Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Pentagon Sez Washington and Seoul Suspend Joint Military Drill

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Late Monday, US officials said that US and ROK forces won’t conduct a joint military drill that scheduled to take place in August, following a historic meeting between US President Donald Trump and DPRK Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un in which the two heads of state agreed to make peace on the Korean peninsula. Trump verbally vowed to end USA-ROK “war games” following the summit with Kim in Singapore on 12 June. An official told Reuters that the Ulchi Freedom Guardian drill wouldn’t take place this year as it did last year. Meanwhile, on Monday, Pentagon source Dana White said in a press release that the USA and the ROK suspended planning for a joint military exercise near the Korean peninsula scheduled to take place in August:

Consistent with President Trump’s commitment and in concert with our ROK ally, the US military suspended all planning for this August’s defensive war-game Freedom Guardian. There have been no decisions on subsequent war-games. Also, this decision hasn’t affected Pacific exercises outside of the Korean peninsula. US Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and National Security Advisor John Bolton will meet later this week to discuss the issue.

Last year, Pyongyang requested the UN Security Council to discuss Ulchi Freedom Guardian because it was essentially a rehearsal for an invasion of the DPRK. According to the Pentagon, the drill would involve 17,500 of the 28,000 US troops in the ROK and UN Command forces from seven countries, including Australia, Canada, Columbia, Denmark, New Zealand, the Netherlands, and Britain.

19 June 2018

Sputnik International

https://sputniknews.com/asia/201806191065528849-south-korea-usa-drills-suspension/

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Monday, 18 June 2018

Media Reports Speculate that Trump May Meet with Putin in Europe in July

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The Washington Post cited “a senior administration official and two diplomats familiar with his schedule”:

We expect that President Trump shall meet Russian President Vladimir Putin next month while he’s in Europe for a NATO summit. On Friday, in a nod to those plans, Trump told reporters that “it’s possible” he’d meet with Putin this summer.

NATO is going to hold a summit in Brussels 11-12 July. The Post went on:

Trump’s interest in a meeting with Putin became public in March after the Kremlin disclosed that Trump extended an invitation in a phone call with the Russian leader. However, US officials say Trump privately asked his aides for a bilateral meeting ever since he met with Putin in Vietnam in November on the sidelines of a multilateral economic summit. A US official said, “After that meeting, the president said he wanted to invite Putin to the White House. We ignored it. At the time, top aides in the National Security Council opposed the idea of a meeting and said they didn’t view Trump’s interest in a summit as an order to set one up. They decided, ‘Let’s wait and see if he raises it again’”.

The push for engagement with the Kremlin follows months of prodding by Trump, who faced resistance from senior political aides and diplomats questioning the value of meeting with Putin and worry that a tête-à-tête could cast a shadow over the NATO summit in Brussels. Senior officials at the State Department acknowledged that a meeting between the two leaders could, in theory, help resolve long-standing differences on the Ukraine, Syria, cybersecurity issues, and interference in foreign elections. However, some of those officials said a summit between the two leaders is premature given the lack of progress on resolving minor issues, such as the return of Russian dachas on the East Coast seized as punishment for Moscow’s interference in the election.

In late December 2016, the Obama administration introduced a new round of sanctions against some Russian companies, the Federal Security Service, and the Main Intelligence Agency of the General Staff. Besides that, US authorities expelled 35 Russian diplomats and shut down two Russian compounds in New York and Maryland. Washington attributed these sanctions to cyberattacks against US political institutions, accusing Russia of being involved. However, Moscow fully rejected all allegations and refrained from giving a tit-for-tat response at the time.

On Wednesday, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Europe and Russia with the US National Security Council Richard Hooker told us that Washington and Moscow were considering the possibility to arrange a meeting between Trump and Putin. On 20 March, the two presidents held a telephone call and agreed to hand down instructions to start preparations for a Russia-USA summit. Putin and Trump earlier held talks on the sidelines of the G20 summit held in Hamburg in July 2017. They had another opportunity to negotiate during the APEC summit in Vietnam in November 2017 but managed only to exchange a couple of phrases. On 4 June, Presidential Aide Yuri Ushakov said that we’ve taken no specific steps in order to prepare for a summit. Meanwhile, Putin confirmed on 10 June that he was ready to meet with Trump as soon as the USA was also ready for that.

16 June 2018

TASS

http://tass.com/world/1009827

Saturday, 16 June 2018

16 June 2018. Russia Didn’t Defeat Hillary… Hillary Defeated Hillary… America Remembered Her Evil in the Nineties

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There was no Russian tampering with the election. Note well that those who make such accusations are very comfortable with and passionately defend American interference in foreign elections. That seems like smug hypocrisy and juvenile arrogance to me. I confide that I’m not the only one to come to that conclusion.

BMD

Friday, 15 June 2018

Kommersant: DPRK Gains Equal Footing with USA, Secures Concessions

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The historic meeting between the leaders of the USA and the DPRK in Singapore split those who viewed it as the first step towards normalisation on the Korean peninsula and those who called the document signed by Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un “weak” and “without substance”. Kim gave no guarantees of immediate disarmament, whilst Trump avoided direct security guarantees but promised not to carry out annual US-ROK drills. Experts agree that Kim emerged as the key victor since he succeeded in pulling his state out of isolation and achieving recognition of equality from the USA, neither his father nor his grandfather managed to accomplish this. The preparations for the first-ever meeting between US and DPRK leaders was reminiscent of a tremendous reality show and the historic handshake that was an informal outcome of the Singapore summit gave a clear signal to the world… peace and security on the Korean peninsula are in good hands for the first time over the past dozens of years. A diplomatic “Singapore wonder” occurred… the Little Rocket Man turned into an equal interlocutor and a potential partner of the US leader. Aleksandr Gabuyev, head of the Asia-Pacific Program at the Carnegie Moscow Center, said:

Kim achieved the most important outcome… the signing of an agreement with Washington diverts the threat of a war on the Korean peninsula, which was quite real this winter. Over the past six months, Kim managed to end diplomatic isolation, restore tarnished relations with China, hold two meetings with ROK President Moon Jae-in, host a meeting with Minister of Foreign Affairs S V Lavrov, and gain recognition by Trump as “a very talented man” who “deeply loves his country”.

Go Myong-hyun, an expert from the ROK ASAN Institute for Policy Studies, noted:

The DPRK denuclearisation path is a Libyan scenario vice versa. The USA halts drills, pulls the DPRK out of isolation, and Pyongyang vowed to “work towards denuclearisation” without any particular timeframe and a plan. Kim pledged to move towards a nuclear-free DPRK rather than “a denuclearised Korean peninsula”.

13 June 2018

TASS

http://tass.com/pressreview/1009261

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