U.S. Destroyer, Amphib to Black Sea for Sea Breeze Exercise (USNI News)

A U.S. guided missile destroyer and an amphibious warship are set to operate in the Black Sea as part of the Sea Breeze 2016 exercise hosted by Ukraine and the U.S., the Navy announced on Friday. The Arleigh Burke destroyer USS Ross will join 2,500 personnel from 13 countries for the exercises that include, “maritime interdiction operations as a primary means to enhance maritime security. Other warfare areas to be tested include air defense, anti-submarine warfare, damage control, search and rescue, and other tactical maneuvers,” according to the Navy.

Reuters: Anonymous US Officials Continue to Undermine Kerry Diplomatic Efforts

This report from Reuters features a number of US officials speaking ‘on background’ in order to undermine Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts to come up with an agreement with Russia with regards to Syria. This, along with the leaked State Department “dissent” cable, shows how deeply embedded the opposition to any rapprochement with Russia is within the ranks of the Obama administration. – Editor

We Must Learn To Ask Forgiveness (Paul Robinson)

On Thursday, Nadia Savchenko shocked many by suggesting that Ukrainians needed to ask forgiveness from the people of Donbass…I very much doubt that anyone in power in Ukraine will act upon Savchenko’s words. But the fact that somebody is saying them is most welcome.

Ukraine’s Security Services and Rebels Are Said to Be Equals in Torture (NY Times)

A report by two leading human rights groups released on Thursday accuses Ukraine’s Western-backed security services of practicing abuse and torture in a manner similar to that of the rebel groups they are fighting.

IMF May Not Approve Ukraine’s Tranche in July, Minister Says (Bloomberg)

The International Monetary Fund may delay a board decision on Ukraine’s next aid tranche, previously expected in July, and consider disbursement next month, according to Finance Minister Oleksandr Danylyuk, as several laws still need to be approved by parliament.

Another confusing and misleading human rights report by United Nations observers in Ukraine (Roger Annis)

Five days ago, the United Nations Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released another in a long line of reports purporting to provide an overview of the human rights situation in Ukraine. This latest report is titled “Accountability for killings in Ukraine from January 2014 to May 2016”.

PODCAST: The Friends and Foes of Détente With Russia (Stephen F. Cohen)

Nation contributing editor Stephen F. Cohen and John Batchelor continue their weekly discussions of the new US-Russian Cold War. (Previous installments are at TheNation.com). In recent weeks, Cohen reported a behind the scenes diplomacy on behalf of full US-Russian military cooperation against the Islamic State in Syria. With Secretary of State Kerry’s visit to Moscow last week, the proposal became public.

VIDEO: US-NATO Border Confrontation with Russia Risks Nuclear War and Loss of European Partners (Michael Hudson)

The economist Michael Hudson says that the US-led confrontational approach of NATO with Russia is driving European countries to consider disbanding or leaving the military alliance due to increased security risks.

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