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Newsline: Turkey summons Russian envoy

The Russian Embassy in Ankara is not commenting on the summoning of Russia’s Charge d’Affaires Sergei Panov to the Turkish Foreign Ministry in connection with the death of a Turkish serviceman near the Syrian border, Irina Kasimova, a spokeswoman of the embassy, told Sputnik on Thursday. Earlier in the day, Turkish authorities summoned Panov after Turkey’s General Staff said one of its soldiers had been killed near the Syrian border by a sniper from Kurdish-controlled northern Syria. “The embassy does not comment on this information,” the spokeswoman said. According to the Turkish Foreign Ministry, Russia, as one of the guarantors of ceasefire in Syria, is responsible for helping maintain the ceasefire regime on the Syrian-Turkish border, where the soldier was killed on Wednesday.


Newsline: Russia summons Israeli ambassador over Syrian airstrikes

Russia, the main military backer of the Syrian government, has summoned Israeli Ambassador Gary Koren for questioning over recent Israeli airstrikes on Syrian state forces, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said. Russia demands Israel more closely communicate its military plans in the region to avoid such incidents, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said in comments carried by state news agency RIA Novosti. Israeli warplanes conducted air raids in Syria on Friday, with Syrian state forces retaliating using anti-aircraft weapons, in one of the more serious exchanges of fire in the six years of Syria’s multi-sided civil war. Russia has maintained close relations with Israel despite the decades-long animosity between Syria and the neighbouring Jewish state, including over Israeli occupation of the Golan Heights. Israel has about a million Russian-speaking residents. Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier this month in Moscow for talks that focused on the Syrian conflict. Netanyahu warned Putin about Iranian involvement in the conflict. Like Syria’s regime, Iran is also a regional rival of Israel but an ally of Russia.


Newsline: Russian Embassy in Damascus Damaged by Militants

One of the buildings that belong to the Russian Embassy in Damascus was damaged as a result of a Sunday shelling by militants, Russian Ambassador to Syria Alexander Kinshchak said. “We have a building, which we temporarily do not use and it is located close to the epicenter of the yesterday’s armed clashes. As they told me, the blast wave had broken the window glass there. However, nobody is currently living there except for a local keeper,” Kinshchak told reporters. According to Kinshchak, this building was previously used and it was planned to station the consular office there, however, this building is located close to the district controlled by illegal armed groups. “We were forced to temporarily abandon the idea of using this building… all the employees moved to the main building of the embassy,” the ambassador added.


Newsline: Russian embassy uses alternate rhyme to criticise UK Prime Minister

Russia’s UK embassy criticised a speech by Theresa May about Vladimir Putin – through rhyming poetry. The embassy chided the Prime Minister after she called on US President Donald Trump to “beware of” the Russian leader. In a speech delivered on Thursday, Mrs May urged Mr Trump to engage with the Kremlin “from a position of strength.” Her comments appeared to have irked the London-based Russian embassy, who tweeted their response in the form of ABAB poetry. Russian Embassy, UK, wrote that they believed the Cold War to be “long dead.”


Newsline: No Resignation Orders Received for Career Diplomats at US Embassy in Russia

The US Embassy in Russia has not yet received orders for the resignation of its career diplomats, including Ambassador John Tefft, embassy spokeswoman Maria Olson said Monday. Olson told RIA Novosti the resignations of the Obama administration’s political appointees took effect on January 20, the day of President Donald Trump’s inauguration. “For career Foreign Service officers, there has been no such directive. As noted on the Embassy’s webpage, Ambassador Tefft has been a career Foreign Service Officer for more than 40 years,” Olson said. Earlier this month, The New York times newspaper reported, citing US diplomats, that US President Donald Trump’s team demanded ambassadors appointed by former President Barack Obama to leave their posts by the day of Trump’s inauguration ceremony. Such procedure is not newly invented, as every incoming US president recalls ambassadors appointed by the previous administration. Nevertheless, the president usually allows some diplomats to remain in office for several months to solve some personal issues. This time the conditions are stricter and the demand may leave the United States without envoys in such key countries as Germany, Canada and the United Kingdom, since the appointment of the new ambassadors usually takes a long time. Moreover, this step would seriously affect personal lives of US diplomats, which reportedly were going to appeal to Trump’s state secretary nominee Rex Tillerson and other top officials to reconsider the decision.


Newsline: Moscow claims U.S. spies planted $10,000 in Russian diplomat’s car

Russia’s top diplomat says U.S. intelligence agencies were so desperate to recruit Russian spies in Washington last year that American officials planted $10,000 in cash inside a Russian official’s car, along with a letter asking the envoy to work with the U.S. government. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov made that claim Tuesday, as he roundly dismissed the Obama administration’s ongoing assertion that U.S. diplomats have faced increasing harassment in Russia during recent years. To the contrary, Mr. Lavrov claimed, it’s actually American spies who’ve increasingly bothered Russian officials in Washington. In his first public comments on the matter since the Obama administration ejected 35 Russian officials from the U.S. last month on suspicion they were actually spies for Moscow, Mr. Lavrov claimed American intelligence attempts to recruit Russian spies in Washington spiked last April. “We have not made public the full statistics on this matter, but recently, in the past few years and especially during Obama’s second [term], the number of such unfriendly actions directed at our diplomats have grown,” the Russian foreign minister said.


Newsline: Russia denies ambassador to Yemen was killed after gunmen ‘stormed embassy’

Russia has denied its ambassador to Yemen has been killed after Saudi Arabian reports said gunman had shot him after storming the embassy. Saudi media said Ambassador Vladimir Dedushkin was assassinated in the capital Sanaa. The alleged assassination was reported by Saudi Arabia’s Barq news agency. But some reports have since claimed Mr Dedushkin has not died. The Russian Embassy in Yemen has reportedly said “no one’s been shot”, telling NBC no one had been attacked. A Russian official quoted in Zvezda, a Russian nationwide TV station run by the Ministry of Defence, has denied the reports of an assassination attempt. A Spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry said that they had made contact with the Ambassador and said the initial reports were false.