TODAY: Russia plays host to SCO and BRIC meetings; sidestepping protests at home, Iranian President Ahmadinejad lands in ‘welcoming’ Russia; is the US re-start set to stall?; Kremlin vetoes UN mission in Georgia; Russia holds record for journalist deaths in Europe
Russia has welcomed controversially re-elected Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Yekaterinburg for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit at which the country has observer status. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has called the violently-contested election: ‘an internal affair of the Iranian people.’ The New York Times examines the difficulties awaiting Barack Obama in Moscow, particularly regarding hopes of Russian pressure on Iran. Another article in the Times suggests that during the BRIC summit, Russia, the group’s ‘ideological provocateur’, will be ‘especially interested in using the summit to fire a shot across Washington’s bow’. A Moscow Times commentator analyzes the many hurdles that belie U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ recent optimism about missile cooperation in Europe. Bloomberg reports on the threat of Medvedev’s ‘increasingly multipolar world order’ to US hegemony. Offered aid by Russia, Kyrgyzstan has begun closing down its US air base, despite Washington’s attempts to maintain it.
Russia has vetoed the extension of UN monitoring in Abkhazia, as long as the mission is called the ‘United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia’ and does not refer to the independence of its breakaway regions. President Medvedev has said Russia will only resume dialogue with ‘criminal’ Georgia once the country has a new leader.
Vladimir Putin has adopted a conciliatory tone with Belarus by telling his cabinet that they ‘need to be accurate in their statements’ and ‘to offend someone is not the best option’. Belarus is willing to stop the import of powdered milk products to Russia for six months which is, in Russia’s eyes, a ‘good proposal’. The Foreign Ministry has criticized a new Israeli peace plan that hasbeen approved by the European Union, saying that the conditions are ‘unacceptable for Palestinians’.
A new study by the International Union of Journalists shows that Russia has the worst record in Europe for the number of journalists killed accidentally and in homicides since 1991, with 312 victim, or, according to Reuters, 124 victims.
PHOTO: President Dmitry Medvedev welcomes Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has arrived in Russia to attend a regional security summit in Yekaterinburg, June 16, 2009. (AP Photo/ RIA Novosti, Presidential Press Service, Vladimir Rodionov)