Russia / by Michelle Ryan

In a response to the alleged hacking of the United States (US) election in November, US President Barrack Obama expelled 35 suspected Russian intelligence operatives as well as imposed sanctions on two of Russia’s leading intelligence services. Mevlut Mert Altintas, a Turkish police officer, gunned down the Russian ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov on 19 December. Russia, Turkey, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and opposition groups reached an agreement regarding a ceasefire on 27 December, with peace talks promised to occur within the month. Russia, in a statement to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on 18 December, stated it will veto any effort made by the United Nations Security Council to oversee the evacuation of civilians from Eastern Aleppo. The Russian Coast Guard mounts a search and rescue mission regarding a Russian military transport airliner that crashed on 26 December. Russia and Japan, on 16 December, have announced a new bilateral trade deal that is valued at $2.5 billion. The European Union (EU) voted in favour of an extension of Russian sanctions until mid-2017 following a failure to meet the conditions of the Minsk Peace Deal, laid out in 2014. A representative of the Russian Economic Ministry stated that it was the ministry’s expected crude oil would value at around $53 per barrel by the end of December.

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