On Thursday, despite urgent warnings from the U.S. and other Western allies, Belarus and Russia signed an agreement to formalize the deployment of Russian tactical nuclear weapons on Belarusian territory as part of the formation of what the two countries have called a ‘union state.’
Elvira Nabiullina, the Bank of Russia Governor, visited Tehran on Thursday for talks with Iranian counterpart Mohammad-Reza Farzin. The discussion was regarding improving ties between Russia and Iran’s commercial banks given that both countries are under heavy sanctions from the West. Frazin also said that the talks centered around “increasing banking infrastructure cooperation.”
Russia’s Wagner Group founder Yevgeny Prigozhin has given a rare and revealing interview with pro-Moscow blogger Konstantin Dolgov, fresh off the weekend declaration of victory over Bakhmut in Ukraine’s east.
On Monday, the U.S. State Department took immediate steps to distance Washington from a cross-border attack in Russia’s Belgorod region by Ukrainian-aligned individuals that occurred over the weekend. “We have made very clear to the Ukrainians that we don’t enable or encourage attacks outside Ukrainian’s borders,” the State Department commented before adding that it is “up to Ukraine to decide how they want to conduct their military operations.”
Marine Le Pen, former presidential candidate and leader of the France’s main opposition party, National Rally, declared in the French National Assembly that Crimea is legitimately a part of Russian. “I fully support the referendum, I believe that the people of Crimea have freely expressed their will by voting to reunite with Russia,” Le Pen concluded.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has been outspoken since arriving at the annual Qatar Economic Forum (QEF) about his stance on the war in Ukraine and NATO and the West’s relentless support of Zelensky and the resulting escalations with Russia. Orban has also blatantly stated that the Ukrainians are not able to defeat Russia without the assistance of NATO troops, which the alliance is unwilling to send and which Hungary is staunchly against.
Russian officials have reported renewed conflicts and another attack in the border region of Belgorod. Russian President Vladimir Putin has reportedly been briefed regarding the attack and resulting casualties in the Grayvoronsky district near the border with Ukraine. Officials in Kyiv have denied the attack claiming that Russian citizens from 2 paramilitary groups were responsible for the attack.
Russia has extended another harsh warning to the U.S. regarding potential future attacks on Russian-controlled Crimea. “Strikes on this territory are considered by us as an attack on any other region of the Russian Federation. It is important that the United States is fully aware of the Russian response,” Anatoly Antonov, Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. said on Sunday.