The US Senate has deliberately put off the hearing on the appointment of former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman as new Ambassador to Russia, some Russian diplomatic sources told Izvestia. According to the diplomats interviewed by the paper, should there be a simultaneous change in the chiefs of diplomatic missions, they would assume office practically at the same time.
Washington has already approved the nomination of numerous ambassadors to various countries, but the hearing on the new envoy to Moscow has not been held yet. A source in the US Department of State said talking to the paper that they are waiting for the new ambassador to Russia to be appointed but cannot influence the..
The US Embassy in Moscow likewise said they have no specific information on the issue, as the Senate does not notify anyone about anything.
Because of this, Moscow cannot send Deputy Foreign Minister Anatoly Antonov to replace Sergey Kislyak who has already left Washington, while US Ambassador John Tefft is waiting for Huntsman’s arrival.
According to former Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ordzhonikidze, attempts to delay the hearings effectively freeze the start of the full-fledged functions of the Russian diplomatic mission in the US.
“The Senate is trying to artificially slow down contacts between Moscow and Washington, at least for some time. The current composition of the Senate is extremely anti-Russian. I do not rule out that they are trying to harm Donald Trump by their actions too. The diplomatic mission’s operation without the ambassador is becoming increasingly more difficult,” the diplomat stressed in an interview with Izvestia.
He added though that, regardless of the actions by the Senate committee, the new ambassadors will be appointed anyway sooner or later, and this process cannot be stopped by anyone.
Kommersant: Erdogan’s remarks on S-400 missile systems simply politicking, expert says
The recent declarations by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan about clinching a deal for S-400 air defense systems with Russia can be described as a political maneuver in Ankara’s relations with the West, Timur Akhmetov, an expert at the Russian International Affairs Council, told Kommersant.
“Mr.Erdogan’s statements are aimed at continuing the populist rhetoric in relations with the West presenting Turkey as a country going its own way contrary to what Brussels and Washington say,” the expert explained. “These remarks, however, can have a longer-term goal. According to Ankara’s plans, the availability of an allegedly feasible strategic alternative, such as military cooperation with Russia, can add to that country’s importance in the eyes of its Western partners.”
Speaking to the Turkish parliament on July 25, President Erdogan stated that Moscow and Ankara had inked a deal to supply the S-400 air defense systems to Turkey. However, Russian sources interviewed by the paper said the contract had not been signed yet.
Last week, General Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the US Joint Chief of Staff, said that such a deal would be a matter of concern for Washington. Responding to these statements, Erdogan claimed he was ‘baffled’ arguing that each country takes necessary steps to ensure its own security.
Meanwhile, Turkish political scientist Ismet Konak pointed out talking to Kommersant that Erdogan’s statement came amid an unprecedented deterioration in Turkey’s relationship with Western countries, above all, the US. In his view, the purchase of Russia’s S-400 missile systems will crank up the heat in relations between Ankara and Washington.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta: Europe on brink of trade war with US
New US sanctions against Russia and Iran pose a real threat to European businesses. According to Europeans’ estimates, they will have to curtail businesses related to eight major oil and gas projects involving Russia, Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes. The new restrictive measures are likely to affect new pipelines for exporting Russian gas along with oil and gas projects in some third countries involving Russia. On Tuesday, the EU threatened the US that it would slap a ban on European banks lending to American firms.
The new US bill would profoundly affect Europeans first and foremost, the paper quotes the Euractive online publication as saying. The new law will make it possible to sanction any company working both in the field of development and modernization of Russia-related projects around the world. According to the publication, it could affect eight Russian projects involving European companies, among them the construction of an LNG plant in Ust-Luga, the Blue Stream gas pipeline and the Nord Stream project.