Tag Archives: Sergey Lavrov

Donald Trump says he has ‘the absolute right to share facts with Russia’ amid claims he leaked classified information

President claims he disclosed information for ‘humanitarian reasons’ – in statement appearing to contradict administration’s previous account

Donald Trump has insisted he has the “absolute right” to share selected information with Russia amid allegations he passed on classified intelligence.

The President made his first statement on Twitter following a series of denials from White House officials.

Continue reading Donald Trump says he has ‘the absolute right to share facts with Russia’ amid claims he leaked classified information

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Lavrov and Tillerson hold talks in Moscow

The meeting will allow to define Washington’s position and may set the tone for bilateral relations for years to come

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov are holding talks with the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Moscow.

Russia still has many questions regarding the foreign policy course of the new US administration. The  meeting between the two top diplomats will allow to define Washington’s position and may set the tone for bilateral relations for years to come.

Continue reading Lavrov and Tillerson hold talks in Moscow

No chance of Russia cutting ties with Assad, says former presidential advisor

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, has arrived in Moscow following the G7 foreign ministers’ meeting.

That meeting included Middle East nations that have opposed the rule of Syrian President Bashar Assad, which has received renewed international criticism after recent chemical attacks allegedly conducted by his regime. Russia, for its part, has also come under fire for its open support of Assad’s regime.

Tillerson is to meet Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in a bid to pressure Moscow on its involvement with Syria. However, his chances of doing so are “zero to nada,” according to Marc Ginsberg, who formerly served as White House deputy senior advisor for Middle East policy.

Continue reading No chance of Russia cutting ties with Assad, says former presidential advisor

Russia to send humanitarian convoy to eastern Ukraine

Ukraine said it will only support the convoy if other international bodies, including the Red Cross, are involved 

Russia announced on Monday that it will send a humanitarian aid convoy into eastern Ukraine in co-operation with the International Red Cross, amid fears in Kiev and the West that the move is a pretext for sending Russian troops across the border.

Employees of a small private company sort items to be distributed to victims of the crisis in eastern Ukraine at a collection point in Krasnoyarsk, July 3, 2014. The humanitarian aid is being collected in cooperation with the regional office of the Russian Red Cross.

The Kremlin said in a statement which did not disclose when the convoy was leaving: “It was noted that the Russian side, in collaboration with representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross, is sending an aid convoy to Ukraine.” The Red Cross made no immediate comment.

In the last week, Ukrainian government forces have been closing in on the few remaining pro-Russian rebel strongholds in eastern Ukraine, including Donetsk – the largest rebel-held city. Hundreds of thousands of residents have been fleeing the fighting.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said he would only support an aid mission with Russia if other international bodies, including the Red Cross and the European Union, were involved.

Poroshenko added that he had spoke to US President Barack Obama, who backed the international plan.

The cautious support comes after the West strongly warned Russia that any attempt to send its military personnel into Ukraine under the guise of humanitarian assistance would be regarded as an invasion.

With Ukraine reporting Russia has massed 45,000 troops on its border, NATO said there was a “high probability” that Moscow could intervene militarily in the country’s east.

A Ukrainian soldier walks past a damaged car which was used by pro-Russian militants who tried to break through the checkpoint of Ukrainian forces, near the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk on 11 August 2014.
Ukrainian government forces say they are in the final stages of the battle for control of Donetsk

Prior to the announcement on Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin and European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso spoke on the phone.

Barroso’s office said in a statement that he had warned Russia “against any unilateral military actions in Ukraine, under any pretext, including humanitarian.”

Hundreds of thousands of people have been been caught up in the fighting in eastern Ukraine [AFP]

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov confirmed Russia had agreed on the details of a humanitarian mission with the Ukrainian leadership, and added he hoped “our Western partners will not put a spanner in the works.”

Regarding Kiev’s gains in the east of the country, Mr Lavrov said he viewed the military action as an attempt to force Russian to leave and “and settle it with others who would have a different attitude to our nations’ history, culture, friendship and links that have existed for centuries”.

Earlier on Monday, rockets slammed into a high-security prison in the main rebel-held city of Donetsk, igniting a riot that allowed more than 100 prisoners to flee, authorities said.

Donetsk city council spokesman Maxim Rovinsky said a direct rocket hit killed at least one inmate and left three others severely wounded. In the chaos, he said 106 prisoners escaped, included some jailed for murder, robbery and rape.

EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso
The EU commission president José Manuel Barroso warned the Kremlin ‘against any unilateral military actions in Ukraine, under any pretext’.

Many of those in Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine distrust the new central government in Kiev, which came to power after the February ousting of former President Viktor Yanukovych, whose power base was in eastern Ukraine.

Fighting began a month after Russia annexed Ukraine’s peninsula of Crimea in March. Ukraine and the West have accused Russia of supplying heavy weapons and other equipment to the rebels in eastern Ukraine, a charge that Russia denies.

BBC map

UN agencies say more than 1,100 people have been killed including government forces, rebels and civilians in the four months since rebels seized territory in the east and Kiev launched its crackdown.

Putin meets with Armenia and Azerbaijan leaders

Russian President Vladimir Putin held a joint meeting Sunday with the leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia, as concerns mount over the escalation of fighting over the South Caucasus region Nagorno-Karabakh.

Putin met with Armenian President Serge Sarkisian and Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev in Sochi to discuss rising tensions in the disputed territory. Nagorno-Karabakh is part of Azerbaijan but it and some surrounding territory have been under the control of Armenian soldiers and local Armenian forces since a 1994 cease-fire ended a separatist war. Since then, there have been sporadic clashes, but tensions have risen sharply in the past week as 19 soldiers were killed, 13 of them Azeri.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told news agencies that the meeting had been beneficial and both sides had committed to continuing talks, but admitted that “the devil is in the details, and the most complicated questions are still unsolved.”

Years of diplomatic efforts under the auspices of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe have made little visible progress in resolving the dispute. In their opening remarks, both leaders criticized the other side for failing to live up to its international obligations in the conflict.