Ukraine plans new diplomatic push to recover Crimea: Finance Minister (Reuters)

Ukraine plans soon to launch a fresh diplomatic initiative to recover the Crimean peninsula from Russia which annexed it in 2014, Finance Minister Natalia Yaresko told Reuters on Wednesday.

“We don’t agree that Crimea has gone. This will be the year we really begin pressing forward on a process to return Crimea,” Yaresko said on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

PODCAST: A Secret Deal for Ukraine? Stephen F. Cohen Talks With John Batchelor

Is peace about to break out in Ukraine? This week, ACEWA Founding Board Member Professor Stephen F. Cohen talks with John Batchelor about the meaning of last week’s meeting between US State Department Assistant Secretary Victoria Nuland and Russian Presidential Aide Vladislav Surkov in Kaliningrad.


ZURICH (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met on Wednesday in hopes of resolving differences over who is eligible to join U.N.-mediated peace talks for Syria due to begin next week. Those differences have threatened to delay the start of the negotiations.

In Ukraine, an Opportunity for Progress Between Russia and the West (STRATFOR)

A lot of pieces are in play this week in wide-ranging negotiations between the United States and Russia. Tuesday brought possible movement on one particularly thorny issue: Ukraine. On Jan. 19, an official from the Donetsk People’s Republic said the pro-Russia separatist territory was open to compromise on the issue of local elections in Donbas — a key sticking point in the implementation of the Minsk agreement.

Czechs Eye New Spec Ops Unit; Ukraine To Establish Training Center (Defense News)

WARSAW — Numerous Eastern European allies have intensified their efforts to develop special operations units following Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine and the role played by hybrid warfare in Moscow’s takeover of the Crimean peninsula.

Obama changes tack on Russia, calls up Putin (Asia Times)

The US President Barack Obama sprang a New Year surprise on his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin by telephoning him Wednesday night. It was a double surprise since the Russian New Year Holiday Week is ending on Thursday, January 14, and Obama rarely makes such gestures; and, secondly, the call signified a virtual U-turn just a day after the US president had made some unfriendly remarks about the Kremlin’s policies and caricatured Russia as undermining the international system.

Leaders of Qatar and Russia discuss Syria war (Al Jazeera)

The leaders of Russia and Qatar have sought to narrow their differences on Syria, a week before planned Syrian peace talks in Switzerland.

On his first visit to Moscow, Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani emphasised on Monday Russia’s role in the region during his meeting with President Vladimir Putin, and voiced hope for finding a peaceful solution to the Syrian conflict

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

We mark Martin Luther King, Jr. Day by recalling his seminal antiwar speech delivered on April 4, 1967 at Riverside Church in Morningside Heights, Manhattan in which he urged us to “rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter, but beautiful, struggle for a new world.”

Political Responsibility in the Nuclear Age: An Open Letter to the American People (The Nation)

Throughout the world there is a false confidence that, because the Cold War is over and no nuclear weapons have been used since 1945, the nuclear dangers that once frightened and concerned people can now be ignored.

Russia denies killing civilians in Syrian air strikes while threatening to reveal alleged US ‘collateral damage’ (Independent UK)

The war of words between the US and Russia has flared up again. According to this report in the Independent, with both sides accusing the other of bombing civilians.


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