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Archive for Russia

Newsline: Russian consulate in Houston requested to meet Russian citizen shot in Arizona

“The Consulate-General has contacted the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP),” the press attache said. “We were informed that last night a Russian citizen, Gluschenko Evgeny Pavlovich, 1982, was injured in Arizona when attempting to cross the US-Mexico border.” The press attaché pointed out that the injured Russian national is currently in a hospital in Goodyear, Arizona, and his life is not in danger, according to a preliminary assessment. “We are trying to get in contact with him directly as well as we have requested a consular access to him,” the press attaché said. (https://www.indiablooms.com/world-details/F/22015/russian-consulate-general-says-requested-to-meet-russian-citizen-shot-in-arizona.html) The Russian Consulate is trying to clarify the details of what exactly happened and how Gluschenko tried to cross the US- Mexico border, the press attaché added. On Friday, the CBP said in a release a US Border Patrol agent shot a Russian national near Lukeville, Arizona, when he allegedly tried to cross illegally into the United States. CBP explained when the agent tried to arrest Gluschenko, a physical altercation ensued and the agent discharged his firearm. Gluschenko then transported via helicopter to a Phoenix area hospital for treatment of the non-life threatening injuries he sustained. The incident is under the investigation by the FBI and the CBP Use of Force Incident Team, the release said.

Newsline: Russia Held Up an Ailing American Military Attaché From Leaving Moscow

The American was safely evacuated, but the episode was the latest indication that Russian intimidation of American officials has reached levels unseen since the Cold War. Russian officials in August held up the evacuation from Moscow of a sick American military attaché to a hospital in Germany in the latest episode of a long-running campaign of harassment against American diplomats in Russia. Diplomatic protocols allow for the fast evacuation of diplomats facing medical emergencies. But the departure of the plane sent to evacuate the attaché was delayed for hours for no apparent reason despite protests from embassy officials and the State Department in Washington, according to several Trump administration officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive diplomatic issue that some other officials prefer to play down. (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/02/us/politics/russian-harassment-american-attache.html) The Russians eventually relented, and the American, a uniformed officer, was safely evacuated, the officials said. While State and Defense Department officials confirmed there was a medical incident in Russia, they declined to identify the officer and would not provide any details of the case or why he was being evacuated. In a statement, Russia’s Foreign Ministry played down the delay of the attaché’s departure. It said that the ailing American military officer had passed “right through” border control while still in an ambulance, and that a “slight delay” of about 20 minutes occurred during boarding because the diplomat’s “foreign doctors” were mistakenly declared as crew members and required boarding passes, which took time to process. The Russian statement also pointed a finger back at the United States, charging that it had interfered several years ago with the medical care of Russia’s former prime minister and foreign minister, Yevgeny Primakov. A Russian diplomat in the United States was detained by American authorities after going to a pharmacy to buy medicine for Mr. Primakov, who was gravely ill with cancer in Moscow, the statement said. “The medicine was delivered to Russia only after the U.S. Secretary of State, J. Kerry, got involved,” the Russian statement charged, referring to John Kerry, who served in that role under President Barack Obama. “But time was wasted.”

Newsline: Bulgaria gave Russian diplomat 24 hours to leave

Bulgaria’s foreign ministry gave a Russian diplomat allegedly involved in espionage 24 hours to leave the country after it found that its request to Moscow to recall him had not been carried out. The ministry was forced to hand a written note to the Russian ambassador early after the Russian embassy informed it that the diplomat was still in Bulgaria, it said in a statement. In a rare move, Bulgaria expelled the diplomat after prosecutors said he had held conspiratorial meetings with Bulgarians, including with a senior official with a clearance for classified information from the European Union and NATO since last September. “The Russian embassy has received a note from the Bulgarian foreign ministry declaring an embassy’s employee a persona non grata. The diplomat will leave the country in the note’s outlined timeline,” the embassy said in a posting on Twitter, adding that the Russian side is reserving its right to take corresponding measures. (https://news.yahoo.com/bulgaria-gives-russian-diplomat-24-160126668.html) Bulgaria, a loyal ally of Moscow in Soviet times, is now a member of NATO and the European Union but has close cultural and historic ties to Russia, which remains its biggest energy supplier. Sofia did not join its NATO and EU allies in expelling Russian diplomats over the nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy in England last year.

Newsline: Russian Hackers Accused of Breaking Into European Embassy In Washington

The hackers who infamously breached the Democratic National Committee have continued to cause havoc. The so-called Cozy Bear hackers, who were revealed in 2016 to have infiltrated the DNC along with a group called Fancy Bear as part of a Russian-government sponsored attack on American democracy, have hacked the Washington, D.C., embassy of a European member state, said cybersecurity researchers from ESET. The hackers also broke into computers at the ministries of foreign affairs of three European countries. (https://www.forbes.com/sites/thomasbrewster/2019/10/17/russian-hackers-breach-european-embassy-in-washington/#25510f077c93) Neither the embassy nor the government departments are being identified by ESET. But the research represents a rare sighting of Cozy Bear and a resurgence of a Russian intelligence operation heading into a turbulent geopolitical period, with Britain’s exit from the European Union and the 2020 U.S. election on the horizon. Three new malware types were also discovered, showing the unit continues to build its digital arsenal as it tries to spy on diplomats.

Newsline: Russia Disputes Travel Plans of U.S. Diplomats Near Test Site

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said three U.S. diplomats who were stopped near the restricted zone of a recent deadly nuclear explosion had declared a different destination for their trip. The American foreign service personnel requested permission from the Defense Ministry to travel to the northern city of Arkhangelsk, but “instead, they arrived in a rented car with Russian license plates in Severodvinsk,” a city that foreigners need special permission to enter, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters Thursday. (https://www.wsj.com/articles/russia-disputes-travel-plans-of-u-s-diplomats-near-russia-test-site-11571320803) The U.S. diplomats, who the Russian authorities said included military attachés, then took a train from Severodvinsk to “a village near which is a military training ground,” Ms. Zakharova said. An Aug. 8 explosion during a missile test killed at least seven people and caused radiation levels to spike in the area. She didn’t name the village, but Nyonoksa, where the Defense Ministry’s testing site is located, is about 25 miles from Severodvinsk. Upon arriving in the village by train, the U.S. diplomats were stopped by a military patrol, Ms. Zakharova said. “They were told that they were in a zone with restricted access…and offered to return on the same train,” the Russian official said. “They were never detained.” The State Department said that “the American diplomats were on official travel and had properly notified Russian authorities of their travel.”

Newsline: Russian embassy says Iran frees detained journalist

Iran has freed a Russian journalist, Yulia Yuzik, who had been detained last week, the Russian embassy in Tehran said on social media on Thursday. “As a result of joint efforts of the Russian Foreign Ministry and the Russian Embassy in Tehran, the Iranian side made a decision on the release of Russian citizen Yulia Yuzik,” it said. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iran-russia-journalist/iran-frees-detained-russian-journalist-russian-embassy-idUSKBN1WP0FB) According to the embassy, Yuzik flew back to Moscow on Thursday morning.

Newsline: Former U.S. ambassador Jon Huntsman decries sanctions America places on Russia

Former U.S. ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman suggests more carrots and fewer sticks in America’s approach to Moscow. Days removed from his post as the United States’ top diplomat to Russia, Huntsman offered his thoughts on America’s foreign policy toward a chief rival, writing an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal asserting that sanctions imposed by both countries decrease the ability to mend relationships. Freed from his role as President Donald Trump’s envoy to Russia, Huntsman wrote that the sanctions are not the answer to the challenges between the two superpowers and should be used more sparingly. “In the U.S., sanctions have become our go-to foreign policy tool to admonish misbehavior,” Huntsman said. (https://www.sltrib.com/news/politics/2019/10/08/former-us-ambassador-jon/) Huntsman, a former Utah governor and seasoned diplomat, has shied away from criticizing Trump’s policies toward Russia, though is speaking out now that he isn’t restrained by his position. Huntsman said in his Wall Street Journal piece that sanctioning Russia – America has expelled hundreds of Russian diplomats and closed one of the country’s consulates, prompting a parallel response from Russia – only feeds into President Vladimir Putin’s charges of a Western assault on Russia. “My embassy colleagues and I heard the same refrain over and over – that in some cases U.S. sanctions are having the opposite of their intended effect, forcing capital back to Russia, buoying Russian domestic sectors and disadvantaging U.S. businesses seeking to gain a strategic market foothold,” Huntsman wrote.