The plans of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s brief visit to Brussels during his Europe trip next month have been shelved after the European Union did not reply to India’s proposal for the same.
Modi will now be visiting two European countries – France and Germany – combined with his travel to Canada, sources said, adding that dates were also suggested to the EU for a Prime Ministerial visit in the second week of April.
“However, with EU not responding to India’s proposal, the government went ahead with firming of the Prime Minister’s travel itinerary without a visit to Brussels,” sources said.
Asked about the reasons behind such an unusual reaction to India’s suggestion, sources refused to ‘pin-point’ any, saying it was an internal matter of the 28-member bloc. >> Read More
The revelation Sunday that President Vladimir Putin had been prepared to bring Russia’s nuclear weapons into a state of alert last year amid soaring tensions over the Crimean Peninsula makes one thing clear, analysts told The Moscow Times: Russia won’t give up on Ukraine, even if faced with the threat of nuclear war.
Asked about Russia’s nuclear preparedness, Putin told state television channel Rossia-1 that concerns of a potential Western intervention into Crimea last year forced him and his top security officials to consider putting Russia’s nuclear arsenal on combat alert. “We were ready to do this. I spoke to my colleagues and told them that [Crimea] is our historic territory, Russians live there. They were in danger. We couldn’t abandon them,” Putin said in an interview, filmed for a documentary produced to celebrate the one-year anniversary of Crimea’s annexation.
He went on to explain the ultimate decision not to make that bold step: “Despite all of the difficulties and the drama surrounding the situation, the Cold War is over, and we do not need international crises like the [Bay of Pigs],” Putin said. “Moreover, the circumstances did not call for such actions, which would have been contrary to our own interests.”
According to Andrei Burbin, the head of the central command headquarters of Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces, said in comments to radio station Russian News Service on March 1 that Russia’s nuclear forces are “on constant combat alert.” >> Read More
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov on Wednesday dismissed as “unexplainable” new U.S. sanctions on Russia over the conflict in Ukraine, Interfax news agency quoted him as saying.
He was speaking after the United States slapped sanctions on a Russian bank and a youth organization that Washington says recruits fighters for pro-Russian rebels that control two eastern Ukrainian regions.
Iran on Tuesday refused to halt its nuclear work for at least 10 years – a condition which President Barack Obama said was non-negotiable if the two sides are to reach a deal on the country’s nuclear program.
On Monday, Obama told Reuters that Iran must commit to a verifiable halt of at least 10 years on sensitive nuclear work for a landmark atomic deal to be reached.
“Iran will not accept excessive and illogical demands,” Zarif was quoted as saying by Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency following Tuesday’s meeting with Kerry.
“Obama’s stance… is expressed in unacceptable and threatening phrases…,” he said, adding that talks with Kerry in Switzerland would nonetheless carry on.
The US hopes Iran will restrain its nuclear program in exchange for relief from sanctions that have crippled its economy, thereby reducing the risk of war over the protracted stand-off
>> Read More
According to the statement, Poroshenko and Biden held telephone talks on Saturday, expressing “concern in connection with the killing of Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov”.
According to the Russian Interior Ministry, Nemtsov was killed in the Russian capital at 11:40 p.m. Moscow time on Friday (20:40 GMT), after several shots were fired at him from a car, which drove by while the Russian politician was walking across the Zamoskvoretskiy bridge with a female companion from Ukraine.
Poroshenko wrote on his Facebook page after the murder that Nemtsov was “a bridge between Ukraine and Russia” that was now destroyed.
Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama has condemned the killing, saying in a Friday statement that he admired Nemtsov’s “courageous dedication to the struggle against corruption in Russia” and appreciated the politician’s “willingness to share his candid views” with him when Nemtsov met with Obama in Moscow in 2009.
The Russian Investigative Committee is at the moment considering several crime scenarios, with some of them linking Nemtsov’s murder to events in Ukraine, the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack in Paris and the politician’s business activity. >> Read More