In a speech March 9 at the Atlantic Council, US Department of Treasury Undersecretary Sigal Mandelker, the Trump administration's top sanctions official, confirmed that new Russia sanctions are being prepared, and suggested that they would target members of Russian President Vladimir Putin's power structure.

This was just one of the items covered in a half-day conference hosted by the Atlantic Council's Sanctions Initiative. The event convened policy makers, sanctions veterans of previous US administrations, experts, foreign diplomats, and business representatives.
British Prime Minister Theresa May is entrapped in a maze of blind alleys, self-delusion, and bitter divisions over the United Kingdom’s future relationship with the rest of the European Union (EU) after Britain is due to leave the EU in just over a year’s time—at precisely 11:00 p.m. on March 29, 2019.

She will try to grope her way forward in a major speech on March 2, even though she is still far from finding solutions likely to prove satisfactory to her governing Conservative Party, to Parliament, or to British voters—let alone to the EU itself.
US President Donald J. Trump on February 23 announced that his administration has imposed what he described as the "largest-ever" set of new sanctions on North Korea.

The US Treasury Department later announced measures to cut off sources of revenue and fuel that have helped North Korea advance its nuclear program. Treasury said the action was "the largest North Korea-related sanctions tranche to date, aimed at disrupting North Korean shipping and trading companies and vessels to further isolate the regime and advance the US maximum pressure campaign."
Ksenia Sobchak sees a “big double standard” in fellow Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s criticism of her decision to stand in the presidential elections in Russia on March 18.

In December of 2017, Russia’s Central Electoral Commission determined that Navalny was ineligible to participate in the presidential election citing a sham corruption conviction.
Thirteen Russians and three Russian entities have been indicted by a grand jury for interfering in the US presidential elections in 2016, US Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office said on February 16.

The thirty-seven-page indictment alleges that Russians’ operations “included supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald J. Trump...and disparaging Hillary Clinton,” Trump’s Democratic opponent, according to the Guardian.

Atlantic Council analysts discuss agreement that could end political uncertainty in Germany

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on February 7 moved a step closer to forming a coalition government that would include her conservative Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) and the center-left Social Democrats (SPD).

But first, more than 460,000 members of the SPD will need to approve the coalition agreement in a postal ballot. The results will be announced on March 4.

Approval of the deal would end more than four months of political wrangling that have followed an inconclusive election in September and keep Merkel at the helm for a fourth term as chancellor.
On February 1 Poland’s Senate passed a controversial bill that would make it illegal to blame Poles for crimes committed by Nazi Germany. Violations would be punished by fines or prison sentences up to three years.

Polish President Andrzej Duda has previously said that he will consider signing the measure into law. That would risk a rupture in Poland’s ties with Israel and the United States.
The US Treasury Department’s decision not to slap sanctions on Russian oligarchs and officials, some with ties to the Kremlin, is a missed opportunity to check Russian aggression, according to the Atlantic Council’s Daniel Fried.

“I think the [Trump] administration missed an opportunity [on January 29] to extend the use of sanctions to Russia’s aggressive behavior,” Fried, a distinguished fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Future Europe Initiative and Eurasia Center, and formerly the State Department’s coordinator on sanctions policy, said in a phone briefing hosted by the Council on January 30.

However, he said, if a classified Treasury list of Russian officials is “credible and strong” then “its existence may have some deterrent value, but the administration then needs to work on its messaging to make sure that this is understood.”
The apparent lack of US preparation and defense nearly eighteen months after Russia’s interference in the presidential elections, especially given numerous media reports that Russia aims to interfere in the 2018 US midterm elections, is deeply troubling. We are heartened that Congress has taken up leadership to defend the US electoral process. But notwithstanding its good intent and timeliness, the Defending Elections from Threats by Establishing Redlines (DETER) Act of 2018, recently introduced by Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), is pursuing the right thing in the wrong way. 
The SPD’s upcoming vote on the future of coalition negotiations government will not only dictate the trajectory of the country’s politics, but could have serious ramifications for the future of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

For a brief moment on January 21, all eyes in German politics will shift from Berlin to Bonn. In the predicted cliffhanger vote at a special party conference in Germany’s former capital, the Social Democrats (SPD) will decide whether to begin coalition negotiations with Merkel’s Christian Democrat bloc (CDU/CSU). If delegates approve a preliminary deal reached on January 12, detailed coalition talks could start in earnest, wrap up in a few weeks, and allow the next German government to take office by Easter.