Reflections

Russia Reprises a Familiar Role

Apr 27, 2017 | 00:05 GMT
Moscow will never be the deciding factor in the North Korea issue. But it can act as a spoiler, a position that it could use to try to get negotiations with Tokyo back on track.
The situation in North Korea is bound to be a key topic of discussion when Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) meets with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on April 27. It will also give Moscow an opportunity to try to improve its relations with Tokyo.
(TOMOHIRO OHSUMI/AFP/Getty Images)

As relations between Russia and the United States continue to sour, Moscow is trying its luck with other world powers. Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday, before German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan head to Russia next week. Then Putin will travel to China during the week of May 8. Moscow is apparently trying to touch base with the major powers in its periphery -- among them some of Washington's biggest allies and adversaries -- in anticipation of Putin's first sit-down with U.S. President Donald Trump, expected this summer. In the meantime, Russia is actively engaged in several high-profile issues, from the conflict in Syria to alleged meddling in foreign elections to the brewing crisis in North Korea. The latter will likely serve as a key topic of conversation between Putin and Abe and a chance for Russia to curry favor with Japan....

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