US - Russia

Chronology from Apr 2003 to Jul 2003

: Japanese FM Kawaguchi travels to Vladivostok and meets with Russian Deputy PM Viktor Khristenko.  She stresses Japan’s desire for oil pipeline to the Pacific port of Nakhodka.

: The U.S. firm Exxon-Mobil announces two contracts with a value of $400-600 million are awarded to two Russian firms, which will transport Sakhalin oil and gas to Japan and South Korea.

: The Indian Navy takes possession of the INS Talwar, a 4,000-metric ton Krivak-class frigate, first of three Russian-built warships that boast “stealth-type” technology.

: Russian FM Ivanov launches a trip across Asia, including to India, Pakistan, and Cambodia, as part of Moscow’s “Look East” policy.

: Poll finds that most Russians dislike George Bush. Sixty percent of respondents said they disliked the U.S. president, and only 17 percent held the opposite view.

: Bush and Putin meet at the St. Petersburg summit to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the founding of Russia’s “northern capital.” Putin also meets with other world leaders including Chinese President Hu Jintao and Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro.

: The U.S. Department of Energy announces a $466 million deal to build two coal-burning power plants for Russia in return for a Russian promise to close three plutonium-producing reactors considered among the most dangerous in the world.

: President Putin sends a note to President Bush saying that Russia is interested in expanding cooperation with the United States.  The note is delivered to Bush in Washington by visiting DM Ivanov, who also holds talks with Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, and with National Security Adviser Rice. During his meetings Ivanov hints at U.S.-Russian cooperation on an ABM system.

: The Duma ratifies a landmark nuclear deal with the U.S. that slashes nuclear arsenals by two-thirds. The U.S. Senate approved the accord in March but the Duma postponed its vote amid criticism of the U.S. war in Iraq.

: To defuse tensions between the U.S. and Russia, Secretary Powell travels to Moscow to meet President Putin.

: In a bid to increase pressure on Iran and North Korea to abandon their nuclear ambitions, U.S. Under Secretary of State John R. Bolton travels to Moscow to meet with key Russian officials.

: Russian warships pass through the Suez Canal for the first time in 15 years to take part in exercises with the Indian Navy in the Indian Ocean.  The maneuvers are Russia’s first joint naval exercises with India.

: Russian Deputy Prime Minister and Agricultural Minister Alexei Gordeyev arrives in Washington to meet with U.S. leaders in hopes of ending friction over Moscow’s opposition to the U.S.-led war on Iraq.  Besides meeting with U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, Gordeyev meets with Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman to discuss U.S. exports of chicken products to Russia.

: Russia announces that a U.S. “spy” submarine has been detected near the coast of the Kamchatka Peninsula.  The headquarters of the Russian Northeastern Forces says that a Los Angeles-class submarine had been following the Northeastern Forces’ exercises when it was detected in Avachinsky Bay.

: During a visit by Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri, Indonesia’s military chief Gen. Endriartono Sutarto announces that his country is planning to buy 48 Sukhoi fighter jets from Russia. Jakarta promises to purchase an initial batch of two long-range Su-27s and two Su-30s for delivery this year and at least another 44 planes over the next four years.

: Russia announces that it will back a $4.5 billion oil pipeline project to boost crude oil exports to the U.S. The government orders a feasibility study of the pipeline (from west Siberia to the northern city of Murmansk), which is scheduled to be commissioned in 2007-2009.

: Russia announces that it is withdrawing peacekeeping contingents from Kosovo and from Bosnia-Hercegovina, citing the end of the mission and a lack of funding.

: Thousands demonstrate outside the U.S. Embassy in Moscow against the war in Iraq. Compared to demonstrations against the war in Yugoslavia in 1999, passions are mostly calm and the crowd, estimated between 30,000 and 50,000, is far smaller than organizers expected.

: U.S. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice holds talks with Russian President Putin in Moscow. Rice also meets with presidential chief of staff Alexander Voloshin, Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, and Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov.

: A convoy of Russian diplomats and journalists evacuating Baghdad comes under fire from U.S. forces.  Several are wounded. Media reports claim that Washington had asked the diplomats to leave on suspicion that they had aided Iraqi forces.

: Supreme Mufti Talgat Tadzhuddin of Russia announces that his organization (representing all practicing Muslims in Russia) has declared jihad, against the United States and would raise money to “buy weapons for fighting America and food for the people of Iraq.” Tadzhuddin is warned that his call for a holy war against the U.S. was illegal and he will be prosecuted if he repeats it.

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