U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin discussed a wide range of topics in a telephone conversation on May 3 — their first contact since the G20 summit in Argentina last year.
The topics included nuclear arms control, Venezuela, Ukraine, North Korea, and Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on his investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign.
Trump, speaking to reporters as he met in the Oval Office with Slovak Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini, said, “We’re talking about a nuclear agreement where we make less and they make less and maybe where we get rid of some of the tremendous firepower that we have right now.”
Trump said China during trade talks had “felt very strongly” about joining the United States and Russia in limiting nuclear arms. House spokesperson Sarah Sanders said President Donald Trump spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin for more than an hour Friday
The leaders discussed “very, very briefly” about the Mueller report, Sanders said. But she dodged a question about whether they had discussed Russian election interference.
REPORTER: Mr President did you address the election meddling issues that came up in ‘The Mueller Investigation Report’ with Mr Putin today?
TRUMP: We discussed the …, actually the..er; he sort of smiled and said ‘it started off as a mountain, ended up a mouse.’
Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa kicked off the new year January travelling to some five East European countries.
The president’s spokesperson George Charamba defended the trip saying
‘the whole idea is to put Zimbabwe firmly on the map.’
Charamba said at the time Mnangagwa would travel to Russia, Belarus, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan in space of a week and would also attend the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, later that month.
Lest next time we hear Zimbabwean President in Damascus, or Kabul.
“The whole idea is to put Zimbabwe firmly on the map so we leave behind us the dark days when we were perceived as a pariah state. In all our interactions, we are putting in the forefront the need to attract and secure investments as well as co-operation in order to grow and transform our economy …”
And then sanctions would disappear in a flash!
While in Russia Zimbabwean president Emmerson Mnangagwa asked for guidance from his Russian counterpart to help surmount his country’s mounting economic challenges.
Your Excellency, when we last met in Johannesburg at the BRICS summit, we did not have much opportunity to exchange views on our respective relations, but I believe this is an opportunity that is given to me to articulate the challenges that my country is facing. Zimbabwe has been suffering from sanctions imposed by the West for nearly two decades, and we are now doing our best to reengage after the new disposition has come into effect; and during our days of isolation, you stood by us.
Your Excellency, I have come with many issues I would want to discuss with Your Excellency, in particular, in the area of economic cooperation, because the area of political relations is solid and is very historical … Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa
Referring to Putin as a senior brother, Mnangagwa said he particularly looked up to the Russian leader for economic direction.
“Your Excellency, I would wish that we now attend to deepening economic cooperation between our countries, and our country is developing – it is a third-world country – so that you, as a senior brother, can hold my hand as I try to develop Zimbabwe,” he said.
Aah! In the beginning, Mrs Mnangagwa charmed all and sundry with her ‘compassion’ – visiting patients in hospitals in Matabeleland; Masvingo, Binga, Manicaland and Mashonaland. We all thought gone is ‘Graceland Gucci‘ and ahoy ‘mother of the nation‘, but lo and behold.
What has she done again now?
She flew from Dubai on a private jet.
She did this fast on the heels of Cyclone Idai that trashed property and claimed 344 lives.
First lady Auxillia Mnangagwa was flown back home to Zimbabwe by a chartered private jet.
Mrs Mnangagwa attended a meeting of the Merck Foundation in Dubai that tackled the stigmatisation of women with infertility problems, together with 10 other first ladies.
She told reporters travelling with her that the charity had pledged to open fertility clinics in Zimbabwe, and train doctors on women’s reproductive health.
The first lady landed at the Robert Mugabe International Airport aboard a luxuriously-fitted Airbus A318-112(CJ) Elite, previously used by her husband President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
The Airbus, with registration A6-CAS, is owned by Constellation Aviation of Dubai. It flew back to its base on Tuesday.
President Mnangagwa last flew the same plane after it was hired from Dubai to take him from Harare to Bulawayo and back, drawing sharp criticism from Zimbabweans who questioned the Zanu PF leader’s costly affinity for private jets.
Mnangagwa’s spokesman George Charamba, justifying the 76-year-old’s 30 foreign trips in 15 months since taking power in a military coup in 2017, said “diplomacy does not come cheap”.
Said Charamba: “You ask me who is footing the bill for the president? Well, who is flying in this case? The president, right? So who do you want to foot the bill? It’s government because he’s not travelling for his personal business. This is what international engagements come with.
“We would want to be part of the global village and we have to carry the cost. I often hear people say this and that, but if we want that global presence, the state has to meet the cost that this comes along with.”
|CRIMSON TAZVINZWA, AIWA! NO!|Russia tested a new hypersonic glide missile system today under direct orders from President Vladimir Putin, according to reports from Russian state media. The new system, called the Avangard, utilizes an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) and a hypersonic glide vehicle and is supposed to travel at roughly five times the speed of sound.
The newly designed system, which Russia claims can circumvent all existing missile defense systems in the world, reportedly hit a target at the Kura Missile Test range in the extremely isolated town of Kamchatka in Russia’s far east.
Boris Obnosov, general director of the Tactical Missile Systems Corporation said “In my estimation, the first hypersonic products [Russian hypersonic missile] should appear … in this decade — before 2020. He said the russian hypersonic missile would have speeds of up to six to eight Mach. Achieving higher speeds is a long term perspective,” Obnosov told journalists at the Airshow China-2014 space exhibition.NEXT BIG FUTURE
“Putin arrived at the National Defense Control Center and gave the command to start the tests,” the Kremlin’s press office said, according to Russian state propaganda outlet Sputnik. “The launch was conducted by combat troops of the Strategic Missile Forces from the Dombarovsky launch facility.”
Update: Russian propaganda channel RT just ran a segment on the Avangard test which appears to include actual footage of the missile launch.
The new weapons system, if it works as advertised, would indeed be too nimble for all known anti-missile defense systems. The question is whether it really does work as well as Russia says. According to American experts, once the hypersonic glide vehicle is launched it’s unable to survive the tremendous heat it must endure for re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere.
The Avangard was first announced in March 2018 during President Putin’s annual address to the Federal Assembly, but all we got were animationsshowing what the system could allegedly do. Those animations also showed the simulated nuking of Florida, it should be noted.
As reported Oliver Carroll pointed out on Twitter, Russian media had more recently claimed success with the missile system and insisted that it was ready to be deployed. President Putin claimed on June 7 that, “the Avangard system is already in the process of its manufacture and has entered its serial production and in 2019 we are planning to deliver it to the Armed Forces.”An animation created by the Russian government showing how the new Avangard weapons system is supposed to evade anti-missile defensesGIF: Sputnik
But the U.S. military isn’t necessarily buying it.
“Obviously, Russian attempts to develop high-tech weaponry is something we watch closely. To this point, however, we’ve seen more grandiose claims of success than actual proof,” Defense Department spokesman Eric Pahon told CNBC when asked about the new system back in October. “We are continuing to develop our own defensive capabilities and improve readiness for both ourselves and our allies to counter any threats the Russians may develop.”
All of this posturing and talk of new weapons systems is being done as the United States and Russia spar over the future of the INF Treaty. That treaty bans the deployment of newly developed intermediate-range nuclear weapons that can travel anywhere between 310 miles and 3,400 miles (500km and 5,500km). The U.S. State Department announced on December 4 that Russia was allegedly in violation of the landmark 1987 treaty and that the U.S. would be unilaterally pulling out in 60 days. We’re getting close to the halfway mark for that threat, of course.
|CRIMSON TAZVINZWA, AIWA! NO!|At multiple events in 2016 and 2017, Donald Trump insisted, “I have nothing to do with Russia” and “I have no deals in Russia.” Following Michael Cohen’s plea deal Thursday about the Trump Tower Moscow project, the president told reporters, “Everybody knew about it.”
WARNING: Trump means the exact opposite of what he tries to say, what is heard and understood …
November 2018: “I have nothing to with Russia, I have nothing to do with Russia. And even — for anything. What do I have to do with Russia? You know the closest I came to Russia, I bought a house a number of years ago in Palm Beach, Florida. Palm Beach is a very expensive place. There was a man who went bankrupt, and I bought the house for $40 million and I sold it to a Russian for $100 million including brokerage commissions. So I sold it. So I bought it for 40, I told it for 100 to a Russian. That was a number of years ago.”
October 2016: “What do I know about the Russians? What do I know about the Russians? Then they said he borrows money from – I don’t borrow money from the Russians. I promise you I’ve never made – I don’t have any deals with Russia. I had Miss Universe there a couple of years ago other than that no. I had nothing to do.”
February 2017: “And I can tell you, speaking for myself, I own nothing in Russia. I have no loans in Russia. I don’t have any deals in Russia. President Putin called me up very nicely to congratulate me on the win of the election. He then, called me up extremely nicely to congratulate me on the inauguration, which was terrific. But so did many other leaders, almost all other leaders from almost all of the country. So that’s the extent.”
As said before President Trump means the exact opposite of what is heard and understood.
On Thursday, after Michael D. Cohen revealed new information about the Trump Organization’s business dealings with Russia, President Trump called his former personal lawyer a liar.
“He is a weak person,” Mr. Trump told reporters at the White House. He added: “Very simply, Michael Cohen is lying.” He was referring to Mr. Cohen pleading guilty to lying to Congress about a real estate deal to build a tower in Moscow.