Russia expels two German diplomats in row over killing

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Thursday it would expel two German diplomats from Moscow in a tit-for-tat response after Berlin last week ordered the expulsion of two Russian diplomats. Germany announced the expulsions last week over what it said was Moscow’s refusal to cooperate in the investigation of a murder where German prosecutors suspect Russian or Chechen involvement. Russia’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday summoned the German ambassador in Moscow, issued a formal protest over the expuls


Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Thursday it would expel two German diplomats from Moscow in a tit-for-tat response after Berlin last week ordered the expulsion of two Russian diplomats.
Germany announced the expulsions last week over what it said was Moscow’s refusal to cooperate in the investigation of a murder where German prosecutors suspect Russian or Chechen involvement.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday summoned the German ambassador in Moscow, issued a formal protest over the expuls
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Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-12-12  Authors: reuters with cnbccom
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Russia expels two German diplomats in row over killing

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Thursday it would expel two German diplomats from Moscow in a tit-for-tat response after Berlin last week ordered the expulsion of two Russian diplomats.

Germany announced the expulsions last week over what it said was Moscow’s refusal to cooperate in the investigation of a murder where German prosecutors suspect Russian or Chechen involvement.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday summoned the German ambassador in Moscow, issued a formal protest over the expulsions and gave two German diplomats seven days to leave the country, it said in a statement.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-12-12  Authors: reuters with cnbccom
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Trump slams FBI Director Christopher Wray for backing DOJ Russia report findings

FBI Director Christopher Wray arrives for the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing titled Threats to the Homeland, in Hart Building on Tuesday, November 5, 2019. President Donald Trump slammed FBI Director Christopher Wray on Tuesday for endorsing the Justice Department inspector general’s finding that the bureau’s probe of potential links between Russia and the Trump campaign was opened properly. The inspector general’s report, which is more than 400 pages long, l


FBI Director Christopher Wray arrives for the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing titled Threats to the Homeland, in Hart Building on Tuesday, November 5, 2019.
President Donald Trump slammed FBI Director Christopher Wray on Tuesday for endorsing the Justice Department inspector general’s finding that the bureau’s probe of potential links between Russia and the Trump campaign was opened properly.
The inspector general’s report, which is more than 400 pages long, l
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Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-12-10  Authors: yelena dzhanova
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Trump slams FBI Director Christopher Wray for backing DOJ Russia report findings

FBI Director Christopher Wray arrives for the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing titled Threats to the Homeland, in Hart Building on Tuesday, November 5, 2019.

President Donald Trump slammed FBI Director Christopher Wray on Tuesday for endorsing the Justice Department inspector general’s finding that the bureau’s probe of potential links between Russia and the Trump campaign was opened properly.

In a tweet Tuesday, Trump said the man he appointed to head the law-enforcement agency “will never be able to fix the FBI, which is badly broken despite having some of the greatest men & women working there!”

The inspector general’s report, which is more than 400 pages long, laid out the details behind the FBI’s decision to investigate possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign during the 2016 election. The report was released Monday.

Inspector General Michael Horowitz, who conducted the probe of the agency’s actions, found that contrary to Trump’s claims, there was no evidence that political bias influenced the Russia investigation. Trump consistently said that investigation into the 2016 election was a way for the “deep state” to undermine him and his campaign.

“We did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that political bias or improper motivation influenced the FBI’s decision” to seek surveillance warrants on former Trump campaign aide Carter Page, Horowitz’s report concludes.

Wray, whom Trump appointed in 2017 after he fired former FBI Director James Comey over the Russia probe, released a statement on Monday saying that “the FBI will not hesitate to take appropriate disciplinary action if warranted at the completion of the required procedures for disciplinary review.”

Wray also told ABC News that it was “important that the inspector general found that, in this particular instance, the investigation was opened with appropriate predication and authorization.”

In his statement, Wray said he has “ordered more than 40 corrective steps” to address what the report cited as “serious performance failures.”

Among the failures, the report noted, were “factual misstatements that “taken together resulted in [surveillance] applications that made it appear that the information supporting probable cause was stronger than was actually the case.”

Comey took a victory lap after the report was released Monday.

“Although it took two years, the truth is finally out,” the former FBI director wrote in The Washington Post. “There was no illegal wiretapping, there were no informants inserted into the campaign, there was no ‘spying’ on the Trump campaign.”


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-12-10  Authors: yelena dzhanova
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Russia and Ukraine make small steps toward peace, but no big leap

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky met in person for the first time on Monday in a bid to resolve a long-running conflict in eastern Ukraine between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian forces. Relations between Russia and Ukraine collapsed in early 2014 when Russia annexed Crimea from the country and then supported a pro-Russian uprising in the Donbass region in eastern Ukraine in which separatists proclaimed two pro-Russian republics of Donetsk and Luh


Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky met in person for the first time on Monday in a bid to resolve a long-running conflict in eastern Ukraine between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian forces.
Relations between Russia and Ukraine collapsed in early 2014 when Russia annexed Crimea from the country and then supported a pro-Russian uprising in the Donbass region in eastern Ukraine in which separatists proclaimed two pro-Russian republics of Donetsk and Luh
Russia and Ukraine make small steps toward peace, but no big leap Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-12-10  Authors: holly ellyatt
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Russia and Ukraine make small steps toward peace, but no big leap

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin (front), and Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy (Vladimir Zelensky) attend a Normandy Four summit in the Murat Lounge in the Elysee Palace; talks in the so-called Normandy Four format involve representatives of Ukraine, Germany, France and Russia who discuss settlement of the conflict in eastern Ukraine. Mikhail Metzel | TASS | Getty Images

Russia and Ukraine have agreed to a “full and comprehensive implementation” of a cease-fire in the Donbass region of Ukraine before the end of 2019, after peace talks in Paris on Monday, but how promises translate into action remains to be seen. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky met in person for the first time on Monday in a bid to resolve a long-running conflict in eastern Ukraine between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian forces. Both leaders cautiously welcomed their meeting and Putin said that the process was “going in the right direction” but differences remain, including over the control of the Ukrainian-Russian border. The conflict is one of the worst seen in modern Europe yet it is also largely seen as a “forgotten” war, having rumbled on for more than five years. In that time over 13,000 people have died, according to the United Nations, and hostilities have affected 3.9 million civilians living in the region. Putin and Zelensky held a bilateral meeting as well as joint meetings with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who have previously tried to broker a peace deal between the divided neighbors. The group has become known as the “Normandy Four” and Monday was the first time it had met since October 2016. Relations between Russia and Ukraine collapsed in early 2014 when Russia annexed Crimea from the country and then supported a pro-Russian uprising in the Donbass region in eastern Ukraine in which separatists proclaimed two pro-Russian republics of Donetsk and Luhansk. Russia is subject to international sanctions for its actions, and the lifting of some of those restrictions are tied to its implementation of a peace deal with its neighbor. Here are three agreements that Russia and Ukraine made on Monday, according to a statement from the Elysee Palace:

1) Cease-fire before end of 2019

They agreed to implement “all necessary cease-fire support measures” to stabilize the situation in the Donbass region before the end of the year 2019. They also agreed to disengage forces and equipment in three more unspecified areas of the Donbass region by the end of March 2020 (both Ukrainian troops and Russian-backed rebels have already pulled out of three frontline locations in recent months). Both sides said they would release and exchange all “conflict-related detainees” by the end of 2019, adding to prisoner exchanges that have already taken place.

Close watchers of the Russia-Ukraine crisis are cynical about the announcement. Daragh McDowell, head of Europe and Central Asia at Verisk Maplecroft, told CNBC Tuesday that the announcement of an “all-for-all” prisoner exchange and a cease-fire “represents the minimum both Moscow and Kyiv could agree to in order to demonstrate ‘progress’ but does not indicate any sort of breakthrough towards a political settlement.” “So far there have been over twenty ceasefire announcements — the most recent in July — the longest of which lasted for six weeks,” McDowell said.

2) Minsk agreements

Previous peace agreements brokered by France and Germany, known as the “Minsk agreements,” were created in 2014 and 2015 and were designed to form the basis of a path to peace. But both sides accused each other of failing to comply with the terms of the Minsk agreements. In a bid to break the deadlock , Germany’s then-Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier came up with a plan now known as the “Steinmeier Formula.” The plan is like a road map to peace setting out a sequence of events that both sides need to enact. In October, Zelensky signed up to the “Steinmeier Formula,” causing a furor and protests at home with accusations that he had capitulated to Russia. The agreement foresees the holding of elections in the Donbass region, under Ukrainian law and overseen by the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). If these are deemed to be free and fair, self-governing status could be granted to separatist-held areas. Ukraine has made it clear that “foreign military formations” must be withdrawn from the Donbass region and the Ukrainian border, and that prisoner exchanges must also take place. On Monday, the statement following the meeting said that both sides agreed on “measures to implement the political provisions of the Minsk agreements” and finding legal agreement over the special status of the Donbass region. They also agreed that the Steinmeier Formula should be incorporated into Ukrainian law.

A soldier of Dnipro battalion prepares his machine gun while patrolling a territory near the Ukrainian-Russian border. NurPhoto | Corbis News | Getty Images

A key sticking point between Russia and Ukraine is the order of events — and whether local elections should be held before or after Russian-backed forces have withdrawn from parts of the region. “Russia has refused to move on the issue of sequencing, insisting its proxy forces will remain on the ground and in control of the border before local elections are held. Ukraine has insisted on the withdrawal of forces as a precondition to any political settlement,” Verisk Maplecroft’s McDowell said. He added that “Moscow’s goal here is to rid itself of the burden of directly administering – and paying for – the Donbas while ensuring the region remains a vehicle for Russian influence in Ukraine, and a means of blocking further Ukrainian integration with the EU and NATO.”

3) Keep on talking

Both sides also said they would have another meeting in the Normandy format within four months to discuss political and security conditions ahead of the organization of local elections in the Donbass region.

What everyone said?


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-12-10  Authors: holly ellyatt
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, president, steps, donbass, region, russia, big, ukrainian, sides, ukraine, forces, peace, small, end, leap


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Russia and Ukraine make small steps toward peace, but no big leap

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky met in person for the first time on Monday in a bid to resolve a long-running conflict in eastern Ukraine between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian forces. Relations between Russia and Ukraine collapsed in early 2014 when Russia annexed Crimea from the country and then supported a pro-Russian uprising in the Donbass region in eastern Ukraine in which separatists proclaimed two pro-Russian republics of Donetsk and Luh


Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky met in person for the first time on Monday in a bid to resolve a long-running conflict in eastern Ukraine between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian forces.
Relations between Russia and Ukraine collapsed in early 2014 when Russia annexed Crimea from the country and then supported a pro-Russian uprising in the Donbass region in eastern Ukraine in which separatists proclaimed two pro-Russian republics of Donetsk and Luh
Russia and Ukraine make small steps toward peace, but no big leap Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-12-10  Authors: holly ellyatt
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, region, small, donbass, steps, ukraine, ukrainian, sides, forces, russia, leap, president, end, big, peace


Russia and Ukraine make small steps toward peace, but no big leap

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin (front), and Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy (Vladimir Zelensky) attend a Normandy Four summit in the Murat Lounge in the Elysee Palace; talks in the so-called Normandy Four format involve representatives of Ukraine, Germany, France and Russia who discuss settlement of the conflict in eastern Ukraine. Mikhail Metzel | TASS | Getty Images

Russia and Ukraine have agreed to a “full and comprehensive implementation” of a cease-fire in the Donbass region of Ukraine before the end of 2019, after peace talks in Paris on Monday, but how promises translate into action remains to be seen. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky met in person for the first time on Monday in a bid to resolve a long-running conflict in eastern Ukraine between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian forces. Both leaders cautiously welcomed their meeting and Putin said that the process was “going in the right direction” but differences remain, including over the control of the Ukrainian-Russian border. The conflict is one of the worst seen in modern Europe yet it is also largely seen as a “forgotten” war, having rumbled on for more than five years. In that time over 13,000 people have died, according to the United Nations, and hostilities have affected 3.9 million civilians living in the region. Putin and Zelensky held a bilateral meeting as well as joint meetings with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who have previously tried to broker a peace deal between the divided neighbors. The group has become known as the “Normandy Four” and Monday was the first time it had met since October 2016. Relations between Russia and Ukraine collapsed in early 2014 when Russia annexed Crimea from the country and then supported a pro-Russian uprising in the Donbass region in eastern Ukraine in which separatists proclaimed two pro-Russian republics of Donetsk and Luhansk. Russia is subject to international sanctions for its actions, and the lifting of some of those restrictions are tied to its implementation of a peace deal with its neighbor. Here are three agreements that Russia and Ukraine made on Monday, according to a statement from the Elysee Palace:

1) Cease-fire before end of 2019

They agreed to implement “all necessary cease-fire support measures” to stabilize the situation in the Donbass region before the end of the year 2019. They also agreed to disengage forces and equipment in three more unspecified areas of the Donbass region by the end of March 2020 (both Ukrainian troops and Russian-backed rebels have already pulled out of three frontline locations in recent months). Both sides said they would release and exchange all “conflict-related detainees” by the end of 2019, adding to prisoner exchanges that have already taken place.

Close watchers of the Russia-Ukraine crisis are cynical about the announcement. Daragh McDowell, head of Europe and Central Asia at Verisk Maplecroft, told CNBC Tuesday that the announcement of an “all-for-all” prisoner exchange and a cease-fire “represents the minimum both Moscow and Kyiv could agree to in order to demonstrate ‘progress’ but does not indicate any sort of breakthrough towards a political settlement.” “So far there have been over twenty ceasefire announcements — the most recent in July — the longest of which lasted for six weeks,” McDowell said.

2) Minsk agreements

Previous peace agreements brokered by France and Germany, known as the “Minsk agreements,” were created in 2014 and 2015 and were designed to form the basis of a path to peace. But both sides accused each other of failing to comply with the terms of the Minsk agreements. In a bid to break the deadlock , Germany’s then-Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier came up with a plan now known as the “Steinmeier Formula.” The plan is like a road map to peace setting out a sequence of events that both sides need to enact. In October, Zelensky signed up to the “Steinmeier Formula,” causing a furor and protests at home with accusations that he had capitulated to Russia. The agreement foresees the holding of elections in the Donbass region, under Ukrainian law and overseen by the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). If these are deemed to be free and fair, self-governing status could be granted to separatist-held areas. Ukraine has made it clear that “foreign military formations” must be withdrawn from the Donbass region and the Ukrainian border, and that prisoner exchanges must also take place. On Monday, the statement following the meeting said that both sides agreed on “measures to implement the political provisions of the Minsk agreements” and finding legal agreement over the special status of the Donbass region. They also agreed that the Steinmeier Formula should be incorporated into Ukrainian law.

A soldier of Dnipro battalion prepares his machine gun while patrolling a territory near the Ukrainian-Russian border. NurPhoto | Corbis News | Getty Images

A key sticking point between Russia and Ukraine is the order of events — and whether local elections should be held before or after Russian-backed forces have withdrawn from parts of the region. “Russia has refused to move on the issue of sequencing, insisting its proxy forces will remain on the ground and in control of the border before local elections are held. Ukraine has insisted on the withdrawal of forces as a precondition to any political settlement,” Verisk Maplecroft’s McDowell said. He added that “Moscow’s goal here is to rid itself of the burden of directly administering – and paying for – the Donbas while ensuring the region remains a vehicle for Russian influence in Ukraine, and a means of blocking further Ukrainian integration with the EU and NATO.”

3) Keep on talking

Both sides also said they would have another meeting in the Normandy format within four months to discuss political and security conditions ahead of the organization of local elections in the Donbass region.

What everyone said?


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-12-10  Authors: holly ellyatt
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, region, small, donbass, steps, ukraine, ukrainian, sides, forces, russia, leap, president, end, big, peace


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‘It’s now or never’: Russia and Ukraine hold peace talks in Paris

The summit comes amid a tentative rapprochement between Russia and Ukraine that has taken place since Zelenksy came to power in May. For Russia too, though, the stakes are high, with the country still subject to international sanctions for its interventions in Ukraine. The lifting of EU sanctions has been tied to the successful implementation of a peace agreement with Ukraine. Tensions between Ukraine and Russia rose on November 25, 2018 when Russian forces seized three Ukranian navy vessels and


The summit comes amid a tentative rapprochement between Russia and Ukraine that has taken place since Zelenksy came to power in May.
For Russia too, though, the stakes are high, with the country still subject to international sanctions for its interventions in Ukraine.
The lifting of EU sanctions has been tied to the successful implementation of a peace agreement with Ukraine.
Tensions between Ukraine and Russia rose on November 25, 2018 when Russian forces seized three Ukranian navy vessels and
‘It’s now or never’: Russia and Ukraine hold peace talks in Paris Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-12-09  Authors: holly ellyatt
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'It's now or never': Russia and Ukraine hold peace talks in Paris

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin uses a pair of binoculars while overseeing the military exercises known as “Centre-2019” at the firing range Donguz in Orenburg Region, Russia September 20, 2019. Alexei Nikolsky | Sputnik | Alexei Nikolsky | Kremlin via Reuters

There is cautious optimism that talks between the leaders of Russia and Ukraine on Monday could end the stalemate over a long-running conflict in the Donbass region. Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky will be joined at the talks in Paris by France’s President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel; the group is known as the “Normandy Four.” Macron and Merkel have previously tried to broker several peace agreements, known as the “Minsk agreements,” but these have yet to be fully implemented. It will be the first time that Putin and Zelensky have met face to face and the first time that the Normandy Four group has met since October 2016. Relations between Russia and Ukraine nose-dived after Moscow annexed Crimea from Ukraine in early 2014 and then supported a pro-Russian uprising in the Donbass region in the east of the country where two republics (of Donetsk and Luhansk) were declared by pro-Russian separatists. The conflict is now in its fifth year and has been largely characterized by clashes and skirmishes between separatists and the Ukrainian army. Nevertheless, 13,000 people (including civilians and combatants from both sides) have died in the conflict since 2014, according to the United Nations, and hostilities have affected 3.9 million civilians living in the region. The summit comes amid a tentative rapprochement between Russia and Ukraine that has taken place since Zelenksy came to power in May.

Ukrainian comedian and presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelensky reacts after the announcement of the first exit poll results in the second round of Ukraine’s presidential election at his campaign headquarters in Kiev on April 21, 2019. GENYA SAVILOV | AFP | Getty Images

He had made achieving a peace deal with Russia, and ending what he’s called “this horrible war,” a key part of his election manifesto. The 41-year-old president is inexperienced, however, having a background in comedy and TV production rather than politics, leading some experts to worry he could be outmaneuvered by a veteran Russian president. For Russia too, though, the stakes are high, with the country still subject to international sanctions for its interventions in Ukraine. The lifting of EU sanctions has been tied to the successful implementation of a peace agreement with Ukraine. There is a fragile cease-fire in the Donbass region right now but the Minsk agreements are widely seen to have failed because both sides accused the other of not abiding with the deal, and of misinterpretation of the conditions of the deal. In 2016, Germany’s then-Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier came up with a plan (now known as the “Steinmeier formula”) to solve the deadlock. The plan is like a road map to peace setting out a sequence of events that both sides need to enact — including the holding of free and fair elections in the Donbass region and for self-governing status to be granted if these are deemed to have taken place. This has proved a very hot potato for Zelensky who signed up to the formula in early October. He has been accused of capitulating to Russia and there were protests at the decision.

Ukrainian servicemen take part in brigade tactical exercises with combat shooting near Goncharivske willage, Chernihiv region, not far from the border with Russia on December 3, 2018. Tensions between Ukraine and Russia rose on November 25, 2018 when Russian forces seized three Ukranian navy vessels and their crew. Ukraine imposed martial law for 30 days in 10 regions that border Russia, the Black Sea and the Azov Sea on November 28. SERGEI SUPINSKY | AFP | Getty Images

Signing up to the Steinmeier formula has appeared to bear some fruit with Ukraine and pro-Russian separatists disengaging forces in three areas along the front line in recent weeks. For its part, Ukraine has said that no elections will take place in the region unless they are in accordance with Ukrainian law and until it regains control over its border with Russia in that area. Zelensky has said “there won’t be any elections under the barrel of a gun,” and that no elections would take place “if the troops are still there.” Last week, an aide to the Ukrainian president said that Ukraine will attend the meeting in Paris with goodwill and hopes for a deal. But he added that it would not wait “years” for Russia to implement its part of the Minsk deal. Presidential aide Andriy Yermak also said that if peace talks with Russia fail, Ukraine will consider “building a wall” along its borders with Russia.

Last chance saloon?

Ahead of the summit, the Elysee Palace released a statement in November saying that it would “be held following major progress since the summer in negotiations for a settlement in the east Ukraine conflict, progress which in particular allowed the removal of troops from several areas on the frontline.” There might be progress, but experts say the meeting might be a last opportunity for the countries to normalize relations. Christopher Granville, managing director of EMEA and Global Political Research at TS Lombard, told CNBC that the meeting was a “now or never” opportunity. “There seems a reasonable chance of some progress (at the meeting), but that’s the boring answer, the more interesting answer is that I do think it’s now or never. In politics there’s always a window, there’s a moment of political capital, a honeymoon when something can be done, and Zelenksy’s honeymoon is probably past its zenith, so either something is done now or the window will close, so that’s what makes it particularly interesting.” Daragh McDowell, head of Europe and principal Russia analyst at Verisk Maplecroft, told CNBC ahead of the summit that principles of territorial sovereignty and integrity were at stake, however. “France has made it clear that it wants to normalize relations with Russia somehow, but at the same time we’re in a position where Russia has changed its borders through military force, invaded a European country — there are very important principles at stake here and you can’t just draw a line under it and say, ‘all is done, all is forgotten’,” he said.

The gas factor

Russia also has a commercial interest in improving relations with its neighbor, not least on the energy front as it looks to maintain its dominant position in terms of energy provision to Europe. Russia was the largest supplier of natural gas to the EU, both in 2018 and 2019, according to data from Eurostat, although it is facing a competitive threat from the U.S. on that front. France and Germany’s leaders want to see relations normalized between Ukraine and Russia due to the heightened geopolitical threat posed by Moscow on its border, as well as realpolitik and the desire to keep Russia on side and engaged to a large extent. Although new gas pipelines are under construction to transport Russian gas to Europe via alternative routes (such as the Nord Stream 2 pipeline which will supply gas from Russia to Germany, and the TurkStream pipeline from Russia to Turkey) much of the EU’s gas currently comes via Ukraine.

A section of the Urengoy-Pomary-Uzhgorod pipeline, also known as the West-Siberian Pipeline, or the Trans-Siberian Pipeline – Russia’s main natural gas export pipeline – stands near Ivano-Frankvisk, Ukraine, on Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014. Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-12-09  Authors: holly ellyatt
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Russia banned from Olympic Games over doping scandal

The Olympic flag and Russian flag are raised as the Russian National Anthem is sung during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony at Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 23, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. Russia was banned from the Olympics and world championships in a range of sports for four years on Monday after the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) ruled to punish it for manipulating laboratory data, a WADA spokesman said. Russia, which has tried to showcase itself as a global sports power, has


The Olympic flag and Russian flag are raised as the Russian National Anthem is sung during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony at Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 23, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.
Russia was banned from the Olympics and world championships in a range of sports for four years on Monday after the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) ruled to punish it for manipulating laboratory data, a WADA spokesman said.
Russia, which has tried to showcase itself as a global sports power, has
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Russia banned from Olympic Games over doping scandal

The Olympic flag and Russian flag are raised as the Russian National Anthem is sung during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony at Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 23, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.

Russia was banned from the Olympics and world championships in a range of sports for four years on Monday after the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) ruled to punish it for manipulating laboratory data, a WADA spokesman said.

WADA’s executive committee took the decision after it concluded that Moscow had tampered with laboratory data by planting fake evidence and deleting files linked to positive doping tests that could have helped identify drug cheats.

The WADA committee’s decision to punish Russia with a ban was unanimous, the spokesman said.

Russia, which has tried to showcase itself as a global sports power, has been embroiled in doping scandals since a 2015 report commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) found evidence of mass doping in Russian athletics.

Its doping woes have grown since, with many of its athletes sidelined from the past two Olympics and the country stripped of its flag altogether at last year’s Pyeongchang Winter Games as punishment for state-sponsored doping cover-ups at the 2014 Sochi Games.

Monday’s sanctions had been recommended by WADA’s compliance review committee in response to the doctored laboratory data provided by Moscow earlier this year.

One of the conditions for the reinstatement of Russian anti-doping agency RUSADA, which was suspended in 2015 in the wake of the athletics doping scandal but reinstated last year, had been that Moscow provide an authentic copy of the laboratory data.

The sanctions effectively strip the agency of its accreditation. Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov last month attributed the discrepancies in the laboratory data to technical issues.

The punishment, however, leaves the door open for clean Russian athletes to compete at major international sporting events without their flag or anthem for four years, as was the case during the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics.

Some Russian officials, meanwhile, have branded the call for sanctions unfair and likened it to broader Western attempts to hold back the country.

If RUSADA appeals the sanctions endorsed by WADA’s executive committee, the case will be referred to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), WADA has said.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-12-09
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House Judiciary Chair Nadler says impeachment articles will ‘presumably’ be introduced this week

Committee chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) listens as constitutional scholars testify before the House Judiciary Committee in the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill December 4, 2019 in Washington, DC. WASHINGTON — House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler said Sunday that his panel will “presumably” present articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump this week. “We’ll bring articles of impeachment presumably before the committee at some point later in the week,” Na


Committee chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) listens as constitutional scholars testify before the House Judiciary Committee in the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill December 4, 2019 in Washington, DC.
WASHINGTON — House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler said Sunday that his panel will “presumably” present articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump this week.
“We’ll bring articles of impeachment presumably before the committee at some point later in the week,” Na
House Judiciary Chair Nadler says impeachment articles will ‘presumably’ be introduced this week Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-12-08  Authors: ben kamisar
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, ukraine, impeachment, president, house, nadler, presumably, week, chair, committee, trump, articles, election, introduced, judiciary, russia


House Judiciary Chair Nadler says impeachment articles will 'presumably' be introduced this week

Committee chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) listens as constitutional scholars testify before the House Judiciary Committee in the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill December 4, 2019 in Washington, DC.

WASHINGTON — House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler said Sunday that his panel will “presumably” present articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump this week.

“We’ll bring articles of impeachment presumably before the committee at some point later in the week,” Nadler said in an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

On Monday, the committee will hear from both Democrats and Republicans on the Intelligence Committee about the findings from their investigation into allegations that the president led a campaign to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, one of the top Democrats running for president in 2020.

Nadler said that congressional leaders haven’t finalized many of the key details of what may be included in any impeachment articles, saying that there are still significant “consultations” to come between committee members, House Democrats and Democratic leadership before they are finalized.

And the chairman kept the door open as to whether Democrats will ultimately cite the Mueller Report’s findings as part of any articles.

But he framed impeaching the president as an imperative, both aimed at holding the president accountable for what Nadler called ” overwhelming evidence” that Trump “put himself before the country” as well as concerns about the fairness of the 2020 presidential election.

“It’s certainly abuse of power, it might be obstruction of Congress,” Nadler said of Trump’s conduct, as he previewed the potential articles of impeachment.

“He put himself above the country, he sought to get foreign interference against the integrity of our election. This is a matter of urgency to deal with because we have to make sure the next election is conducted with integrity and without foreign interference.”

Nadler’s comments come as the House inquiry shifts into a new gear after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi publicly directed committee chairmen last week to move forward to draft articles of impeachment against the president.

On Saturday, the Judiciary Committee released a report outlining the constitutional grounds for impeachment. There remains significant debate about where the House will ultimately land, including concerns from some moderates who want the investigation to stay focused on allegations Trump used his office for political gain by pressing Ukraine to investigate Biden, instead of re-litigating the findings in the Mueller Report.

Nadler said those concerns are “one factor to consider,” but added that “we also have to consider the fact that we have to call the president for his violations of the constitution and the considerable risk he poses to the next direction.”

When asked whether the 2020 election would be conducted fairly if Trump was ultimately acquitted, Nadler replied, “I don’t know.”

“The president, based on his past performance, will do everything he can to make it not a fair election.”

But after weeks of public testimony, public opinion on impeachment has hardly budged. And most Republicans, from the moderates to the key allies of Trump, appear to not have been swayed to support impeachment or removing Trump from office.

Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz told “Meet the Press” on Sunday that the debate over impeachment is obfuscating the fact that Trump’s Russia policy has been tougher “by orders of magnitude than [former President] Barack Obama’s ever was.”

“This is a kangaroo court in the House. They’re going to impeach, not because they have the evidence but because they hate the president,” he said of House Democrats.

“But it’s going to go to the Senate, it’s going to go nowhere, and I think the American people know this is a waste of time.”

And while acknowledging that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, Cruz argued that Ukraine was guilty of its own meddling too.

“On the evidence, Russia clearly interfered in our election. But here’s the game the media is playing: Because Russia interfered, the media pretends nobody else did,” Cruz said.

“Ukraine blatantly interfered in our election. The sitting ambassador from Ukraine wrote an op-ed blasting Donald Trump during the election season. That is unusual.”

That op-ed, published in The Hill in August of 2016 by Ukranian ambassador to the United States Valeriy Chaly, came after Trump told ABC News that the Crimean people “would rather be with Russian than” part of Ukraine, and that he would, as president, make sure that Russia doesn’t invade Ukraine.

In 2014, Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula, a move that then-Secretary of State John Kerry called an “invasion and occupation of Ukrainian territory.”


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-12-08  Authors: ben kamisar
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, ukraine, impeachment, president, house, nadler, presumably, week, chair, committee, trump, articles, election, introduced, judiciary, russia


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OPEC and Russia seek to ratify deeper oil production cuts

Energy ministers from some of the world’s largest oil producers will attempt to ratify a deeper round of output cuts on Friday. OPEC and non-OPEC partners, sometimes referred to as OPEC+, have gathered in Vienna, Austria to decide the next phase of their oil production policy. OPEC will now request the approval of non-OPEC allies, including Russia, in a bid to prop up oil prices. Ahead of a meeting with non-OPEC allies, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh struck an upbeat tone. Oil prices have r


Energy ministers from some of the world’s largest oil producers will attempt to ratify a deeper round of output cuts on Friday.
OPEC and non-OPEC partners, sometimes referred to as OPEC+, have gathered in Vienna, Austria to decide the next phase of their oil production policy.
OPEC will now request the approval of non-OPEC allies, including Russia, in a bid to prop up oil prices.
Ahead of a meeting with non-OPEC allies, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh struck an upbeat tone.
Oil prices have r
OPEC and Russia seek to ratify deeper oil production cuts Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-12-06  Authors: sam meredith
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, oil, production, opec, ratify, zanganeh, energy, cuts, morning, output, nonopec, seek, russia, wti, deeper


OPEC and Russia seek to ratify deeper oil production cuts

Energy ministers from some of the world’s largest oil producers will attempt to ratify a deeper round of output cuts on Friday.

OPEC and non-OPEC partners, sometimes referred to as OPEC+, have gathered in Vienna, Austria to decide the next phase of their oil production policy.

Led by Saudi Arabia, the 14-member group agreed in principle on Thursday to cut production by an additional 500,000 barrels per day (b/d) through to the end of March 2020, according to CNBC sources. This level of output curbs is much larger than many had expected.

OPEC will now request the approval of non-OPEC allies, including Russia, in a bid to prop up oil prices.

Ahead of a meeting with non-OPEC allies, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh struck an upbeat tone.

“Everything is going ahead well,” Zanganeh told CNBC’s Brian Sullivan outside the OPEC headquarters on Friday morning. He predicted the energy alliance would be able to announce a deal “during the coming hours.”

International benchmark Brent crude traded at $63.53 on Friday morning, up around 0.2%, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) stood at $58.47, little changed from the previous session.

Oil prices have rallied in recent trading sessions, amid intensifying speculation of deeper-than-anticipated production cuts. However, Brent crude futures remain around 15% lower when compared to an April peak, with WTI down almost 12% over the same period.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-12-06  Authors: sam meredith
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, oil, production, opec, ratify, zanganeh, energy, cuts, morning, output, nonopec, seek, russia, wti, deeper


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OPEC meets amid speculation over further oil production cuts

Global oil-producing group OPEC and its allies are meeting in Vienna from Thursday, with expectations raised over whether the alliance will make further cuts to its output at the two-day gathering. OPEC meets on Thursday and the group will be joined by its non-OPEC allies on Friday — with a final decision likely that afternoon. Oil prices rose around 4% Wednesday off the back of Iraq’s suggestion for deeper cuts and there is a chance the production group will ultimately agree to cut more. Iraqi


Global oil-producing group OPEC and its allies are meeting in Vienna from Thursday, with expectations raised over whether the alliance will make further cuts to its output at the two-day gathering.
OPEC meets on Thursday and the group will be joined by its non-OPEC allies on Friday — with a final decision likely that afternoon.
Oil prices rose around 4% Wednesday off the back of Iraq’s suggestion for deeper cuts and there is a chance the production group will ultimately agree to cut more.
Iraqi
OPEC meets amid speculation over further oil production cuts Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-12-05  Authors: holly ellyatt
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, cut, opec, production, nonopec, vienna, group, meets, russia, meeting, oil, million, bpd, cuts, speculation, amid


OPEC meets amid speculation over further oil production cuts

Journalists interview oil Ministers on the sidelines of the 176th meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) conference and the 6th meeting of the OPEC and non-OPEC countries on July 1, 2019 in Vienna, Austria.

Global oil-producing group OPEC and its allies are meeting in Vienna from Thursday, with expectations raised over whether the alliance will make further cuts to its output at the two-day gathering.

The 14 members of OPEC and a group of allied non-OPEC producers led by Russia (collectively known as OPEC+) are expected to at least keep production cuts at their current level of 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) through to June 2020.

The agreement is currently due to expire in March but there’s speculation that the group could even opt to cut further if Russia agrees. OPEC meets on Thursday and the group will be joined by its non-OPEC allies on Friday — with a final decision likely that afternoon.

Oil prices rose around 4% Wednesday off the back of Iraq’s suggestion for deeper cuts and there is a chance the production group will ultimately agree to cut more.

Iraqi Oil Minister Thamir Al-Ghadbhan endorsed a deeper cut, telling CNBC on Wednesday that the current cut of 1.2 million bpd “is not really that effective.” He said a 1.6 million bpd cut would be more effective.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-12-05  Authors: holly ellyatt
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, cut, opec, production, nonopec, vienna, group, meets, russia, meeting, oil, million, bpd, cuts, speculation, amid


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Putin fears the US and NATO are militarizing space and Russia is right to worry, experts say

He said the idea of a Space Force had started as a joke but he had then decided it was a “great idea.” “We have the Air Force, we’ll have the Space Force.” At the start of 2019, the U.S. unveiled an overhaul of its missile defense program in its “Missile Defense Review” in which it stated the need for a “comprehensive approach to missile defense against rogue state and regional missile threats.” The review also recognized “space is a new war-fighting domain, with the Space Force leading the way”


He said the idea of a Space Force had started as a joke but he had then decided it was a “great idea.”
“We have the Air Force, we’ll have the Space Force.”
At the start of 2019, the U.S. unveiled an overhaul of its missile defense program in its “Missile Defense Review” in which it stated the need for a “comprehensive approach to missile defense against rogue state and regional missile threats.”
The review also recognized “space is a new war-fighting domain, with the Space Force leading the way”
Putin fears the US and NATO are militarizing space and Russia is right to worry, experts say Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-12-05  Authors: holly ellyatt
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, space, nato, program, worry, experts, say, force, right, putin, russia, fears, missile, defense, satellites, military, militarizing


Putin fears the US and NATO are militarizing space and Russia is right to worry, experts say

Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) First Deputy Head Alexander Ivanov, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, and Federal Agency for Special Construction head Alexander Volosov watch a rocket booster carrying satellites blast off from a launch pad at the Vostochny Cosmodrome. Mikhail Metzel | TASS | Getty Images

NATO, the U.S. and Russia have a new domain to compete and conflict over: space. Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Wednesday that the U.S. saw space as as “theater of military operations” and that the development of the U.S. Space Force posed a threat to Russia. “The U.S. military-political leadership openly considers space as a military theater and plans to conduct operations there,” Putin said at a meeting with defense officials in Sochi, according to Russian news agency TASS. “For preserving strategic supremacy in this field the United States is accelerating creation of its space forces, which are already in the process of operative preparations,” Putin said, adding that the world’s leading countries are fast-tracking the development of modern military space systems and dual purpose satellites and that Russia needed to do the same. “The situation requires us to pay increased attention to strengthening the orbital group, as well as the rocket and space industry as a whole.” Russia opposed the militarization of space, Putin insisted, but said “at the same time the march of events requires greater attention to strengthening the orbital group and the space rocket and missile industry in general.”

NATO too

Putin’s comments Wednesday reiterated those he made in late November to his security council, in which he said he was “seriously concerned” about NATO’s “attempts to militarize outer space.” That comment came after NATO had declared space a fifth “operational domain” for the military alliance, alongside air, land, sea and cyber. “Space is part of our daily life here on Earth. It can be used for peaceful purposes. But it can also be used aggressively,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said at a meeting of foreign ministers on November 20. “Satellites can be jammed, hacked or weaponized. Anti-satellite weapons could cripple communications and other services our societies rely on, such as air travel, weather forecast or banking,” he said. “Space is also essential to the alliance’s deterrence and defense,” Stoltenberg added, referencing the organization’s ability to navigate, to gather intelligence, and to detect missile launches. “Making space an operational domain will help us ensure all aspects are taken into account to ensure the success of our missions,” he said. “For instance, this can allow NATO planners to make a request for allies to provide capabilities and services, such as satellite communications and data imagery.”

He said that around 2,000 satellites currently orbit the Earth with around half of them owned by NATO countries. Stoltenberg insisted that “NATO has no intention to put weapons in space. We are a defensive alliance.” He added the alliance’s approach to space will remain fully in line with international law. The 1967 Outer Space Treaty is a global agreement considered a foundation stone of international space law. The treaty was first signed by the U.K., U.S. and then-Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War to promote the peaceful exploration of space. It banned the placing of nuclear weapons in space and limited the use of the Moon and all other celestial bodies to peaceful purposes only. It also established that space shall be free for exploration and use by all nations, but that no nation may claim sovereignty on any part of it.

Star Wars

There are other space treaties covering, for example, the rescue of astronauts, the moon, the International Space Station (ISS) and liability for damage caused by space objects. Still, the use of space for defensive activities is likely to be litigious and provocative territory. It’s not the first time that space has been seen as a potential realm for defense though, especially during the Cold War. The “Strategic Defense Initiative” was a program first initiated in 1983 under President Ronald Reagan. The aim of the program was to develop an anti-ballistic missile system that was designed to shoot down nuclear missiles in space, with potential missile attacks from the Soviet Union specifically in mind.

Artist’s concept of interceptor under development for the U.S. Army’s HEDI (High Endoatmospheric Def. Interceptor), a key element of its 1983 Strategic Defense. Initiative (aka Star Wars) Time Life Pictures | The LIFE Picture Collection | Getty Images

It was dubbed “Star Wars” because it envisaged that technologies like space-based x-ray lasers could be used as part of the defensive system. Funding shortages as well as the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 meant that the SDI was never built. The idea of space dominance and defense has gained more traction in recent years, however, and in 2018, President Donald Trump floated the idea of developing another military branch, the “Space Force.” He said the idea of a Space Force had started as a joke but he had then decided it was a “great idea.” “Space is a war-fighting domain, just like the land, air, and sea,” Trump said. “We have the Air Force, we’ll have the Space Force.” In June 2018, he ordered the Pentagon to begin the creation of the new branch. At the start of 2019, the U.S. unveiled an overhaul of its missile defense program in its “Missile Defense Review” in which it stated the need for a “comprehensive approach to missile defense against rogue state and regional missile threats.” The review also recognized “space is a new war-fighting domain, with the Space Force leading the way” and said it would ensure “American dominance in space.” In a speech presenting more detail on the Missile Defense Review, Trump said the U.S. would “invest in a space-based missile defense layer. It’s new technology. It’s ultimately going to be a very, very big part of our defense and, obviously, of our offense,” he said.

U.S. Air Force Space Command Gen. John “Jay” Raymond stands next to the flag of the newly established U.S. Space Command, the sixth national armed service, in the Rose Garden at the White House August 29, 2019 in Washington, DC. Citing potential threats from China and Russia and the nation’s reliance on satellites for defense operations, Trump said the U.S. needs to launch a ‘space force.’ Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images News | Getty Images

“The system will be monitored, and we will terminate any missile launches from hostile powers, or even from powers that make a mistake. It won’t happen. Regardless of the missile type or the geographic origins of the attack, we will ensure that enemy missiles find no sanctuary on Earth or in the skies above.”

Arms race in space?

Russia responded angrily to the comments, saying it was tantamount to the U.S. relaunching the Cold War-era “Star Wars” program. According to a statement from Russia’s foreign ministry, reported by Reuters, Russia condemned the strategy as an act of confrontation and it urged Washington to reconsider its plans. “The strategy, de facto, gives the green light to the prospect of basing missile strike capabilities in space,” the statement said. “The implementation of these ideas will inevitably lead to the start of an arms race in space, which will have the most negative consequences for international security and stability,” it said. “We would like to call on the U.S. administration to think again and walk away from this irresponsible attempt to re-launch, on a new and more high-tech basis, the still-remembered Reagan-era ‘Star Wars’ program,” it said, Reuters reported. Experts say Russia is wary of the U.S., and NATO, opening up a new operational frontier in space as Russia would be easily out-competed by the combined NATO countries’ technological expertise, advances and weaponry in space.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-12-05  Authors: holly ellyatt
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, space, nato, program, worry, experts, say, force, right, putin, russia, fears, missile, defense, satellites, military, militarizing


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