A Defiant Russia Builds Barriers to U.S. Sanctions

Re-Blogged From Stratfor

Highlights

  • As the United States pressures Russia with sanctions, Moscow will use a mix of options to counter the penalties in the short term, including diplomatic negotiations and financial support for threatened businesses.
  • In the long term, Russia will continue deploying a strategy to insulate its people and businesses, leading Moscow to increasingly move away from the West and toward the East.
  • While Moscow may make tactical concessions to protect its economic interests, U.S. sanctions ultimately will be ineffective in compelling Russia to strategically shift its foreign policy, meaning the Russia-West standoff is here to stay.

This photograph shows bars of aluminum.

(MIKE DOTTA/Shutterstock)

Continue reading

Advertisements

To Russia With Caution

Scott Stewart By Scott Stewart – Re-Blogged From Statfor

Highlights

  • Tensions between the West and Russia are ratcheting up in the wake of the nerve agent attack on Sergei Skripal.
  • The heightened hostilities will make day-to-day operations more challenging for foreign companies, nongovernmental organizations and journalists working in Russia.
  • In addition to the threat of government surveillance and harassment, foreigners will likely be the targets of increased violence from nationalists and nationalist gangs.

At a newsstand in Moscow, a paper announces Russian President Vladimir Putin's re-election.

(KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images)

Continue reading

Taking the Temperature of the Ukraine Conflict

Re-Blogged From Stratfor

As highlighted in the 2018 Annual Forecast, progress toward a deal to deploy U.N. peacekeepers to intervene in the conflict in Eastern Ukraine is distinctly possible. Recent signs of compromise over other aspects of that conflict, such as prisoner exchanges, indicate that the forecast is on track.

See 2018 Annual Forecast

 The idea of deploying U.N. peacekeepers to Eastern Ukraine was broached several months ago amid growing intensity in diplomacy surrounding the conflict between Russian-backed separatists and pro-government forces there. This weekend’s Munich Security Conference will offer a chance for more talks over the issue, but given the differences of opinion over the size, scope and mission of any U.N. force, there’s no guarantee that an agreement will be struck. But some signs of compromise over the peacekeepers issue — and the opportunity offered by the security gathering that will attract representatives from key powers — make real movement on the issue a possibility.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, Former French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (L-R) attend a meeting in February 2015 to discuss the conflict in Ukraine.

(MYKOLA LAZARENKO/AFP/Getty Images)

Continue reading

Russia Won’t Sit Still for Additional U.S. Sanctions

Re-Blogged From Stratfor

Highlights

  • Washington will increase pressure on Moscow in 2018 through a series of expanded sanctions aimed at Russia’s financial stability, elites, reputation and defense industry.
  • Russia will weather the increased pressure by further insulating its economy, oligarchs and companies, placing additional responsibility for the country’s stability on the Kremlin.
  • The Russian government can maintain its position next year, though its resources are growing slim and the Kremlin faces a pivotal series of elections. 

Russia has begun insulating its economy from additional U.S. sanctions.

(MARK KOLBE/Getty Images)

Continue reading

South Korea Seizes Second Ship Suspected of Providing Oil to North Korea

By Yuna Park & Hyunjoo Jin – Re-Blogged From Reuters

SEOUL () – South Korean authorities have seized a Panama-flagged vessel suspected of transferring oil products to North Korea in violation of international sanctions, a customs official said on Sunday.

The seizure was the second to be revealed by South Korea within a few days, as the United Nations steps up efforts to squeeze essential oil supplies to the reclusive North following its nuclear or ballistic missile tests.

Continue reading