Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for May 7, 2022

Newsline: Diplomats and ex-spies say the Biden administration needs to ‘shut-up’

Former US officials and diplomats in recent days have sharply criticized the Biden administration over a New York Times report based on conversations with senior officials that said US intelligence was helping Ukraine kill Russian generals. “Shut up about it,” John Sipher, a former CIA officer who served in Russia, said in a tweet on the Times report. Michael McFaul, a former US ambassador to Russia, in a tweet responding to Sipher said, “Exactly. No one should be talking to press about such things.” Striking a similar tone, former US diplomat Aaron David Miller tweeted that the “whole shift in tone” following Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s visit to Ukraine is “worrisome.” “Weakening Russia; winning; and now stories @NYT about killing Russian generals. Why can’t we just shut up?” Miller said. (https://news.yahoo.com/ex-spies-diplomats-biden-administration-185404587.html) The intel-sharing reports by the NYT and NBC News suggested, without specifying, that the US shared intelligence so precise — such as high-resolution images or transmissions made by radars or radios — that the Ukrainian military could use it to plan strikes.

Newsline: Russian Diplomat Publicly Denounces Ukraine War on Social Media

A Russian diplomat publicly condemned the war in Ukraine in a rare post on social media Friday as the Russian invasion of the Eastern European country drags on. Andrey Yakovlev, the consul general of Russia, posted the condemnation in Russian language on the verified Instagram account of the Consulate General of Russia in Edinburgh, Scotland. Though the account is private, a screenshot of the post has been circulating on Twitter in both English and Russian languages. “I, the Consul General of Russia in Edinburgh, Yakovlev A. And, I categorically condemn the behavior of the military special operation of the Russian Armed Forces against the sovereign, independent state of Ukraine. I fully support any assistance to Ukrainian armed forces from EU countries,” the translated post read. (https://www.newsweek.com/russian-diplomat-publicly-denounces-ukraine-war-social-media-1704369) However, the consulate appears to show a different stance on its official Twitter feed where it has retweeted posts by Russian officials making claims against Ukraine.

Newsline: Diplomats concerned by state of emergency in Sri Lanka

Diplomats and rights groups have expressed concern after Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa declared a state of emergency and police used force against peaceful protests demanding his ouster over the nation’s worst economic crisis. Rajapaksa issued a decree Friday declaring a public emergency. It empowers him to authorize detentions, property seizure and search of any premises. He can also change or suspend law in the interests of public security. The U.S. ambassador tweeted that the voices of peaceful citizens need to be heard. (https://kvia.com/news/2022/05/07/diplomats-concerned-by-state-of-emergency-in-sri-lanka/) Sri Lanka has been rocked by months of protests blaming Rajapaksa and his family, who have dominated politics for years, for economic and debt mismanagement amid shortages of basic supplies, electricity and medicines.