Russia says NATO talks ‘unsuccessful’ as Poland warns of war
Discussions this week between Moscow and the West have not yet led to a narrowing of differences [Olivier Hoslet/Pool via Reuters]
Russia considers this week’s security talks with NATO and the United States to be unsuccessful as they fail to produce concrete results. The talks center on Russia’s buildup of troops along its border with Ukraine and the security demands it has made of the West. The military movements have led to calls for Russia to pull back its forces as well as threats should it attack Ukraine, though Moscow has stated that it has no plans to invade. The Russian annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in 2014 and its continued backing of seperatist forces in the eastern part of the country further heighten tensions. The list of security demands made by the Russian government include legally-binding promises that Ukraine will never be allowed to join NATO as well as promises for it to pull back forces from former Communist states that joined after the Cold War. While the US and NATO have strongly rejected both proposals they are open to continuing diplomatic talks with Russia regarding missiles, arms control, and other issues where compromise is a possibility.
Australian court to decide if Djokovic plays in the Open or leaves the country
Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic departs the Park Hotel while under immigration detention, to convene with his legal team after his visa to play in the Australian Open was cancelled a second time, in Melbourne, Australia, January 16, 2022. REUTERS/Loren Elliott
Tennis star Novak Djokovic is facing an 11th-hour court hearing this Sunday, January 16th, to determine if he must leave the country or if he will be able to defend his Australian Open title. This major controversy arises following days of drama over the star player being unvaccinated and trying to enter the country with a medical exemption despite Australia’s strict COVID-19 entry requirements. After making it into the country, Djokovic’s visa was suspended and he was restrained to a hotel. Court Documents released after Saturday’s initial hearing show that Immigration Minister Alex Hawke justified suspending the visa under the argument that Djokovic’s presence could create more anti-vaccination sentiment as the country is in the midst of its worst outbreak. Djokovic’s lawyer plans to combat this by arguing that deportation would create more anti-vaccine sentiment and therefore pose a greater risk than letting him stay. A dozen refugee activists gathered on Saturday in front of the hotel where Djokovic as well as asylum-seekers and other travellers in COVID-19 quarantine are being forced to reside, chanting, "stop the torture ... let them out."
China launches cooperation deal with Iran, rebukes US unilateral sanctions
On Friday, the Foreign Ministers of China and Iran met to announce a new twenty-five year cooperation deal between the two countries. This deal, signed last March, establishes a partnership between the two countries in areas such as health care, infrastructure, cybersecurity, and agriculture. China’s multi trillion dollar is also involved in an attempt to further partnership with other nations. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has also stated his support for the resumption of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, though he did criticize the US for imposing unilateral sanctions against the country. This condemnation may be related to the sanctions the US has placed on China as well as its boycott of the upcoming 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. The international community continues talks to renegotiate the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action deal, without the US getting directly involved. Earlier this week, over 100 Republicans wrote a letter urging Secretary of State Antony Blinken to end the ongoing entanglement as, “there is no productive diplomatic path forward at this time.”