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Indian Diplomat Finds Optimism in Trump-Putin Communiqué on April 1945 ‘Spirit of the Elbe’

April 29, 2020 (EIRNS)—Former Indian Ambassador to Turkey M.K. Bhadrakumar, a friend of Russia and an international relations analyst, in an April 26 article, “Trump and Putin Revisit the ‘Spirit of the Elbe,’ ” on his website, Indian Punchline, wrote: “The White House and the Kremlin upgraded their websites simultaneously to feature a joint statement by the two Presidents on ‘Commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the Meeting on the Elbe.’ It is both a symbolic and strategic gesture.” April 25, 1945—known as Elbe Day—stands out as a dazzling moment in Russian-American relationship in all modern history when soldiers of the Red Army 5th Guards commanded by Gen. Alexey Zhadov and the U.S. First Army of Gen. Courtenay Hodges embraced each other after meeting up at the famous German river near Torgau, Bhadrakumar observed.

The joint statement appeared on both the Kremlin and the White House websites on April 25. The short statement concluded:

“The ‘Spirit of the Elbe’ is an example of how our countries can put aside differences, build trust, and cooperate in pursuit of a greater cause. As we work today to confront the most important challenges of the 21st century, we pay tribute to the valor and courage of all those who fought together to defeat fascism. Their heroic feat will never be forgotten.”

Expressing his concern about the expiration of the New START arms control agreement between the two countries in February 2021, Bhadrakumar surmises:

“It is entirely conceivable that the Trump-Putin joint statement on Elbe anniversary signifies foreplay that may lead to an extension of the New START. In the past three weeks or so, Trump and Putin spoke to each other five times. Ostensibly, Trump made the first phone call to seek Putin’s help to cut oil production within the OPEC+ framework, but in no time the presidential exchanges extended to security issues.”

He also pointed out that Moscow is pragmatically moving, looking for a new norm in the relationship with Washington during Trump’s remaining term in office, which is only possible if the present U.S.-Russia confrontation ends.

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