Press review: the Pentagon plays the blame game on the Afghan flop and the Kosovo-Serbia tensions eased – Press review
Izvestia: Russia and US agree to establish two task forces on strategic stability
Moscow and Washington have agreed to create two strategic working groups on stability, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told reporters after the second round of bilateral consultations in Geneva. Experts interviewed by Izvestia believe this is an important step, but the current priority is to determine the topic of negotiations, while there are still many disagreements between the parties on the type of weapons to be restricted. .
“The two countries have different priorities,” said Dmitry Stefanovich, senior researcher at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations of the Russian Academy of Sciences. “However, there are also possible solutions: for example, they could expand the aspect of nuclear warheads, focusing on deployed warheads, and find common ground in terms of intermediate and shorter range missiles in Europe. “, he added.
According to experts, Russia and the United States will not integrate such a wide range of aspects in a single document but will conclude a set of agreements. âPreviously, there were two paths – nuclear and non-nuclear – which were loosely related to each other. However, now high-precision, long-range weapons have been created which can be used for any purpose. similar to nuclear weapons, âsaid Nikolai Sokov, senior researcher at the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation.
The progress of the talks does not depend so much on the frequency of the meetings as on the political will of the two parties, stressed Stefanovich. If the working groups are set up successfully, the Russian and American delegations will be able to meet as the results develop. And if at some point the conditions are created for full-fledged talks, the pace will change, the expert noted. However, failure is also possible. It could be motivated both by external causes, including the deterioration of relations, the escalation of regional conflicts and incidents during military exercises, and national, namely attempts to link consultations to issues that do not exist. do not relate to it, as well as the lack of flexibility of the parties, the stressed analyst. However, there is no reason to speak of failure at the moment because according to Ryabkov, Moscow seeks to avoid escalating tensions around disagreements, and instead “focus on where and how we can move forward together” .
Nezavisimaya Gazeta: US military accuses State Department of Afghan failure
The closed-door US Senate hearings on the situation in Afghanistan, which involved the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, resulted in a scandal. Senior officials blamed the US State Department for the failure to evacuate US and Afghan nationals from Kabul. According to Milley, the State Department waited too long before launching the operation. Experts say the situation indicates a lack of coordination between US state agencies and partisan controversy as well, writes Nezavisimaya Gazeta.
The State Department is in fact responsible for initiating the evacuation operations of non-combatants, but it is generally the military who must carry them out. According to the Pentagon chief, the US central command began preparations for a possible mission just weeks after US President Joe Biden announced in April of his intention to end the Afghan campaign. The State Department delayed the decision until the very last minute.
According to researcher at the Institute of American and Canadian Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences Pavel Koshkin, the accusations against the State Department are a key part of a long-term standoff between the diplomatic agency and the Pentagon. “This is normal for US policy,” said the analyst. âIn particular, tensions erupted between the Pentagon and the State Department after the terrorist attacks of 2001 and before the US military operation in Iraq. Diplomats warned [then President] George W. Bush against hasty measures, but at the time the victory went to the warmongers led by then Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, “he noted.
“The Pentagon is largely controlled by Republicans who will not miss an opportunity to strike back at Democrats for past grievances, and it is the Democratic Party that Biden and his administration represent,” Koshkin said. “In fact, this is a conflict between the US military and diplomats,” he said. “In 2002-2003, the military had the upper hand because it had the active support of the White House. Today the situation is different because the White House and the State Department are together against the Pentagon,” said Koshkin.
Izvestia: Serbia and Kosovo try to reconcile tensions
The Brussels talks on the situation in the Balkans ended in conditional success. Serbia and the self-proclaimed Republic of Kosovo have agreed to withdraw their troops from the border. The special forces in Pristina will be replaced by members of the NATO KFOR mission and the Serbian barricades near the checkpoints will be dismantled. Within a special commission formed by the European Union, Belgrade and Pristina will address the issue of license plates, the cause of the current crisis. Experts interviewed by Izvestia say that the most acute phase of the crisis is over and that both Belgrade and Pristina are happy with the new deal.
Senior researcher from the Institute of Slavic Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences, Elena Guskova, explained that the deal will ease tensions at the border as Serbs dismantle barricades, Kosovo police leave and that NATO forces will patrol the region for two weeks. “Tensions have eased, a promising plan for the Brussels negotiating process has been drawn up but we will see how long the talks last. I think the negotiations will take a long time because it is not just about the plates. ‘registration but also of the community in Kosovo â, underlined the expert.
The Belgrade-Pristina deal marks the end of the license plate incident, but the crisis itself was largely a staged spectacle for domestic and foreign audiences, said Pavel Kandel, senior researcher at the European Institute of Sciences of the Russian Academy. âThe conflict could have been used for electoral purposes. (Serbian President) Vucic is facing elections early next year, as well as (Kosovo Prime Minister) Kurti expert explained. Additionally, the crisis current was a way to get the attention of Brussels. And it worked, noted analyst, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and US Special Envoy for the Western Balkans Gabriel Escobar traveled to Belgrade and Pristina The agreement on de-escalation is largely the result of their efforts, Kandel said.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta: Turkey becomes Ukraine’s main defense ally
Kiev is seeking to use Ankara’s military support to launch a new stage in efforts to organize military activities in southeastern Ukraine. The Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces has issued a special order to lift restrictions on the use of weapons in the Donbass conflict zone, giving instructions for the use of Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 unmanned aerial vehicles in combat situations. On Wednesday, while Russian President Vladimir Putin was in talks with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Sochi, a Ukrainian-Turkish memorandum on the creation of a joint training center in the use and modernization of these drones was signed in Kiev, note Nezavisimaya Gazeta. .
Turkish media have reported, citing the Ukrainian Defense Ministry, that the two countries will launch drone production in the next stage of defense cooperation.
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky recently held a meeting with Erdogan on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, “and the two leaders made rather harsh remarks about Russia, accusing Moscow of occupying Crimea,” he said. noted retired military expert Colonel Nikolai Shulgin, adding that “in addition to strengthening defense cooperation, Ankara and Kiev are also building a common foreign policy platform.”
“Erdogan is not only providing assistance to Ukraine, it is more about joint economic activities, which include defense cooperation,” said retired Colonel Vladimir Popov, a military expert. Some joint projects have already been launched, said the expert. “For example, the Bayraktar Akinci unmanned aerial vehicle, which was recently adopted by the Turkish military, is equipped with the Ukrainian-made AI-450C turboprop engine. I do not rule out that such drones will soon be supplied to the Ukrainian. “Armed Forces. It is a powerful offensive weapon. The situation is therefore dangerous, given Ukraine’s aggressive plans to end the” occupation “of Crimea and Donbass,” the expert stressed.
Vedomosti: Experts expect Russian exports to reach record levels
Russia’s exports will exceed $ 500 billion this year for the first time since 2013, writes Vedomosti, citing a Citi analysis. Exports are already near the highest levels in years and commodity prices continue to rise, experts said in a briefing note.
Citi analysts attribute the surge in Russian exports to rising prices in commodity markets, primarily oil and gas. The price of Brent crude hit $ 78 per barrel on September 30, a level last seen in October 2018. Gas prices continue to break records. In addition, the Russian state’s Federal Statistical Service earlier reported that the country’s exports of metals and metal products increased in July before the introduction of export duties. Aluminum exports soared to $ 7.4 billion in July, 16 times more than the same period last year, according to the Federal Customs Service.
Exports will continue to grow this year as the global economy recovers and energy prices rise, said the director of the Institute of Trade Policy at the Graduate School of Economics, Alexander Daniltsev. However, on its own terms, the pace will slow down at the end of the year, because if the winter isn’t exceptionally cold, fuel prices are likely to come under pressure.
In any case, if the world economy does not enter a new period of stagnation, Russian exports will continue to grow in 2022, but at a slower pace, Daniltsev added.
Experts expect Russian exports to increase further in 2022 as analysts are optimistic about the outlook for commodities, said Ivan Chakarov, Citi’s chief economist in Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan.
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