TOP NEWS North Korea sidelines leader Kim’s right-hand man for Hanoi breakdown: South Korea lawmaker Reuters The Latest: EU regrets US decision on Iran sanctions AP Bad Cop, Mediator or Spoiler: Russia’s Role on the Korean Peninsula The Moscow Times – Alexander Gabuev East Asia North Korea leader Kim Jong Un in Russia for summit with Vladimir Putin CBS News4/24/2019 North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrived in Russia by train on Wednesday, a day before his much-anticipated summit with President Vladimir Putin. The visit comes as Kim’s recently-feverish diplomacy with the Trump administration, aimed at ridding the North Korean regime of its nuclear weapons, remains deadlocked. North Korea sidelines leader Kim’s right-hand man for Hanoi breakdown: South Korea lawmaker Reuters4/24/2019 North Korea has replaced Kim Jong Un’s right-hand man who steered nuclear talks with the United States, apparently blaming him for a failed summit between the two countries, a South Korean lawmaker said on Wednesday. Kim Yong Chol was removed as head of the United Front Department, the North Korean Workers’ Party apparatus that traditionally oversees ties with South Korea and increasingly with the United States, Yonhap news agency reported. Kim Jong Un in Russia for Putin Meeting Voice of America4/24/2019 Wearing a black fedora hat and matching dark overcoat, the smiling Kim was greeted by Russian officials and a military band Wednesday in the port city of Vladivostok. Kim Turns to Russia for Help as Sanctions Hurt North Korea’s Economy TIME4/24/2019 Two months after he failed to win a badly needed easing of sanctions from President Donald Trump, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is traveling to Russia in a possible attempt to win its help as the U.S.-led trade sanctions hurt his country’s already-struggling economy. South Asia Shifting Nuclear Sands in South Asia: Understanding India’s Counterforce Temptations The Diplomat4/23/2019 Political scientist Christopher Clary discusses issues pertaining to strategic stability in South Asia. Europe/Russia/FSU The Latest: EU regrets US decision on Iran sanctions AP4/24/2019 The European Union is criticizing the U.S. decision to impose sanctions on countries that buy Iranian oil and warns that the move could damage an international effort to stop Iran developing nuclear weapons. Threat of nuclear war ‘dangerously close’, parliamentary report warns The Independent4/24/2019 Lack of meaningful arms control agreements is risking the creation of an arms race and raising the possibility of nuclear weapons being used, according to a parliamentary report. Putin views launch of new submarine to carry nuclear drones Stars and Stripes4/23/2019 Russian President Vladimir Putin has watched the launch of a new submarine intended to carry prospective underwater nuclear drones — a doomsday weapon capable of causing a devastating tsunami. During Tuesday’s visit to a military shipyard in St. Petersburg, Putin viewed the departure of the Belgorod nuclear submarine at the Sevmash plant in Severodvinsk in northwestern Russia via a teleconference. Opinion/Analysis Bad Cop, Mediator or Spoiler: Russia’s Role on the Korean Peninsula The Moscow Times – Alexander Gabuev4/24/2019 The summit between Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in the Russian city of Vladivostok brings Moscow back into the diplomatic game focused on the Korean Peninsula. This symbolic breakthrough aside, however, Russia doesn’t have a very strong hand among all the global and regional powers involved in the crisis resolution.