Politico – Jacopo Barigazzi / NATO calls extraordinary meeting to discuss Russia
- NATO will hold an extraordinary meeting of foreign ministers on Friday to talk about the Russian military build-up on the border with Ukraine, the alliance said in a statement Tuesday.
- On a video call, the ministers will discuss Russia and “broader European security issues,” the statement said. The meeting will take place a few days before a NATO-Russia Council, in which Russian officials will take part, on January 12, a meeting announced by NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg last month.
- Tensions between Moscow and the West have soared in recent months and U.S officials have warned that Moscow could be planning a full-scale invasion of its neighbor after amassing more than 100,000 troops at the frontier.
- The EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell is currently in Ukraine for a two-day visit that includes a trip to the eastern front, where Russian-backed separatists are fighting Ukrainian government forces.
- Foreign Policy – Kamran Bokhari / Ukraine needs a political deal at home to defend against Russia
Politico – Thibault Spirlet / Borrell: ‘EU must be involved’ in US-Russia talks on Ukraine
- The EU should play an active role in the upcoming U.S.-Russia talks over security concerns around Ukraine, the bloc’s top diplomat told German media on Wednesday.
- “If Moscow, as announced, wants to talk about the security architecture in Europe and security guarantees from January, then this is not just a matter that concerns America and Russia,” Josep Borrell said in a telephone interview with the German daily Die Welt. “The EU must be involved in these negotiations.”
- Borrell’s remarks come amid fears of a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine as Moscow amasses troops along the border. Russian President Vladimir Putin is pledging to only withdraw his threat if the NATO military alliance commits to not expanding further east and specifically bars Ukraine and Georgia from membership — both nonstarters for NATO.
- In the interview, Borrell noted that negotiations over the situation only make sense with the EU’s close participation, since the talks involve the entire European Continent’s future. “European security is our security,” he said. “It’s about us. This is not simply the case for two states, i.e. America and Russia, or NATO and Russia — even if Moscow imagines it.”
- Foreign Affairs – Ivo H. Daalder and James M. Goldgeier / Europe strong and safe
Financial Times – Christian Davies / South Korea forges ahead with end of war declaration despite US reservations
- South Korea’s president Moon Jae-in is pressing ahead with his quest to declare an end to the Korean war despite months of fruitless diplomacy that have exposed divisions between Seoul and Washington.
- Moon told the UN General Assembly in September that a formal declaration to end the war, which was fought from 1950 until the signing of an armistice agreement in 1953, would “mark a pivotal point of departure in creating a new order of reconciliation and co-operation on the Korean peninsula”.
- But doubts in Washington, Pyongyang and Beijing have frustrated his hopes of securing a long-sought political legacy as a peacemaker, illustrating the complexity of reconciling the competing interests of the four parties to a 70-year conflict.
- North Korea, China and the US-led UN command discussed signing a peace treaty within three months of the armistice but failed to do so.
- The Hill – Donald Kirk / South Korea isn’t likely to sign a peace treaty – nor should it
Financial Times – Nastassia Astrasheuskaya / Kazakhstan protesters take to streets over rising fuel prices
- A sharp increase in motor fuel prices has sparked protests in Kazakhstan and demands for further political change in central Asia’s largest economy.
- This week’s demonstrations form the first big test for new president Kassym-Jomart Tokayev in a country where protests against the government have been uncommon. Late on Tuesday the government announced a state of emergency in the city of Almaty and the western region of Mangystau until January 19.
- Kazakhstan, along with Russia and other countries in the wider region, have been struggling with high inflation and rising prices for basic commodities amid the economic strain of the pandemic.
- Thousands of people have taken to the streets in multiple cities across the country in the past two days. The first demonstration in Mangystau drew protesters unhappy with a doubling of the price of liquefied natural gas — which is widely used as a cheaper alternative to petrol in cars in central Asia — to 120 tenge per litre, equivalent to $0.27 cents.
- Reuters / Kazakhstan government resigns after violent protests over fuel price
Today’s further reading: