Joint Chiefs chairman to meet with Russian counterpart | Washington Examiner

America’s top general will meet with his Russian counterpart this week to discuss the state of military relations between the two countries. Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford is scheduled to meet with Valeriy Gerasimov, chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. The meeting is expected to take place on Thursday in Baku, Azerbaijan. The military leaders will discuss a variety of issues including the current state of U.S.-Russian military relations and the importance of consistent and clear military-to-military communication to prevent miscalculation and potential crises, according to a statement from Dunford’s office. In terms of the military-to-military relationships, the past few years have seen a series of close calls between ships and aircraft from the two countries. In the most recent incident, a Russian jet reportedly buzzed a U.S. Navy destroyer in the Black Sea this month in a move a U.S. official called unsafe and unprofessional.

Source: Joint Chiefs chairman to meet with Russian counterpart | Washington Examiner

Trump Tells Bill O’Reilly He “Respects” Putin | Vanity Fair

Donald Trump’s admiration of Vladimir Putin shows no sign of abating, even when the president is directly confronted with the Russian leader’s troubling history. In a new interview with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, Trump says that he “respects“ Putin, even though Putin is, in O’Reilly’s words, “a killer.” The full interview airs Sunday before the Super Bowl, but Fox News has posted a small preview snippet.

In the segment, O’Reilly asks Trump point-blank what he thinks of Putin, and Trump answers, “I say it’s better to get along with Russia than not, and if Russia helps us in the fight against ISIS, which is a major fight, and Islamic terrorism all over the world, major fight, that’s a good thing.”

Read Source: Trump Tells Bill O’Reilly He “Respects” Putin | Vanity Fair

Trump and Putin: A relationship where mutual admiration is headed toward reality – The Washington Post

U.S.-Russia ties may be in for surprises with the new administration, but opinions differ on what they will be.

Since Trump’s election, the anticipation has become more explicit. It culminated this week in the U.S. president-elect’s call for America to “move on” from allegations of Russian electoral hacking, and the Russian president’s blithe pronouncement Friday that he would rather plan for a new relationship with Trump than retaliate in kind to sanctions and expulsions ordered by outgoing President Obama.

“Great move on delay (by V. Putin),” Trump tweeted. “I always knew he was very smart!”

Source: Trump and Putin: A relationship where mutual admiration is headed toward reality – The Washington Post

Syria conflict: Turkey and Russia ‘agree ceasefire plan’ – BBC News

The Anadolu news agency cited an unnamed source as saying the two states were working to ensure the ceasefire would start after midnight (22:00 GMT).

“Terrorist organisations” would be excluded from the deal, the source added, without giving further details.

There was no immediate comment from the Syrian government or opposition.

Turkey and Russia have agreed the terms of a proposed ceasefire in Syria, Turkish state media say.

Source: Syria conflict: Turkey and Russia ‘agree ceasefire plan’ – BBC News

TASS: World – Obama vows to prove Russia’s involvement in US campaign hacks

The Russian president’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said earlier in the day that the US should “either stop talking or finally present some proof, otherwise it begins to look unseemly”

“We will provide evidence that we can safely provide, that does not compromise sources and methods. But I’ll be honest with you, when you’re talking about cybersecurity, a lot of it is classified and we are not going to provide it, because the way we catch folks is by knowing certain things about them that they don’t want us to know,” Obama said during his final press conference of the year, adding that the information has already been submitted to Congress leaders.

“The intelligence I’ve seen gives me great confidence in their assessment that the Russians carried out this hack – the hack of the DNC and the hack of John Podesta,” the president continued, referring to mass leaks that marred the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton.

The president added that there were no attempts to tamper with the voting and the vote count itself.

Source: TASS: World – Obama vows to prove Russia’s involvement in US campaign hacks

Donald Trump Suggests Russian Hacking Was a Public Service | Vanity Fair

In the middle of an ongoing debate over how the United States should respond to a series of alleged Russian cyber-attacks that U.S. intelligence agencies believe were part of a concerted campaign to undermine Hillary Clinton and disrupt the presidential election, Donald Trump took to Twitter early Friday morning to applaud the hacks, suggesting that they were a public service.

“Are we talking about the same cyberattack where it was revealed that the head of the DNC illegally gave Hillary questions to the debate?” Trump tweeted, referring to a leaked e-mail that showed interim Democratic National Committee chair Donna Brazile had informed Clinton campaign manager Jennifer Palmieri about one the questions that would be asked in an upcoming primary debate.

While Trump has repeatedly dismissed claims that the Kremlin meddled in the presidential race—characterizing it as “ridiculous” and “just another excuse”—President Barack Obama has vowed to retaliate against Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin, who is believed to have been directly involved in the hacking effort. “I think there is no doubt that when any foreign government tries to impact the integrity of our elections … we need to take action. And we will—at a time and place of our own choosing,” Obama said in an interview with NPR that will air on Friday. “Some of it may be explicit and publicized; some of it may not be.”

Source: Donald Trump Suggests Russian Hacking Was a Public Service | Vanity Fair

Here’s some questions Congress should ask about the election-related hacks | PCWorld

(Photo Matt Wade)

Members of congress are demanding answers over claims that Russia attempted to influence the U.S. presidential election with several high-profile hacks. U.S. intelligence agencies are confident that the Kremlin was involved, but incoming president Donald Trump remains skeptical.

What we don’t know, and what congress might hear in a classified briefing, is what additional evidence the FBI, CIA and the National Security Agency might have that makes a stronger case.

Source: Here’s some questions Congress should ask about the election-related hacks | PCWorld

Putin Shows Off Russia’s Embarrassing Aircraft Carrier – Bloomberg View

getty images

Breakdowns, plane crashes and just 25 latrines for 2,000 sailors.

I’ve written before on how Russian involvement in the war in Syria is about more than just propping up the Assad regime. President Vladimir Putin has also been putting on a demonstration of military might, both to enhance Russia’s status as a resurgent power and to show off all its new hardware to prospective international buyers.

And things had been going well: Ground-based Russian planes have been flying sorties at a highly efficient pace; warships in the Caspian Sea have hit targets in northern Syria with cruise missiles; one of Russia’s new T-90 tanks survived relatively unscathed after being hit by a U.S.-made TOW missile.

Source: Putin Shows Off Russia’s Embarrassing Aircraft Carrier – Bloomberg View

Suspected Russian Airstrikes Kill At Least 46 in Northwest Syria

Several suspected Russian airstrikes have killed at least 46 people in several areas of the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib, according to reports by U.K.-based monitoring group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).

The monitoring group estimated that at least three different sites were hit in Idlib and most of the casualties were civilians.

In the town of Kafr Nabl, at least 26 people—including three children—were killed, while another 18 people were killed in the nearby town of Maarat al-Numan.

Source: Suspected Russian Airstrikes Kill At Least 46 in Northwest Syria