Russia diplomacy redraws map
As Moscow grows increasingly isolated from the West, it is turning toward Asia and preparing to transfer large numbers of staff from its European to its Asian department.
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Based on their own observations and diplomatic contacts with Pyongyang, the Russian intelligence services expect North Korea to test an inter-continental ballistic missile before 20 September and possibly carry out a nuclear test subsequently in response to a recent South Korean-US military exercise.
Andrei Masalovich, a former communications security officer who has become a private open source intelligence expert for the Russian security apparatus, has made another trip to Southeast Asia, a highly strategic destination for Moscow.
The shadow of the unresolved conflict between Tokyo and Moscow over four islands in the Pacific has become a recurring theme in Russian-Japanese relations. This has led to a series of extremely high-profile public relations exercises by Moscow, which Washington is gradually becoming embroiled in.