Diplomatic Briefing

Your exclusive news aggregator handpicked daily!

Archive for April 25, 2022

Newsline: Russian ambassador says Kremlin wants to ‘stabilize’ relations with US

A Russian state news agency said on Monday that the Russian Ambassador to the U.S. was looking to stabilize relations with the U.S. Anatoly Antonov said he wanted Russian-American relations to not only “stabilize” but to “develop,” according to a translated version of a report from the Russian state news agency, RIA. “There is potential for this,” Antonov reportedly said on Russian television. (https://news.yahoo.com/russian-ambassador-says-kremlin-wants-152620181.html) Antonov also accused the U.S. of effectively stealing from Russian’s by blocking certain accounts. “You didn’t mention the huge funds that are frozen in American banks. I will say frankly: I think that they were simply stolen from us,” Antonov said in a translated version of another RIA report on Monday. Since Moscow began its invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, many western countries have imposed harsh sanctions against Russia, including sanctions on Russian banks, oligarchs, officials and their families.

Newsline: UN Security Council’s inaction on Ukraine prompts questions on reform

The United Nations Security Council’s lack of action to intervene in the war in Ukraine, with more than one resolution being vetoed by Russia, has resurfaced criticism of the body. The Ukrainian government has heavily criticized the body for not taking action to stop the war, with strong criticism coming from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy who, in an address to its Security Council, challenged the body to act or “dissolve” itself. The U.N. General Assembly passed resolutions condemning the war in Ukraine, including a resolution to remove Russia from the Human Rights Council, exposing what little support Russia has for its war. (https://www.yahoo.com/gma/un-security-councils-inaction-ukraine-081900315.html) Historically, when the Council has been unable to take action, the U.N. General Assembly has intervened. The Security Council, a body consisting of 15 members, five of which are permanent with veto power dubbed the P-5, is responsible for peace and security. The remaining 10 non-permanent seats rotate by election of other U.N. members for two year periods. The permanent members are China, France, Russia, the U.K. and the U.S. Removing a member from the Security Council or the General Assembly requires a recommendation from the Security Council. Because Russia is one of the P-5 and has veto power, it can block any resolution from being passed, keeping its seat safe. It would be impossible to remove Russia from the council unless it agrees to its own expulsion or suspension. However, analysts argue that the creation of a new UN-like international body without any veto powers so as to replace the current one could be an option eventually.

Newsline: Russia expels 40 German diplomatic staff in tit-for-tat move

Russia’s foreign ministry said on Monday that it had declared 40 German diplomatic staff “personae non gratae” in a retaliatory move after Berlin expelled the same number of Russian diplomats. (https://news.yahoo.com/russia-expels-40-german-diplomatic-133358793.html) In a statement, Russia’s foreign ministry said it had taken the decision after Germany on April 4 declared a “significant number” of officials at the Russian embassy in Berlin “undesirable”.

Newsline: The U.S. promises to gradually reopen its embassy in Ukraine

The U.S. promised to steadily re-establish its diplomatic presence in Ukraine in a new signal of Western support as the war reached its 2-month mark on Sunday. News of the diplomatic pledge emerged after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin in Kyiv, as Zelenskyy urged the world to send more weapons and support to help his besieged country. (https://www.npr.org/2022/04/24/1094553107/the-u-s-promises-to-gradually-reopen-its-embassy-in-ukraine) It’s the first time top U.S. officials have traveled to Ukraine since Russian forces began their invasion on Feb. 24. After the U.S. embassy in Ukraine relocated its staff from Kyiv to Poland before the start of the war, American diplomats will now begin a gradual return to the country — starting with day trips to Lviv in western Ukraine, followed by other cities, with a longer-term plan to eventually come back to the Ukrainian capital. The U.S., which has taken a more cautious approach in its return, follows moves by the U.K. and other European countries to reopen their embassies in Kyiv. Blinken also informed the Ukrainians that President Biden will name Bridget Brink to be ambassador to Ukraine. She’s a career diplomat who is currently the ambassador to Slovakia. There has not been an official ambassador to Ukraine since 2019, when former President Donald Trump removed Marie Yovanovitch.

Newsline: U.S. Secret Service identifies intruder shot, killed at Peruvian ambassador’s DC home

The U.S. Secret Service has identified the intruder their officers shot and killed Wednesday after he illegally entered the residence of Peru’s ambassador in Northwest D.C. The Secret Service identified 19-year-old Gordon Casey of Germantown, Maryland, as the deceased intruder. (https://wtop.com/dc/2022/04/secret-service-identifies-intruder-shot-killed-at-peruvian-ambassadors-dc-home/) Around 8 a.m. Wednesday, the Secret Service said it was called to the ambassador’s home in the 3000 block of Garrison Street Northwest concerning a burglary in progress. Responding officers arrived to find multiple broken windows at the residence and Casey in the ambassador’s backyard, armed with a metal pole. After ordering Casey to drop the pole multiple times, officers tried to subdue him with a taser. When he “continued to charge toward the officers with his weapon,” two Secret Service officers then fired on and struck Casey, D.C. Chief of Police Robert Contee said during a news conference that day. Casey died at the scene. Officers involved with the incident were transported to a hospital for evaluation, but none are reported to have sustained serious injury. The Secret Service holds jurisdiction at embassies and diplomatic residences. While the incident occurred on Garrison Street, the Peruvian Embassy is along Massachusetts Avenue near Dupont Circle. Neither the ambassador, his family, the ambassador’s staff or any Secret Service members were injured during the incident.