Russia, the world’s largest country, is often mentioned in the U.S. media and usually not in a favorable light. Though it does not pose an existential threat to America, Moscow’s policies and actions significantly impact various aspects of American life, both on the political stage and in its society.
The TIPP Poll asked Americans just before the two presidents met if they considered Russia an immediate threat to the United States (within the next six months), a long-term threat to the United States (over six months), or not a threat at all. The response is given below:
- 27% - Short-term threat
- 40% - Long-term threat
- 13% - Not a threat
- 21% - Not sure
The percentages add to 101 due to rounding
Russian annexations and provocative actions along its western border in Europe are a matter of grave concern on the military front. The country invaded Georgia in 2008 and annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014. Despite international criticism, Russia continues to occupy these territories and persists in militarizing the area.
Though thousands of miles away from U.S. borders, such actions have an impact on American lives. Russia claims its aggression is a means to counter NATO's influence in the region. And that is precisely why the U.S. may be forced to become involved. NATO members, and thereby the U.S., are bound by the treaty to "unite their efforts for collective defense and for the preservation of peace and security."
Russian military build-up along Lithuania and Poland borders, NATO member states, is viewed with unease. Last year, Ukraine joined NATO's "enhanced opportunity partner interoperability program." In short, should Russia attack one of its members, it could drag the United States into a war.
Political pundits believe Russia attempts to engage the U.S. in a "hybrid war." Beyond its military might, the Eurasian country is employing modern means to destabilize America.
Moscow may no longer be the superpower it was in the heydays of the USSR, but it is gaining notoriety as a hacking superpower. Many of the cyber attacks on sensitive American institutions and installations have been traced back to Russian hackers.
From the SolarWinds attacks to Russian interference in U.S. elections and the shutting down of the East Coast's pipeline, the U.S. authorities suspect a Russian administrative agenda in play.
Beyond compromising data and security, and of course, causing considerable losses to the affected parties, Russian cyber interference, especially in the elections, has managed to divide the country, shaking the very democratic principles it is built on.
Russia's deepening relations with China, a Cold War-era competitor, could further trouble America. The two countries recently extended the China-Russia Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation, which was first signed two decades ago.
Beijing's deteriorating relationship with the U.S. and other international players on human rights violations and its hegemonistic policies in the South China Sea had somewhat isolated the country on the world stage. Russian support could bolster China's confidence to pursue its unilateral agenda.
In recent years, Kremlin's crackdown on dissenting voices has gone up several notches. The scope for civic activism and constructive criticism has been steadily stifled by bringing into effect new and stringent laws. Many fear that Russia's human rights record has suffered under the autocratic leader, Putin, and that the country's regime is more oppressive than ever.
Despite international censure, political activists, critics of the government, anti-corruption campaigners, and other human rights advocates are often punished and imprisoned. Corruption is said to be rampant in the state.
Biden On Russia
More than half a year after taking office, President Biden met with the Russian leader, Putin, after meeting with the G-7 and NATO heads. According to reports, though no breakthroughs were expected, they discussed crucial cyber-attacks and election interference issues.
The meeting drew a lot of attention both in America and across the world. So far, Americans are slightly more pleased than displeased with Biden's dealings with Russia.
Here are the results from the TIPP Poll to the question: How would you grade Joe Biden's handling of Russia?
- 17% - Excellent
- 18% - Good
- 19% - Average
- 14% - Poor
- 18% - Unacceptable
- 14% - Not sure
Of course, political leanings have much to do with approval or disapproval of Biden’s treatment of Russia. It would be wise to consider that a threat to America and the American way of life is an equal opportunity threat to Republicans, Democrats, and Independents, alike. It would be best to present a united front when dealing with those beyond the borders.
Raghavan Mayur edited the report.
US ambassador calls the decision an ‘absurd miscarriage of justice’ as Trevor Reed plans a further appeal.
A Russian appeals court upheld a nine-year prison sentence for Trevor Reed, a former United States Marine who was convicted last year of endangering the lives of two police officers in August 2019, charges he denies.
Reed, at the time a student from Texas, allegedly attacked police while drunk after attending a party in Moscow.
His family has cited what they say are irregularities in the proceedings and said the prosecution’s request for a nearly 10-year sentence was excessive.
“This is completely a political case,” Reed told journalists after his guilty verdict in July 2020. “I will be asking my government for political support.”
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to work together to bolster friendly cooperation between the two countries, a tabloid affiliated with China's ruling Communist Party reported.
The latest conversation was the second interaction between the two leaders within six weeks. Their frequent meetings show deepening mutual trust and deliver a heavy blow to Western attempts to split the China-Russia friendship.
Xi and Putin formally extended the China-Russia Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation, signed in 2001, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.
China and Russia have injected positive energy into the international community through their close cooperation, as the world is entering a period of turbulence and change and human development is confronted with multiple crises, Xi told Putin.
The two nations have set a good example for a new type of international relations; Xi was quoted by Xinhua as telling Putin.
The airstrikes against Iran-backed militias near the Iraq-Syria border are in response to drone attacks on its forces in Iraq.
A Pentagon spokesman said the strikes targeted "operational and weapons storage facilities" at three locations.
About 2,500 U.S. troops are in Iraq as part of a global coalition supporting local security forces in their fight against the jihadist group, Islamic State (IS).
There have been at least five drone attacks against facilities they use since April, U.S. officials say. Rockets are also frequently fired at them.
The targeted facilities were at two locations in Syria and one inside Iraq and were used by several Iran-backed groups, including Kataib Hezbollah and Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada, the Pentagon said.
Ethiopia's federal government declared a "unilateral ceasefire" in its war-torn Tigray region as rebel fighters entered the regional capital Mekele, sparking celebrations on the streets.
The ceasefire announcement came as the rebels, who have branded themselves the Tigray Defence Forces (TDF), marched into Mekele, where residents danced as local officials fled the city.
"An unconditional, unilateral ceasefire has been declared starting from today, June 28," read a statement published by state media.
The war in Tigray began last November when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sent troops in to oust the dissident regional leadership.
The ceasefire will last until the end of the current "farming season" and is intended to facilitate agricultural production and aid distribution while allowing rebel fighters "to return to a peaceful road," it said.
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