Archive for the ‘Russia Russian’ Category

U.S. Largely Unconcerned About Russian Warships

December 17, 2008

Russian warships have been plying the waters off Venezuela and Panama in recent weeks and are now heading for Cuba, but U.S. officials are not so much wringing their hands as yawning.

Asked about a Russian warship transiting the Panama Canal earlier this month, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice — who saw the ship while crossing the canal last week — told The Associated Press: “I guess they’re on R&R. It’s fine.”

Associated Press

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice takes questions on current ... 
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice takes questions on current foreign relations issues and reflects on her years as America’s top diplomat, during an exclusive interview with The Associated Press, Monday, Dec. 15, 2008, at the State Department in Washington.(AP Photo/stf)

The Pentagon, while puzzled by the Russians’ actions, also is taking a ho-hum attitude. The U.S. military commander for the region, Adm. James Stavridis, head of the U.S. Southern Command, said that from his vantage point, there is no reason to be concerned about the Russian naval activity.

“They pose no military threat to the U.S.,” Stavridis said in an e-mail to the AP on Tuesday.

It was the first such passage by a Russian or Soviet warship since World War II.

There is no suggestion of a military confrontation, but the Russian moves are notable in part because they appear to reflect an effort by Moscow to flex some muscle in America’s backyard in response to Washington’s support for the former Soviet republic of Georgia and elsewhere on the Russian periphery. That includes U.S. missile defense bases to be erected in Poland and the Czech Republic.

The Russians were unhappy with a U.S. decision to send a state-of-the-art warship into the Black Sea as part of an American humanitarian aid mission for Georgia in the aftermath of last August’s war with Russia. The Russians also are angry about the Bush administration’s push to add Georgia and the former Soviet republic of Ukraine as members of the NATO military alliance.

Under the gaze of the U.S. Southern Command, Russian ships this fall held joint exercises with the navy of Venezuela, whose president, Hugo Chavez, is a fierce U.S. critic.

Navy Rear Adm. Tom Meek, the deputy director for security and intelligence at Southern Command, said in a telephone interview Tuesday that he sees little chance of Russia teaming up with Venezuela in a militarily meaningful way.

In this photo released by Venezuelan Information Ministry on ...
Above: Russia’s “Peter the Great”

 

This is a July 2004 file photo of the Admiral Chabanenko, Russian ... 
This is a July 2004 file photo of the Admiral Chabanenko, Russian anti-submarine destroyer, seen in the Barents Sea, Russia. The Admiral Chabanenko sailed through the Panama Canal – the first Russian ship to do so since World War II.  The Russian Navy is on a symbolic projection of Moscow’s power in a traditional U.S. zone of influence.
(AP Photo/File)

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081217/ap_o
n_go_ca_st_pe/us_russian_warships

Russia Warns U.S., West: Stay Out of Former Soviet Union

December 10, 2008

Russia’s foreign minister warned the West on Wednesday against meddling in its backyard, saying the U.S. and European countries must not advance their interests in the former Soviet Union at Russia’s expense.

Sergey Lavrov told a group of foreign business leaders that Russia has no monopoly on relations with neighboring former Soviet republics, and said Moscow understands that the United States and European Union have legitimate interests in the region.

By STEVE GUTTERMAN, Associated Press Writer

But, he said, the U.S. and EU must forge relations with former Soviet republics “through legal, understandable and transparent methods,” Lavrov said. “Behind-the-scenes meddling only creates a crisis situation. One must respect the people of these nations and give them the right to choose their own fate.”

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks during a ...
Lavrov

Already long-deteriorating ties between Moscow and the West were badly damaged by Russia’s August war with Georgia, a small ex-Soviet republic that has enjoyed strong U.S. backing and is seeking NATO membership.

Lavrov gave no examples of alleged meddling. But the U.S. and Europe have been courting ex-Soviet republics as they vie with Russia for access to Central Asian and Caspian Sea energy resources and seek ties with nations close to sources of concern such as Iran and Afghanistan.

Also, Russian leaders have suggested the U.S. encouraged Georgia to launch an offensive that sparked the five-day war, and say Washington has pressed to bring Ukraine closer to NATO despite significant opposition among its people.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081210/ap_on_re_eu/eu_russia_us_2

Obama chides Russia but promises new relations

December 7, 2008

President-elect Barack Obama called for a reappraisal of frosty US-Russia relations, while chiding Moscow for “bullying” Georgia and other neighboring nations.

In an interview on NBC program “Meet the Press” broadcast Sunday, Obama said he was determining when he would meet Russian President Dmitry Medvedev or the country’s powerful prime minister, Vladimir Putin.

But he stressed that after he succeeds President George W. Bush on January 20: “I think that it’s going to be important for us to reset US-Russia relations.”

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin listens during a nationally ... 
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin listens during a nationally televised town-hall style session in Moscow on December 4, 2008. US President-elect Barack Obama called for a reappraisal of frosty US-Russia relations, while chiding Moscow for “bullying” Georgia and other neighboring nations.(AFP/RIA/File/Alexey Druzhinin)