US-Russia: US government punishes 19 Russians over vote meddling and cyber-attacks

After months of deadlock. US government announces a new round of sanctions against Russia over US2016 election meddling. It include 13 individuals charged last month by Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin accused the Russians of “destructive cyber-attacks, and intrusions targeting critical infrastructure”.

He said the sanctions would target “ongoing nefarious attacks” by Russia.

Five insititutions like Russian Military Intelligence Agence GRU and Internet Research Agency led by oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin

Otherwise, Russian officials has criticises it.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Moscow was calm about the new sanctions, according to Interfax news agency.

Mr Ryabkov said Moscow had already begun drawing up retaliatory measures.

Meanwhile Mr Prigozhin said he was unconcerned by the sanctions on him because he did not have any business interests linked to the US, Russian media reported.

“I have been sanctioned maybe three or four times – I’m tired of counting, I can’t remember. I don’t have any business in the United States or with Americans. I’m not worried by this. Except that now I will stop going to McDonald’s,” he was quoted as saying by RIA news agency.

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Europe: Russia launches Zapad war games in Belarus

European countries has concerned a military drill made by Russia and Belarus today. It are called Zapad which involves 12.000 Russian troops in Belarus. Nato expected the numbers is higher.

Poland and Estonia has criticised it.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has warned that Zapad-2017 (Russian for “West”) could be a prelude for an invasion of Ukraine. Kiev has stepped up security on Ukraine’s borders.

Conclusion: Europe is a playground to Putin today.

US: House of representatives approves new sanctions to Russia

The ties between Russia and US has new low today.  US’ House of Representatives has approved a new bill which tightens sanctions againts Iran, North Korea and Russia by 419 to 3.

It needs to be passed through the Senate before it can be sent on to the president to be signed.

The White House says it is reviewing the bill, and it is unclear whether the president will veto it.

“While the president supports tough sanctions on North Korea, Iran and Russia, the White House is reviewing the House legislation and awaits a final legislative package for the president’s desk,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement.

Prior to the vote, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said such measures would plant a “dangerous mine” under the foundation of ties.

Mr Ryabkov said: “All this is very worrying. We can see no signs that that Russophobe hysteria that has engulfed the entire US Congress is dying down.”

After it passed, Russian MP Leonid Slutsky said the sanctions “undermine the prospects for the restoration of Russian-American relations and further complicate them for the foreseeable future”.

“Opportunities for diplomatic manoeuvring” are now “extremely” small, he told Russia’s Interfax news agency.

Conclusion: Further handshakes between Trump and Putin to save US-Russia ties as soon as possible,

Russia: Ildar Dadin jail term quashed

After the opposition leader Alexei Lavalny has convicted by embezzlement. Now, Russia’s supreme court has quased to jail term sentence made against Oppositon activist Ildar Dadin. He was accused to make a illegal protest in 2011.

The court said the criminal case against him should be dismissed and he had a “right to rehabilitation”, Russian media report.

Dadin, jailed in December 2015, has been serving two-and-a-half years for a series of protests.

Last November he said he was tortured in prison in north-west Russia.

The authorities denied the claims, but transferred him to another prison.

Conclusion: Putin is unhappy now.

US: Trump’s national security adviser resigns

The former national secutiry adviser Michael Flynn has resigned today. The main reason is misled US government over his talks with Russian ambassador in Washington, Sergei Kislyak, before Trump sworn in as president.

Flynn is said to have misled officials about his call with Russia’s ambassador before his own appointment.

It is illegal for private citizens to conduct US diplomacy.

US reports said earlier the White House had been warned about the contacts last month and had been told Flynn might be vulnerable to Russian blackmail.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia would not be commenting on the resignation.

“This is the internal affair of the Americans, the internal affair of the Trump administration,” he added. “It’s nothing to do with us.”

Conclusion: Never talk with a Russian diplomat privately

Russia: Alexei Navalny found guilty

The russian anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny has found guilty for embezzlement and handed a five-year suspended sentence. It bars him from running for president next year against Vladimir Putin.

Navalny is convicted for embezzlement  in relation to a timber company called Kirovles, for which he was also handed a 500,000-rouble ($8,500; £6,700) fine in a provincial city of Kirov.

Conclusion: Putin has loved it.

 

US-Russia row: Russia ‘tired’ of US hacking ‘witch-hunt’ – Kremlin says

After CIA unveils its report which accuses Russia to hacking US presidential elections. On Monday, Russia has responded it saying it was tired.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Moscow was tired of the accusations.

He said a report released by US intelligence agencies detailing the allegations was groundless.

In his comments on Monday, Mr Peskov said Russia “categorically denied that Moscow had been involved in any hacking attacks”.

“Groundless accusations which are not supported by anything are being rehearsed in an amateurish, unprofessional way. We don’t know what information they are actually relying on.”

The claims amounted to a “witch-hunt”, he added.

The witch-hunt term was used by president-elected Donald Trump on Friday.

Conclusion: Russia and their complaints