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Russia

Stories under this heading cover Russia, as well as countries in the eastern part of the European continent, such as Belarus, Ukraine, and Moldova.

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Lavrov on diplomatic offensive in the Gulf, as poll results suggest Arab street is indifferent to Ukraine situation

Lavrov on diplomatic offensive in the Gulf, as poll results suggest Arab street is indifferent to Ukraine situation

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visited Bahrain and Saudi Arabia this week as part of efforts to consolidate relations with the region, despite the international outcry over the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The visit comes amid finding in a poll by YOUGOV that show that the Arab street is largely indifferent to the events in Ukraine. Faisal Abbas, the Editor in Chief of Arab News which commissioned the poll, in an article on 30 May, said that "most strikingly, perhaps, the findings lay bare the extent of the distrust of the West across all 14 of the countries covered in the survey. Almost a quarter of the 7,835 people surveyed (24 percent) pointed the finger of blame for the conflict squarely at NATO, while more than one in ten (13 percent) said US President Joe Biden was responsible. Only 16 percent blamed Russia." Abbas says that "this can be attributed in part to Russia’s massive investment in its own news channels in Arabic, and to a massive online outreach effort. But underpinning the widespread Arab skepticism on this issue is not so much the success of Russian propaganda, but rather the steady ebbing away of trust in the West over the past two decades."

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Russia increases naval pressure against Ukraine

Russia increases naval pressure against Ukraine

Russian military warships are preparing for military drills in the Black Sea.  Six Russian warships sailed from the Mediterranean Sea through the Bosphorus onto the Black Sea earlier this week. They will join other elements of the Russian Black Sea Fleet based in Russian occupied Crimea. The drills will partially close parts of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, effectively cutting parts of Ukraine off from open waters
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A day of high diplomacy: Macron meets Putin in Moscow, Scholz in Washington for talks with Biden

A day of high diplomacy: Macron meets Putin in Moscow, Scholz in Washington for talks with Biden

Monday was a day of high diplomacy as leaders scrambled to try to avoid war in Europe.  Nonetheless western countries continue to assess that the prospect of a Russian invasion of Ukraine remains real, and could happen at any moment. The Pentagon said on Monday (7 February) that Russia continued its military buildup on the border with Ukraine over the weekend.
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Erdogan in Ukraine hopeful of a peaceful exit from the current impasse with Russia

Erdogan in Ukraine hopeful of a peaceful exit from the current impasse with Russia

Turkish president, Recip Tayip Erdogan, arrived in Kyiv on Thursday (3 February) with a message of support and solidarity for Ukraine's independence and territorial integrity, but also urging all sides in the current stand-off with Russia to exercise restraint. "As a country in the Black Sea vicinity, Turkey invites all parties to exercise restraint and use dialogue to bring peace to the region", Erdogan said at the start of the visit.
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Opinion
Opinion: Unlike Ukraine, Azerbaijan has not put all its eggs in one basket

Opinion: Unlike Ukraine, Azerbaijan has not put all its eggs in one basket

"For the countries in Eastern Europe and the South Caucasus, the current crisis between the West and Russia over Ukraine along with the US-Russian dialogue on European security issues are of existential importance in terms of their independent statehood and sovereignty", writes Vasif Huseynov in this op-ed. Almost all the former Soviet states in the region are under the risk of facing similar threats that now jeopardize Ukraine’s national security.