Will Russia Join OPEC? ‘Not On The Agenda,’ Kremlin Spokesman Says Amid Global Slide In Oil Prices

Russia will not join the Organization of Petroleum Export Countries amid a significant decline in oil prices and ongoing deliberation among oil-rich nations over how to shore up the global market. Brent crude was trading at $48.65 per barrel Tuesday, down from more than $100 per barrel in mid 2014.

U.S., IMF Press Ukraine to Stick to Terms of Bailout

U.S. and International Monetary Fund officials are stepping up pressure on the pro-Western government here to stick with the terms of its $40 billion bailout, amid signs of mounting friction in the ruling coalition.

President Petro Poroshenko has promised that his government is committed to economic overhauls required for the next stage of the IMF program, including raising taxes, overhauling pensions and privatizing state assets.

Ukraine fighting at lowest level since conflict broke out

Fighting in eastern Ukraine has fallen to its lowest level since the conflict started, Ukrainian Defence Minister Stepan Poltorak has said. Mr Poltorak said Ukrainian forces were coming under attack just two to four times a day – the lowest rate in the past year and a half.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov acknowledged fighting had died down but blamed Kiev for not moving forward on other provisions of the agreement, including greater autonomy for the rebel-held eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.

Close to 8,000 people killed in eastern Ukraine, says UN human rights report

Close to 8,000 people have lost their lives in eastern Ukraine since mid-April 2014, according to the latest report by the United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission in the country which was released today.

The report, which covers the period from 16 May to 15 August 2015, notes that the number of civilian casualties more than doubled by comparison with the previous three months, with at least 105 people killed and 308 injured compared to 60 killed and 102 injured between 16 February and 15 May.

Russia and the West need closer ties to avert ‘real danger’ from military exercises and encounters, say European diplomatic leaders

Russia and the West should urgently restart dialogue to prevent a conflict being accidentally triggered during increasingly aggressive military exercises and encounters, diplomatic and military leaders have urged.

Otherwise, warns the group – from both Russia and Europe – the law of unintended consequences means a growing risk of an unintended clash, as the relationship between the two sides continues to sink towards the levels of the Cold War, following events  in Ukraine.

US warns Russia against more aid to Assad amid new violence

Anti-government violence erupted Saturday in a southern Syrian province that had largely stayed on the sidelines of the country’s civil war. Meanwhile, unconfirmed [emphasis added – ed.] reports suggesting that Russia was planning to expand its military support for Syrian President Bashar Assad prompted a warning from the U.S. that such actions could lead to a confrontation with coalition forces.

US Leads World in Credulous Reports of ‘Lagging Behind’ Russia

Ominous warnings about “gaps” with the Russians are a decades-long tradition in US and Western media. Over the past few years alone, the US has “lagged behind” the dreaded Russians in the following departments: Cyber security Online and traditional propaganda Space race “Military tactics” Nuclear technology

Now let’s remember: Russia’s military budget is one-eighth the size of the US’s—and 1/14th as large as NATO’s cumulative $1 trillion in annual military spending.

Prof. Paul Robinson Comments on Timothy Snyder

I think it is fair to say that Snyder and I have very different views of the conflict in Ukraine. He has acquired a reputation as one of the more outspoken supporters of the Maidan revolution and as a fierce opponent of ‘Russian aggression’. He says a lot of silly things, in my opinion, but in this segment he outdoes himself.

West to blame for Europe’s migrant crisis, say Erdogan, Putin

Putin, speaking to the Russian news agency TASS, said he warned the West about the possible consequences of its Mideast and Africa policy several years ago.

“What is this policy about? This is imposing its standards without taking into consideration historic, religious, national and cultural specifics of these regions,” Putin told the Russian news agency TASSat the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok.

Pushing the Edge on Nuclear War

Official Washington’s neocons and liberal hawks are ratcheting up tensions again over Ukraine with the goal of humiliating and even destabilizing nuclear-armed Russia – and there’s no modern-day JFK to tamp down the enthusiasm, an existential risk that ex-U.S. diplomat William R. Polk examines.

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