Detained WSJ Reporter’s Family Speaks Out for the First Time Since His Arrest | WSJ

Kremlin wants snoopers gone , only Chinese who will be allowed to write something . Hope for a coup from within , a General who takes Putin & co by the drudgery .

Evan Gershkovich’s parents, Ella and Mikhail, fled the Soviet Union decades ago and started their family in the United States. For Evan’s family, his arrest is the latest chapter in their long and complex history with Russia. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, reporter Evan Gershkovich’s family speaks out for the first time since he was detained in Russia on March 29.


Alexei Navalny in ‘critical’ situation after poisoning again

Alexei Navalny pictured in 2020 in Moscow.
Alexei Navalny pictured in 2020. He is in prison on charges including fraud and contempt of court, which human rights groups say were trumped up to silence him. Photograph: Shamil Zhumatov/Reuters

Alexei Navalny

Alexei Navalny, Russia’s most prominent opposition politician, has been grappling with severe stomach pain in jail that could be the result of slow-acting poison, a close ally said on Friday.

Ruslan Shaveddinov said an ambulance was called last week to the maximum security IK-6 penal colony at Melekhovo, about 155 miles (250km) east of Moscow, where he is being held.

“His situation is critical, we are all very concerned,” Shaveddinov told the Guardian in a phone interview.

“We understand that the situation must have been very bad if an ambulance was called,” he said, adding that prison authorities refused to have Navalny admitted to hospital.

There had been no update on Navalny’s health condition since the ambulance arrived, Shaveddinov said, because “the prison authorities are doing everything possible to isolate him”.

Navalny communicates with the outside world through his lawyers.

The 46-year-old is serving sentences totalling 11-and-a-half years on charges including fraud and contempt of court, which human rights groups say were made up to silence him.

Worries over Navalny’s health have been rising in recent months and have led to a rare petition earlier this year from a group of Russian lawmakers and doctors who have used their full names to demand that he receive better medical care, despite the risk to them of being prosecuted for voicing dissent.

Shaveddinov said his team now believed Navalny was being slowly poisoned. “Our theory is that they are gradually killing him, using slow-acting poison which is applied through food,” he said.

“It might sound like paranoia, but after the novichok poisoning, it seems completely plausible. He lost 8kg in two weeks, this hasn’t happened before and the doctors are not telling him why he is in so much pain,” Shaveddinov said.

Navalny was poisoned with novichok, a Soviet-made nerve agent, on a trip to Siberia in 2020. He received treatment in Berlin and has accused Vladimir Putin of being behind the attack.

When asked about claims that Navalny might be being slowly poisoned, Putin’s spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, said the Kremlin was not following the state of his health and that it was a matter for the federal penitentiary service.

Shaveddinov said prison authorities were trying to “break” Navalny by continuously placing him in a shtrafnoy izolyator (shizo), or punishment cell, for minor infringements of prison rules or without giving any explanation at all.

“Since August, Navalny has spent most of his time in a punishment cell,” Shaveddinov said.

“You cannot sleep properly in shizo, there is no access to prison food shop and it is hard to write and read letters because of the poor lighting,” he added.

Marie Struthers, Amnesty International’s director for eastern Europe and central, said: “Russian prison authorities are using the cruel methods they have been refining for years to try and break the spirit of Aleksei Navalny by making his existence in the penal colony unbearable, humiliating and dehumanising.”

Allies maintain a Twitter and Instagram feed featuring Navalny’s communication through his lawyers. Navalny’s last social media post, published on Thursday, called on the authorities of Georgia to release the former president Mikheil Saakashvili from prison for medical treatment.


visit Chairman Xi show again , Putin is his junior partner, Xi is the chess player who moves the pieces

Putin now China’s errand boy, totally dependent on big neighbor

How Xi and Putin’s new friendship could test the US

Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNN

Updated 8:59 AM EDT, Wed March 22, 2023

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with China's President Xi Jinping at the Kremlin in Moscow on March 21, 2023.

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with China’s President Xi Jinping at the Kremlin in Moscow on March 21, 2023.Pavel Byrkin/SPUTNIK/AFP/Getty ImagesCNN — 

As two autocrats traded tributes over a feast of quail, venison, Siberian white salmon and pomegranate sorbet, China and Russia seemed to conjure the anti-Western compact the US has long feared.

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit this week to his friend, President Vladimir Putin, came at a critical moment of Russia’s quagmire war in Ukraine and of Beijing’s emergence as a great power whose influence now stretches far beyond Asia.

The entire visit has been refracted through a prism of both nations’ mutual antagonism toward the United States. And at every step, Washington, watching hawkishly from the sidelines, poured scorn on the idea of China as a peacemaker in Ukraine, accusing Xi of offering diplomatic cover to a thuggish Russian leader who was just cited for war crimes by the International Criminal Court.

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with China's President Xi Jinping at the Kremlin in Moscow on March 21, 2023. (Photo by Grigory SYSOYEV / SPUTNIK / AFP) (Photo by GRIGORY SYSOYEV/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images)

Putin and Xi play peacemakers on Ukraine and pledge to expand ties in show of unity in Moscow

But whether China and Russia have truly forged the kind of united anti-US front long dreaded by Washington’s foreign policy professionals seems doubtful.

Still, the United States clearly now has a serious foreign policy challenge on its hands. The US is simultaneously gearing up for what many experts warn could become a Cold War with China and waging a proxy fight in Ukraine with its foe in the 20th century’s version of that showdown. And China and Russia, together, have more capacity to frustrate American goals in Ukraine and elsewhere.

Xi and Putin are united on a core foreign policy priority – discrediting and even dismantling a world order that they believe is built on Western hypocrisy and denies them due respect as great global powers. This resentment has festered in Putin’s mind ever since the Soviet Union collapsed, and he has tried for years to reshape the international system. But according to President Joe Biden’s national security strategy, China is the only US competitor with “the economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to” reshape that order.

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In the short term, China’s 12-point peace proposal for the war in Ukraine runs largely counter to US goals in punishing Moscow for its unprovoked invasion, although it appears to have little chance of gaining traction in Kyiv since it would lock in Putin’s seizure of swathes of Ukrainian territory. A separate peace plan proposed by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky – which would include a final peace treaty with Moscow and a special tribunal for alleged Russian war crimes – was not discussed between Putin and Xi on Tuesday, the Kremlin said.

But even if China declines what the US says are Russian requests for lethal arms, the country’s expanding economic and trade ties with Moscow could help Putin stay in the war for much longer. A grueling attritional conflict could not only bleed Ukraine’s military manpower dry, it could also test the resolve of US and allied states to continue to bankroll Kyiv’s resistance and open the kind of Western political divides over the war already emerging in the Republican presidential primary. And if Washington remains deeply committed in Ukraine – and depletes its own stocks of ammunition and weaponry, for instance – it may be less focused on what may be a generational tussle with China in Asia. That would suit Beijing just fine.

In order to puncture the choreography of unity in Moscow this week, the White House mounted a public relations counter-offensive during the Xi-Putin summit. And it reinforced its multi-billion-dollar support for Zelensky’s government by announcing on Tuesday the earlier-than-expected deployment of US Patriot missile defense systems. Ukrainians are learning to operate the systems at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, where men and women aged 19 to 67 are training from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., six days per week, for 10 weeks, CNN’s Natasha Bertrand reported. The US will also accelerate the time it takes to ship Abrams tanks to Ukraine by sending older models, two US officials said Tuesday.

A Patriot missile mobile launcher is displayed outside the Fort Sill Army Post near Lawton, Oklahoma, on Tuesday, March 21, 2023. (AP Photo/Sean Murphy)

Ukrainian troops impress US trainers as they rapidly get up to speed on Patriot missile system

The American goal here is obvious – to demonstrate that while Putin might be welcoming Xi and soliciting more support for his brutal war, the West is not flinching in its support for Ukraine in a conflict Biden has portrayed as vital to saving global democracy from autocrats.

Global competition

But the US and China rivalry is playing out across a far wider global stage – one where Russia, despite its diminished global clout, might also be a useful ally to China.

Xi made no attempt to hide that his trip to Moscow was in the service of weakening US and Western power. Before he left, he warned in a statement that “our world is confronted with complex and intertwined traditional and non-traditional security challenges, damaging acts of hegemony, domination and bullying” – language usually reserved for Washington.

John Kirby, the National Security Council’s coordinator for strategic communications, laid out the strategic stakes more succinctly in an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday.

“This is a marriage of convenience, not of affection, not of love … where they intersect is pushing back against the United States and our influence around the world,” Kirby said. “They’d like to change the rules of the game, and in each other, they see a useful foil.”

China’s model of authoritarian capitalism as the basis for a new global system could prove attractive to some states around the world, as it seeks to build ties in in Africa, central America and elsewhere. Some nations in the “global South,” like South Africa for instance, share China’s antipathy for some of the policies pursued by the US and its allies.

Former US ambassador to Beijing Gary Locke said Tuesday that the Xi and Putin talks were rooted in both nations’ mutual hostility to US power.

“China is trying to present itself as kind of a new force, standing up against the Western powers or the Western order. China and many of these other countries that are emerging much stronger economically and politically feel that they’re having to abide by the rules made by the United States and some of the European countries,” Locke said on CNN’s “Inside Politics.” “And they feel that they should have a say in the so-called bylaws of the country club. And they really resent the heavy-handedness and the dominance of the United States and the European countries in terms of so much of world affairs.”

But at the same time, Chinese and Russian ambitions will face a challenge from the fact that the Western alliance is healthier than it has been for years under Biden’s unifying leadership since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Russia-China friendship may also be less substantive than the Kremlin’s pomp might suggest. There was no sign from the Kremlin summit that Xi had either committed to throw his full support behind Putin by arming Russian forces in Ukraine or that he had persuaded the Russian leader away from his ruthless path in a way that might legitimize his status as a peacemaker.

And given that the China-Russia model relies on autocracy and intimidation, and that Moscow is increasingly a pariah and China’s nationalistic approach has also worried some smaller powers, there is reason to question just how effective a joint global diplomatic offensive might be.

A haunting geopolitical nightmare

The idea of a Russia-China strategic alliance has long preoccupied US policymakers.

The Nixon administration’s opening to Beijing in the 1970s was premised partly on dividing the People’s Republic and the Soviet Union, though territorial and historic antagonism between the communist giants already existed before the US initiative. After the Cold War, Russia was seen as far less of a threat to the US – until Putin’s hard turn against Washington over the last two decades.

One of the most revered architects of US Cold War policy, diplomat George Kennan, had warned before his death that NATO expansion into former Warsaw pact states in Eastern Europe could push Russia into Beijing’s arms. In his diary on January 4, 1997, he predicted that Moscow would respond as though it were victimized, further militarize its society and “develop much closer relations with the neighbors to the east, notably Iran and China, with a view to forming a strongly anti-Western military bloc as a counter-weight to a NATO pressing for world domination.”

Both China and Russia have recently moved closer to Iran – another sworn US foe. But their relationship, for all the warm words in the Kremlin this week, remains far short of a military tie-up and it is not a formal alliance like those, for instance, that the US maintains in Europe to deter Russia and in the Pacific, partly to balance China’s power.

The United States, as part of its off-stage commentary on the summit, has tried to keep it that way, warning for weeks that China should not provide arms or ammunition that Moscow badly needs with its forces struggling on many fronts against fierce Ukrainian resistance.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg renewed the warning on Tuesday.

“We haven’t seen any proof that China is delivering lethal weapons to Russia, but we have seen some signs that this has been a request from Russia, and that this is an issue that is considered in Beijing by the Chinese authorities,” Stoltenberg told reporters in Brussels.

The question of whether China would provide arms to Russia is a complex one, however.

Such a move would tend to cut against a reputation for avoiding bold foreign policy maneuvers outside its region, and would irrevocably line it up alongside a pariah power in Moscow. The Chinese economy would likely face stiff international sanctions, at a time when it has been struggling to recreate its roaring growth rates. Beijing might not just worsen its already tortured relations with Washington, but could also disrupt its equally crucial economic ties with the European Union.

China is already reaping significant benefits from the war in Ukraine – in terms of increased trade and the capacity to buy cut-price Russian gas and oil blocked from European markets. Sanctions could be an unwelcome counter-balance to that situation.

History also suggests that Beijing usually conditions its strategies purely on a ruthless calculation of its national self-interest. Its global image therefore – and an ultimate goal of creating an alternative political and diplomatic system to the Western-led global order – might be better served by posing as a peacemaker in Ukraine, rather than as Putin’s armorer in a proxy war that Russia may lose.

So while there is reason for the US to be concerned about how Russia-China cooperation might expand following the summit, it seems unlikely to be the game changer that Putin – who in body language and rhetoric came across as much the junior partner – might like it to be.

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“This war which was launched against us…” Lavrov’s statement has crowd burst into laughter :)

3 Mar 2023 #sergeylavrov#russiaukrainewar#raisinadialogueRussian Foreign Affairs Minister Sergey Lavrov at the Raisina Dialogue 2023 while talking about Ukriane war, made the crowd burst into laughter after he said “this war which was launched against us”. “The war that was launched against us, using the great Ukrainian people, influenced the policy of Russia, including our energy policy. Russia’s energy policy will be oriented towards reliable credible partners like India and China,” said Lavrov while talking to ORF Chairman Sunjoy Joshi.

CIA chief: China considering supplying weapons to Russia

CIA chief: China considering supplying weapons to Russia

The US intelligence service CIA is convinced that China is considering supplying weapons to Russia for the war against Ukraine. That says CIA director Bill Burns in an interview with the American TV channel CBS News.

He stressed that Beijing has not yet made a final decision. By sharing the information, the US government wants to influence China’s decision, Burns confirmed. He calls the possible arms deliveries a “very risky and ill-advised gamble” by Chinese President Xi.

US Secretary of State Blinken said last weekend that China is considering supplying weapons. He did not give details, but Blinken warned that it would have “serious consequences”. Beijing reacted strongly to Blinken’s statements and said it had no plans for arms transfers.

China sees itself as a neutral party in the war, but the West thinks otherwise. Beijing sees this as Russia’s most important ally, which, despite the Russian aggression, has still stood behind Moscow.


De Amerikaanse inlichtingendienst CIA is ervan overtuigd dat China overweegt wapens te leveren aan Rusland voor de oorlog tegen Oekraïne. Dat zegt CIA-directeur Bill Burns in een interview met de Amerikaanse tv-zender CBS News.

Hij benadrukte wel dat Peking nog geen definitief besluit heeft genomen. Door de informatie te delen wil de Amerikaanse regering de beslissing van China beïnvloeden, bevestigde Burns. Hij noemt de mogelijke wapenleveranties een “hele riskante en onverstandige gok” van de Chinese president Xi.

De Amerikaanse minister van Buitenlandse Zaken Blinken zei vorig weekend al dat China overweegt om wapens te leveren. Details gaf hij niet, maar Blinken waarschuwde wel dat het “ernstige gevolgen” zou hebben. Peking reageerde fel op Blinkens uitspraken en zei geen plannen te hebben voor wapenleveringen.

China ziet zichzelf als neutrale partij in de oorlog, maar het Westen denkt daar anders over. Dat ziet Peking als Ruslands belangrijkste bondgenoot, die ondanks de Russische agressie nog altijd achter Moskou is blijven staan.

CIA-directeur Bill Burns

NOS news

Zelensky is open to talks with China

Ukrainian President Zelensky is visiting Spanish Prime Minister Sanchez in Kyiv today. After the visit, Zelensky said in a press conference that a meeting between Ukraine and China would be welcome; even though Zelensky says he has not yet seen a Chinese peace plan. China, according to the United States, plans to deliver war material to the Russians. NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg also said earlier today that there are “signals” that China wants to send weapons to Russia and warned Beijing today not to do so. US Treasury Secretary Yellen reinforced the warning today by saying there will be “serious consequences” for the Chinese government, as well as for Chinese banks and companies, if China decides to support Russia or ignore sanctions against Russia.

Putin and the Presidents: John Bolton (interview) 

10 Feb 2023 #FrontlineInterview#JohnBolton#PutinJohn Bolton served as national security advisor to President Donald Trump from 2018 to 2019. He was previously the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and is the author of The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir. The following interview was conducted by the Kirk Documentary Group’s Michael Wiser for FRONTLINE on Sept. 29, 2022. It has been edited for clarity and length. This interview is being published as part of FRONTLINE’s Transparency Project, an effort to open up the source material behind our documentaries. Explore the transcript of this interview, and others, on the FRONTLINE website:…#Putin#JohnBolton#FrontlineInterview

Russia allies withdraw from alliance

Russian ally cancels Russian-led military drill on its land

The Central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan did not explain why.

Russian Army recruits hold their weapons during a military training.

Russian Army recruits hold their weapons during a military training at a firing range in Donetsk People’s Republic controlled by Russia-backed separatists, eastern Ukraine, on Oct. 4, 2022. | AP Photo


10/09/2022 04:59 PM EDT

The Central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan on Sunday unilaterally cancelled joint military drills between the six nations making up the Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organization, less than a day before they were due to start on its territory.

The Kyrgyz defense ministry did not specify the reason for cancelling the “Indestructible Brotherhood-2022” command and staff exercises, which were set to be held in the country’s windswept eastern highlands Monday to Friday.

According to earlier reports, the exercises were set to involve army personnel from CSTO members Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, and focus on securing ceasefires. Observers from five further states, including Serbia, Syria and Uzbekistan, had also been invited.

The move by Bishkek is the latest indication that tensions may be simmering within the alliance, formed in the early 1990s after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Last month, Armenia skipped a two-week drill held by the collective in Kazakhstan, after criticizing the bloc for failing to openly side with it after large-scale fighting erupted on its border with non-member Azerbaijan in September.

Russia and other CSTO countries effectively turned down Yerevan’s request for military aid, issued hours after hostilities began, and limited their response to sending fact-finding missions to the border. Armenian authorities had accused the Azerbaijani government in Baku of using heavy artillery and combat drones to strike Armenian army positions.

Despite its apparent ambitions to provide a counterpart to NATO, the CSTO has at times struggled to define its exact purpose. Failure to engage in numerous security crises among its members over the years has prompted analysts to question its viability.

Last spring, the bloc looked on impassively as two members, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, were engaged in a bloody border dispute.

The CSTO’s focus has instead been aimed more intensely on enhancing readiness for potential spillover from Afghanistan, which shares a long border with Tajikistan. As of last month, Russia had around 5,000 troops stationed in that country, down from 7,000 in January as the Kremlin has drawn down its military presence to replenish its ranks in Ukraine amid the eight-month war.