New Disclosures Confirm: Trump Himself Was the Target of Obama Administration’s Russia Probe

Assertions that the focus was ‘the Trump campaign’ are now known to be ludicrous
Long-sought documents finally pried from U.S. intelligence agencies prove that the Obama administration used the occasion of providing a standard intelligence briefing for major-party candidates as an opportunity to investigate Donald Trump on suspicion of being a Russian asset.

I say investigate Donald Trump advisedly.

As I contended in Ball of Collusion, my book on the Trump-Russia investigation, the target of the probe spearheaded by the FBI — but greenlighted by the Obama White House, and abetted by the Justice Department and U.S. intelligence agencies — was Donald Trump. Not the Trump campaign, not the Trump administration. Those were of interest only insofar as they were vehicles for Trump himself. The campaign, which the Bureau and its apologists risibly claim was the focus of the investigation, would have been of no interest to them were it not for Trump.

Or do you suppose they moved heaven and earth, surreptitiously plotted in the Oval Office, wrote CYA memos to cover their tracks, and laboriously sculpted FBI reports because they were hoping to nail . . . George Papadopoulos?

My book was published a year ago. It covered what was then known about the Obama-administration operation. In collusion with the Clinton campaign, and with the complicity of national-security officials who transitioned into the Trump administration, the Obama White House deployed the FBI to undermine the new president, dually using official investigative tactics (e.g. FISA surveillance, confidential informants, covert interrogations) and lawless classified leaks — the latter publicized by dependable journalists who were (and remain) politically invested in unseating Trump.

il is finally catching up with what some of us analysts long ago surmised based on the limited information previously available.

You don’t like Donald Trump? Fine. The investigation here was indeed about Donald Trump. But the scandal is about how abusive officials can exploit their awesome powers against any political opponent. And the people who authorized this political spying will be right back in business if, come November, Obama’s vice-president is elected president — notwithstanding that he’s yet to be asked serious questions about it.

How to Conceal a Politicized Investigation
It seems mind-boggling that, for so long, the FBI and Justice Department were able to keep a lid on the documents now being released. President Trump could have directed their disclosure at any time over the last four years. But when you think about it, concealing the paper trail was the easy part. The real challenge was: How to continue the probe even after Trump had taken office and was, at least nominally, in a position to shut it down?

The Obama officials, including holdovers who transitioned into the Trump administration, pulled that off by intimidation: not-so-subtle suggestions that they could disclose damaging allegations at any time (e.g., the notorious “pee tape”), and that White House efforts to inquire into the scope of the investigation would be portrayed as criminal obstruction.

Prior to the 2016 election, the FBI intentionally concealed the existence of the Trump-Russia probe from the congressional “Gang of Eight” (the bipartisan leadership of both houses and their intelligence committees). Senior Republicans were thus kept in the dark regarding purported suspicions that the Republican presidential campaign was a Russian front, unable to pose tough questions about the probe’s gossamer predication.

Crucially, the Trump-Russia fabulists managed to sideline two Trump loyalists who would have been positioned to thwart the effort: national-security adviser Michael Flynn and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. That left in place Obama holdovers and Trump-appointed placeholders. They were indifferent to Trump himself and cowed by the prospect of being framed as complicit in a Trump–Russia conspiracy, or a cover-up.

The paper record is profoundly embarrassing, so it is only natural that the FBI and Justice Department resisted its disclosure. But documents about the investigation were demanded by congressional investigators starting years ago — particularly by the investigation led in the House by then–Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes (R., Calif.).

Congress’s investigation was stonewalled. The more revelation we get, the more obvious it is that there was no bona fide national-security rationale for concealment. Documents were withheld to hide official and unofficial executive activity that was abusive, embarrassing, and, at least in some instances, illegal (e.g., tampering with a document that was critical to the FBI’s presentation of “facts” to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court).

Democrats wanted this information suppressed all along. So of course, once Democrats took control of the House in 2019, there was no possibility of pressing the question of why the Justice Department and FBI failed to comply with House information demands back in 2017–18, when Republicans led the relevant committees.

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One wonders, though, why the GOP-controlled Senate had so little interest in finding out why this paper trail stayed hidden despite repeated inquiries. Ditto the House Republican leadership in the first two years of Trump’s term. It is hard to draw any conclusion other than that the GOP establishment bought the “Russian interference in our democracy” hysteria.

Moscow always meddles in U.S. elections. The 2016 interference was par for the course and, as always, utterly ineffective. This time, though, Democrats were perceived as the victims, rather than the beneficiaries. For once, they and their media megaphone demanded that the political class treat Russia as a serious threat. On cue, Washington Republicans genuflected, lest they be portrayed as covering up for Trump, or as soft on Putin. Meanwhile Democrats, the party of appeasement (very much including appeasement of Moscow through the Obama years), were transmogrified into Russia hawks. And Russia hawks they’ll remain . . . right up until the moment Joe Biden takes the oath of office.

Exploiting Politics to Surveil the Opposition
Among the most significant of the newly declassified documents is a memorandum written by FBI agent Joe Pientka III, the case agent on Trump-Russia. It was Pientka who, at the FBI’s New York City headquarters on August 17, 2016, purported to brief Trump and two top campaign surrogates — the aforementioned General Flynn and then–New Jersey governor Chris Christie, who was slated to run the transition if Trump won.

In reality, Pientka and the FBI regarded the occasion not as a briefing for the Republican presidential nominee but as an opportunity to interact with Donald Trump for investigative purposes. Clearly, the Bureau did that because Trump was the main subject of the investigation. The hope was that he’d blurt things out that would help the FBI prove he was an agent of Russia.

The Obama administration and the FBI knew that it was they who were meddling in a presidential campaign — using executive intelligence powers to monitor the president’s political opposition. This, they also knew, would rightly be regarded as a scandalous abuse of power if it ever became public. There was no rational or good-faith evidentiary basis to believe that Trump was in a criminal conspiracy with the Kremlin or that he’d had any role in Russian intelligence’s suspected hacking of Democratic Party email accounts.

You didn’t have to believe Trump was a savory man to know that. His top advisers were Flynn, a decorated combat veteran; Christie, a former U.S. attorney who vigorously investigated national-security cases; Rudy Giuliani, a legendary former U.S. attorney and New York City mayor who’d rallied the country against anti-American terrorism; and Jeff Sessions, a longtime U.S. senator with a strong national-defense track record. To believe Trump was unfit for the presidency on temperamental or policy grounds was a perfectly reasonable position for Obama officials to take — though an irrelevant one, since it’s up to the voters to decide who is suitable. But to claim to suspect that Trump was in a cyberespionage conspiracy with the Kremlin was inane . . . except as a subterfuge to conduct political spying, which Obama officials well knew was an abuse of power.

So they concealed it. They structured the investigation on the fiction that there was a principled distinction between Trump himself and the Trump campaign. In truth, the animating assumption of the probe was that Trump himself was acting on Russia’s behalf, either willfully or under the duress of blackmail. By purporting to focus on the campaign, investigators had the fig leaf of deniability they needed to monitor the candidate.

Just two weeks before Pientka’s August 17 “briefing” of Trump, the FBI formally opened “Crossfire Hurricane,” the codename for the Trump-Russia investigation. The Bureau also opened four Trump-Russia subfiles, related to Trump campaign officials Paul Manafort, Carter Page, George Papadopoulos and Flynn.

There was no case file called “Donald Trump” because Trump was “Crossfire Hurricane.” The theory of Crossfire Hurricane was that Russia had blackmail information on Trump, which it could use to extort Trump into doing Putin’s bidding if Trump were elected. It was further alleged that Russia had been cultivating Trump for years and was helping Trump’s election bid in exchange for future considerations. Investigators surmised that Trump had recruited Paul Manafort (who had connections to Russian oligarchs and pro-Russia Ukrainian oligarchs) as his campaign manager, enabling Manafort to use such emissaries as Page to carry out furtive communications between Trump and the Kremlin. If elected, the theory went, Trump would steer American policy in Russia’s favor, just as the Bureau speculated that Trump was already corruptly steering the Republican party into a more pro-Moscow posture.

Besides obtaining FISA surveillance warrants against Page, the Bureau’s favored tactic — a common one in criminal investigations — was to create or exploit situations in which the suspects would be at ease. Either the settings would not seem investigative or, in Trump’s case, repeated assurances were provided that he was not under investigation. With no notice that the FBI was trying to catch them and even prompt them into making incriminating statements, Trump and his campaign advisers would be invited to talk about Russia. Agents parsed their statements and scrutinized their demeanor, searching for any indication of pro-Russia sentiment or uneasiness about the topic — anything that could be portrayed as incriminating. If the Bureau’s contacts with Trump officials were not covertly recorded (as they were, for example, when informants interacted with Papadopoulos), agents would generate written reports about them, the kind of reports the FBI routinely writes when building a criminal case.

This is exactly what Pientka did in connection with the August 17 “briefing,” under the supervision of Kevin Clinesmith, the rabidly anti-Trump FBI lawyer later found by the Justice Department’s inspector general to have tampered with a key email, and Peter Strzok, the rabidly anti-Trump counterintelligence agent who was later fired.

Pientka’s significantly redacted seven-page memo is worth reading. The point of it is not the national-security information provided to the candidate; that is just context for the Bureau’s documenting of statements made by Trump in response. For example, when the topic is differences in methodology between Russian and Chinese espionage, Pientka carefully notes that Trump asked, “Joe, are the Russians bad? Because they have more numbers [of FBI cases] are they worse than the Chinese?” After all, maybe we’ll find out he was reporting back to the Kremlin. When the topic turned to signals intelligence, Pientka notes that Trump interjected, “Yes I understand it’s a dark time. Nothing is safe on computers anymore,” and elaborated that his then-ten-year-old son had broken the code for access to a computer — you know, just the kind of badinage you’d expect from a co-conspirator in a Russian hacking scheme.

Pientka then recounts that when other intelligence-agency briefers took over to continue the briefing on other topics, Pientka did not leave; he stayed in the room “actively listen[ing] for topics or questions regarding the Russian Federation.” Here, in a classified report they figure no one will ever see, there is no pretense: FBI agents are monitoring Trump. Pientka notes that when one briefer said the U.S. was the world’s leader in counterterrorism, Trump interjected, “Russia too?” And when the discussion turned to cheating by Russia and China on the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, “Trump asked, ‘Who’s worse?’” When the briefer replied, “They are both bad, but Russia is worse,” Pientka took pains to relate, “Trump and Christie turned toward each other and Christie commented, ‘Im shocked’” [sic].

You’re thinking, “So what?” Yeah, well, that’s the point. They had nothing, but the agents were exploiting the U.S. political process to try to turn nothing into a federal case. And would any public official voluntarily attend a security briefing, ostensibly meant to help him perform his public-safety mission, if he thought the FBI might be spying on him and writing reports with an eye toward portraying him as a hostile power’s mole?

Just as we’ve seen in the Flynn investigation, Pientka’s official FBI report is marked in bold capital letters: “DRAFT DOCUMENT/DELIBERATIVE MATERIAL.” Why deliberate over a draft when the purpose is to document a suspect’s statements? After all, he said whatever he said; there shouldn’t be a need to edit it. Drafts and deliberations are necessary only if a report is being massaged to fit the perceived needs of the investigation. Observe that, although the briefing was August 17, the memo is dated August 30. Nearly two weeks later, and it’s still in the form of a deliberative draft, meaning they’re not done yet.

This is not materially different from the Obama administration’s plan on January 6, 2017. That is when the FBI’s then-director, James Comey, “briefed” Trump in New York City. This briefing came just a day after Comey met with his Obama-administration superiors — the president, Vice President Biden, national-security adviser Susan Rice, and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates. They discussed withholding information about the Russia investigation from President-elect Trump and his incoming team.

Consistent with this White House strategy session, Comey did not actually brief Trump about the Russia investigation; he buzzed Trump with an allegation that the Putin regime might be in possession of blackmail material — the pee tape — that it could hold over Trump’s head in order to get him to do the Kremlin’s bidding.

The point was not to give information. It was to get information: to provoke Trump into making incriminating or false statements, or statements evincing consciousness of guilt. Outside Trump Tower was an FBI car equipped with a laptop so Comey could immediately write an investigative report. The director and his team treated this as an investigative event, not a briefing. Comey memorialized Trump’s statements, as well as his physical and emotional reaction to the suggestion that Moscow might have video of the soon-to-be president cavorting with prostitutes. If a case had ever been made on Trump, Comey could then have been a witness, with his investigative report available to refresh his recollection about Trump’s comments and comportment.

That is one of the main reasons such reports are done.

The FBI did the same thing with Flynn: a sandbag interview, against Justice Department and White House protocols, conducted after extensive planning about how to put him at ease, how to make sure he doesn’t think he’s a suspect, how to refrain from advising him of his rights. Then, knock him back on his heels by portraying a legitimate conversation between the incoming national-security adviser and the Russian ambassador as if it were nefarious. Don’t play him the recording or show him the transcript; just grill him and hope he says something incriminating or redolent of guilty knowledge. And then, instead of following the FBI rules for promptly completing interview reports, generate another “deliberative draft” that can be kneaded for a few weeks . . . with the help of a former prosecutor (Lisa Page) who serves as counsel to the second-highest-ranking FBI official (then–deputy director Andrew McCabe).

There is still plenty of paper trail to uncover. I haven’t even referred here to the Steele dossier, which investigators knew was bogus but relied on to seek — and obtain — court-authorized eavesdropping. I haven’t mentioned the unmasking of Trump officials indirectly targeted in foreign-intelligence collection. We haven’t considered the collaboration of American and foreign intelligence agencies in the scrutiny of Trump, or the collaboration of Obama officials and congressional Democrats, as well as the media, to promote the narrative that Trump was a Russian operative. There is much still to learn and to weigh.

But this much we know: In the stretch run of the 2016 campaign, President Obama authorized his administration’s investigative agencies to monitor his party’s opponent in the presidential election, on the pretext that Donald Trump was a clandestine agent of Russia. Realizing this was a gravely serious allegation for which there was laughably insufficient predication, administration officials kept Trump’s name off the investigative files. That way, they could deny that they were doing what they did. Then they did it . . . and denied it.

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MPs call on Costa Rican President to purchase Russian Covid-19 drug

San José, Jul 27 (Prensa Latina) Five deputies called on Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado to purchase Russian drug Avifavir against Covid-19, following what other nations of this region have done.

‘Mr. President, we would like to call upon you- seeking to contribute to stop the coronavirus in our country- to consider and join other countries of the region and purchase this valuable drug,’ the legislators stress in a letter address to the Presidential Office.

The lawmakers are members of the Costa Rica-Russia Parliamentary Friendship Group (GRAP-CR-RU).

For that purpose, we are asking (Alvarado) to call on our Ministry of Foreign Affairs and health authorities to approach authorities of the Russian Federation to purchase this drug, the deputies from different political forces reiterate.

The signatory of this letter, posted on, are Walter Muñoz (National Integration), Luis Fernando Chacón (National Liberation), Otto Vargas (Christian Social Republican), Rodolfo Peña (Christian Social Unity) and Floria Segreda (National Restauration).

After expressing their deep concern on the rise of infections (14,600 yesterday) and unfortunate deaths (98) caused by Covid-19 in Costa Rica and acknowledging the work of health authorities in the fight against the pandemic, these legislators believe this fight is still limited unless purchasing the adequate drugs to face this illness.

They say that the world’s scientific community and our health authorities know that the Russian Avifavir is the first specific drug against Covid-19 globally approved.

The five deputies add that this drug showed high effectiveness during the first phase of clinical trials and indicate that, thanks to its effectiveness against the coronavirus, many Latin American countries and in the world are working today to purchase it.

They recall that, in the past days, Costa Rica received from the Russian government a humanitarian aid donation ? Covid-19 tests- as an irrefutable token of the existing friendship and cooperation ties between our peoples, which is why we are certain that, this time, our country’s efforts will reach the authorities of that sister nation.

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Russia is confident in its defense if US leaves Start-3 Treaty

Moscow,(Plenglish) Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Friday that Russia will guarantee its security, even if the United States rules out a possible renovation of the Start-3 Treaty on nuclear weapons.

‘We are absolutely certain that we will guarantee our security, even without the treaty,’ the Russian foreign minister said in a videoconference on the treaty, which will expire in February 2021.

The Start-3 Treaty is the only agreement that links the United States and Russia since August 2, 2019, when Washington withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), signed in 2010.

In late June, Russia and the United States met in Vienna to discuss the possibilities of extending the Start-3 Treaty, signed ten years ago, for at least five years, in order to limit the two powers’ arsenals.

According to Sputnik news agency, Lavrov underlined that Russia is prepared for any scenario due to the possible US withdrawal from the treaty.

However, he repeated that his country ‘will continue to bet on dialogue with the United States on the strategic problem and the new instruments to control weapons in the context of the factors that impact strategic stability’.

The head of Russian diplomacy called people’s attention on the importance of extending the agreement, which it would be necessary for both Moscow and Washington.

Lavrov pointed out that the risk in nuclear matters have increased significantly in recent times. ‘The situation in matters of international security and strategic stability is deteriorating,’ he pointed out.

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Russia and China confirm strengthening of strategic partnership

Moscow, Jul 8 (Plenglish) Russia’s President Vladimir Putin discussed on Wednesday with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping the strategic partnership, including the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic and the defense of the sovereignty of the States.

During a telephone conversation, Xi congratulated Putin on the successful holding of the popular vote on amendments to the Constitution of the Russian Federation, the Kremlin press indicated.

Both sides stressed the great importance of approving the amendments to strengthen Russia’s State and the sustainable socio-economic development of this nation.

Putin and Xi expressed strong mutual support for the protection of sovereignty, prevention of interference in internal affairs from abroad, and guarantees of the supremacy of international law.

Russia’s president thanked his Chinese peer for sending a representative delegation and a unit of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army to participate in the parade to mark the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War.

In the talk, a positive assessment was made of the level reached by the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries; the clearest expression was the mutual aid that Russia and China provided during the most difficult period of the fight against the pandemic.

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Russia rejects foreign interference in constitutional authoritarian referendum

Moscow, Jul 3 (Plenglish) Russia on Friday rejected any attempt of foreign interference, after its referendum on constitutional reforms and ratified its right to act with sovereignty, which in no way violates international law.

Referring to the popular consultation concluded on Wednesday, July 1, after seven days of voting, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitri Peskov said that Moscow knew of ‘concerns’ abroad about its referendum, but in no way it is willing to take them into account.

Russia undoubtedly ensured, ensures and will ensure respect for international regulations, but, at the same time, it was and is faithful, firstly, to its own sovereignty, which in no way contradicts international law, the spokesperson said.

Ella Pamfilova, chairperson of the Central Election Commission, officially ratified this Friday the results of the referendum on constitutional reforms, in which 77.92% supported the amendments and 21.27% voted ‘no.’

The amendments to the Russian Constitutions of 1993, in addition to new prerogatives for both chambers of the Federal Assembly and the Constitutional Court, refer to protect workers, minimum wage, pensions’ payment, medical care and quality and affordable health.

The dozens of changes approved also stipulate the supremacy of the Constitution over decisions by international entities and give President Vladimir Putin the right to run for two more six-year terms in office. The 67-year old’s current term ends in 2024.

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White House briefs ‘Gang of 8’ on Russia-Taliban bounty intel

WASHINGTON — Congressional leaders in the so-called Gang of Eight were tight-lipped Thursday after receiving a classified briefing on the Russia-Taliban bounty intelligence fiasco — but Democrats used the opportunity to bash President Trump anyway.

“I’m not going to say anything about the briefing, but I believe that the president is not close to tough enough on Vladimir Putin,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) told reporters after he emerged from the Capitol Hill meeting.

The briefing of the group of eight senior Democratic and Republican members of Congress who receive regular intelligence briefings from the White House comes after the New York Times last week reported that the Kremlin paid Taliban militants bounties to kill US troops in a bid to drive them out of Afghanistan.

The White House has denied allegations from the Times and the Associated Press that Trump was briefed on the matter months ago, arguing the intelligence was deemed not credible and for that reason was never brought to the president or vice president’s attention.

Speaking at a press conference after the briefing, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) floated the idea of sanctions against Russia and said the president and Congress should have been briefed on what she called “consequential” intelligence.

“This is of the highest priority, force protection, a threat to our men and women in uniform,” Pelosi said, before claiming that the intelligence was included in the President’s Daily Brief, a daily summary of high-level national security issues.

“At the same time as the White House was aware of this threat to the security of our men and women in uniform, the president was still flirting with the idea of having Russia be part of the G8, in total opposition of the members of the G8,” she continued.

Russia and the Taliban have denied the allegations contained in the Times report.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany and national security adviser Robert O’Brien have both maintained that rogue intelligence officers looking to damage the Trump administration leaked the information to the Times.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday defended the handling of the intelligence by the nation’s spy agencies and questioned Democrats in Congress who said they were “shocked and appalled” by the allegations.

“The fact that the Russians are engaged in Afghanistan in a way that’s adverse to the United States is nothing new,” Pompeo said.

“So members of Congress are out there today suggesting that they are shocked and appalled by this, they saw the same intelligence that we saw,” he added.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.), the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and Reps. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), the chair and ranking member of the House Intel Committee, also left the meeting without saying anything.

In a joint statement after the meeting, Schumer and Pelosi again accused Trump of being “soft” on the Russian president without providing any further details.

“Force protection is a primary purpose of intelligence. It should have the same importance to the commander in chief. Any reports of threats on our troops must be pursued relentlessly,” Pelosi and Schumer said.

“These reports are coming to light in the context of the president being soft on Vladimir Putin when it comes to NATO, the G7, Crimea, Ukraine and the ongoing undermining of the integrity of our elections,” they added.

“Our armed forces would be better served if President Trump spent more time reading his daily briefing and less time planning military parades and defending relics of the Confederacy.”

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Mitch McConnell says Russia should not rejoin G-7

Mitch McConnell split with President Trump Tuesday on whether Russia should be allowed back into the G-7 — roundly rejecting the move, which has been repeatedly pitched by the commander in chief.

“Absolutely not,” the Senate majority leader told reporters at the Capitol.

Trump said last month that he wanted to expand the number of countries that take part in the next meeting, including Russia, which had been bounced by the Group of Eight after invading and annexing Crimea in 2014 and backing rebels in eastern Ukraine.

The president spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin this month, and according to a White House readout, they “discussed progress toward convening the G-7.

McConnell (R-Ky.) had already said in 2018 that Russia should not be allowed back in after Trump floated allowing it back in, and many Democrats agreed.

Trump called it “common sense” to invite Russia given that the country is generally among the topics discussed by member nations.

“It’s not a question of what he’s done, it’s a question of common sense,” Trump said about Putin.

“We have a G-7, he’s not there. Half of the meeting is devoted to Russia and he’s not there.”

Trump had also said he would postpone a G-7 summit he had hoped to hold this summer until September or later and expand the list of invitees to include Australia, Russia, South Korea and India.

“I’m postponing it because I don’t feel that as a G-7 it properly represents what’s going on in the world,” Trump said, adding that the current members — including most major US allies — were a “very outdated group of countries.

McConnell’s comment came after reports that a Russian military intelligence unit secretly offered bounties to militants in Afghanistan for killing coalition and Americans forces.

The Kentucky Republican downplayed those reports.

“It appears as if this is not a conclusion that’s been reached to such a level that might have even made it to the top,” McConnell told reporters about the US intelligence findings and whether Trump was aware of them.

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Cuba and Russia keep expanding their economic and trade ties

HAVANA, Cuba, June 25 (ACN) Ana Teresita Gonzalez, Cuban first deputy minister of foreign trade and foreign investment, held on Wednesday an exchange on several issues of bilateral interest with Andrei A. Guskov, Russian ambassador to Havana.

On Twitter, Gonzalez stated that during the meeting, both sides discussed the complexity of the current scenario, due to the emergency situation unleashed by the novel coronavirus, as well as the different actions of their respective governments in the post-COVID-19 stage.

The officials also expressed the need and importance of deepening economic, trade and cooperation links between the two countries, based on the friendship, solidarity and respect existing between the Russian and Cuban people.

Moscow and Havana jointly advocate compliance with the norms of international law embodied in the Charter of the United Nations, as well as respect for sovereignty and non-interference in the internal affairs of States.

Russia and Venezuela synchronize cooperation to confront USA

Moscow, Jun 25 (Prensa Latina) Amid the economic blockade imposed by the United States on Venezuela and the harmful effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, Russia and this South American country are synchronizing their cooperation in several fields.

On Wednesday, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza, who headed his country’s delegation at the Victory Parade in Moscow, announced his meeting with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov.

The head of Venezuelan diplomacy also met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, with whom he reviewed the agenda of the High-Level Commission between the two States.

When commenting on the possibilities of bilateral cooperation, Arreaza noted that Venezuela’s natural resources are also open to fair and legal investment from Russia, as well as all scientific capacities developed by the State over the last few years, he noted.

On September 25, 2019, President Vladimir Putin noted the effort in economic cooperation between Russia and Venezuela, during a meeting in the Kremlin with President Nicolas Maduro.

Russian-Venezuelan cooperation covers the fields of investment, energy, mining, medicine and technical-military cooperation, among other sectors.

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Lavrov reports on Astana meeting on Syria

Moscow, Jun 16 (Prensa Latina) Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday reported by on the Astana inter-Syria gathering during a meeting with his Iranian peer, Jabad Zarif.

Lavrov pointed out that the trio (Russia, Turkey and Iran) can hold a videoconference at the highest level before the next meeting of the Syrian Constitutional Committee, scheduled for August.

The online meeting could also be attended by the special envoy of the United Nations secretary general for Syria, Geir Pedersen, noted the head of Russian diplomacy, who was quoted by local television.

The meeting with Zarif was Lavrov’s first face-to-face encounter with a foreign official since the closure of international communications, due to the contention measures against the Covid-19 pandemic.

During the talks, both Zarif and Lavrov confirmed that there is no alternative to the agreements reached during the inter-Syria negotiations in Astana, in Kazakhstan, including the matters related to antiterrorism.

That must happen, evidently, with respect to Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, the Russian foreign minister said.

During the meeting, the two parties discussed the tasks to guarantee stability in Syria, and pending issues related to the return of refugees and domestically displaced people, as well as the supply of humanitarian aid to the needy, he pointed out.

Last Sunday, Lavrov and Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu traveled to Turkey to hold consultations on regional issues of mutual interest, including the Syrian conflict and domestic confrontation in Libya.

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