US Secretary of State Pompeo to meet Russia’s President Putin & Foreign Minister Lavrov on May 14

Mike Pompeo is to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov when he travels to Russia next week, the US State Department said in a statement.

The visit comes as the relations between Moscow and Washington are at a new low over accusations of Russian meddling in US elections, disagreements over approaches to Venezuela and Iran’s nuclear program as well as US ditching Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty followed up by Russia suspending its participation.

The State Department says they will discuss  “the full range of bilateral and multilateral challenges” during a meeting in the southern city of Sochi on May 14.

Pompeo met Lavrov in Finland earlier this week at the Arctic summit.

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President Donald Trump talked to Putin on the phone for an hour last Friday, discussing a wide range of issues, including Venezuela, North Korea and nuclear arms control.

The same topics are most likely to be on the agenda for Pompeo to discuss with Putin and Lavrov. Last week, Washington’s protégé and opposition leader Juan Guaido failed to get enough support to oust Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. The US blamed Russia partially for the coup’s collapse and urged Moscow to stay out Venezuela. Lavrov slammed Washington’s “unprecedented campaign to oust the legitimate government” and once again called for a political solution to the conflict.

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This week Iran has announced a suspension to some of its obligations under the landmark agreement – officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – after Washington piled up a series of sanctions on the country and sent an aircraft carrier group & task force to the region to send a message. Moscow said Tehran’s reaction was understandable, and urged Tehran and European countries to fulfill their obligations.

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The US pulled out of the INF arms control treaty with Russia in February. Trump said last week that he and Putin discussed a possibility of making it a “three-way deal” with China, adding that Beijing “would very much like to be part of that deal.” Moscow repeatedly said it was ready for talks but it was the US who shied away from the negotiations.

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Russia marks V-Day with parade of battle-proven hardware & state of art weaponry (FULL VIDEO)

Russia is celebrating Victory Day with the traditional military parade on Red Square. The event is used to demonstrate troop discipline and the most advanced military hardware in the country’s arsenal.

May 9 is one of the biggest state holidays in Russia, marking the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II. It is both about commemorating the sacrifices made to achieve that victory, and showing Russia’s military strength. 

The military usually presents its newest hardware to the public during the parades, but one of this year’s picks is as civilian as can be. The defense minister and the commander of the Army rode in a pair of brand-new Aurus cabriolets. The luxury car brand was developed as the domestic ride for senior Russian officials, from the president down.

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Another newcomer was the AK-12, the new Kalashnikov assault rifle, which underwent extensive testing and overhaul in 2016 and was signed for mass production last year.

Watch the full video Victory Day parade kicks off on Moscow's Red Square

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US must prevent construction of Nord Stream 2 pipeline to counter Russia – Pompeo

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has yet again lashed out at the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project, claiming that Moscow wants it as “leverage” over Europe, and vowed to continue efforts to disrupt it.

Pompeo, well known for his vocal criticism of the pipeline project, touched upon the topic while giving a speech at the Centre for Policy Studies in London on Wednesday.

“Russia wants Nord Stream 2 to use energy as a leverage over Europe. We shouldn't allow it to proceed,” Pompeo stated, while praising the close relationship between the US and the UK.

The pipeline, constructed by Russia's Gazprom in partnership with five European energy majors under the Baltic Sea, has been repeatedly criticized by Washington and others, including Kiev. The criticism has included speculation that the new pipeline would bring the amount of Russian transit gas – and profits from it – for the Ukrainian authorities to zero.

Senior US officials, including Pompeo, have repeatedly “warned” Europe of the alleged threats that Nord Stream 2 bears, claiming it would deepen the EU’s dependence on Russian energy. Despite the pressure from the US, Europe – namely Germany, the major partner in the project – has not caved in to it and the construction of the pipeline, expected to provide transit for 70 percent of Russian gas sales to the EU, goes on.

Read more US ambassador unleashes new sanctions threats against Nord Stream 2 participants

While Washington's concerns about the “dependence” of the EU on Russia might appear genuine, the US has actually been actively seeking to get its own share in the European energy market, trying to sell more of its liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Also on Ukraine sues Gazprom over ‘anticompetitive practices’ to retain earnings from transit of Russian gas...

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Venezuelan FM Denounces in Russia Criminal Blockade Imposed by US

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza has denounced on Monday the criminal blockade imposed by the United States Government and called on it to allow the opposition to hold an national political dialogue in Venezuela.

After the recent failed coup d'etat in Venezuela, the White House became desperate. It was a CIA plan to overthrow the government of President Nicolas Maduro to seize Venezuela's wealth, Arreaza said.

'We call on US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo to talk, because they failed and have not achieved their goals by any means, so let's talk,' said the Venezuelan diplomat.

For Arreaza, the opposition does not want any conversation with the Venezuelan government because it lacks Washington's permission, but it is time for dialogue, for diplomacy, he added.

We began a campaign against the US blockade on April 24, because it is about Venezuelan people's resources, that's why it is criminal what the US government does by freezing funds and imposing financial restrictions', he declared.

We are going to insist on diplomacy and dialogue, to unblock the Venezuelan economy', he stated.

The Russian government has been the strongest in calling for an end to the criminal policy against Venezuela, Arreaza remarked.

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Murmansk Authorities Declare Mourning Following Moscow Plane Crash

The authorities of Russia's Murmansk region have declared on Monday three days of mourning, after 41 people died in a crash landing of an Aeroflot''s Supperjet-100 in Sheremetevo airport that had taken off several minutes earlier with with 78 people on board.

Andrei Chibis, Acting Governor of Murmansk Region, stated the necessity to verify the list of the deceased and injured, but the decision to declare the duel was made. The plane was covering a Moscow-Murmansk flight.

The Russian Republic of Yakutia said that its airline of the same name reinforced the technical review of its Superjet-100, although they will continue their work while the Sunday fire on board in Moscow's Sheremetevo airport continues under investigation.

Bolivian President Evo Morales sent his condolences to the relatives of the deceased and expressed his solidarity with the Russian government and people after that tragedy. His is one of the many messages that are pouring into Russia.

The Investigative Committee of Russia confirmed 41 people died, while 37 people survived, including four crew members.

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Russia Awaits Zelensky's Assumption to Begin Talks on Ukraine

Moscow, May 3 (Prensa Latina) Russia awaits the assumption of the Ukrainian presidency by showman Vladimir Zelensky, before coordinating a meeting of the so-called Normandy quartet (France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine), Russian Vice Foreign Minister Gregori Karasin said on Friday.

From Tashkent, where he accompanies the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Serguei Lavrov, in an official visit, Karasin clarified that only after the official arrival of Zelensky to the presidency an eventual preparation of a new meeting in the referred format will be considered.

As is known, the Normandy quartet meets at different levels, at the level of experts, ministers or heads of state to discuss the Donbass conflict, said Karasin, quoted by the capital's television.

The most important thing is whether there is any possibility of achieving any results under the new conditions of the aforementioned format of these four countries, the Russian diplomat commented.

We believe that among the basic principles of the Normandy quartet is strict compliance with the Minsk agreements to put an end to the conflict in the rebel region of Donbass and the establishment of a direct dialogue between Kiev and that region, he said.

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Putin Analyzes Events in Venezuela with his Security Council

Moscow, April 30 (Prensa Latina) Russian President Vladimir Putin analyzed the situation in Venezuela during a meeting of the National Security Council (NSC), Kremlin spokesperson Dmitri Peskov said on Tuesday.

Putin debated at the NSC the events taking place in Venezuela, whose government denounced the attempted coup d'etat with a small group of military deserters that gathered in the Altamira distributor, near La Carlota air base.

Peskov avoided commenting particulars of the debate in that body about what is happening in Venezuela, whose authorities denounced the failed coup, with the participation of self-proclaimed President Juan Guaido.

According to images received in Moscow, coup plotters, led by right-wing politicians, hijacked two tanks and tried to carry out a 'false flag' operation.

Alexis Rodriguez Cabello, commander of the Integral Defense Regions, affirmed that many of the soldiers arrived deceived around the aforementioned base.

Russia has always rejected foreign meddling aimed at destabilizing Venezuela and advocates an internal dialogue between opposition and government.

The Russian press highlighted the denunciation by Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza, of Colombia's direct complicity in the attempted coup, after Bogota called Venezuelan soldiers to 'be on the right side.'

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China, Russia… ‘we all have to get rid’ of nukes, Trump says amid reports he eyes arms control deal

Donald Trump has called on the US, Russia, and China to reduce their nuclear arsenals amid reports that his administration is planning to propose a landmark arms control deal with Beijing and Moscow.

In an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity, the US president said that he welcomed Russia’s efforts to help denuclearize the Korean Peninsula – but that more must be done.

“We want to get rid of the nuclear weapons, we all have to get rid [of them]. Russia has to get rid of them, and China has to get rid of them,” Trump stated.

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His comments coincide with reports that the White House is gearing up for an ambitious arms control treaty with Russia and China. The deal, still in its early stages, would impose restrictions on unregulated nuclear weapons and would call on Beijing to join an arms-control pact verifying China’s nuclear capabilities.

In past months, Trump has publicly expressed support for the idea of limiting or reducing the world’s nuclear arsenals.

“Between Russia and China and us, we’re all making hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of weapons, including nuclear [weapons], which is ridiculous,” Trump said in early April.

The president continued: “I think it’s much better if we all got together and we didn’t make these weapons. So I think that’s something that could be a phase two after this [trade war] is done.”

I am certain that, at some time in the future, President Xi and I, together with President Putin of Russia, will start talking about a meaningful halt to what has become a major and uncontrollable Arms Race. The U.S. spent 716 Billion Dollars this year. Crazy!

In December, the president tweeted that he wanted to make a deal with Russia and China to end the “uncontrollable arms race.”

The ambitious plan for promoting non-proliferation clashes with the president’s past approaches to arms control.

Trump announced in February that the US would withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) with Russia. Moscow lambasted the move as a provocation that would lead to a new arms race.

Also on Pentagon eager to test banned missiles after discarding Cold War-era nuke treaty...

Trump may also struggle to convince the international community that Washington will honor any new arms control agreements. His decision to unilaterally pull out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran angered many US allies, and sparked accusations from Tehran that the US is incapable of keeping its word.


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