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Press review: Kremlin clarifies use of nukes and Why Trump invited Russia to G7 summit

Top stories in the Russian press on Wednesday, June 3
US President Donald Trump  AP Photo/Patrick Semansky
US President Donald Trump
© AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

Kommersant: Kremlin clarifies conditions for the use of nuclear weapons

Russian President Vladimir Putin has endorsed the Fundamentals of Russia’s Nuclear Deterrence State Policy. The document, made available for public access for the first time, emphasizes that Moscow will only use nuclear weapons if Russia or its allies come under nuclear attack or if there is an attack involving conventional arms that "threatens the very existence of the state," Kommersant writes.

Meanwhile, the document also describes other situations where the Russian authorities could make a decision to use nuclear weapons, which particularly include reliable reports about the launch of ballistic missiles at Russia, the use of nukes and other weapons of mass destruction against Russia and its allies, attacks on Russia’s critical state and military infrastructure, as well as aggression involving conventional arms that poses a threat to the country’s existence.

According to PIR Center expert Andrei Baklitsky, these basic principles reaffirm the message that reports about missiles launched towards Russia can be reason enough for a retaliatory nuclear strike. "It seems, this is the first document of this kind that says Russia can conduct a retaliatory strike based on information from the early warning system," Senior Research Fellow at the UN Institute for Disarmament Research Pavel Podvig said.

Senior Researcher at the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Nikolai Sokov, in turn, pointed out that the publication of the document was aimed at achieving two goals. "The first goal is to make the defensive nature of Russia’s nuclear doctrine perfectly clear. The second goal is to boost the deterrence capability of Russia’s nuclear weapons, since the deterrence theory says that the clearer the terms of use are, the stronger the effect will be." "The document’s publication will hardly achieve both goals because it is impossible to convince those who are reluctant to listen to the voice of reason. However, there will be some positive impact," the expert added.


Izvestia: Trump’s G7 invitation to Russia new ploy to turn Moscow against China

Diplomats will soon start discussing the possibility of Russia's participation in the upcoming G7 summit. US President Donald Trump has said in a phone call with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that the United States, who is presiding over the G7 this year, plans to invite Russia, Australia, India and South Korea to attend the event. However, it is still unclear what Washington intends to discuss with them, Izvestia wrote.

According to Chairman of the Russian Federation Council’s Foreign Affairs Committee Konstantin Kosachev, "Trump’s initiative is not about bringing Russia back into the group, it is about inviting more countries as observers." "The G7 will make decisions and others will somehow certify the process," the senator added.

It is usual practice to invite countries to a summit, head of the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC) Andrey Kortunov pointed out. However, some G7 countries don’t want to see Russia at the meeting even in such a capacity because in their view, this sort of move would mean a concession to Moscow. It is also unclear why Russia should participate in a summit aimed against China given Moscow’s close relations with Beijing.

"Attempts to involve Russia in a fight against China are bound to fail. It is unclear what Moscow could gain from it," Kortunov noted. "Western countries haven’t put forward any practical proposals that Moscow would see as worthy of consideration. No one is offering to remove the sanctions, recognize Crimea’s reunification with Russia or ensure major investments in the Russian economy," the expert explained. This is why it is a fool’s errand to try to make Russia part of an anti-China front. Trump’s initiative, which has stirred up media interest, will likely lead to nothing, the expert concluded.


Nezavisimaya Gazeta: US military forces deployed to Washington DC to quell unrest

Military helicopters have been sent to the US capital of Washington DC to tackle the ongoing unrest. US military forces are taking part in efforts to quell street protests for the first time since 1992. This is how US President Donald Trump is carrying out his pledge to put an end to the riots sparked by the death of George Floyd, an African-American citizen who was murdered in the custody of Minneapolis police, Nezavisimaya Gazeta notes.

Military helicopters arrived in the US capital hours after Trump had told reporters that he was ready to use federal troops to end the unrest.

The US president has the right to use the army in the District of Columbia without the local authorities' consent. In all states, gubernatorial consent is necessary and practice shows that it is very difficult to get it. A governor that authorizes the deployment of federal troops is likely to put his or her political career at stake. Although the protests are descending into an orgy of violence in dozens of cities across the country, local authorities limit themselves to the use of police forces and the National Guard.

The last time US military forces were deployed to an American city was in 1992, when riots broke out in Los Angeles following the acquittal of police officers who had brutally beaten an African American man, Rodney King. At the time, local authorities had no other choice because dozens had been killed and National Guard forces were clearly failing to do their job. Now, these protests are raging on a larger scale, and several people have been killed. Furthermore, there are signs that the situation may get worse.

Senior Research Fellow at the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute for US and Canadian Studies Vladimir Vasilyev told the newspaper that the way people viewed the protests and methods to end them were closely related to the presidential election campaign.

"It is hard to say how the US public will react to the actions of law enforcement forces. However, historical experience shows that the unrest that took place after World War I, as well as the 1968 riots, which had been considered to be the most massive prior to the 1992 events in Los Angeles, clearly played into the hands of the Republicans who insisted on tough measures," the expert pointed out.


Nezavisimaya Gazeta: Trump may launch financial tsunami on China

The Chinese government is assessing the risks that could follow from Washington's possible move to cut the Asian powerhouse off from SWIFT and other systems that enable financial institutions to safely send and receive information on transactions. Washington threatens to punish China for its crackdown on Hong Kong's autonomy, in addition to its alleged concealment of coronavirus data and other sins, Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes.

Like most other countries, China relies on the US dollar as far as international payments, financial and investment activities go. In this regard, Hong Kong’s financial institutions often times serve as a gateway to China.

According to Francis Lui Ting-ming, a professor at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, the US may seek to intimidate Iran and Venezuela who don't have enough political and financial power but China is a big country with huge currency reserves, so the US will not dare to go to extremes. Besides, Washington needs Beijing to continue buying America’s ever-expanding debt, the professor added. In his opinion, China will step up efforts to turn the yuan into an international currency in response to US pressure.

Deputy Director of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of World Economy and International Relations Alexander Lomanov, in turn, pointed out that "the November US presidential election will become an important milestone in US-China relations." "Until then, Trump will talk a lot but do little. He won’t take any action that would cause the entire regional and global economy to collapse," the expert added.

When the trade war began in 2018, it became clear to Beijing that it needs to protect itself from US attacks, Lomanov went on to say. "For the past two years, the Chinese have been evaluating their weaknesses in all areas. No matter what turn the situation takes, China won’t be taken by surprise," the expert emphasized.


Izvestia: Russian ruble faces impact from central banks' measures, oil prices

The summer has brought good news for the Russian ruble as its rate on the Moscow Exchange exceeded 69 rubles per dollar compared to the 81-ruble level in March. There are several factors that have supported the Russian currency, said experts interviewed by Izvestia.

The global demand for risky assets is rising as the world’s leading economies are reopening, receiving government support and cheap liquidity from central banks, Sovkombank Chief Economist Kirill Sokolov explained. The ruble is strengthening also thanks to growing oil prices and the Russian Central Bank’s move to reduce the key rate, he added. According to Sokolov, Russia’s imports have declined amid the coronavirus lockdown, as well as the demand for foreign currency that people need for foreign trips, which has also positively influenced the ruble exchange rate along with the Finance Ministry’s foreign exchange interventions.

However, Chief Analyst at Alor Broker Alexei Antonov sees it as a realistic scenario that oil prices will start to fall and Russia will consequently face a huge budget deficit. According to him, since the economy has been weakened by the lockdown, the dollar exchange rate may reach the 90-100 ruble level by the end of the year.

The US, European and Russian markets will continue to grow in the coming months following the reopening of the global economy and the unprecedented stimulus measures that governments and central banks are taking, Sokolov argued. He added that a possible increase in tensions between the US and China, a potential second wave of the coronavirus in the fall, a deepening global recession and the November presidential election are the main threats that could prevent financial markets and the ruble from rising.


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