I. U.S. and Russian priorities for the bilateral agenda

U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin met for over two hours on the afternoon of July 7:

  • Trump and Putin reached an agreement on curbing violence in Syria, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said. Tillerson told reporters after the session the ceasefire was a “defined agreement” and could be a precursor to further cooperation in Syria. “This is our first indication of the U.S. and Russia being able to work together in Syria,” Tillerson said. The leaders had a “lengthy discussion of other areas in Syria where we can work together.” The United States and Russia have agreed to a ceasefire in a limited area of southwestern Syria beginning on July 9. Tillerson said Jordan participated in the agreement, too. He said the area covered by the ceasefire affects Jordan’s security and is a “very complicated part of the Syrian battlefield.” (CNN, 07.07.17, New York Times, 07.07.17, Reuters, 07.17.17)
  • Trump and Putin focused on ways to move past Russia’s alleged interference in the U.S. election, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters. Trump opened the session by “raising the concerns of the American people regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election,” Tillerson said. “They had a very robust and lengthy exchange on the subject,” he said. “The President pressed President Putin on more than one occasion regarding Russian involvement. President Putin denied such involvement, as I think he has in the past.” Tillerson also said Russia has asked for proof of involvement in election interference. Talks focused on how the two countries “secure a commitment that the Russian government has no intention” of interfering in future elections, Tillerson added. “How do we have a framework where we have capability to judge what is happening in the cyberworld.” Trump had a long discussion with Putin about cybersecurity, the Russian leader told reporters later. The Russian foreign minister says Trump accepted Putin’s assurances that Russia didn’t meddle in the U.S. election. (CNN, 07.07.17, New York Times, 07.07.17, AP, 07.07.17, AP, 07.07.17)
  • Trump told Putin on July 7 that it was an “honor” to meet him for the first time and said he looked forward to “positive things” in the relationship between the former Cold War rivals. The mood was genial at the beginning of the meeting as Putin and Trump, sitting side by side, addressed reporters. “We’ve had some very, very good talks. We’re going to have a talk now and obviously that will continue,” Trump said. “We look forward to a lot of very positive happenings for Russia and for the United States and for everyone concerned. (The Washington Post, 07.07.17, Reuters, 07.07.17)
  • The meeting was a small-circle—just Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, along with Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, as well as translators for both sides. (The Washington Post, 07.07.17)
  • At a passing encounter earlier on July 7 ahead of their meeting at the G20 summit, Trump and Putin greeted one another cordially. “They shook hands and said they would … see each other soon,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. (Wall Street Journal, 07.07.17)

Nuclear security and safety:

  • Hackers working for a foreign government recently breached at least a dozen U.S. power plants, including the Wolf Creek nuclear facility in Kansas, according to current and former U.S. officials. The intruders could be positioning themselves to eventually disrupt the nation’s power supply. The chief suspect is Russia, according to three people familiar with the continuing effort to eject the hackers from the computer networks. “We don’t pay attention to such anonymous fakes,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in response to the alleged Russian involvement. (Bloomberg, 07.06.17)
  • Lt. Gen. Yuri Sych, head of the Russian Defense Ministry’s 12th directorate, in charge of the storage, maintenance and launch preparation for Russia’s nuclear arsenal, resigned after complaining of health issues. Maj. Gen. Igor Kolesnikov has been appointed acting head. (The Moscow Times, 07.17.17)
  • The Pentagon has thrown a cloak of secrecy over safety assessments and the security of its nuclear weapons operations, a part of the U.S. military with a history of periodic inspection failures and bouts of low morale. Routine inspection results at nuclear weapons bases, such as a “pass-fail” grade, which had previously been publicly available are now off-limits. (AP, 07.03.17)
  • The NNSA and the FBI co-sponsored a weapons of mass destruction counterterrorism tabletop exercise June 26 at a blood bank industry facility in Fargo, N.D. (NNSA, 07.06.17)
  • The global chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) security market is rising at a steady pace globally. Transparency Market Research estimates the global CBRN security market to be worth $15,074.8 million by 2025, increasing from $9,890 million in 2016, expanding at a rate of 4.8% between 2017 and 2025. (PR Newswire, 07.04.17)

Iran’s nuclear program and related issues:

  • No significant developments.

Military issues, including NATO-Russia relations:

  • U.S. President Donald Trump vowed July 6 to confront “new forms of aggression” targeting the West and called for Moscow to stop fomenting unrest around the world. He warned that Western interests were being tested by “propaganda, financial crimes and cyber warfare,” forcing NATO to adapt. “We urge Russia to cease its destabilizing activities in Ukraine and elsewhere, and its support for hostile regimes including Syria and Iran, and to join the community of responsible nations in our fight against common enemies and in defense of civilization itself,” Trump said in a speech in Warsaw’s Krasinski Square. His speech included an explicit commitment to Article 5, the collective security provision of the NATO treaty. “The United States has demonstrated not merely with words, but with its actions, that we stand firmly behind Article 5, the mutual defense commitment,” he said. Trump also described Poland as an exemplary ally in building defenses to counter Russian “destabilizing behavior.” (Bloomberg, 07.06.17, AP, 06.07.17, Reuters, 07.06.15)
    • Trump was greeted in Poland with the NATO ally’s preliminary commitment to buy an advanced Patriot missile-defense system and a request to strengthen military and energy ties. (Bloomberg, 07.06.17)
    • The Kremlin said on July 6 it disagreed with Trump’s assessment of Russia’s behavior as “destabilizing.” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the Kremlin also regretted a lack of understanding between Russia and the United States about expectations for their future relations.  (Reuters, 07.06.17)
  • The White House on June 30 nominated Kay Bailey Hutchison, a former U.S senator from Texas, to be the permanent U.S. representative on NATO’s council. (RFE/RL, 07.01.17)
  • On June 20, the Russian Cultural Center—part of the Russian Embassy in Washington— hosted an event honoring research being jointly done by Moscow and Washington on U.S. and Russian military personnel who went missing during World War II. At least one person from the Pentagon was in attendance. (Foreign Policy, 07.06.17)

Missile defense:

  • No significant developments.

Nuclear arms control:

  • Negotiators representing more than 130 countries of the 192-member United Nations finalized the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons this week. The document is expected to be formally adopted on July 7 at U.N. headquarters in New York during the final session of the negotiation conference. It will be open for signature by any member state on Sept. 20 during the annual General Assembly. (New York Times, 07.07.17)
  • The National Air and Space Intelligence Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base has updated and published its periodic Ballistic and Cruise Missile Threat report. The new report is the first official U.S. document to publicly identify the ground-launched cruise missile that Russia has developed and deployed in violation of the INF treaty: 3M-14. The weapon is assessed to “possibly” have a nuclear option, according to Hans M. Kristensen. (Federation of American Scientists, 06.30.17)
  • The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute on July 3 said nine countries possessed about 4,150 operationally deployed nuclear weapons. If all nuclear weapons were counted, the figure comes to 14,935, down from 15,395 a year earlier, it said. At the top of the list is Russia, with 1,950 deployed warheads and 5,050 other warheads. The United States has 1,800 deployed warheads and 5,000 other warheads. (RFE/RL, 07.03.17)
  • A review recently commissioned by the German Parliament has determined that the country could legally finance the British or French nuclear weapons programs in exchange for their protection. The European Union could do the same if it changed its budgeting rules, the study found. (New York Times, 07.05.17)

Counter-terrorism:

  • U.S. President Donald Trump on July 6 reaffirmed the United States’ bond with European allies, calling their pact as “strong as ever.” Yet he argued in another speech that Western values are increasingly imperiled by terrorism and extremism. In a dark and provocative address with nationalist overtones, Trump said that “the fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive.” (The Washington Post, 07.06.17)
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin has called on the Group of 20 nations to create a “united antiterrorist front” with the U.N. playing a central role. (RFE/RL, 07.07.17)
  • The French and Russian foreign ministers vowed on July 6 to put aside their countries’ differences and fight extremism together. “International terrorism is our No. 1 enemy and combating it means really putting to side all the rest,” Russian Foreign Sergei Lavrov said after meeting his French counterpart, Jean-Yves Le Drian, in Paris. (RFE/RL, 07.07.17)
  • The only English-language news accessible to inmates at the secretive wing of Guantanamo Bay is RT, the Kremlin channel that loves to broadcast whatever makes America look terrible. (Daily Beast, 07.03.17)

Conflict in Syria:

  • The Trump administration has renewed an offer to cooperate with Russia in the Syrian conflict, including on military matters. In a statement July 5, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the U.S. is open to establishing no-fly zones in Syria in coordination with Russia as well as jointly setting up a truce monitoring and humanitarian aid delivery mechanism. “The United States and Russia certainly have unresolved differences on a number of issues, but we have the potential to appropriately coordinate in Syria in order to produce stability and serve our mutual security interests” he said. The offer went beyond the Obama administration’s previous proposal, suggesting that cooperation in establishing no-fly zones was possible. Tillerson noted that despite differences, the U.S. and Russia are having success in avoiding accidents between American and Russian planes flying over an extremely complex conflict zone. Minor incidents, he said, had been dealt with “quickly and peacefully.” “Our military leaders have communicated clearly with one another to make sure no accidents occur between our two countries in the Syrian theater,” Tillerson said. “This cooperation over deconfliction zones process is evidence that our two nations are capable of further progress.” (AP, 07.06.17, The Washington Post, 07.05.17)
  • U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told the U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres during a private State Department meeting last week that the fate of Syrian leader Bashar Al-Assad now lies in the hands of Russia, and that the Trump administration’s priority is limited to defeating the Islamic State, according to three diplomatic sources familiar with the exchange. (Foreign Policy, 07.03.17)
  • U.S. officials, including Brett McGurk, the U.S. envoy for the coalition to fight the Islamic State, have been quietly meeting with Russian counterparts for weeks to lay the groundwork for cooperation. (Bloomberg, 07.06.17)
  • Talks in Kazakhstan brokered by Russia, Turkey and Iran involving the Syrian government and opposition groups ended July 5 without agreement on establishing four de-escalation zones in Syria including in the country’s south. The talks resume in Iran on August 1. (Bloomberg, 07.06.17)
  • Russian strategic bombers fired advanced cruise missiles at Islamic State targets in Syria on July 5 from a distance of 1,000 kilometers in a show of force Moscow said demolished three ammunition depots and a command post. The Russian Defense Ministry said the attack was carried out by Tupolev-95MS strategic bombers which had taken off from a base on Russian soil and refueled mid-air before firing at targets on the border between the Hama and Homs provinces. (Reuters, 07.05.17)
  • The Kremlin is bringing a new weapon to the fight against the Islamic State militant group in Syria, using market-based incentives tied to oil and mining rights to reward private security contractors who secure territory from the militants, Russian news outlets have reported. So far, only two Russian companies are known to have received contracts under the new policy, according to the reports: Evro Polis, which is set to receive profits from oil and gas wells it seizes from the Islamic State using contract soldiers, and Stroytransgas, which signed a phosphate mining deal for a site that was under militant control at the time. (New York Times, 07.05.17)
  • An international inquiry aims to report by October on who was to blame for a deadly sarin gas attack in Syria in April, the head of the probe said on July 6. (Reuters, 07.06.17)

Cyber security:

  • The chief executive of Russia’s Kaspersky Lab says he’s ready to have his company’s source code examined by U.S. government officials to help dispel long-lingering suspicions about his company’s ties to the Kremlin. (AP, 07.02.17)
  • Two men from Latvia ran a malware service that has been in operation for more than a decade and used in major attacks against U.S. businesses, according to an indictment unsealed July 5 in federal court in Alexandria, Va. The defendants were identified as Ruslans Bondars and Jurijs Martisevs. The Russian Embassy to the United States has accused Washington of “kidnapping” Martisevs after he was extradited from Latvia last week. (The Washington Post, 07.06.17, The Moscow Times, 07.06.17)

Russia’s alleged interference in U.S. elections:

  • U.S. President Donald Trump said he believes Russia meddled in the 2016 election but maintained that the U.S. may never know for sure, likening the matter to intelligence that incorrectly said Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. “I think it was Russia, but I think it was probably other people and/or countries,” Trump told reporters in Warsaw. Asked in Poland whether he planned to discuss election meddling with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump demurred. “They say he choked. Well, I don’t think he choked,” Trump said of Obama. “I think he thought Hillary Clinton was going to win the election, and he said, ‘Let’s not do anything about it.’” “Mistakes have been made” by U.S. intelligence, said Trump, issuing a reminder that America’s spy agencies had once been confident that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, creating “one big mess” in the form of the Iraq War. Trump also said only ”three or four” of the United States’ 17 intelligence agencies had concluded that Russia interfered in the presidential election. The reason the views of only those four intelligence agencies, not all 17, were included in the assessment is simple: They were the ones tracking and analyzing the Russian campaign. The rest were doing other work. (Bloomberg, 07.06.17,Bloomberg, 07.06.17, New York Times, 07.07.17)
  • Ahead of meetings at the Group of 20 summit in Hamburg, U.S. President Donald Trump on July 7 fired off a Twitter post claiming “everyone” there was talking about the role of John Podesta, the former Hillary Clinton campaign chairman, in last year’s Russian email hacking scandal. Responding to Trump on Twitter, Adrienne Watson, a DNC spokeswoman, offered these points: “1) Podesta never ran the DNC” and “2) DNC worked with FBI to kick out Russians.” (The Washington Post, 07.07.17)
  • At least seven of the 15 lawyers Robert Mueller has brought on to the special counsel team have donated to Democratic political candidates, five of them to Hillary Clinton—a fact that U.S. President Donald Trump and his allies have eagerly highlighted. (The Washington Post, 07.05.17)
  • U.S. President Donald Trump is considering adding veteran Washington lawyer Ty Cobb to the White House counsel’s office to deal with Russia-related issues, people familiar with the matter said. (Reuters, 07.03.17)

Energy exports from CIS:

  • Russia wants to stick to the current OPEC deal and would oppose any proposal for deeper production cuts at the group’s ministerial meeting later this month, said four Russian government officials. (Bloomberg, 07.04.17)
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin said on July 7 that Russia planned to keep cooperating with other countries to harmonize global energy markets and reduce price volatility. (Reuters, 07.07.17)
  • Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said energy cooperation with Saudi Arabia was “top-flight” and would deepen if Riyadh took up an offer to participate in Russia’s Arctic gas project. (Reuters, 07.06.17)
  • The existing Nord Stream link is able to carry 55 billion cubic meters of gas, or two-thirds of German gas demand, and the expansion will double that. (Bloomberg, 07.03.17)
  • Speaking in Warsaw, U.S. President Donald Trump encouraged eastern European leaders worried about their dependence on Russian energy to buy U.S. gas instead. Hungary sees a new pipeline for Russian gas as the “only realistic” step toward energy diversification now, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said on the same day Poland used Trump’s visit to announce plans to wean itself off fuel supplies from its Soviet-era master (Bloomberg, 07.06.18, Bloomberg, 07.07.17)
  • Russia’s state-controlled oil company Rosneft is in discussions with Iraqi Kurdistan over helping it develop oilfields in disputed territory at the heart of tensions with Baghdad, in a move that pitches Moscow into one of Iraq’s oldest fault lines.  (Financial Times, 06.29.17)

Bilateral economic ties:

  • No significant developments.

Other bilateral issues:

  • A bill that would make it tougher for U.S. President Donald Trump to ease sanctions on Russia appeared headed for speedy approval but now faces obstacles in the House of Representatives, with the White House not ruling out a veto and some Republican lawmakers objecting that the measure would harm U.S. companies. (Wall Street Journal, 07.02.17)
  • Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak met in Washington with Undersecretary of State Thomas Shannon to discuss the possibility of a new meeting between Shannon and Russia’s deputy foreign minister, Sergey Ryabkov, the State Department said, a move that would signal the two powers were again focused on trying to establish a functioning relationship. (AP, 07.03.17)
  • Kremlin foreign policy aide Yuri Ushakov urged the United States “to save us from the need to retaliate” against Washington for expelling Russian diplomats and to return its diplomatic property. One of the irritants that Ryabkov and Shannon had been addressing in their talks is the closure of two Russian compounds in the U.S. (Reuters, 07.03.17)
  • The Trump administration has, since the early days of the transition, made almost no effort to engage with the Russia experts on the National Security Council (NSC)—or “at least take them seriously,” according to one source informed on the internal meetings. Now, that source says, the only people trying to make decisions on Russia are at the top levels of the State and Defense departments—ignoring both their staffs and the entire NSC along the way. (Foreign Policy, 07.06.17)
  • The Trump administration has recently started speaking with Russian policy experts outside of the White House, including at the Center for a New American Security, though it’s unclear what influence that will have. (Foreign Policy, 07.06.17)
  • The United States and Britain urged Russia on June 30 to bring to justice all those responsible for the murder of opposition politician Boris Nemtsov. A Russian court on June 29 convicted five men of murdering Nemtsov, but allies of the politician have said the investigation was a cover-up and that the people who had ordered his killing remained at large. (Reuters, 06.30.17)
  • U.S. President Donald Trump faces renewed scrutiny of the riches that flowed into his real estate empire from the former Soviet Union after Felix Sater, a fixer for a Kazakh family accused of pumping dirty money into U.S. property, agreed to assist an international investigation into his former business partners. (Financial Times, 07.06.17)
  • 54% of Americans believe U.S. President Donald Trump has done something either illegal or unethical when it comes to Russia, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll. (NPR, 07.06.17)

II. Russia’s domestic news

Politics, economy and energy:

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin will likely run as an independent candidate in presidential elections next year to capitalize on his widespread public support, news outlet RBC reported, citing three sources close to the Kremlin. (The Moscow Times, 07.06.17)
  • Russia will not be able to achieve strong economic growth unless ties with the West, which have been frozen by economic sanctions, begin to thaw, a top Kremlin economic adviser said on June 30. “Domestic demand will not push our economic growth to 3% to 4%,” said Aleksei Kudrin. (RFE/RL, 07.01.17)
  • Russia’s stock market has gone down by 15% so far in 2017, the biggest loss for any of the G20 nations. (Bloomberg, 07.07.17)
  • An inflation reading of 4.4% in June was a “negative surprise,” the head of the Russian central bank’s monetary policy department, Igor Dmitriev, said on July 6. Dmitriev said the central bank had expected inflation to rise in June from 4.1% in May, but not as quickly as it had. (Reuters, 07.06.17)
  • Russia’s Reserve Fund increased to $16.71 billion as of July 1 from $16.50 billion a month earlier, finance ministry data showed on July 4. (Reuters, 07.04.17)
  • Sales of new cars in Russia in June reached 141,084, a 15% rise compared with June 2016, the Association of European Businesses lobby group said on July 7. (Reuters, 07.06.17)
  • Russian investigators have raided the Moscow election office of opposition leader Aleksei Navalny a day before he was scheduled to be released from jail, activists say. Navalny was released on July 7 after serving a 25-day sentence in prison. (New York Times, 07.07.17, RFE/RL, 07.06.17)
  • The Moscow Metro will open 63 new stations and add 142 kilometers of track by 2021. (The Moscow Times, 07.07.17)

Defense and aerospace:

  • Ejection tests of the Sarmat ICBMs have been postponed until at least the fourth quarter of 2017. (Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces Blog, 07.03.17)
  • Russia’s venerable Tupolev Tu-95MS Bear strategic bombers are starting to receive the capability to retarget cruise missiles once the bombers are already airborne. (The National Interest, 07.05.17)

Security, law-enforcement and justice:

  • A Moscow court on July 6 sentenced Vladimir Anikeyev, the ringleader of the Shaltai Boltai hackers group, to two years in prison. (The Moscow Times, 07.06.17)

III. Foreign affairs, trade and investment

Russia’s general foreign policy and relations with “far abroad” countries:

  • U.S. President Donald Trump on July 6 stepped up efforts to blunt North Korea, warning that the rogue nation could face “some pretty severe” consequences over its latest missile test and huddling for more than an hour with the leaders of Japan and South Korea. Nikki Haley, the top U.S. diplomat at the United Nations, blasted Russia and China on July 5 for “holding the hands” of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, as the Trump administration struggled to respond to Pyongyang’s latest ballistic missile test. (AP, 06.06.17, The Washington Post, 07.05.17)
  • Russia objected on July 6 to a United Nations Security Council condemnation of North Korea’s latest rocket launch because the U.S.-drafted statement labeled it an ICBM and Moscow disagrees, diplomats said. (Reuters, 07.06.17)
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin had telephone discussions with the leaders of Qatar and Bahrain, stressing the need for diplomacy to end the dispute between Qatar and several other Arab states, the Kremlin said July 1. (Reuters, 07.01.17)
  • Germany is expecting Russia to try to influence its general election on Sept. 24, but there are no indications of which party it would seek to back, officials said on July 4. (Reuters, 07.04.17)
  • In an apparent breach of EU sanctions, electricity turbines made by Germany’s flagship firm Siemens have been delivered to power plants in Crimea. (The Moscow Times, 07.06.17)
  • A memorandum of understanding has been signed by Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom and Vietnam’s Ministry of Science and Technology on the construction of a nuclear science and technology center in Vietnam. (World Nuclear News, 07.04.17)
  • A court in Lithuania has found Russian national Nikolay Filipchenko guilty of spying and sentenced him to 10 years in prison for attempting to recruit local officials to plant listening devices at the offices of the Baltic nation’s president. (AP, 06.07.17)

China:

  • Strategic ties between Russia and China were appraised in glowing terms as Chinese President Xi Jinping wrapped up a two-day state visit to Russia on July 4. (CNBC, 07.04.17)
    • Russia and China joined diplomatic forces on July 4 and called on North Korea, South Korea and the United States to join a Chinese de-escalation plan designed to defuse tensions around Pyongyang’s missile program. Moscow and Beijing used the same joint declaration to call on Washington to immediately halt deployment of its THAAD anti-missile system in South Korea, a move Washington says is necessitated by the North Korean missile threat. (Reuters, 07.04.17)
    • Russian President Vladimir Putin has praised the importance of growing trade between Russia and China during a meeting in Moscow with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Putin said trade between Russia and China grew by 37% during the first four months of 2017 compared with 3.9% growth during 2016. (RFE/RL, 07.04.17)
    • Xi told Russian media that relations between the two countries were currently at their “best time in history.” The Chinese president also said Russia and China were each other’s “most trustworthy strategic partners.” (CNBC, 07.04.17)
    • With China already established as Russia’s largest trading partner, Xi said the recent fast growth was just the beginning and he saw “enormous potential” for further growth. (RFE/RL, 07.04.17)
    • Russia will start supplying natural gas to China through a new pipeline by the end of 2019 as part of the two countries’ $400 billion energy pact, state gas giant Gazprom said on July 4. (RFE/RL, 07.05.17)
    • Russian and Chinese sovereign wealth funds, the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and China Investment Corporation, will inject an additional $1 billion into the capital of their joint fund, the Russia-China Investment Fund, RDIF said on July 4. (Reuters, 07.04.17)
    • Putin on July 4 awarded Xi with the Russian government’s most prestigious order, the Order of St. Andrew, for his “service in strengthening the friendship and collaboration between the peoples of the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China.” (RFE/RL, 07.04.17)

Ukraine:

  • U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is scheduled to visit Ukraine on July 9 for talks with President Petro Poroshenko, the Ukrainian president’s office says. (RFE/RL, 07.04.17)
  • U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson appointed Kurt Volker, a former ambassador to NATO and National Security Council director, to be special representative for Ukraine as the U.S. looks for new ways to break a deadlock with Russia over the three-year conflict there. (Bloomberg, 07.07.17)
  • The five countries working together in the investigation of the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in 2014 have picked the Netherlands as the country where suspects will be prosecuted. (Bloomberg, 07.05.17)
  • Two Russian guards have been detained in Ukraine after crossing the border near the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, according to Russia’s Federal Security Service on June 30. (Reuters, 06.30.17)
  • Ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych announced that he will not participate in a high treason trial against him that is scheduled to resume in Kyiv on July 6. (RFE/RL, 07.06.17)
  • Ukraine expects long-awaited state pension reforms to be passed after its parliament’s summer break, the Ukrainian finance minister said on July 5, meaning its next tranche of IMF aid and a return to borrowing markets will not happen before August. (Reuters, 07.05.17)

Russia’s other post-Soviet neighbors:

  • Uzbekistan has no plans to rejoin a post-Soviet security bloc led by Russia, Uzbek Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov said on July 5, indicating the country’s policy would remain the same despite a leadership change. (Reuters, 07.05.17)
  • Tajik police during a raid on a house near the Afghan border killed four relatives of former elite police force commander Gulmurod Khalimov, who defected to Islamic State two years ago, two security sources told Reuters on July 5. (Reuters, 07.05.17)
  • U.S. Army Maj. Kyle Tafel died mysteriously while visiting Belarus last month, media reported on July 6. (RFE/RL, 07.07.17)

IV. Quoteworthy:

  • “Personally, he [Trump] clearly is drawn to Putin, but policy-wise, we may be forced to recognize that Russia is just not a priority for him,” said Fyodor Lukyanov, chairman of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, a Moscow think-tank. “Trump’s priority is to change the global trade order. That’s why China and the EU, especially Germany, are so important for him. But Russia is insignificant here.” (Financial Times, 07.06.17)
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