read....

Earlier coronavirus second wave feared in Europe after mass protests, 11 June 2020

Tens of thousands of protesters have crowded together in Europe’s big cities in recent days to demonstrate against racism after the killing in the United States of George Floyd while in police custody. As a result, Europe could face a fresh surge of COVID-19 infections earlier than previously expected. Click here to read....

Migrant crossings into Europe spiked in May, 14 June 2020.

The number of migrants seeking to enter the EU tripled in May compared to the previous month. It is a sign that traffic along Europe's migration routes is picking up again after a lull brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here to read....

Nord Stream 2- Germany says new US sanctions would constitute a serious interference in European energy security and EU sovereignty, 14 June 2020

The German government on Sunday said it had "noted with regret" US plans to expand sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline between Russia and Germany. "New sanctions would constitute a serious interference in European energy security and EU sovereignty," a statement by the Foreign Ministry said.
US senators announced new sanctions on the project last week, saying the pipeline would boost Moscow’s influence in Europe. The Nord Stream 2 project is backed by many politicians and energy companies in Germany, as Europe's biggest economy seeks to end the use of coal and nuclear power. Click here to read....

EU-UK Statement following the High-Level Meeting on 15 June 2020, 15 June 2020

Prime Minister Boris Johnson met the President of the European Council Charles Michel, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli, on 15 June by videoconference to take stock of progress with the aim of agreeing to actions to move forward in negotiations on the future relationship. The Parties noted the UK’s decision not to request any extension to the transition period. The transition period will therefore end on 31 December 2020, in line with the provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement. Click here to read....

European Commission launches 'Re-open EU' web platform, 15 June 2020

The European Commission has launched 'Re-open EU', a web platform containing essential information for a safe re-launch of tourism in Europe in the post-Covid period. Developed by the Joint Research Centre, 'Re-open EU' is part of the European Commission's Tourism and Transport package of 13 May to help European tourism resume safely by gradually lifting travel restrictions and allowing businesses to reopen, in the full respect of health precautions. Click here to read....

Trump says US cutting troops in Germany over NATO spending, 15 June 2020

US President Donald Trump has announced a reduction in American troops stationed in Germany down to 25,000. He criticised Berlin for failing to meet its NATO spending obligations and accused it of treating the US "unfairly" on trade. Click here to read....

Eurozone GDP drops less than expected, 9 June 2020

The Eurozone’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) fell by 3.6 percent in the first quarter of 2020, the European Statistical Office (Eurostat) estimated on Tuesday. The drop was slightly less than the -3.8 percent initially announced, though it was the largest decline in GDP since the creation of the single currency in 1999. Click here to read....

2020 Blue Economy Report: Blue sectors contribute to the recovery and pave way for EU Green Deal, 11 June 2020

The European Commission has published “The EU Blue Economy Report 2020”, providing an overview of the performance of the EU economic sectors related to oceans and the coastal environment. The report observes that “with a turnover of €750 billion in 2018, the EU blue economy is in good health”. It further notes that although sectors such as coastal and marine tourism, as well as fisheries and aquaculture have been severely affected by the coronavirus pandemic, the blue economy as a whole presents a huge potential in terms of its contribution to a green recovery. Click here to read....

Germany to contribute 42 percent more to EU budget, 15 June 2020

Germany's annual contribution to the EU budget would increase by 42 percent based on the current proposal from the European Commission. The budget proposal, which covers EU finances for the seven years from 2021 through 2027, would have Germany contributing an average of €13 billion more per year. Click here to read....

Health and Environment
Germany plans to promote ‘green’ hydrogen with €7 billion, 11 June 2020

The German government adopted its national hydrogen strategy with plans to ramp up production capacity to 5 GW by 2030 and 10 GW by 2040. To achieve this, €7 billion will be invested in new businesses and research. With this “quantum leap,” Germany wants to become the world leader in hydrogen technologies. Click here to read....

Poland and Sweden are the only EU countries who have not passed COVID-19 peak: ECDC, 12 June 2020

Poland and Sweden are the only EU countries to have not yet passed their COVID-19 peak, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) flagged on Thursday. The EU health agency further noted that lockdown measures across the EU/EEA — which also includes Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway — and the UK have led to an 80% decline in the virus's 14-day incidence since the peak on April 9. But in Poland and Sweden, the 14-day incidence "was at the highest level yet observed".Click here to read....

Will COVID-19 usher in a new wave of populism in Europe? 9 June 2020.

In the decade that followed the global financial crash of 2008, a wave of protest and populism battered and challenged many of the perceived norms of Europe’s political discourse. Coupled with the subsequent Eurozone and migrations crises, politicians were branded as an elite, out of touch with mass public opinion. From anti-austerity measures in Greece, to the rise of the far-right in Germany, to increasing authoritarianism in Central Europe, nationalism in Spain, populism in Italy, the Yellow Vest protesters in France and Brexit campaign in Britain. With COVID-19, Europe in many ways now faces a much bigger crisis. The economic shock from the lockdown of almost the entire continent will lead to a recession far deeper. Millions more could lose their jobs, more businesses could go bust. Could this lead to more political turmoil? Click here to read....

Why the EU should create a European Commercial Court, 11 June 2020

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Brussels needs to reinvent itself quickly. With the bloc facing an unprecedented economic crisis, observers have warned that the EU faces an “existential threat” if it cannot craft a common response to the dual public health and economic challenges. At the same time, there are hopes that the Union could emerge from the pandemic even stronger than before-by taking action such as focusing on innovative companies to fight the crisis and seed new economic sectors. There’s another way in which the Member States could bolster its unity and redevelop itself post-pandemic—by expanding its global role as an arbiter for commercial disputes. Click here to read....

II. Russia
Politics and Society
Vote on the issue of approving amendments to the Russian Constitution to take place on 1 July, 1 June 2020

The President signed the Decree “On Determining the Date of the All-Russian Vote on the Approval of Changes to the Constitution of the Russian Federation”, as provided for in Article 1 of the Law of the Russian Federation on amendments to the Constitution of the Russian Federation “On improving regulation of certain issues of the organization and functioning of public authority” Click here to read....

Putin approves fundamentals of nuclear containment state policy, 2 June 2020

The document stresses that the state policy in the sphere of nuclear containment is of defensive nature and aims to maintain the potential of the nuclear forces at the level sufficient for ensuring nuclear deterrence. It also guarantees the protection of the state’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and also the deterrence of the potential enemy from aggression against the Russian Federation and its allies. Click here to read....

Kremlin to invite CIS leaders only to Victory parade on Moscow’s Red Square on June 24, 4 June 2020

The Kremlin plans to invite only the heads of CIS states to the Victory parade on Moscow’s Red Square on June 24, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. Initially, the Kremlin invited many foreign leaders and the heads of international organisations. Click here to read....

Parliament speaker calls for preserving Russian language as national heritage, 6 June 2020

It is important to enshrine the status of the Russian language in the country’s Constitution, State Duma (the lower house of parliament) Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said in a statement on Russian Language Day. "The constitutional amendments that will be put to a nationwide vote on July 1 for the first time point out that Russian is the state language of the Russian Federation as the language of the state-forming nation, which is part of a multinational union of equal peoples," Volodin pointed out. Click here to read....

Russia, Turkey Reach Agreement in Principle on Delivery of Second Batch of S-400s, 8 June 2020

Moscow and Ankara reached an agreement in principle on the delivery of the second batch of Russian S-400 air defence systems. The deployment of the first batch of S-400 air defence systems was delayed due to the global pandemic and was not complete by April 2020 as previously planned. Despite this setback, Turkey assured that eventually the systems will be deployed and used in spite of the US threats of sanctions against the country. Click here to read....

Russian Foreign Ministry would welcome U.S. forces' actual withdrawal from Germany – Zakharova, 12 June 2020

Moscow would welcome plans by Washington to reduce the U.S. military contingent in Germany, if they were to be actually fulfilled, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said. Such steps would help reduce the potential for confrontation and military-political tension in the Euro-Atlantic region, she reasoned. Click here to read....

Russian Arctic Academy president accused of working for Chinese intelligence, 15 June 2020

Valery Mitko, a Doctor of technical sciences and the president of the Arctic Social Sciences Academy has been charged with treason for leaking crucial Russian information to China. It is alleged that Mitko passed on classified information on hydro acoustics and submarine detection methods to China. Click here to read....

India-Russia: India sees Russia as a leading partner in energy – Ambassador Venkatesh Varma, 15 June 2020

Russia is one of India's main partners in the energy sector and supplies from Russia will help the country solve the huge problem of transitioning transport to unconventional energy sources, India's ambassador in Moscow, Venkatesh Varma said in an online session of the Primakov Readings on India being the focus of the interests of Russia, the United States China, organized by Interfax and the IMEMO institution of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Click here to read....

All deputies of Vedomosti newspaper quit, 15 June 2020.

Deputy Editors at Vedomosti have resigned over the appointment of Andrei Shmarov as editor-in-chief, following the sale of the newspaper in late May. Launched in 1999, Vedomosti was co-founded and co-owned by Dutch entrepreneur Derk Sauer's Independent Media, the London-based Financial Times and U.S. business daily The Wall Street Journal. The paper has changed hands several times since its first print run, as lawmakers introduced legislation limiting foreign ownership of Russian media. In March this year, then-owner Demyan Kudryavtsev announced that he planned to sell the newspaper and it was eventually sold to the head of a regional news agency called Federal Press. Click here to read....

Health and Environment
Diesel fuel spill in Norilsk in Russia’s Arctic, federal state of emergency declared, 3 June 2020

Over 21,000 cubic meters of petroleum products spilled at the Thermal Power Plant No. 3 of the Norilsk and Taimyr Energy Company (part of the metals giant Norilsk Nickel) on May 29 after the concrete foundation of a fuel storage tank sank, causing the fuel facility’s collapse. The fuel spilled into the ground on an area of 180,000 square meters and also into local rivers, contaminating the territory and causing damage to the environment. Click here to read....

Kremlin spokesman refutes allegations of COVID-19 mortality figures manipulation in Russia, 10 June 2020

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has denied US journalists’ allegations that the Russian authorities were somehow manipulating the figures of COVID-19 mortality in Russia. Speaking about the overall number of coronavirus cases recorded in Russia, Peskov said: "Our country uses the maximum possible amount of tests for coronavirus. And the more you test, the more you detect." Click here to read....

Coronavirus epidemic in Russia reached its peak on May 11, 13 June 2020

The coronavirus spread reached its peak in Russia on May 11 when the period of non-working days came to an end in the country, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova said at a news briefing. Click here to read....

Europe, Russia and Attitudes Towards the ‘New Cold War’ Between US and China, 9 June 2020.

The global conflict between China and the United States will be the most serious test of Euro-American relations in the history of this relatively unified community of liberal market democracies. This is because China neither threatens the survival, nor the interests, of Washington’s European partners, and an acrimonious relationship with Beijing only serves to create problems for them. Therefore, the leading countries of the EU are increasingly thinking about how to behave going forward and are certainly not going to unconditionally support their American NATO ally. This represents a first-ever rift in the 75-year history of transatlantic relations. Click here to read....

U.S.-Russian Relations in 2030, 15 June 2020

U.S.-Russian relations are at the lowest point since the Cold War. Almost all high-level dialogue between the two countries has been suspended. There are no signs that the relationship will improve in the near future. However, this situation is unlikely to last forever-even during the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union maintained a limited but meaningful dialogue; the two countries eventually will reengage, even if mostly to disagree, and new U.S. and Russian leaders could pursue less confrontational policies. Click here to read....

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