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EU’s next potential sanctions target revealed Forging High-quality Partnership For a New Era of Global Development : Xi Jinping পদ্মা সেতুর উদ্বোধন উপলক্ষে ১০০ টাকা মূল্যমানের স্মারক নোট ২৪ জুন এক নজরে বাংলাদেশ পদ্মা সেতু উদ্বোধন উপলক্ষ্যে প্রধানমন্ত্রী ও রাষ্ট্রপতির বাণী  Pentagon unveils new Ukraine weapons shipment Germany warns entire industries could stop due to gas shortage Japan wants more people-to-people cultural bond with Bangladesh হাওর এলাকার আশংকাজনকহারে জলাভূমি হ্রাস বন্যার ভয়াবহতা বাড়িয়ে দিচ্ছে : আইপিডি EU and NATO forming coalition ‘for war against Russia’ : Lavrov অবিলম্বে দেশে ভোজ্যতেলের দাম সমন্বয়ের দাবি ক্যাব এর ২১ জুন এক নজরে বাংলাদেশ imo steps in to facilitate flood victims LafargeHolcim signs agreement with Swisscontact Bangladesh to support waste management in MSMEs তামাকের দাম বাড়াতে মন্ত্রিপরিষদ সচিবকে ব্যবস্থা গ্রহণের সুপারিশ ৯৭ সাংসদের Prerona Foundation-Bengal Meat collaborates NATO chief ‘cannot guarantee’ membership for Finland and Sweden Energypac Sponsors 4th Dhaka Automotive Show 2022 Putin’s Global Ratings Drop to 20-Year Low : Pew Australian envoy expects Padma Bridge to enhance regional growth

Russian economy will remain open : Putin

Bangladesh Beyond
  • Updated on Wednesday, May 25, 2022
  • 73 Impressed

Russian economy will remain open : Putin

 

Inside Russia : Outside Russia : News digest by the Embassy of Russian Federation in Bangladesh on May 25 2022. 

 

INSIDE RUSSIA

 

Russian economy will remain open — Putin

SOCHI, May 24. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin assured that the Russian economy in the new conditions will remain open.

“Under the new conditions, the Russian economy will certainly be open,” he said at a meeting on Tuesday.

“Moreover, we will expand cooperation with those countries that are interested in mutually beneficial partnership,” Putin stressed.

According to him, “a whole range of issues is important here”. “This is organizing convenient payment infrastructure in national currencies, establishing scientific and technological ties and, of course, increasing the capacity of logistics chains, increasing their efficiency, and creating new routes for cargo transportation,” the president listed.

“In recent months, the strategic significance of this work has increased significantly,” Putin emphasized. He noted the necessity of diversifying transport flows due to some countries’ wishes to “close for Russia.”

“The actions of some countries, their wish to close for Russia, not to close Russia, but particularly to close for Russia even to their disadvantage, have shown how important it is to promptly diversify transport flows nowadays, to expand corridors towards predictable, responsible partners,” he said.

 

Russian MPs approve response to media bans

A new bill allows authorities to limit or prohibit the activities of foreign outlets in Russia

Lawmakers in Moscow have approved the first stage of a bill, on Tuesday, allowing the authorities to provide a “prompt symmetrical response” to countries that restrict the activities of Russian media.

The State Duma, the lower house of the country’s parliament, said in a statement that the legislation would give the prosecutor general the right to restrict or prohibit a foreign state’s media outlets in Russia.

This power could be invoked in response to “a foreign state’s unfriendly actions against Russian media abroad,” according to the statement. Foreign media correspondents could lose their accreditation as part of the measures.

“Thus the goal of providing a prompt symmetrical response to unfriendly actions against the Russian media would be achieved,” the authors of the legislation said.

The bill also amends existing law by providing the prosecutor general’s office with the power to withdraw registration or to terminate the broadcasting license of any media in certain circumstances.

These include involvement in the “distribution of illegal, dangerous information,” demonstration of “clear disrespect for the society, state and constitution,” or dissemination of information “aimed at discrediting the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation or related to the introduction of political and economic sanctions against the Russian Federation by foreign states.”

Currently, only a court has the power to withdraw media registration or to revoke a license.

In response to the launch of Russia’s military offensive in Ukraine, the West has introduced various hard-hitting sanctions on Moscow, including the imposition of bans and restrictions on certain media outlets. As a result of these measures, RT and Sputnik – and even their accounts on some social media platforms – are inaccessible in EU territory. Australia, Canada and the UK have followed suit. The US has a constitutional ban on overt censorship, but YouTube has blocked RT and Sputnik accounts.

Russia has retaliated by blocking the websites of several Western state-run outlets, such as the BBC, Deutsche Welle, Svoboda, and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Earlier this month, Moscow has also revoked the visas and credentials of the CBC, citing Canada’s decision in March to ban RT’s English and French broadcasts.

 

Top Russian official blasts Anglo-Saxon doctrine of ‘select few entitled to prosperity’

MOSCOW, May 24. /TASS/. The Anglo-Saxon world has for centuries arrogantly ignored the right of third countries to sovereignty for the sake of implementing the idea of the “golden billion,” the Secretary of Russia’s Security Council, Nikolay Patrushev, said in an interview to the weekly Argumenty i Fakty.

“The Anglo-Saxons’ style has not changed for centuries. These days, too, they keep dictating their conditions to the world, arrogantly ignoring the sovereign rights of countries. While hiding their actions behind the human rights, freedom and democracy rhetoric, they push ahead with the ‘golden billion’ doctrine, which implies that only select few are entitled to prosperity in this world,” he said, adding that in the opinion of the Anglo-Saxon world “the plight of everybody else is to toil away for the sake of their well-being.”

He stressed that in order to build up the personal wealth of a handful of tycoons in London’s City and on Wall Street the US and British governments, entirely controlled by big business, provoke economic crises in the world, doom millions in Africa, Asia and Latin America to starvation by limiting access to grain, fertilizers and energy resources and cause unemployment and a migration disaster in Europe.

Moreover, Patrushev believes, the Anglo-Saxons, who are by no means interested in the prosperity of European nations, have been doing their utmost to force them out of the club of economically advanced countries.

“To make this region easily governable they have forced the Europeans take a seat on a bipod NATO-EU chair and are now arrogantly watching them try to retain balance,” he concluded.

 

Russian economy to remain open – Putin

The Russian economy will “certainly remain open, even in the new conditions,” President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday, stating that partnerships will be strengthened with amenable countries.

“We will expand cooperation with those countries that are interested in mutually beneficial cooperation,” Putin said.

He highlighted the importance of developing a payment infrastructure using national currencies, the establishment of scientific and technological ties, and increasing the capacity of logistics chains.

“The actions of some countries, their desire to close off from Russia – not to close Russia, but to close off from Russia, even to their own detriment – have shown how important it is in the modern world to diversify transport flows, expand corridors in the direction of predictable, responsible partners,” the president said.

Putin noted that Russian business is adapting to changes by “restructuring production and supply chains, [and] actively forging new ties with foreign partners.”

He has instructed the government to forge ahead with the development of infrastructure projects in the country, eliminating any red tape that slows down their implementation.

 

OUTSIDE RUSSIA

Kissinger warns of deadline for Ukraine peace settlement

The conflict with Russia must end in two months or it will spiral out of control, the veteran statesman warned

There is a small window of opportunity to wind down the armed conflict in Ukraine and find a peace settlement, former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger has told a gathering of Western elites in Davos, Switzerland. Beyond that, Russia may break from, the rest of, Europe for good and become a permanent ally of China, he said on Monday during a speech at the World Economic Forum.

“Negotiations on peace need to begin in the next two months or so, [before the conflict] creates upheavals and tensions that will not be easily overcome,” the 98-year-old veteran diplomat said of the crisis. The outcome will determine the rest of Europe’s relationships with Russia and Ukraine alike, he said. “Ideally, the dividing line should return to the status quo ante,” he said.

“I believe pursuing the war beyond that point would turn it not into a war about the freedom of Ukraine, which had been undertaken with great cohesion by NATO, but into a war against Russia itself,” he added.

Kissinger is a prominent practitioner of the realpolitik approach to international relations – which puts the practical interests of nations before their ideological stances. He recalled that, eight years ago, when the Ukrainian crisis was launched with an armed coup in Kiev, he advocated for Ukraine to become a neutral state and a “bridge between Russia and Europe rather than… a frontline of groupings within Europe.”

Kiev instead pursued membership of NATO as a strategic goal, paving the way for the current hostilities. The opportunity that he promoted then no longer exists, Kissinger said, but “it could still be conceived as an ultimate objective.”

The West should keep in mind the bigger picture and remember that “Russia has for 400 years been an essential part of Europe,” the diplomat said. He warned that the continent should be careful “so that Russia is not driven into a permanent alliance with China.”

Kissinger addressed the escalating confrontation between China and the US, saying the two nations now perceive each other as their only viable strategic competitor on the world stage. He said an arms race between the two countries was a particularly worrisome scenario for the entire world.

“A conflict with modern technology conducted in the absence of any preceding arms control negotiations, so that there are no established criteria of limitations, will be a catastrophe for humankind,” he said.

The gathering in Davos this week was the latest international forum that invited Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to make a case on behalf of his country. In his speech, he asked for more weapons for Kiev and more sanctions against Russia. He claimed Moscow was not interested in negotiating peace.

Russia has repeatedly said it was Ukraine that stalled the peace talks after some progress was made in Istanbul in late March.

“It was not our initiative to freeze the talks,” Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Rudenko told journalists on Monday, reiterating this position. “We are ready to come back to negotiations as soon as Ukraine demonstrates a constructive position and at the minimum reacts to the suggestions we sent to it.”

Russia attacked its neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German- and French-brokered protocol was designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.

The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.

 

Chinese Foreign Ministry says Sino-Russia cooperation is not subject to external influence

BEIJING, May 24. /TASS/. The cooperation between China and Russia is not directed against any third party and is not influenced from outside, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a briefing on Tuesday, commenting on Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s words on the development of economic ties between the two countries.

“We highly appreciate the corresponding statement by [Russian Foreign Minister Sergey] Lavrov,” the diplomat said. As he pointed out, “Sino-Russian relations have withstood the new tests of the fickle international environment and have always maintained the right direction of progress.”

“China-Russia cooperation has significant internal driving force and independent value, it is not directed against any third party and is not influenced from outside,” Wang Wenbin added.

He also pointed out that China and Russia will continue to be committed to promoting a multipolar world and democratizing international relations, upholding true multilateralism, and opposing hegemony and bloc confrontation in international relations.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Monday that economic cooperation between Russia and China will gain momentum in the near future as the West “holds a dictator’s position.” He pointed out that relations between Moscow and Beijing are based on doctrinal documents that “characterize [these] contacts as the strategic partnership and the multi-aspect interaction.” Lavrov also noted that the Russian Federation has “a long border with the People’s Republic of China and common interests in defending principles of justice and the multi-polar world order in international affairs.”.

 

TASS/ Russia’s State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin took to his Telegram channel to highlight that the US and its partners do not plan to provide real assistance to Ukraine.

Ukraine will only get 15% of the $40 billion promised by the US, he said.

“Washington and Brussels do not really intend to help Ukraine, or solve its economic and social issues. They only need Ukraine to fight Russia till the last Ukrainian,” Volodin said.

According to the recent aid to Ukraine legislation signed by President Joe Biden, 35% of the $40 billion is going to finance the US Armed Forces, he explained. Meanwhile, 45.2% of that amount is set to be spent on other countries, not Ukraine, while another 4.8% will be earmarked to support refugees, and restore the US diplomatic mission in Ukraine. “Ukraine will only receive 15% of the allotted sum,” the speaker revealed.

But Ukrainians will have to pay off the whole sum, he said. The US is aware that Kiev will not be able to service the debt in the future. “That is why they are seizing Ukraine’s last reserves, including grain, which is what we are seeing right now”.

 

London pushing Kiev ‘down warpath’ – Russian ambassador

He also accused the UK of trying to isolate diplomats to prevent them from conveying Moscow’s position

London is continuing to push Kiev “down the warpath” by providing military support and arms deliveries to Ukraine, Russian Ambassador to the UK Andrey Kelin said on Tuesday.

“London has been driving Kiev down the warpath with all its might, this is important, and has not allowed it to turn away, voicing new initiatives. There are constant reports that new weapons are about to be delivered,” the ambassador said in an interview with Rossiya 24 TV channel.

He added that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky “every other day,” and apparently “does not let him to turn off this path.”

Meanwhile, London is trying to “isolate” Russian diplomats to make it more difficult for them to communicate Moscow’s position, Kelin added, including in relation to the military conflict in Ukraine.

“As for the embassy, until recently there was no one to explain our position on what is happening now, since official London is trying to isolate our diplomatic work from the rest of the world by making contacts difficult. Parliamentary relations have also ceased. It is difficult, I can tell you, but we are working,” he said.

The ambassador also claimed that the media landscape in the UK had been “completely cleared” of diversity, and it is now impossible to find “any alternative article” following the imposition of sanctions on media outlets like RT and Sputnik.

Since the beginning of the Russian military offensive in Ukraine, Britain has been one of Moscow’s harshest critics and one of the main supporters of Kiev. London is also one of the key arms suppliers for Ukraine, having provided more than $3 billion in aid, much of which came in the form of weapons and other military hardware.

Russia attacked its neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German- and French-brokered protocol was designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.

The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.

 

Russian, Chinese Strategic Bombers Complete 13-Hour-Long Patrol Over Sea of Japan, East China Sea

The bombers were escorted by the Japanese and South Korean jets during certain parts of their patrolling route. No incidents in the air have been reported.

Russian Tupolev Tu-95MS (NATO reporting name: Bear) and Chinese Xian H-6 strategic bombers have successfully completed the 13-hour-long patrol during which the aircraft crossed over parts of the Sea of Japan (also known as East Sea) and the East China Sea. The Russian and Chinese bombers were covered along their path by Russia Air Force 4+ generation fighter jets Sukhoi Su-30SM (NATO reporting name: Flanker-H).

The ministry stressed that the patrolling was not conducted against any specific state and was carried out in full accordance with international laws.

At the same time, South Korean and Japanese Air Forces accompanied the Tu-95SM and Xian H-6 bombers on certain stretches of their route. Seoul sent F-2 jets, while Japan deployed its F-15 fighters to escort the Chinese and Russian aircraft, which stayed away from the two nations’ airspace.

South Korean media reported that the bombers entered the country’s air defence identification zone (KADIZ), which extends beyond the borders. Russia does not recognise KADIZ since its establishment is not regulated by international laws.

Tupolev Tu-95 bombers are fit to travel up to 15,000 kilometres without refuelling, and can stay in the air even longer if they undergo air refuelling mid-flight. Chinese Xian H-6, designed after Soviet Tupolev Tu-16, has more modest flight range of 6,000 kilometres, but can also refuel in the air extending its flight time.

 

SPECIAL MILITARY OPERATION IN UKRAINE

West ignores others’ sovereignty for the sake of “golden billion” — SC secretary

MOSCOW, May 24. /TASS/. The Anglo-Saxon world has for centuries arrogantly ignored the right of third countries to sovereignty for the sake of implementing the idea of the “golden billion,” the Secretary of Russia’s Security Council, Nikolay Patrushev, said in an interview to the weekly Argumenty i Fakty.

“The Anglo-Saxons’ style has not changed for centuries. These days, too, they keep dictating their conditions to the world, arrogantly ignoring the sovereign rights of countries. While hiding their actions behind the human rights, freedom and democracy rhetoric, they push ahead with the ‘golden billion’ doctrine, which implies that only select few are entitled to prosperity in this world,” he said, adding that in the opinion of the Anglo-Saxon world “the plight of everybody else is to toil away for the sake of their well-being.”

He stressed that in order to build up the personal wealth of a handful of tycoons in London’s City and on Wall Street the US and British governments, entirely controlled by big business, provoke economic crises in the world, doom millions in Africa, Asia and Latin America to starvation by limiting access to grain, fertilizers and energy resources and cause unemployment and a migration disaster in Europe.

Moreover, Patrushev believes, the Anglo-Saxons, who are by no means interested in the prosperity of European nations, have been doing their utmost to force them out of the club of economically advanced countries.

“To make this region easily governable they have forced the Europeans take a seat on a bipod NATO-EU chair and are now arrogantly watching them try to retain balance,” he concluded.

 

Russia had to begin special operation to stop genocide in Ukraine — Defence Minister

MOSCOW, May 24. /TASS/. Russia was forced to start a special military operation to protect people from genocide and ensure Ukraine’s nuclear-free and neutral status, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said on Tuesday at a meeting of the CSTO Defense Ministers Council.

He noted that under Russophobic nationalist sentiments developed in Ukrainian society under Western patronage, and the Russian language, Russian culture and common history of the two countries were persecuted.

“Those who disagreed with this development were simply destroyed. For eight years, the Kiev regime methodically shelled towns and villages in Donbass. During that time, more than 14,000 people were killed and about 33,000 were wounded. All our attempts to force Kiev to implement the Minsk agreements were in vain, it simply ignored them,” the minister said.

“In the emerging situation, Russia was forced to start a special military operation to protect people from genocide, as well as demilitarize and denazify Ukraine, ensuring its nuclear-free and neutral status,” he stressed.

 

Moscow explains slowdown of Ukraine operation

The move is intentional and allows civilians the chance to evacuate, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu says

The slowdown of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine is intentional with a view to evacuating the population and avoiding casualties among civilians, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said on Tuesday.

Russia’s Armed Forces are creating humanitarian corridors and announcing ceasefires to ensure the safe evacuation of residents from encircled settlements, he said, despite this approach stalling the progress of the country’s forces.

“Of course, this slows down the pace of the offensive, but it is being done deliberately to avoid civilian casualties,” he explained at a meeting of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) Council of Defense Ministers.

Unlike the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Shoigu said, Russian troops are not carrying out strikes on civilian infrastructure where there may be people nearby. Instead, identified firing positions and Ukrainian military facilities are being hit with “high-precision weapons,” he added.

The defense minister also noted that Western countries, fearing the defeat of Kiev’s forces, are expediting shipments of lethal aid to Ukraine and are sending military advisers and personnel from private military companies, adding that the number of foreign mercenaries in the country has already exceeded 6,000.

However, despite punitive sanctions on Moscow and the extensive help provided to Kiev by the West, Shoigu maintained that Russia will continue its special operation until all its objectives are achieved.

He again insisted that the current situation in Ukraine was the result of the West refusing to take into account Russia’s proposals to resolve key issues regarding its national security concerns, which included the cessation of NATO’s expansion to the east and the non-deployment of strike weapons near Russia’s borders.

“Everything was done exactly the other way around. The United States set a course for the complete dismantling of the existing international security architecture, accompanying it with the global deployment of an anti-missile defense system and the development of medium-range and shorter-range missile systems,” he said, adding that NATO was right on Russia’s doorstep and had significantly increased its combat potential.

Shoigu also noted that the US-led bloc had intensified its efforts to get Ukraine to join the alliance and deployed coalition military infrastructure on its territory and turned the country hostile against Moscow.

Russia attacked its neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German- and French-brokered protocol was designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.

The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.

 

Russian Defence Minister Shoigu Warns of Threat of Ukrainian Nuclear Weapons Development

The statement comes as the Russian special military operation in Ukraine enters its fourth month. The operation was ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin to end “genocide” in Donbass, as well as “demilitarise and de-Nazify” Ukraine. Moscow also warned of the possibility of Kiev developing nuclear weapons ahead of the operation.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu stated during a meeting of the ministers of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) member-states that there was a real threat of Ukraine manufacturing nuclear weapons and the means of their delivery.

The minister added that Moscow had already obtained evidence proving that Kiev violated international agreements by taking part in the development of another type of weapon of mass destruction.

“A network of more than 30 biological laboratories involved in the US military biological programme was created [in Ukraine]. Documents show that the research [in these laboratories] was carried out secretly in violation of international obligations,” he stated.

Shoigu further said that components of biological weapons had been manufactured near Russian borders. According to him, methods of destabilising epidemiological situation in Russia were also studied in these biolabs.

West Turned Ukraine Into Tool for Pressuring Russia

The Russian defence minister stressed during the CSTO meeting that Western countries have urgently organised supplies of lethal weapons, as well as a massive global disinformation campaign fearing the imminent defeat of Ukrainian forces. He shared that as many as 6,000 mercenaries had arrived in Ukraine for the same purposes.

Shoigu accused NATO of trying to turn Ukraine into a state that was hostile towards Russia, using it as a tool to pressure Moscow. He noted that at the same time, Western countries turn a blind eye to the existence of neo-Nazism in Ukraine and receive the leaders of the nationalist units, which had committed atrocities, with honours.

The minister stated that Russia will continue the special military operation in Ukraine, which had been launched three months ago, until all of its goals are achieved. He noted that West’s aid to Kiev’s regime will not affect it. Shoigu also elaborated that the recent reduction in the tempo of the special operation was voluntary as Russia wanted to give the residents of settlements and cities near the frontlines the opportunity to evacuate through the humanitarian corridors.

 

Ukraine ‘Preferred to Forget’ About Russia’s Settlement Plan, Dmitry Medvedev Says

Russia launched a special operation to demilitarise and de-Nazify Ukraine on 24 February, with President Vladimir Putin stressing that the goal is “to protect people who have been subjected to genocide by the Kiev regime for eight years”. Moscow and Kiev held a few rounds of talks after the start of the operation without clincing any agreement.

Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev has stated that Kiev had “preferred to forget” about Russia’s settlement plan on Ukraine.

“Ukraine itself does not want to negotiate at all. They have long preferred to forget about the Russian draft peace treaty. It was as if it didn’t exist at all. Kiev only relies on the flow of weapons and money from Western countries. War to the bitter end,” Medvedev wrote in his Telegram channel on Tuesday.

He also commented on Italy’s settlement plan on Ukraine, describing it as “a pure stream of consciousness that does not take into account realities”.

According to him, “there is a feeling that it was prepared not by diplomats, but by local political scientists who have read provincial newspapers and only use Ukrainian fake news.”

The Italian newspaper La Repubblica previously reported that the Italian Foreign Ministry had handed a four-point peace settlement plan on Ukraine to the UN.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Moscow has not yet seen Italy’s proposals on resolving the Ukraine conflict, but it hopes that the plan will be sent through diplomatic channels to Moscow for review.

The statement came after Russian President Vladimir Putin said earlier this month that the Moscow-Kiev negotiations had been basically suspended by the Ukrainian side, as it does not show interest in a serious and constructive dialogue.

Moscow and Kiev held several rounds of talks after the start of Russia’s ongoing special military operation in Ukraine in late February, but failed to reach any kind of a peace agreement.

The operation to demilitarise and de-Nazify Ukraine was announced by Russian President Vladimir Putin on 24 February, following request for help from the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republic amid intensified shelling by the Ukrainian forces. According to the Russian Defence Ministry, the operation, which only targets Ukraine’s military infrastructure with high-precision weapons, currently focuses on liberating eastern Ukraine’s Donbass region.

 

Donbass Doctors Say ICRC and WHO Ceased to Supply HIV and Tuberculosis Treatment

LUGANSK (Sputnik) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) allegedly ceased to supply HIV and tuberculosis treatment to the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics (DPR and LPR), chief physicians from said in the letters to the local health ministers, obtained by Sputnik.

“Since 2015, the treatment of tuberculosis patients of all categories has been carried out exclusively through the supply of anti-tuberculosis drugs … coming from humanitarian supplies through the ICRC. In 2022, there were no deliveries of anti-tuberculosis drugs,” one of the letters to the LPR health chief said.

The available stock of drugs will ensure the provision of medical care to tuberculosis patients until July, the letter read.

According to the DPR authorities, up to 12,000 patients would be in jeopardy after the ICRC ceases deliveries of drugs for HIV/AIDS.

Another letter to the LPR health minister said that “antiretroviral drugs for specific treatment of HIV/AIDS patients … used to be provided through the humanitarian line of the ICRC.” Though the relevant application was submitted this year, “nothing has been received so far,” the letter read.

 

Dmitry Trenin: How Russia must reinvent itself to defeat the West’s ‘hybrid war’

By Dmitry Trenin, member of Russia’s Foreign and Defense Policy Council

Russia’s very existence is under threat. The country has to take serious measures to ensure it survives

The stand-off between Russia and the Western nations, which has been developing since 2014, escalated into an active confrontation with the start of the Russian military operation in Ukraine, back in late February. In other words, the Great Game has ceased to be a game. It has become total war, though a hybrid one so far, since the armed conflict in Ukraine is not of a full-scale nature at present.

However, the danger of it intensifying towards a direct collision not only exists, but is increasing.

The challenge Russia is facing has no equivalents in our history. It’s not just that we have neither allies nor even potential partners left in the West. Frequent comparisons with the Cold War of the mid and late 20th century are inaccurate and rather disorienting. In terms of globalization and new technology, the modern form of confrontation is not only of a larger scale than the previous one, it is also much more intense. Ultimately, the main field of the ongoing battle is located inside the country.

The asymmetry between the opponents is huge, particularly the imbalance between the forces and capabilities available to them. Based on this, the US and its allies have set much more radical goals than the relatively conservative containment and deterrence strategies used toward the Soviet Union. They are in fact striving to exclude Russia from world politics as an independent factor, and to completely destroy the Russian economy.

The success of this strategy would allow the US-led West to finally resolve the “Russia question” and create favorable prospects for victory in the confrontation with China.

Such an attitude on the part of the adversary does not imply room for any serious dialogue, since there is practically no prospect of a compromise, primarily between the United States and Russia, based on a balance of interests. The new dynamic of Russian-Western relations involves a dramatic severance of all ties, and increased Western pressure on Russia (the state, society, economy, science and technology, culture, and so on) on all fronts. This is no longer a source of discord between the opponents of the Cold War period, who then became (unequal) partners. It looks more like the drawing of a clearer dividing line between them, with the West refusing to accept even the perfunctory neutrality of individual countries.

Moreover, the shared anti-Russian agenda has already become an important structural element of unity within the European Union, while strengthening American leadership in the Western world.

In these circumstances, it’s an illusory hope that Russia’s opponents will listen to reason or be represented by more moderate political figures as a result of internal upheavals in their countries. There has been a fundamental shift towards disengagement and confrontation even in the political classes of countries where the attitude towards Moscow had until now been determined primarily by important economic interests (Germany, Italy, France, Austria, Finland). Thus, the systemic confrontation between the West and Russia is likely to be protracted.

This circumstance almost completely nullifies Russia’s previous foreign policy strategy towards the US and EU, which was aimed at the West recognizing Russian security interests, ensuring cooperation on issues of global strategic stability and European security, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, and building mutually beneficial economic and other ties with Washington and Brussels. However, recognizing that the previous agenda is now irrelevant does not mean we should abandon active politics and completely submit to the circumstances.

It is Russia itself that should be at the center of Moscow’s foreign policy strategy during this period of confrontation with the West and rapprochement with non-Western states. The country will have to be increasingly on its own. The outcome of the confrontation is not predetermined though. Circumstances affect Russia, but Russian politics can also change the world around it. The main thing to keep in mind is that no strategy can be developed without a clear set of goals. We need to start with ourselves, with an awareness of who we are, where we come from and what we strive for, based on our values and interests.

Foreign policy has always been closely linked with domestic policy, in the loose meaning of the word, including economics, social relations, science, technology, culture, etc. Facing a new type of warfare which Russia is forced to wage, the line is erased between what was called the “front line” and the “rear” in previous eras. In such a fight, it’s not just impossible to win, it is impossible to survive, if the elites remain fixated on further personal enrichment and society is left in a depressed and overly relaxed state.

“Re-establishing” the Russian Federation on a politically more sustainable, economically efficient, socially just and morally sound basis becomes urgently necessary. We have to understand that the strategic defeat that the West, led by the United States, is preparing for Russia will not bring peace and a subsequent restoration of relations. It is highly probable that the theatre of the “hybrid war” will simply move from Ukraine further to the east, into the borders of Russia, and its existence in its current form will be contested.

In the field of foreign policy, the most pressing objective is clearly to strengthen the independence of Russia as a civilization, as a major independent global player, to provide an acceptable level of security and to create favorable conditions for all-round development. In order to achieve this objective in the current conditions – which are more complex and difficult than even recently – there is a need for an effective integrated strategy – general political, military, economic, technological, informational and so on.

The immediate and most important task of this strategy is to achieve strategic success in Ukraine within the parameters that have been set and explained to the public. It is necessary to clarify the stated objectives of the operation and use all opportunities to achieve them. The continuation of what many now call a “phoney war” leads to a prolongation of military activities, increased losses and a decrease in the global stature of Russia. The solution to most of the country’s other strategic objectives now depends directly on whether and when it succeeds in achieving strategic success in Ukraine.

The most important of these broader foreign policy tasks is not the overthrow of the US-centric world order by any means and at any price (its erosion is due to independent factors, but a Russian success in Ukraine would be a painful blow to US global hegemony) and of course, not a return to the fold of this set-up on more favorable terms, but the consistent building of a new system of international relations together with non-Western countries, and the formation, in cooperation with them, of a new world order and its consequent promotion. We need to work on this task now, but it will only be possible to act fully after a strategic success in Ukraine.

The framing of new geopolitical, geo-economic and military-strategic realities in the western part of the former Soviet Union, in the Donbass and Novorossiya, becomes extremely important and relevant in this context. A long-term priority here is the further development of allied relations and integration ties with Belarus. This category also includes strengthening Russia’s security in Central Asia and the South Caucasus. 

In the context of rebuilding foreign economic relations and creating a new model of the global order, the most important directions are cooperation with world powers – China and India as well as Brazil – and with leading regional players – Turkey, ASEAN countries, the Gulf states, Iran, Egypt, Algeria, Israel, South Africa, Pakistan, Argentina, Mexico and others.

It is in these areas, rather than in traditional Euro-Atlantic arenas, that the main resources of diplomacy, foreign economic relations, and the information and cultural spheres should be deployed. Whereas in the military sphere the main focus for Russia now is the West, in other areas it is the rest of the world – the larger and more dynamic part.

Alongside the development of bilateral relations, a new priority should be given to the multilateral interaction between states in the non-Western part of the world. There should be a greater focus on building international institutions. The Eurasian Economic Union, the Collective Security Treaty Organization, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Russia-India-China grouping, BRICS, and the mechanisms for dialogue and partnership between the Russian Federation and ASEAN, Africa and Latin America need a boost for further development. Russia is capable of playing a leading role in developing a framework ideology for these organizations, harmonizing the interests of partner countries and coordinating on common agendas.

In relations with the West, the strategy of Russia will continue to address the containment of the nuclear, conventional and cyber abilities of the US, and deterring it from exerting military pressure on Russia and its allies, or even attacking them. Never since the end of the Soviet-American confrontation has the prevention of nuclear war been more relevant than now. The new challenge after achieving strategic success in Ukraine will be to force NATO countries to actually recognize Russian interests and to secure the new borders of Russia.

Moscow needs to assess carefully the reasonableness, possibilities and limits of situational cooperation with various political and social groups in the West, as well as with other temporary potential allies outside the bloc whose interests coincide in some respects with those of Russia. The task is not to inflict damage on the enemy anywhere, but to use various irritants to divert the opponent’s attention and resources from the Russian focus, as well as to influence the domestic political situation in the US and EU in a direction favorable to Moscow.

The most important objective in this regard is developing a strategy for an emerging confrontation between the United States and China. The partnership nature of Russian-Chinese relations is the main thing that positively distinguishes the current “hybrid war” against the West from the previous cold one. Although Beijing is not a formal military ally of Moscow, the strategic partnership between the two countries has been officially characterized as more than a formal alliance. Russia’s largest economic partner has not joined the anti-Russian sanctions, but Chinese companies and banks are deeply integrated into the global economy and are wary of US and EU sanctions, thus limiting the possibility of interaction. There is mutual understanding between the leaders of Russia and China, and the people of the two countries are friendly towards each other. Finally, the United States views both countries as its adversaries — China as its main competitor and Russia as the main current threat.

US policy brings Russia and China even closer. Under a “hybrid war,” political and diplomatic support from China, and even limited economic and technological cooperation with it, are very important for Russia. Moscow does not currently have the opportunity to force even closer rapprochement with Beijing, but there is no necessity in too close an alliance.

If US-Chinese contradictions aggravate, Russia should be ready to support Beijing politically, as well as provide on a limited scale and under certain conditions, military-technical assistance to it, while avoiding direct participation in the conflict with Washington. Opening a “second front” in Asia is unlikely to significantly ease the pressure of the West on Russia, but it will dramatically increase tension in relations between Russia and India.

The transition from a confrontational, but still conditionally peaceful, state of economic relations between Russia and the West to a situation of economic war requires Russia’s deep revision of its foreign economic policy. This policy can no longer be implemented primarily on the basis of economic or technological expediency.

Measures aimed at de-dollarizing and repatriating offshore finances are under implementation. Business elites (often incorrectly described as “oligarchs”) who previously took profits outside the country are forcibly “nationalized”. Import substitution is underway. The Russian economy is shifting focus from the policy of raw materials export to the development of closed-cycle production processes. So far, however, the country has mostly been defensive and reactive.

Now it is necessary to move from retaliatory steps to initiatives that will strengthen Russia’s position in the total economic war declared by the West, allowing it inflict significant damage on the enemy. In this regard, a closer alignment of efforts of the state and the business community’s activities is required, as well as implementation of a coordinated policy in such sectors as finance, energy, metallurgy, agriculture, modern technology (especially related to information and communications), transport, logistics, military exports and economic integration — both within the framework of the Eurasion Economic Union and the Union State of Russia and Belarus and taking into account the new realities in the Donbass and the northern Black Sea region.

A separate task is to revise the Russian approach and policy position on climate change issues under the changed conditions. It is also important to determine the permissible limits of Russia’s financial, economic and technological dependence on neutral countries (primarily China), and launch a technological partnership with India.

War is always the most severe and cruel test of durability, endurance and inner strength. Today, and for the foreseeable future, Russia is a country at war. It will be able to continue its trajectory only if the authorities and society unite on the basis of solidarity and mutual obligations, mobilize all available resources and at the same time expand opportunities for enterprising citizens, remove obvious obstacles that weaken the country from within, and develop a realistic strategy to deal with external adversaries.

Up to now, we have merely celebrated the Victory won by previous generations in 1945. The current challenge is whether we are able to save and develop the country. To do this, Russia’s strategy must overcome the circumstances surrounding and constraining it.

The article was prepared based of the author’s speech at the 30th Assembly of the Council for Foreign and Defense Policy and originally published in Russian on globalaffairs.ru.

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