The news to 19 May 2013
Russia has defended its fulfilment of arms contract agreed with Syria before the outbreak of Civil War as US Officials heaped pressure with reports that Moscow had delivered advanced Yakhonts anti-ship missiles to the Damascus regime. Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov said Moscow’s weapons sales would “not in any way alter the balance of forces in this region or give any advantage in the fight against the opposition”.
Russian counterintelligence officials briefly detained a US diplomat suspected of being an undercover CIA officer and subsequently named what they believe to be the head of the CIA mission in Russia. The diplomat, Ryan Fogle, was arrested after allegedly trying to recruit a Russian agent.
Russia’s decision to publicly identify a purported US spy is an “unprecedented” move in relations between Moscow and Washington with no clear indication of how the United States will react.
Poland has announced the largest increase in defence spending in its history in a move that will see a 7% increase in spending on 2012 directed to procurement and modernisation.
Indications are that the plans will undermine efforts to rationalise the EU defence industry, with Poland looking to benefit from technology transfers and local production.
Source: Financial Times
Pro- and anti-government protesters squared off in rival demonstrations in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, with some people requiring medical treatment. The marches were an attempt to take Ukraine’s stalled political competition onto the streets in respective shows of strength.
In the city of Simferopol, the 69th anniversary of the forced deportation of Crimean Tatars by Josef Stalin was commemorated.
The European Union expressed increasingly concern at a wave of restrictive legislation and prosecutions of activists in Russia. The 27-nation bloc cited the cases of protesters arrested at a demonstration on the eve of President Vladimir Putin’s inauguration last year who are still awaiting trial, and a new law requiring charities with funding from abroad to register as “foreign agents”.
Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian has held talks with his visiting Belarusian counterpart, Alyaksandr Lukashenka. The two presidents told journalists after their meeting on May 13 that they discussed bilateral relations, including trade and economic issues; the talks also focused on cooperation within the Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO), which includes several former Soviet republics.
Kazakhstan’s Deputy Education Minister, Sayat Shayakhmetov, has been arrested and charged with embezzlement. Police said Shayakhmetov is suspected of embezzling more than $9.7 million from a project to build a new school in the East Kazakhstan Oblast.