Anybody notice how aggressive Russia has been getting lately?

U.S.-Russia relations have always been somewhat fraught, but in the age of weak Joe Biden, they're getting ugly.

Two incidents leaped out, the first, from The Hill:

Russia has denied a request from the United States for a consular visit to jailed Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who was detained last month on charges of espionage. 

The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it rejected a U.S. request for a May 11 visit in response to the U.S. not granting visas to Russian journalists who wanted to join Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to the United Nations. 

“The U.S. Embassy was informed in this connection that its request for consular access to U.S. citizen Gershkovich, detained on suspicion of espionage, on May 11 was declined,” the ministry said. 

The second, from Business Insider (hat tip: Instapundit):

mysterious Russian satellite and a confidential US military satellite appear to be engaged in a cat-and-mouse chase through space.

The Russian spacecraft, called Kosmos-2558, was launched into the same orbital plane as the US satellite, called USA-326, in August 2022 and has regularly passed close to the American spacecraft ever since.

The behavior of Kosmos-2558, and the lack of a formal explanation from Russia, has led space observers to believe that the probe is stalking USA-326. It's at least the third satellite Russia has launched that appears to be an "inspector" — a spacecraft aiming to gather up-close data on another satellite.

So they're spitefully leaving that poor kid in prison without so much as a U.S. consular visit, let alone contact with his family, as he awaits trial on phony, trumped-up espionage charges, all for writing critically of the Putin regime in a newspaper most Russians can't read anyway. They don't care if they're cruel.

The trigger point was Joe Biden's floppy bid to use leverage against the Russians on this matter, denying visas to a few Russian reporters on the grounds that Gershkovich is unjustly detained. Instead of getting a constructive reaction from the Russians, which was rather far-fetched to imagine would happen given that the Russians can hire freelancers stateside to do the coverage, the Russians slapped back harder, denying the U.S. reporter any consular visit whatsoever, which is bound to leave him feeling abandoned and alone. And the language used was harsh:  

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Sunday said Moscow "will not forgive" Washington for denying U.S. visas to Russian journalists meant to accompany him on a visit to UN headquarters.

"We won't forget, we will not forgive this," said Lavrov, who will chair several UN Security Council meetings in New York. 

Russia took up the presidency of the UN Security Council in April despite the Ukraine offensive, which Kyiv said was "a slap in the face."

Lavrov denounced a "stupid" failure of the United States to give visas to Russian journalists.

"A country that calls itself the strongest, smartest, freest and fairest, chickened out," Lavrov said.

They don't sound as though they're in any mood to negotiate with fools.

It calls to light the wretched fact that Joe Biden doesn't have much left to trade with with the Russians to get the kid out of their clutches. Biden has already traded notorious arms dealer Viktor Bout for a basketball star, Brittney Griner, so he's pretty much out of hostage-exchange material for Gershkovich. Now his minions are trying visa leverage, as if something like that would impress the Russians. No hardball for Biden, no counterhostage-taking, no other means of reading them the Riot Act. Just a few denied visas.

The Russians can see that Biden's hand is weak, and they're responding as one might expect of a such a state.

It gets no better on the military front, where a Russian satellite is now chasing around one of our spy satellites in space, taking pictures and inspecting closely, much as the China balloon did to U.S. installations on the ground.

Any muscular response from Joe Biden on that? Not that we have heard.

It all follows from Lavrov's successful visit to Latin America -- to Brazil and other places, where he was praised and feted, despite his country's war on Ukraine, while the U.S. appeared increasingly isolated.

We haven't seen this kind of hostility from the Russians in awhile, perhaps not since the coldest days in the Cold War, back when the NKVD was doing its 'wet ops.' There's a growing hostility in their tone and actions and the Bidenites don't seem to know how to handle it, at least not in a way that projects strength. It's singularly inept in all of its responses, and that seems to be making them meaner. This won't end well. Russians respect strength. Biden doesn't project even a hint of that in his dealings and the results speak for themselves.

Image: Screen shot from USAToday video, via YouTube

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