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EU eases sanctions on Russian oil exports

Bangladesh Beyond
  • Updated on Sunday, July 24, 2022
  • 281 Impressed

EU eases sanctions on Russian oil exports

 

 

Dhaka July 24 2022 :

 

Inside Russia : Outside Russia : News Digest by the Embassy of Russian Federation in Bangladesh on 24.7.2022.

 

INSIDE RUSSIA

Lavrov to Hold Talks With Egyptian Leadership Sunday – Zakharova

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has arrived in the Egyptian capital of Cairo, where he is expected to hold talks with Egypt’s leadership.

A Sputnik correspondent reported late on Saturday night that Lavrov was already in Cairo. The trip is part of the Russian foreign minister’s Africa tour, during which he is also scheduled to visit Ethiopia, Uganda and the Republic of the Congo.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Saturday that Lavrov was expected to meet with the Egyptian leadership on Sunday.

“Tomorrow he will hold talks with the Egyptian leadership. With a visit to this friendly country, the Russian foreign minister is beginning the African tour,” Zakharova said on Telegram.

Lavrov’s five-day tour will take place following a landmark event for the region. On Friday, representatives of Russia, Turkey, and Ukraine signed a UN-brokered deal that lifted restrictions on the supplies of Russian products for export and provided for Moscow’s assistance in exporting Ukrainian grain.

Lavrov told African media in an article published by the Russian Foreign Ministry on Friday, ahead of his tour, that Russia will continue to fulfill its obligations to supply food, fertilizer and energy to African countries, despite Western sanctions.

The previous big tour of the Russian foreign minister to Africa took place in 2018. Then, the country’s top diplomat visited Angola, Namibia, Mozambique, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe.

 

Russia-Syrian Expedition to Ancient City of Palmyra to Be Held in Autumn – Hermitage Chief

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Damascus and Moscow will undertake a joint expedition to the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra this autumn, with specialists scheduled to study the structure of the local Arch of Triumph to restore the monument, Mikhail Piotrovsky, the director of Russia’s State Hermitage Museum, said on Saturday.

“This fall, the Institute for the History of Material Culture of the Russian Academy of Sciences will carry out excavations [in Palmyra] together with the Syrians. The Russian-Syrian expedition will establish all the details of the structure of the arch, and then proposals will be made for possible restoration… This decision will be made together with UNESCO, Syria,” the Hermitage director said at the VK Fest festival organized by the Vkontakte social network.

Piotrovsky recalled that specialists from the Hermitage and the Institute of Material Culture of the Russian Academy of Sciences had created a 3D model of Palmyra based on the results of three seasons of field research.

“After that, the Syrians have asked… to restore something, they have chosen the arch [for restoration]. For now, powerful research has been carried out — all stones have been dismantled in the 3D model. We are now holding a series of international conferences informing the international community about what has been done,” Piotrovsky added.

According to the Hermitage chief, such reports are needed to ensure maximum transparency of the process and bring plans to the scheduled results.

Palmyra is one of the richest cities of late antiquity in the oasis of the Syrian Desert. It is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

During the Syrian civil war, militants from the Islamic State* captured the city twice. The terrorists have killed one of the leading researchers of Palmyra — 81-year-old Khaled al-Asaad — and plundered the national museum, stealing many antiquities for sale on the black market. In addition, militant fighters destroyed a number of historic monuments, including the temples of Bel and Baalshamin, the central part of the amphitheater and the Arch of Triumph.

 

OUTSIDE RUSSIA

Turkey issues update on Ukrainian grain exports

Representatives of Russia, Ukraine, and Turkey have started their work in a dedicated UN-backed body in Istanbul

The Joint Coordination Center, established under the landmark UN-brokered deal to unblock Ukraine’s grain exports, has begun its work in Istanbul, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Saturday.

“Representatives of Russia and Ukraine, as well as of the UN, have now started to work together with Turkey at the Joint Coordination Center,” Akar told Anadolu Agency in a statement.

The minister made the remark as he commented on the alleged missile strike on the Ukrainian port city of Odessa, a major trade hub in the southwest of the country. Kiev officials have placed the blame squarely on Moscow for the incident, stating that the port was targeted with at least four cruise missiles. Two of the projectiles were intercepted, while those that made it past anti-aircraft defenses caused only minor damage to the facility, leaving the grain silos unscathed, Ukraine has claimed.

Such an incident coming only a day after the deal was struck was rather “disturbing,” Akar admitted, but he hopes that the work of the center will continue regardless.  “The fact that this incident took place right after the agreement we made yesterday regarding the grain shipment has really worried us, and we are disturbed by this. However, we continue to fulfill our responsibilities in the agreement,” Akar said.

While Moscow has remained silent on the matter so far, it had repeatedly said before that it strikes only military targets on Ukrainian soil in the ongoing conflict. Akar said Ankara was maintaining contact with both Kiev and Moscow over the alleged attack.

“Russians told us that they had absolutely nothing to do with this attack and that they were examining the affair very closely and in detail,” the minister revealed.

The “reported strikes” on the Odessa port have already been “unequivocally” condemned by the UN. “Yesterday, all parties made clear commitments on the global stage to ensure the safe movement of Ukrainian grain and related products to global markets,” Farhan Haq, a spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, adding that the grain products “are desperately needed to address the global food crisis and ease the suffering of millions of people in need around the globe.”

 

Hungary warns of shift in world order

The West’s reliance on military aid to Ukraine and sanctions on Russia has failed, Hungary’s PM has said

The Russia-Ukraine conflict could end the West’s dominance and shift the balance of power in the world, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has said. Russia launched a military campaign against the neighboring country in late February.

Orban argued that the decision to impose sanctions on Moscow and supply Kiev with heavy weapons de facto turned the EU and NATO member states into participants in the conflict, but ultimately yielded no results.

“Instead, today we are sitting inside a car with flat tires on all four wheels,” Orban said in a speech in the Romanian city of Baile Tusnad on Saturday.

“The world is not only not with us, but it is demonstratively not with us,” the PM added, arguing that, instead of thinking about gaining the upper hand on the battlefield in Ukraine, the West should now focus on achieving peace through negotiations.

Orban also warned that the conflict could easily put an end to Western supremacy and “create a multipolar world order.”

“We must try to persuade the West to develop a new strategy,” the PM said. He later added that the conflict “will end when the Americans and the Russians come to an agreement.”

Hungary has refused to send weapons to Ukraine, while Orban said this month that the EU “shot itself in the lungs” with its ill-considered sanctions. Hungarian officials also criticized the proposal by Brussels to ration gas in an attempt to phase out deliveries from Moscow.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto traveled to Moscow on Thursday to negotiate the purchase of additional gas volumes in order to ensure that the country has enough reserves for the winter. “It is currently simply impossible to buy this much extra natural gas in Europe without Russian sources,” Szijjarto told reporters.

 

EU eases sanctions on Russian oil exports

The EU will allow transactions needed for Russian state-owned companies to sell oil to third countries, the EU Council said in a statement on Thursday.

“With a view to avoid any potential negative consequences for food and energy security around the world, the EU decided to extend the exemption from the prohibition to engage in transactions with certain state-owned entities as regards transactions for agricultural products and the transport of oil to third countries,” the statement reads.

This provision means that Russian state-owned companies, including Rosneft, Gazprom Neft, and Sovcomflot, are now allowed to conclude deals with Europeans on the transport of oil to third countries.

In March, the EU introduced a ban on transactions between European companies and Russian corporations, including energy majors Rosneft, Transneft, Gazprom Neft, and Russia’s largest shipping company Sovcomflot, among others. Transactions involving the import or transportation of natural gas, oil, petroleum products and a number of metals were initially allowed as exceptions.

However, as part of the sixth sanctions package introduced last month, the EU imposed a partial embargo of Russian oil, banning sea shipments of oil to the EU and prohibiting European companies from insuring and reinsuring sea shipments of Russian oil and oil products to countries outside the European Union.

As a result, major energy players such as Vitol, Glencore, Trafigura, Shell and Total stopped trading Russian oil for third countries. Now, however, they will be able to resume business with Russia. The legal details of the new provision will be published in the Official Journal of the EU.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

 

SPECIAL MILITARY OPERATION IN UKRAINE

Russian air defense systems in Melitopol repulse attack from Ukrainian military — official

The air target was destroyed, said Vladimir Rogov, a member of the main council of the military-civilian administration of the Zaporozhye region

MOSCOW, July 24. /TASS/. Russian air defense systems repelled a strike from the Armed Forces of Ukraine in Melitopol, said Vladimir Rogov, a member of the main council of the military-civilian administration of the Zaporozhye region.

“Melitopol – very loud! Air defense responded. They [the Ukrainian military] send missiles and attack drones to the sleeping city. The lives of Melitopol residents are reliably protected by Russian air defense. The air target was destroyed,” he wrote on his Telegram channel on Sunday.

 

Kherson Region creates election committee for referendum on joining Russia

KHERSON, July 23. /TASS/. A seven-member election committee to conduct a referendum on acceding to Russia is being created in the Kherson Region, the press service of the region’s military-civilian administration said on Saturday.

“According to the July 22, 2022 decree by the head of the Kherson Region’s military-civilian administration, an election committee of the Kherson Region is being created numbering seven members with a three-year term of tenure and nominations are being accepted,” the statement said. It is specified that the committee is being formed also for holding a referendum on the Kherson Region joining Russia.

The press service stressed that the residents of the liberated Kherson Region have the right to express their opinion on the future of the region. “According to global practice, [the Kherson Region] will establish this through elections and referendums,” the statement noted.

The nominations for the election committee can be made by civic groups and other organizations.

On Saturday, head of the Zaporozhye Region’s military-civilian administration Yevgeny Balitsky also signed a decree on the creation of an election committee to conduct a referendum on joining Russia.

The Kherson Region is in southern Ukraine bordering the Republic of Crimea. In mid-March, Russia’s Defense Ministry reported that the region was fully controlled by Russian troops. A military-civilian administration was formed in the region in late April. The region’s authorities also indicated their desire to accede to Russia.

 

Militants deploy MLRS at school in DPR’s New York settlement firing at Russian troops

MOSCOW, July 23. /TASS/. The militants of the Right Sector nationalist battalion (outlawed in Russia) have deployed multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS) at a school in the New York settlement firing at the positions of Russian and DPR troops, head of Russia’s National Defense Control Center Mikhail Mizintsev said on Saturday.

“In New York, the militants of the Right Sector nationalist battalion deployed MLRS on the premises of School No. 16 (Yesenina Street) systematically firing at the positions of Russia’s armed forces and the formations of the Donetsk People’s Republic thus provoking them to return fire. Meanwhile, the residents of neighboring buildings are being held in the institution’s cellar practically being used as a human shield,” said Mizintsev who also heads Russia’s Joint Coordination Headquarters for Humanitarian Response in Ukraine.

He added that the Ukrainian militants set up firing positions and deployed armored vehicles and artillery at schools and residential districts in several Ukrainian cities while the local residents had not been evacuated and are prevented from doing so.

The military official stressed that during Russia’s special military operation, Russian troops and the units of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics do not strike civilian infrastructure facilities.

 

Russian artillery struck Ukrainian Neo-Nazi Donbass armed formation near Verkhnekamenskoye

MOSCOW, July 23. /TASS/. Russian artillery struck the combat positions of the Ukrainian Neo-Nazi Donbass formation near Verkhnekamenskoye, eliminating over 60 militants, Defense Ministry Spokesman Lieutenant-General Igor Konashenkov reported on Saturday.

“As a result of damage by firepower inflicted by Russian artillery on the combat positions of the Neo-Nazi Donbass formation near the settlement of Verkhnekamenskoye, over 60 militants were killed,” the spokesman said.

Russian combat aircraft eliminated more than a half of the 2nd battalion of the Ukrainian army’s 14th mechanized brigade in the special military operation in Ukraine, Konashenkov reported.

“The strikes by operational-tactical aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces eliminated more than a half of the personnel of the 2nd battalion of the Ukrainian army’s 14th mechanized brigade near the community of Belogorovka in the Donetsk People’s Republic,” the spokesman said.

 

INSIGHTS

US Analyst: Time Has Come for American Politicians to Hold Kiev Responsible for Endemic Corruption

 

Ekaterina Blinova, Sputnik News

Ukraine’s history of rampant corruption and shaky governance has received fresh attention as billions in aid are flowing to Kiev, the Associated Press noted earlier this week, citing GOP Rep. Victoria Spartz, who accused Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky of “playing politics” and urged Kiev to appoint an anti-corruption prosecutor.

“[Ukrainian-born Republican] Representative Victoria Spartz was initially a vocal and effective proponent of providing financial and military support to the Kiev government. That she has altered her position and become so critical of the present Ukraine leadership and their corrupt cronies should be taken seriously,” says Charles Ortel, a Wall Street analyst and investigative journalist.

In recent months, Rep. Spartz has been pushing for more oversight of US aid to Kiev and lambasted Zelensky’s chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, for apparent corruption. On July 8, she asked President Joe Biden to brief Congress on corruption allegations against Yermak and later slammed both Biden and Zelensky for their irresponsible approaches to the Ukraine crisis.

Spartz’s criticism prompted a fierce reaction from Kiev as well as a heated debate among GOP lawmakers and conservative observers.

Oleg Nikolenko, the spokesperson for Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry, claimed that Rep. Spartz should “stop trying to earn extra political capital on baseless speculation around the topic of war in our country and the grief of Ukrainians.” He also accused the Republican lawmaker of disseminating “Russian propaganda.”

Spartz’s unnamed party-fellows from the lower chamber also chastised her for damaging US-Ukraine relations at the worst possible time and for “being played by forces that aim to weaken the Western alliance,” according to Politico.

However, both National Review and The Federalist, the two publications representing moderate and MAGA GOP views, immediately lashed out at the anonymous House Republicans who “cowardly” attacked Spartz over her concerns about Kiev’s longstanding corruption problem.

“If Volodymyr Zelensky’s confidants—namely, Andriy Yermak and Oleh Tatarov—are trusted stewards of seemingly unlimited aid, it does nothing to diminish our support for ‘democracy’ to ask for more coordination and oversight,” highlighted David Harsanyi, a US syndicated columnist and author, in his recent op-ed for The Federalist.

Pandora Papers & Zelensky’s Offshore Accounts

This is not the first time US Republican lawmakers have subjected Kiev to criticism over cronyism and financial machinations.

In March, GOP Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene called Zelensky “corrupt,” and said that she felt sorry for Ukrainian civilians while speaking at a Paulding County Town Hall. The same month, North Carolina Republican Rep. Madison Cawthorn called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky a “thug” and the Ukrainian government “incredibly evil.”

Judging from the October 2021 bombshell “Pandora Papers” release by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), US lawmakers’ concerns are not without merit.

“Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky rode to power on pledges to clean up the Eastern European country, but the Pandora Papers reveal he and his close circle were the beneficiaries of a network of offshore companies, including some that owned expensive London property,” the OCCRP reported, detailing Zelensky and his longstanding associates’ financial “charades” and attempts to conceal their earnings.

The OCCRP drew attention to the fact that Zelensky and his partners in a television production company, Kvartal 95, founded a network of offshore companies in 2012, when they started to collaborate with television stations owner Ihor Kolomoisky, a Ukrainian oligarch dogged by allegations of multi-billion-dollar fraud. Kolomoisky was also said to be funding and backing Ukraine’s notorious neo-Nazi and ultra-nationalist battalions, including Azov, Aidar, Donbas, Dnepr 1, and Dnepr 2, back in 2014, according to Newsweek.

However, the US mainstream media and top American politicians from both parties have remained largely silent on the OCCRP revelations about Zelensky, his cronies, and suspicious business partners since October 2021, Ortel notes.

Why US Establishment Doesn’t Want to Talk About Kiev’s Corruption

While the US mainstream press and top politicians swept the issue of Kiev’s endemic corruption under the rug after the beginning of the Russian special operation in Ukraine, non-establishment conservative and left-wing think tanks and media raised the question as to what lies behind this behavior.

The Cato Institute, an American libertarian think tank, urged the Biden administration in April to stop calling the Ukraine-Russia standoff a fight between democracy and authoritarianism, stressing that Ukraine is “at best… a corrupt, quasi‐democratic entity with troubling repressive policies”, with the neo‐Nazi Azov Battalion being an integral part of the state’s military and security apparatus.

On the left side of the US political spectrum, Jacobin, a NY-headquartered magazine, lambasted US officials for knowingly greenlighting an uncontrollable flow of weapons to Ukraine despite the country being “one of Europe’s largest arms trafficking markets.”

According to Ortel, the main reason behind the US establishment’s selective amnesia with regard to Ukraine’s burning problems is… money.

“Defense contractors are major supporters of [US] politicians,” Ortel says. “Lasting peace is definitely not in their interests. Republicans and Democrats are each quick to promote cronyism when doing so scores more campaign cash, family benefits and increases their political power. Independents are most likely to reject failing foreign policies. Thankfully, Independents are becoming a much more potent force inside America, a trend that likely will continue for years.”

The Wall Street analyst notes that “too many politicians in America now understand that ‘public service’ is a potent way to build financial wealth for their families.”

“The American public should fairly debate and then only engage in military operations that truly are necessary to defend America’s national interests,” says Ortel. “So far, the project to push NATO eastward has, perhaps, served America’s rapacious defense contractors well but it certainly has not brought us closer to a lasting peace.”

Kiev’s Corruption Comes Under Spotlight, Again

However, all of a sudden the Associated Press, an old established US news media outlet, raised the Kiev corruption issue on July 20, citing Zelensky’s recent sacking of his top prosecutor, intelligence chief, and other senior officials. AP recalled that prior to Russia’s special operation, the Biden administration had been pushing Zelensky to do more to act on corruption.

“As it presses ahead with providing tens of billions of dollars in military, economic and direct financial support aid to Ukraine and encourages its allies to do the same, the Biden administration is now once again grappling with longstanding worries about Ukraine’s suitability as a recipient of massive infusions of American aid,” the media outlet highlighted.

As the issue of Ukraine’s corruption has been brought to forefront ahead of the midterm elections, there is a hope that responsible politicians will fully address the issue, according to Ortel.

“The deadly messes in Afghanistan and now in Ukraine will stop once voters hold corrupt globalist politicians and their donors to account,” he says. “Thankfully, in America, pivotal elections are scant months away.”

 

Back to Africa: Russia’s Lavrov Set for Regional Tour of ‘Continent of the Future’

The Russian foreign minister’s five-day, four nation trip will take him to Egypt, Ethiopia, Uganda and the Republic of Congo, where he will discuss a broad range of issues, including international and regional questions and matters of bilateral cooperation.

In his announcement of his working visit to Africa in an interview with Sputnik earlier this week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov indicated that Russia’s long-standing ties with African nations goes back to Soviet days, when Moscow worked to assist the region in its national liberation struggle with the European colonial powers. In recent years, he said, Russia has been working to restore relations frayed by the turmoil of the 1990s, and has met a warm, reciprocal response from African countries.

Lavrov’s tour, which will kick off Sunday, will take place against the backdrop of a landmark event for the region – the signing of the United Nations and Turkey-mediated Russian-Ukrainian grain agreements, aimed at lifting restrictions on Russian agricultural and fertilizer exports, and Russian assistance in the export of Ukrainian grain.

Egypt: Gateway to Africa

Egypt, Russia’s largest trade and economic partner in Africa, will be the first stop of Lavrov’s visit. Trade turnover between the countries reached $4.8 billion in 2021, with some 470 Russian companies operating in the Egyptian market.

In his Sputnik interview, the Russian foreign minister pointed out that Rosatom has signed a contract with the Egyptians for the construction of the country’s first nuclear power plant at El Dabaa, northern Egypt. Construction of the plant began this week, days ahead of Lavrov’s scheduled departure for Cairo.

Lavrov also pointed to the creation of the Russian industrial area, emphasizing that it is being created directly “on the banks of the Suez Canal.”

“Our relations with Africa have even brighter prospects now that the African Union decided last year to establish the African Continental Free Trade Area,” Lavrov said, explaining that specific criteria and tariffs for the trade area are currently being agreed upon, and that the agreement will ultimately benefit Russia as Africa’s partner and boost trade and investment, both of which remain “quite modest” for the moment compared to the United States, China and the European Union.

In a separate interview with African media on Friday, Lavrov indicated that the current geopolitical situation in the world requires “certain adjustment” in the mechanisms of interaction between Moscow and Africa.

“First of all, there is a question of ensuring seamless logistics, and tuning the system of financial settlements to make them secure from outside interference,” Lavrov said. “In cooperation with its partners, Russia is taking steps to enhance the use of national currencies and payment systems. We are working to gradually reduce the share of dollar and the euro in trade,” he added.

Ethiopia, Congo, Uganda: Warm Ties With Good Friends

During his visit to Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia and home to the headquarters of the African Union, Lavrov will be received by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

Russia and Ethiopia established relations all the way back in 1898, and during the Cold War Moscow assisted the country with a broad range of industrial and infrastructure projects, and trained and educated over 25,000 Ethiopians in Soviet universities and vocational institutions.

Prime Minister Ahmed attended the Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi in 2019 and held talks with President Putin. Russia-Ethiopia trade turnover reached $61.2 million in 2020, and the country is negotiating with Rosatom on cooperation in the field of nuclear energy. Over 100 Russian specialists, mostly doctors, work in Ethiopia under private contracts, and about 70 Ethiopian nationals are studying in Russian universities.

The next leg of Lavrov’s tour will take him to the Republic of the Congo, where Russia’s RusGazEngineering is implementing the construction of a major oil pipeline from Pointe Noire to Brazzaville, Oyo and Huesso. This project, one of the largest infrastructure development schemes in the country, is designed to significantly reduce the cost of transporting petroleum products, improve safety, and ensure the sustainable development of remote areas of the country for decades to come. The project is supported by the Russian-Congolese Intergovernmental Commission for Energy Cooperation, and the Russian Energy Ministry.

Russia-Republic of the Congo trade topped $89 million in 2020, with wheat and meslin serving as the main Russian exports, and coffee, wood and paper products, precious metals and stones serving as the main Congolese exports.

Next up is Uganda, where Lavrov will meet with President Yoweri Museveni. The Ugandan president also attended the 2019 Russia-Africa Summit, and also held talks with Putin, with a memorandum on sanitary and epidemiological cooperation reached between the two nations. Russian-Ugandan trade hit $82+ million in 2020, with the main Russian exports being wheat, asphalt mixtures, mineral fertilizers, and aircraft parts, and the main imports including nuts, teas, coffee, spices and tobacco. A cotton processing enterprise with investment from Russian capital is operating in Uganda.

In 2017, Rosatom and the Uganda’s energy ministry signed a memorandum on cooperation for the peaceful use of atomic energy.

African Vector

Russian Institute of African Studies senior researcher Yevgeny Korendyasov sees Lavrov’s upcoming trip as a sign that “the African vector in Russia’s foreign policy is becoming a priority,” and says that “clearly, the purpose of this trip is to reaffirm our determination to continue strengthening relations.”

Korendyasov pointed to Uganda’s strategic position in the region, and the warm ties between Moscow and Kampala, including in the field of military-technical cooperation. Uganda, he noted, is currently one of Africa’s fastest developing countries economically.

As for the Republic of the Congo, the specialist pointed out that close ties with the country go back to Soviet days, with the USSR assisting in the creation of enterprises for the extraction of gold, led, and valuable wood products.

Food for Thought

On the eve of Lavrov’s trip, Russia and Ukraine signed a UN-backed, Turkish-brokered grain export deal, facilitating the unhindered supply of Russian agricultural goods and fertilizers to world markets on one hand, and the export of Ukrainian foodstuffs on the other. The landmark deal –broken down into two documents, carries special importance for Africa in preventing a global food crisis nearly caused by the West’s anti-Russian sanctions and the Ukraine security crisis.

The Russian foreign minister characterized the grain deal’s signature as testimony of the fiction of Western attempts to blame Russia for global food problems. In his interview with African media, Lavrov vowed that Russia will continue to fulfill its obligations to supply food, fertilizers and energy to Africa, notwithstanding sanctions.

This week, Lavrov revealed that a second Russia-Africa Summit would be held in 2023, with its precise location and dates still being worked out. According to the foreign minister, an economic forum will be held alongside the summit, and will include roundtables on trade, energy, agriculture, cybersecurity, and cooperation in space and nuclear energy.

In his interview with Sputnik, Lavrov stressed that despite the recent improvement of ties with Africa, much more remains to be done.

“It is important to step up our efforts. Africa has a population of 1.4 billion people, comparable to China and India. This is a great portion of the modern world and probably the most promising market. That is why companies and countries with good vision are building long-term strategies with regard to Africa, which is the continent of the future,” Lavrov said.

The United States is set to host its own Africa summit in December, with President Biden expected to welcome leaders from across the continent in Washington.

Korendyasov suggested that it wouldn’t be correct to compare the Russian and US approaches to Africa, or the two planned summits, saying their purposes were very different, “even opposite,” and that the US efforts will be focused on trying to persuade African nations into taking Russophobic positions.

The observer added that unlike Washington’s conditionalities on relations, including recognition of the US-dominated liberal democratic world order, Moscow does not set any such terms, recognizing the diversity and individuality of African countries.

 

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