Violence as G20 meets in Hamburg
World leaders met in Hamburg on July 7-8 to discuss climate change, trade and global security. The Trump-Putin meeting was supposed to be the biggest attraction.
However, just a couple of hours before G20 summit, violent anti-capitalist protests erupted in the streets of Hamburg. The protesters, some left-wing radicals, clashed with riot police which used water-cannons and tear gas. Protesters caused severe damage to property as they set several cars on fire and smashed shop windows. There were many injuries amongst the protesters and police. The riots also managed to obstruct some meetings of the G20.
BREAKING: 1000s of protesters and police clashing outside G20 in Hamburg; protesters fleeing over wall. https://t.co/36dwuHKNcu
— NBC Nightly News (@NBCNightlyNews) July 6, 2017
Putin plays his weak card strong but the US vows to keep Russia sanctions
Right before the start of the G20 summit and the Trump-Putin meeting Russia annexed a big part of Georgian territory on the de facto border between South Ossetia and Georgia proper. The annexation of about 10 hectares went largely unnoticed by most of the international community for several days. The one official who did notice was former US ambassador to NATO Kurt Volkner in an interview for BBC Radio 4. On the very same day Volkner, who is considered a Russia hawk, was tapped as a special representative to Ukraine. The move might signal stronger US stance on Russia.
Meanwhile, Russian MFA Lavrov met with his de facto counterpart from South Ossetia:
— MFA Russia 🇷🇺 (@mfa_russia) July 10, 2017
In a meeting on July 8 US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reassured Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko that the US will not lift economic sanctions against Russia. The sanctions stay until Moscow “reverses the actions” that prompted them and restores Ukraine’s “territorial integrity”. It seems the current administration follows-up Obama’s rhetoric on Ukraine.
Sanctions were not discussed at my meeting with President Putin. Nothing will be done until the Ukrainian & Syrian problems are solved!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 9, 2017
Cyber attack disrupts life in Ukraine
A major cyber-attack hit Ukraine on June 27, crippling government institutions; the main airport; the state power distributor and banks. The malware encrypted the hard disks of affected machines, effectively destroying the stored data. Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) identified it as a modified Petya virus and it has linked Russian Special Services to the attack. The SBU said its goal was to destabilise the social and political situation in the country.
— Christopher Miller (@ChristopherJM) June 27, 2017
The malware was supposedly linked to a new update of the Ukrainian tax software MEDoc. It has affected other companies all around the world, but 80 % of the infections were in Ukraine. The outbreak was the latest in a series of cyber-attacks targeting Ukraine. Ukrainian officials were quick to blame Russia as a source of the attack although some Russian companies were also affected.
Tension with North Korean nuclear program rises
On July 4, North Korea successfully tested an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). It said that its Hwasong-14 missile had reached an altitude of 2,802 km and flew 933 km for 39 minutes before hitting a target in the Sea of Japan.
North Korea has just launched another missile. Does this guy have anything better to do with his life? Hard to believe that South Korea…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 4, 2017
According to Pyongyang, the same missile can reach a target “anywhere in the world”. The UN held an emergency meeting following test. The US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley stated that America will use its “considerable military forces” if no diplomatic solution is reached. Russia and China propose a deal that would halt the North Korean weapons program but it requires the US to stop deploying the missile shield in South Korea and end military exercises with the country.
STRATPOL Memos is a project which on a biweekly basis provides short overview of the most important selected moments of Euro-Atlantic security and related areas. Our goal is to provide brief and informative comments with short analysis putting news into broader context.
Responsible editor Ondřej Zacha.
Text has not undergone language revision.