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Russia

How Russia Returned To Center Stage In The Middle East

As Trump leads a U.S. retreat from the region, Russia has methodically moved back into a position of influence that it had in Soviet times.

Worker at a Gazprom plant
Worker at a Gazprom plant
Marianna Belenkaya and Elizabeth Naumova

MOSCOW — After the collapse of the USSR, Moscow's influence in the Middle East was suddenly stuck at zero. On paper, Russia remained a co-sponsor of a Middle East diplomatic framework, alongside the United States, but nothing tangible remained of that status. Russia's absence at the summit on the settlement in Egypt's Sharm el-Sheikh in October 2000, at the height of the Palestinian intifada, was a symbolic bottom.

Nineteen years later, the U.S. called on a resurgent Russia to take part in the Middle East Summit in February 2019 in Warsaw, aimed at building a new system of relations in the region: from the economy to security. From a position of power, Russia chose to not attend the summit, along with representatives from Iran, Lebanon and Palestine.

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Two Ukrainian soldiers at a military base on the outskirts of the separatist region of Donetsk

Lisa Berdet, Lila Paulou, Anne-Sophie Goninet and Bertrand Hauger

👋 Halito!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where the first war crimes trial against a Russian soldier since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine gets underway in Kyiv, Kim Jong-un slams North Korean officials’ response to the coronavirus outbreak and Mexico’s National Registry of Missing People reaches a grim milestone. Meanwhile, Ukrainian news outlet Livy Bereg looks at the rise of ethnic separatism across Russia’s federal regions.

[*Choctaw, Native American]

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