Friday, 05 March 2021

W Weekly Update

March 24-31

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

The largest collective expulsion of Russian intelligence officers in history 

The Guardian writes, that on 26 March “more than 20 western allies have ordered the expulsion of dozens of Russian diplomats in response to the nerve agent attack in the UK, in a show of solidarity that represents the biggest concerted blow to Russian intelligence networks in the West since the Cold War. Over 100 Russian diplomats alleged to be spies in western countries are being told to return to Moscow, in a coordinated response to the use of a chemical weapon in the attempted murder of Sergei Skripal, a former Russian intelligence official, and his daughter, Yulia, in Salisbury on 4 March.”

Theresa May made the following statement about the concerted action in the House of Commons: “I have found great solidarity from our friends and partners in the EU, North America, Nato and beyond over the past three weeks as we have confronted the aftermath of the Salisbury incident. And together we have sent a message that we will not tolerate Russia’s continued attempts to flout international law and undermine our values. If the Kremlin’s goal is to divide and intimidate the western alliance, then their efforts have spectacularly backfired.”

As Bloomberg informs, The United Kingdom puts on alert Putin and his oligarchs. “There are a number of rich Russians with millions invested in London, a lot of it in real estate. There have been signs that the U.K. government might be looking into ways of targeting those oligarchs that might also be Putin allies.

These rich Russians usually apply for a Tier 1 (Investor) visa that works for those who want to invest 2 million pounds or more in the U.K. May said she’s cracking down on “illicit and corrupt finance” and hinted she could tighten the rules that allow foreign nationals to apply for these visas.

Later in a week, it became known, that Britain will launch counter-propaganda war against Russia as Theresa May unveiled 'Fusion Doctrine' defense plan. The Telegraph informs, that “the Prime Minister has instructed the intelligence services to use social media to disrupt misinformation as she promised to use "every capability at our disposal" to defeat the new threat facing Britain.”

President Donald Trump also ordered the expulsion of 60 Russian officials and the closure of the Russian Consulate in Seattle. The U.S. Department of State said Russia must be held accountable for its destabilizing behavior in a following statement: “On March 4, Russia used a military-grade nerve agent to attempt to murder a British citizen and his daughter in Salisbury. This attack on our Ally the United Kingdom put countless innocent lives at risk and resulted in serious injury to three people, including a police officer. In response to this outrageous violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention and breach of international law, today the United States will expel 48 Russian officials serving at Russia’s bilateral mission to the United States. We will also require the Russian government to close its Consulate General in Seattle by April 2, 2018. We take these actions to demonstrate our unbreakable solidarity with the United Kingdom, and to impose serious consequences on Russia for its continued violations of international norms.

Separately, we have begun the process of expelling 12 intelligence operatives from the Russian Mission to the United Nations who have abused their privilege of residence in the United States.

The United States calls on Russia to accept responsibility for its actions and to demonstrate to the world that it is capable of living up to its international commitments and responsibilities as a member of the UN Security Council to uphold international peace and security.”


Turkey-EU Leaders’ Meeting

EU-Turkey leaders' meeting took place on 26 March 2018, in Varna, Bulgaria. The EU was represented by Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission and Boyko Borissov, Prime Minister of Bulgaria.

The leaders had a wide-ranging discussion on EU-Turkey relations and the way ahead. More specifically, they discussed the cooperation on the management of migration flows; the shared interest in combating terrorism; the rule of law in Turkey; Turkey’s recent actions in the Eastern Mediterranean and Aegean Sea and Turkey’s involvement in Syria.

Politico writes: “From Erdoğan’s dismantling of Turkey’s democratic institutions in the wake of the 2016 attempt to overthrow him to Turkey’s recent assault on Kurdish forces in Syria, EU leaders worry that Ankara has become more of a long-term problem than a partner.” But despite all of it -- “both sides remain bound by a reality: Mutual dependence.”

“Europe needs Turkey to keep alive its two-year-old refugee deal, which has been crucial in helping to stem the flow of Syrian refugees to the EU. The EU has already committed about €3 billion to help Turkey manage its refugee population of about 3.5 million and another €3 billion is on the way… What Erdoğan gets from the EU can be summed up in a single word: survival.

Forget Erdoğan’s incendiary rhetoric about Europe and the anti-Turkish “terrorists” he accuses Germany and others of harboring. The cold reality is that Turkey is almost completely dependent on the EU to keep its economy afloat.”

Prior to the meeting, Erdoğan insisted: “EU membership remains our strategic goal.” But as the author writes, “such comments, though completely inconsistent with Ankara’s actions in recent years, are aimed at offering Turkey’s elites and financial markets a flicker of hope that, despite the recent turmoil, the country remains dedicated to the West.”


Kim Jong-un visits China

The Telegraph informs, that North Korean leader travelled to Beijing to meet the Chinese leader, Mr Xi Jinping. “The North Korean leader's trip - his first journey outside of the country since taking power and his first reported meeting with a foreign head of state - lasted from Sunday to Wednesday.” According to the official sources, Kim Jong-un told Xi Jinping he was committed to denuclearisation as he reaffirmed his willingness to hold a summit with President Donald Trump. “The issue of denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula can be resolved, if South Korea and the United States respond to our efforts with goodwill, create an atmosphere of peace and stability while taking progressive and synchronous measures for the realisation of peace,” Mr Kim said during his visit.

The Telegraph also informs, that “China briefed Mr Trump on Tuesday about on the visit, and the communication included a personal message from Mr Xi to the US president, the White House said in a statement. ”

“The United States remains in close contact with our allies South Korea and Japan. We see this development as further evidence that our campaign of maximum pressure is creating the appropriate atmosphere for dialogue with North Korea,” the statement said.”


Prepared by Marina Muradyan

01 March 2021
21 February 2021
14 February 2021
08 February 2021
02 February 2021
25 January 2021
17 January 2021
29 December 2020

The Armenian Center for National and International Studies

Yerznkian 75, 0033
Yerevan, Armenia


+374 10 528780 / 274818



The views of the authors do not necessarily reflect those of the Center.

While citing the content, the reference to "ACNIS ReView from Yerevan” is obligatory.