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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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Russia declares The Moscow Times newspaper 'undesirable'

Russia declares The Moscow Times newspaper 'undesirable'

Russian prosecutors on Wednesday (10 July) declared The Moscow Times newspaper 'undesirable' for its coverage of Russian President Vladimir Putin's war in Ukraine and deepening the Kremlin's crackdown on independent journalism. This was reported by The Moscow Times itself. This stamp ensures that anyone working with or connected to the organisation can be prosecuted for it.

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Opinion
Sochi Summit exposes limits of Russian-Turkish entente

Sochi Summit exposes limits of Russian-Turkish entente

Turkish President, Recip Tayip Erdogan visited Sochi on Monday, 4 September, to meet Russian president Vladimir Putin. Erdogan had sought this meeting for some time, hoping that in a face-to-face encounter he could persuade his Russian counterpart to restore the so called Black Sea Grain Deal, which enabled Ukraine to export its grain products to international markets safely, despite the ongoing war with Russia. "Erdogan failed in this primary mission", writes commonspace.eu political editor in a comment "There were of course other issues under discussion in Sochi - both related to bilateral relations, as well as issues concerning the international and regional situation. There were no new breakthroughs, no new agreements signed, nor new initiatives announced, except for one related to the supply of Russian grain to African countries via Turkey, a side issue of the main Grain Deal.  In many ways, Sochi showed the limits of the Turkish-Russian entente. It has always been built on mutual convenience as both sides try to show the world that they are independent players in a complex international system. But Russian hopes to lure Turkey away from NATO have failed miserably. Russian disappointment at Turkey's overt support for Ukraine in military as well as political spheres, is a sore point for President Putin. The Russians have also learnt that the Turks drive a hard bargain when it comes to economic issues. Reeling under heavy western sanctions the Russians need to keep the Turks on board, but the cost is high. For Turkiye too the limits of the friendship with Russia are obvious. Opinions differ on a range of issues - from the South Caucasus to Syria to Central Asia. Turkiye has tried to lure Russia into negotiations with Ukraine. Moscow politely but firmly said no. For Turkiye the war raging in the Black Sea poses a huge threat. All its efforts so far to stop it have failed, and Sochi has not brought this objective any nearer. After Sochi, Turkiye will once more have to evaluate how to position itself in the war for its long term interests. For the moment the Turkish Russian relations, which are of huge consequences for the security of the Black Sea region, remain at face value, good. But Sochi has shown signs of cracks on a number of issue, cracks that polite words and expressions of friendship in the press conference following the Summit, failed to hide."
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Grain deal dominates talks between Putin and Erdogan, but there are other issues on the agenda too

Grain deal dominates talks between Putin and Erdogan, but there are other issues on the agenda too

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Monday (4 September) is holding a long-awaited summit meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Black Sea resort of Sochi. Central to the discussions is the question of the export of Ukrainian grain to world markets. Türkiye and the United Nations seek to revive a key agreement that allowed Ukraine to export grain and other commodities from three Black Sea ports despite the 18-month war. The visit comes more than one month after Mosow suspended the deal, which was brokered by Türkiye and the U.N. and was seen as vital for global food supplies, especially in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Ukraine and Russia are major suppliers of wheat, barley, sunflower oil and other goods that developing nations rely on. President Erdoğan said the grain deal was the headline issue at the daylong talks between the two leaders. But whilst the grain deal may be the centre-piece of today's discussions there are other issues on the agenda too. Turkiye and Russia have an extensive and complex bilateral agenda which the two presidents are bound to review. There are also issues related to regional peace and security, including the situation in Syria, where Russian and Turkish interests have often clashed, and the situation in the South Caucasus, where on-going tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan mar the prospects of a peace deal. The trip to the Black Sea resort city marks a rare visit by a leader of a NATO country to Russia amid Moscow's all-out war in Ukraine. Erdogan has kept open his lines of communication with Putin
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At least 27 killed in petrol station explosion in Dagestan, Russia

At least 27 killed in petrol station explosion in Dagestan, Russia

At least 27 people are confirmed to have been killed in a huge explosion and fire at a petrol station in the Republic of Dagestan in southern Russia on Monday (14 August). The explosion happened in the regional capital Makhachkala at 21.40 local time. Over 100 people are understood to have been injured in the incident, which is believed to have occured after a fire started in a nearby car repair workshop and spread to the petrol station, causing the explosion. Three of those killed were children, Dagestan’s governor Sergei Melikov said.
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Ukraine is the most heavily mined country in the world, says Defense Minister

Ukraine is the most heavily mined country in the world, says Defense Minister

The Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov has told The Guardian newspaper in an interview on Sunday (13 August) that Ukraine is the "most heavily mined country in the world". He also said that Ukraine is suffering from a serious shortage of personnel and equipment in clearing the frontlines so the country can continue with its counteroffensive against Russia.
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Protests greet Russian cruise ship as it docks in Georgia for the second time

Protests greet Russian cruise ship as it docks in Georgia for the second time

Large protests have greeted a Russian cruise ship docking in the Georgian port city of Batumi on Monday (31 July). It is the second such protest in less than a week after the Astoria Grande docked on Thursday (27 July) despite protests, and left Georgia two days earlier than scheduled. Major demonstrations had already begun outside the port in Batumi around midnight on Monday, hours before the cruise ship, which is reported to be carrying a number famous Russian media personalities and celebrities who have expressed support for Russia's ongoing invasion, docked in Batumi. 
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Opinion
Opinion: Russia determined not to be marginalised in the Armenia-Azerbaijan negotiation process

Opinion: Russia determined not to be marginalised in the Armenia-Azerbaijan negotiation process

The Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers meet in Moscow today at the invitation of their Russian counterpart. It is the latest attempt by Russia to ensure that it is not marginalized, as Armenia-Azerbaijan negotiations continue in earnest with western mediation. In this op-ed for commonspace.eu, Benyamin Poghosyan says that Russian demands to include in the peace agreement the issue of rights and security of the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh may allow Armenia to take a more flexible position during the upcoming negotiations and seek to create minimally acceptable conditions for Armenians living in Nagorno Karabakh. 
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Russia launches strikes on Ukrainian ports 200m from Romanian border

Russia launches strikes on Ukrainian ports 200m from Romanian border

On the night of Monday (24 July), Russia launched a wave of drone strikes on Ukrainian grain silos at the Danube river ports of Izmail and Reni, located only 200m from the Ukraine's border with NATO member state Romania. The airstrikes injured six people and damaged grain storage units. Ukraine's Southern Military Command said they shot down three drones out of a total of 15 launched at the facility.