Russia / by Michelle Ryan

Following the recent removal of international sanctions against Iran, Russia has announced plans to expand military and economic cooperation between Moscow and Tehran, and publicly urged the United States to abandon its plans to station a missile shield system in Europe, as it is now obsolete. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also criticised the United States for not working in sync with Syria to fight against Islamic State. Despite receiving a rejection to its previous claim in 2001, Russia has announced plans this month to renew attempts to get the United Nations (UN) to recognise the Arctic shelf as Russian territory. Russia expressed concerns over NATO's decision to open a training centre in Georgia, citing that it upsets the current security order. On 26 August, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced his support of creating an anti-terrorist coalition at a joint media conference with Abdel el-Sisi. Reports of a Russian cyberattack against the Pentagon's Joint Staff unclassified email system appeared this month, alongside further news stories suggesting that Russian foreign spies have hacked into US databases to identify spies. Estonia announced wishes to construct a fence along its eastern border with Russia this month in an effort to protect its own security and the EU's Schengen zone. NASA's Commercial Crew Programme has extended its contract with the Russian Federal Space Agency this month, putting them in charge of astronaut transportation. According to reports issued by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the introduction of Western sanctions could result in an overall nine per cent loss in Russia's GDP. Russia's Economic Development Minister, Alexei Ulyukayev, announced this month that unless amendments to a free trade zone agreement between Ukraine and the EU are accepted, a Russian food embargo against Ukraine will come into effect on 1 January 2016.