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RA’s Daily Russia News Blast – July 15, 2008

150708.jpgTODAY: Georgian president urges West to intervene on potential Russia conflict; Russia sends warships into Arctic waters, swaps Tajik debt for space-tracking system, seeks delay in action against Sudanese president; Name of Russia vote. Georgia’s president has urged the West to confront Russia to prevent a potential conflict in its breakaway regions, saying that Russia’s actions are “killing international law”. The United States is “deeply troubled by Russia’s statement that its military aircraft deliberately violated Georgia’s internationally recognized borders”. In turn, Russia has announced that it will “take steps to neutralise the threat” of the US’ planned missile defense system. Russia is sending warships to patrol Arctic waters “for the first time since the breakup of the Soviet Union”, in a move to increase the country’s global military presence. One analyst commented that the move was “flag-waving, and that’s basically it.” Moscow vetoed Zimbabwe sanctions because “declaring UN sanctions over elections would set a precedent that Moscow has no desire to see established, given its own record in conducting elections, not to mention the record of its allies,” says a Russian journalist. It is being reported that Russia, together with China, is seeking a delay in action against Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir on charges of genocide, warning that it could have an adverse impact on the peace process in the region.

Russia says it has forgiven Tajikistan’s $242 million debt in exchange for ownership of a space-tracking station. A letter published in the Washington Post argues delaying Ukraine’s admission to NATO may “reward Russia for bad behavior toward its neighbors”.A search for the “Name of Russia”, voted for by the public through the internet, has Tsar Nicholas II and Josef Stalin “running neck and neck”. Moscow city and regional authorities are engaged in a territorial dispute over lucrative property.PHOTO: Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and head of Russian gas giant Gazprom Alexei Miller visit the Sevmash shipyard in Severodvinsk. Putin on Friday toured a new Arctic oil rig intended to boost Moscow’s position in the intensifying competition for northern energy reserves. (AFP/POOL/Alexey Druzhinin)