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Pompeo Urges Peace, Sides with Greece in Turkish Border Dispute

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On Monday, the United States and Greece issued a joint statement calling for a peaceful solution to the ongoing dispute in the Eastern Mediterranean between Greece and Turkey, according to POLITICO.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is visiting Greece for the second time this year, released a joint statement saying that the U.S. and Greece “reaffirmed their belief that maritime delimitation issues should be resolved peacefully.”

The United States and Greece “reaffirmed their belief that maritime delimitation issues should be resolved peacefully,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

The statement continues, emphasizing that the two countries were ready and willing to employ “all appropriate means at their disposal, in order to safeguard stability and security in the wider region.”

The dispute, over potentially abundant natural gas reserves in the Eastern Mediterranean, has seen tensions between the two Aegean neighbors come closer to war than they have been in twenty-five years. In 1996, the two rival countries, both in NATO, almost clashed over an uninhabited island in the Aegean Sea that lies between them.

In 2016 there were a mind-boggling 16 rounds of talks between the two countries. The nations sought to resolve their maritime border disputes. Those collapsed. Since then, Greco-Turkish relations have worsened dramatically.

Recently, Greece announced that it would be bolstering its military capabilities in what will be its biggest military build-up in decades, according to The Guardian.

This build-up, part of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’s €6.8-billion ($7.93B) defense plan, will see Greece purchase 18 French Rafale jets and four multi-purpose frigates, as well as upgrading its current naval vessel and old aircraft, as reported.

Additionally, the relationship between the U.S. and Turkey has also deteriorated severely over the past decade as their objectives in the Middle East have increasingly conflicted with one another. Most notably, they have clashed diplomatically in the drawn-out Syrian Civil War and conflict with the Islamic State (IS) over the roles of Kurdish anti-IS militias and Russian forces.

Following a Tuesday visit to a U.S. naval base on the Greek island of Crete, Sec. Pompeo will depart to visit Croatia, Italy, and the Vatican.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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U.S. Commerce Department: Chinese firms are supplying Russian entities

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On Tuesday, the United States Commerce Department said several companies in China are supplying Russia’s military. The announcement was made alongside a “new round of blacklist restrictions for foreign firms aiding Moscow’s war against Ukraine” reports National Review.

“These entities have previously supplied items to Russian entities of concern before February 24, 2022 and continue to contract to supply Russian entity listed and sanctioned parties after Russia’s further invasion of Ukraine,” stated an official Commerce Department notice posted to the Federal Register.

“Commerce also blacklisted several Chinese companies and Chinese government research institutes for their work on naval-technology and supplying Iran with U.S. tech in a way that harms America’s national security” adds National Review.

Six companies that are helping further the Russian invasion are also based in Lithuania, Russia, the U.K., Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.

National Review reports:

The Commerce Department stopped short of blaming the Chinese government for the sanctions-evasion activity it identified today. Commerce secretary Gina Raimondo previously said that there doesn’t appear to be any “systemic efforts by China to go around our export controls.” The Biden administration has publicly and privately warned Beijing against supporting the Russian war, with White House officials even leaking to the press about an effort to present China’s ambassador in Washington with information about Russian troop movements ahead of the invasion.

While Beijing has not expressed outright support for the invasion, it has used its propaganda networks to back Moscow’s narrative. Meanwhile, top Chinese and Russian officials have moved to solidify the “no-limits” partnership they declared in early February. General secretary Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin held a call this month, marking the construction of a new bridge between their two countries, during which they reiterated their support for the burgeoning geopolitical alignment.

National-security adviser Jake Sullivan said last month that the U.S. has no indications that Beijing has provided Russia with military equipment. A Finnish think tank, the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air, estimated on June 12 that Chinese imports of Russian oil since the outset of the conflict have amounted to $13 billion, making China the biggest consumer of the country’s oil exports. Previously, it was Germany. “While Germany cut back on purchases since the start of the war, China’s oil and gas imports from Russia rose in February and remained at a roughly constant level since,” the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission noted.

Official advisor Anton Gerashchenko tweeted incredible video of Ukrainian soldiers sweeping through fields, writing “this is how our fields are de-mined so that farmers can harvest crops.”  On Monday a Russian missile struck a mall in Kremenchuk, Ukraine, where over 1,000 civilians were inside.

“Almost two dozen people were still missing Tuesday one day after a Russian airstrike struck a Ukrainian shopping mall and killed 18 civilians inside…On top of the 18 dead and 21 people missing, Ukrainian Interior Minster Denis Monastyrsky said 59 were injured. Several of the dead were burned beyond recognition” reported the New York Post.

 

 

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