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Newsline: Japan Demands Russian Apology Over Detention of Diplomat

Japan demanded an apology from Russia for what it saw as the unjust detention of one of its diplomats in Vladivostok, who Tokyo said was blindfolded and physically restrained after the Kremlin falsely accused him of spying. Top government spokesman Hirokazu Matsuno told a regular news briefing in Tokyo on Tuesday that the diplomat committed no illegal activity and Russia had violated international conventions through the detention. “The treatment and accusations are absolutely unacceptable,” Matsuno said, adding the diplomat, who was detained on Monday, is facing no major health issues. (https://news.yahoo.com/japan-demands-russian-apology-over-024811870.html) Russia expelled a Japanese consul in Vladivostok, accusing the diplomat of paying for sensitive information. Tatsunori Motoki was given 48 hours to leave the country, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said, according to Tass.

Newsline: Moscow summons Canada envoy over Russian embassy attacks in Ottawa

Russia’s foreign ministry has summoned the Canadian ambassador and issued a protest over attacks on the Russian embassy in Ottawa, the ministry said. (https://finance.yahoo.com/news/moscow-summons-canada-envoy-over-145029900.html) It said an unknown person threw a Molotov cocktail onto the grounds of the Russian embassy in Ottawa. It also said “aggressive” demonstrators had blocked an entrance to the consular section of the embassy.

Newsline: Russia says U.S. embassy not helpful in prisoner swap talks

Russia’s foreign ministry said on Monday that it was ready for talks on a prisoner exchange to free U.S. citizens jailed in Russia, but that the American embassy in Moscow was “not fulfilling its official duties” to maintain dialogue. Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said: “We have stated many times that we are ready for negotiations to resolve the fate of U.S. citizens convicted in Russia and Russian citizens in the U.S.” (https://www.fxempire.com/news/article/russia-says-ready-for-u-s-prisoner-exchange-talks-but-u-s-embassy-not-fulfilling-duties-1131378) Russia has previously suggested that it is open to a prisoner exchange which could include U.S. Marine Corps veteran Paul Whelan, basketball star Brittney Griner and Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer jailed in the United States. Griner is serving a 9 year jail sentence for possession and smuggling of cannabis, while Whelan is serving a 16 year term for espionage. The Kremlin has repeatedly said that what it called “megaphone diplomacy” from Washington would not help efforts to organise a prisoner exchange, urging closed talks instead.

Newsline: Turkey aims to end Russia-Ukraine war through diplomacy

Türkiye’s aim is to end the Russia-Ukraine war through diplomacy, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said yesterday at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit, held in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. “We are working to end the conflicts in Ukraine through diplomacy and we are making every effort to ensure peace in our region and beyond,” Erdoğan said during the SCO, which he attended as a special guest, in a well-attended session that also included observer members and special guest delegation heads. (https://www.dailysabah.com/politics/diplomacy/turkiye-aims-to-end-russia-ukraine-war-through-diplomacy-erdogan) Earlier on Friday, Erdoğan held bilateral meetings with some leaders within the scope of the summit. On the sidelines, Erdoğan held a closed-door meeting with his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev, his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Mongolian President Ukhnaagiin Khürelsükh. Erdoğan also met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the summit. The two leaders discussed the Ukraine grain deal, the Syria crisis as well as bilateral ties.

Newsline: Moscow has ‘hardly any hope’ for new U.S. ambassador

The Kremlin on Thursday said it had “hardly any hope” for the new U.S. ambassador to Russia, Russian state-owned news agency RIA reported. (https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/kremlin-says-it-has-hardly-any-hope-new-us-ambassador-ria-2022-09-15/) U.S. media on Wednesday reported that President Joe Biden plans to nominate Lynn Tracey as Washington’s new ambassador in Moscow, after John Sullivan announced his departure earlier this month.

Newsline: US career diplomat to be nominated new ambassador to Russia

President Joe Biden plans to nominate Lynne Tracy, a career diplomat currently serving in Armenia, as the next US ambassador to Russia, according to three sources familiar with the matter. (https://cbs58.com/news/first-on-cnn-biden-to-nominate-new-ambassador-to-russia) Tracy, who speaks Russian and was the No. 2 diplomat in Moscow from 2014 to 2017, would be the first female to serve in the role. She has been ambassador to Armenia since 2019. The Biden administration hopes to get her in place swiftly to replace John Sullivan who stepped down earlier this month. The timing of her arrival and official nomination will depend on Russia agreeing to accept her as ambassador at a time of huge tension between Washington and Moscow as the war in Ukraine continues. Typically, the host country will approve the name of an ambassador pick before they are officially nominated through a process called agrément. The US has already given Tracy’s name to the Russians to begin that process, two sources said. US officials point out that Russia does want to maintain diplomatic relations with the US and could be motivated to accept Tracy without delaying the process to ensure their ambassador in Washington maintains access. A State Department spokesperson declined to comment. The nomination of Tracy will mark a complete overhaul of leadership at the embassy in Moscow. Sullivan had not been present in Russia for most of the summer because he had been in the US with his wife who had been seriously ill and died last week. Elizabeth Rood, the deputy chief of mission, has been standing in. Rood has been nominated to the next US ambassador to Turkmenistan.

Newsline: Ex-U.S. ambassador and hostage negotiator visits Moscow

Bill Richardson, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and a frequent emissary in hostage negotiations who has worked to secure the releases of WNBA star Brittney Griner and another jailed American, Paul Whelan, visited Moscow this week and held meetings with Russian leaders, a person familiar with the matter said Tuesday night. The visit came as American officials have continued to press Russia to release Griner, who was sentenced last month to nine years in prison in a drug possession case, and Whelan, a Michigan corporate security executive serving a 16-year sentence on espionage-related charges. The U.S. government regards both as wrongfully detained. In in interview with The Associated Press last month, Richardson said he was hopeful about the chances of a two-for-two prisoner swap. In cases like this, Richardson said at the time, “it’s proportional — two-for two.” (https://thegrio.com/2022/09/14/ex-u-s-ambassador-visits-moscow-where-brittney-griner-remains-jailed/) The person who confirmed Richardson’s visit insisted on anonymity to discuss private negotiations. The Richardson Center for Global Engagement, which Richardson founded, issued a statement declining to comment on his visit. CNN was first to report Richardson’s visit. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced in July that the U.S. had made a “substantial proposal” to Russia to facilitate a swap. Though he did not detail the terms, a person familiar the matter said the U.S. had offered to release convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.

Newsline: EU top diplomat says sanctions prevent Moscow from making up military losses

European Union sanctions are severely hurting Moscow’s potential to sustain its weapons and military equipment in the war on Ukraine, the EU’s top diplomat said on Tuesday, arguing almost half of Russia’s technology depended on European imports. “If you look at the inside, the guts of a Russian tank destroyed on a Ukrainian street, you will see the tremendous amount of electronic components manufactured by European countries in those tanks,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told lawmakers at the bloc’s Parliament in Strasbourg. “Forty-five percent of Russia’s technology depends on European imports and this has been cut off,” he noted. Borrell said EU sanctions on Russia were already having “very serious consequences” for Moscow. “Two thirds of all civilian aircraft can no longer fly because their components come from Western countries and the blockade also makes it impossible for them to get the spare parts they need,” he noted. (https://news.yahoo.com/eu-sanctions-prevent-moscow-making-145817128.html) The EU has slapped several packages of massive sanctions on Moscow – targeting the financial sector as well as energy and the transport sector.

Newsline: Russians mourn Queen Elizabeth with flowers at UK embassy

Russians laid flowers at the British embassy Friday, despite the dire state of relations between London and Moscow. “Despite what is going on now, the Queen and the royal house have always been the personification of peace and goodness,” said Muscovite Anton Avramets after placing a pink bouquet alongside many others on a wall outside the embassy. (https://news.yahoo.com/russians-mourn-queen-elizabeth-flowers-115108971.html) There were lighted candles among the tributes, and one woman made a sign of the cross as she placed red roses on the wall. Russia’s already poor relations with Britain have worsened sharply since the start of the conflict in Ukraine, and Moscow frequently rails against British leaders, including incoming prime minister Liz Truss this week. But it made an exception for the queen; President Vladimir Putin called her death an “irreparable loss” in a condolence message on Thursday.

Newsline: Russia expels Romanian diplomat

Russia said on Thursday it was ordering a Romanian diplomat to leave the country in response to the expulsion of one of its diplomats from Bucharest. (https://uk.investing.com/news/world-news/russia-expels-romanian-diplomat-in-titfortat-move-2744778) Romania, like other European Union member states, was designated an “unfriendly country” by Moscow after it imposed sanctions in retaliation for Russia’s war in Ukraine. Earlier this year, Russia and EU countries expelled hundreds of each other’s diplomats.