India negotiates resumption of LNG supply from Russia
Dhaka August 28 2022 :
Inside Russia : Outside Russia : News Digest by the Embassy of Russian Federation in Bangladesh on August 28 2022
Ex-Russian president names condition for using nukes
Such a scenario would only occur if Russia’s very existence was at stake, Dmitry Medvedev says
Moscow would only resort to nuclear weapons in four scenarios, all of which present an existential threat to the Russian state, former president Dmitry Medvedev told French media on Friday.
Speaking to the TV channel LCI, Medvedev was asked whether Russia’s military doctrine allows for using tactical nuclear weapons. The former president responded that Moscow’s nuclear posture has been made public, and there is nothing secret about it.
“There are four reasons for the use of nuclear weapons. For the sake of interest and for the French public, I will name them: the launch of nuclear missiles, the use of nuclear weapons, attacks on critical infrastructure that controls nuclear weapons, or other actions that threaten the existence of the [Russian] state,” he said, adding that none of the above has happened so far.
Commenting on the possible use of tactical atomic weapons, or arms containing depleted uranium, the former president noted that Russia has never put those into action, unlike some Western countries.
“Over the past 20-30 years, the NATO states have used them quite actively both in Yugoslavia and Iraq. There is some uncertainty around this topic, with very tragic consequences. So, in this sense, we must first look at what Western countries have done in certain situations,” Medvedev said.
The former president stressed that Russia’s response “will be consistent with the size of the threats this country is facing,” and that Moscow’s military offensive in Ukraine, which started in late February, is a defensive measure.
According to Medvedev, one of the reasons for the attack was a statement by Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, who said at one point that Kiev does not rule out restoring its nuclear potential. “Apparently, he wanted to scare us, but in the end he created an even heavier atmosphere, which ultimately forced the Russian Federation to launch a special military operation,” he said.
Last week, Ivan Nechaev, deputy press secretary of the Russian Foreign Ministry, stated that Moscow has no need to use a nuclear option in Ukraine, and that Russia is a responsible nuclear power, which will only use its atomic arsenal if its very existence is under threat.
Russian diplomat denounces US `diplomatic’ efforts to fuel tensions across globe
MOSCOW, August 27. /TASS/. US diplomats abroad have been focusing on moves to ignite new hotspots around the world, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote on her Telegram channel on Saturday.
Commenting on US Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel’s interviews with a number of media outlets, Zakharova said the American diplomat had made it clear “what US envoys around the world have been busy with” and revealed the essence of instructions he and his counterparts had been receiving from the US Department of State. Promoting US-style “commercial diplomacy” is top on American diplomats’ agenda, she said.
“This has to do with blatant political motivation and ideologization for what used to be pure exchange relationships. The goal is to damage its [the United States’] satellites’ economic contacts with China as much as possible,” Zakharova noted.
Such “commercial diplomacy” comes with coercion and threats, she added. “Emanuel <…> proudly declared that the Japanese are ready to pay more to avoid sanctions and instability,” Zakharova said. She denounced this as blackmail for attracting billions worth of Japanese investment in US strategic research, technology and production projects.
According to Zakharova, encouraging militarization and fueling new tensions comes third on the US diplomatic agenda. “Emanuel lauded the proposal put forward by Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to significantly boost both the country’s defense budget and its military potential,” she remarked.
“So, the essence of US `diplomacy’ today comes down to igniting tensions around the world, promoting the United States as a guarantor of stability and pumping vital resources and technologies out of their satellites,” Zakharova concluded.
Serbia comments on Russia gas supplies
Belgrade would go bankrupt if not for the “fantastic price” of Russian gas, President Aleksandar Vucic has said
Serbs would not have to save energy and reduce their consumption this winter thanks to Belgrade’s policies and gas imports from Russia, President Aleksandar Vucic told his fellow citizens in an address on Saturday.
“There are no plans for electricity restrictions next winter,” he said, adding, however, that the situation in the energy field remains “extremely difficult.” At the same time, the Serbian cabinet is expected to provide “large discounts” to those who did save electricity this year in comparison to the previous one, he said.
Such measures have become possible particularly due to gas imports from Russia, the Serbian leader believes. Serbia purchases 2 million cubic meters of gas – or between 63% and 64% of all gas it needs – from Russia and its total cost amounts to €800 million ($797 million), Vucic said, calling such a price “fantastic.”
If Belgrade had to buy gas at the current European market prices, it would go bankrupt, he said, arguing that the remaining 1.2 million cubic meters of gas – or around 36% of its total consumption – would cost Serbia €4.8 billion ($4.7 billion) now. “And our entire budget is around €13 billion,” the president said.
Vucic also praised a deal Belgrade struck with Budapest that would see Hungary storing between 300 and 500 cubic meters of gas purchased by Serbia in its gas storages. The Serbian president’ comments come as the European gas prices continue to soar. September futures on the TTF hub in the Netherlands rose to nearly $3,500 per thousand cubic meters on Friday, according to data on the London ICE exchange.
The EU is currently trying to resolve its energy crisis, sparked particularly by the bloc’s decision to rid itself of the Russian gas supplies amid the conflict in Ukraine. The EU has called on all member states to reduce gas consumption by 15% to ease the burden of the soaring gas prices.
In mid-June, Vucic announced he agreed a favorable price for Russian natural gas imports under the terms of a new energy deal with Moscow. Serbia was expected to buy Russian gas at a price of between $360 to $410 per 1,000 cubic meters, he said at that time.
According to the president, Serbia still incurred significant losses due to EU sanctions on Russia, particularly on oil. Although Serbia is not part of the European Union, the country’s energy supplies transit through EU countries, meaning that any EU sanctions on Russia affect Serbia as well.
India negotiates resumption of LNG supply from Russia
Some agreed imports haven’t been shipped since May due to Russia-Ukraine conflict
India is currently in talks with Russia to resume gas supplies under the long-term import deal between Russian state energy giant Gazprom and India’s state-controlled GAIL, according to GAIL chairman Manoj Jain, as cited by Reuters.
GAIL, the largest gas distributor and operator of pipelines in the country, couldn’t receive the previously agreed imports since May and was forced to cut supplies to clients as a result.
“There are some immediate issues which we are trying to tackle both at the company level and also at G2G [government to government] level,” he said at an annual shareholder meeting on Friday.
Jain highlighted that the volumes under the Gazprom deal, which amounts to about a fifth of GAIL’s overall overseas gas portfolio of 14 million tons per year, have been hit by the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
“So, overall it is not affecting us in a significant way. The only affect is to the extent of ten to 15 percent,” the top manager said, adding that the addition of domestic gas reduces the impact on local supplies to about 7-8%.
GAIL signed a 20-year deal with Gazprom back in 2012. Under the terms of the contract, the company was to purchase an average 2.5 million tons of LNG, Liquefied Natural Gas, annually. Supplies under the contract began in 2018.
Gazprom Marketing Singapore (GMTS) had signed the deal on behalf of Gazprom. However, GMTS was a unit of Gazprom Germania, and was seized by Berlin as part of Western sanctions over Russia’s military operation in Ukraine.
For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section
Southern African state may join Russia’s Mir Payment System – envoy
Angolan ambassador to Russia says national currencies will be used for mutual settlements
Angola may join the Mir payment system, developed by Russia in response to Western sanctions, and allow the use of MIR cards in the country, RIA Novosti reported on Saturday, citing Luanda’s Ambassador to Russia Augusto da Silva Cunha.
“Technically, the use of the Mir system in Angola is possible … I believe that Angola can join this system, but under condition of worthwhileness,” he said.
“This will crucially depend on the level of our financial and economic relations as well as on the amount of investments in the country. The Angolan government is fully open to Russian investors, and if their share is significant, then, of course, it would be rational and logical to join this system and accept it,” da Silva Cunha added.
The envoy also said that the two nations may switch to mutual settlements in national currencies, adding that the Russian ruble could easily be used for this purpose.
Russia started developing its own national payment system when the US targeted it with sanctions in 2014. Back then clients of several Russian banks were temporarily unable to use Visa and Mastercard due to the restrictions.
Since the introduction of the new system, Russian banks have already issued more than 129 million MIR cards. They are currently accepted in Turkey, Vietnam, Armenia, South Korea, Uzbekistan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
Earlier this month, Indian media reported that the country’s ATMs and terminals may soon start accepting Russian MIR debit and credit cards, while Russia was planning to reciprocate and begin accepting Indian RuPay. In July, the head of the economic department of the UAE Embassy in Moscow, Ahmed Al-Ketb, said the nations had started negotiating an agreement that would allow the use of the Mir payment system cards in the Gulf state.
For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section
UN comments on US-Russia nuclear arms talks
The countries should work out a replacement to the New START treaty “as soon as possible,” a UN official says
Russia and the United States need to resume talks on replacing the landmark New START nuclear arms reduction treaty, a senior United Nations official said on Friday.
Speaking at the Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), Izumi Nakamitsu, UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, was asked when she thinks Moscow and Washington should start negotiating a potential successor to New START.
“I think as soon as possible,” she said, stressing that the treaty, which sets limits on the US and Russian nuclear arsenals, must be replaced before the 2026 expiry date.
“Otherwise, the world will have no restraints, and we’re saying that this will be a very dangerous situation,” Nakamitsu added.
The UN believes that both Russia and the US have no objections to negotiating a successor to New START. “We’ve been calling on both parties to resume their engagement as soon as possible,” the official noted.
The UN official’s comments come after Andrey Belousov, the deputy Russian representative to the UN and other international organizations in Geneva, revealed on Thursday that US-Russia contacts on strategic arms reduction have not been interrupted.
However, US Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Bonnie Jenkins said further discussions on the New START treaty were not yet taking place.
“Discussions between the US and Russia about the next steps in relation to the New START treaty are not happening right now because of the situation we’re dealing with. And these talks will continue in the future when the situation for that is right,” she noted.
In early August, US President Joe Biden claimed that Washington was ready to negotiate “a new arms control framework to replace New START when it expires.” Following this statement, however, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that no proposals on the matter had been made by the US.
Russia disseminates proof of Ukrainian shelling of Zaporozhye NPP in UN Security Council
UNITED NATIONS, August 27. /TASS/. Russia sent a letter with evidence of the Ukrainian shelling of the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant on August 25 to members of the UN Security Council, the Russian mission to the UN tweeted Saturday.
“We circulated among #UNSC members a letter regarding presentation by the [Russian Ministry of Defense] on the shelling by the #AFU of the Zaporozhye #NPP on August 25,” the mission tweeted.
Russia also sent evidence of Ukrainian shelling of the nuclear power plant on August 27.
“Three shells landed nearby the specialized b.2, where the storage facility of the nuclear fuel as well as hard radioactive waste is located,” the mission tweeted.
The Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant is located in Energodar, currently controlled by Russian forces. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the Ukrainian forces have attacked the power plant several times in the recent days, using drones, heavy artillery and multiple launch rocket systems. In most cases, the attacks are being repelled by air defense systems, but some missiles hit infrastructure objects and the nuclear waste storage area, which creates a threat of radiation leak.
SPECIAL MILITARY OPERATION IN UKRAINE
Ukraine’s readiness for capitulation, denazification a precondition for talks – lawmaker
Kyiv should also be ready to qualitative reduction of its armed forces, Leonid Slutsky said
MOSCOW, August 27. /TASS/. Russia is ready to discuss the negotiations option with Ukraine, if it capitulates, qualitatively reduces its armed forces and get denazified, says head of the Russian State Duma Committee on international affairs, leader of the Liberal Democratic Party Leonid Slutsky.
“We are ready to consider a negotiations process, if the Ukrainian side is ready for an unconditional capitulation, qualitative reduction of its armed forces, as well as total, absolute and unconditional denazification,” Slutsky said in a video, posted on his Telegram channel.
Putin decrees to give refugees from Donbass and Ukraine monthly payments in Russia
MOSCOW, August 27. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin decreed to give people evacuating to Russia from the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republic as well as from Ukraine monthly and one-off payments.
Certain categories of people, including disabled persons and elders above the age of 80, will be given 10,000 ($166) in monthly payments. Pregnant women will be entitled to one-off payments in a similar amount.
Though the decree was signed by the president on August 27 and comes into effect on this date, payments will be backdated to July 1. Refugees who have arrived in Russia from the two Donbass republics and Ukraine since February 18 will be entitled to the benefit. Under the decree, corresponding payments should be made through December 31, 2022.
Ex-OSCE Vice Pres: UK Policies Amid Ukrainian Conflict Aimed at Preventing Russo-German Cooperation
As countries across Europe face soaring energy prices fueled by Western sanctions imposed against Russia over the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, the British government reportedly became concerned that some European states might cut their support to Kiev.
Former OSCE Vice President and Bundestag MP Willy Wimmer shared with Sputnik his thoughts on some of the aspects of the current situation as conflict in Ukraine enters its seventh month.
Sputnik: Why are British diplomats pushing their European counterparts towards a further escalation of the crisis in Ukraine? What does the UK stand to gain from this?
Willy Wimmer: It is obvious that London is pursuing the policy of “global Britain”. They will continue with their policy, which in the last three hundred years was very effective in controlling the continent and large parts of the globe and make use of foreign potential for their own purpose.
They strictly follow the anglo-saxon target not to have cooperation between Russia and Germany on the continent and they do their utmost in cooperation with governments in the Baltic states and elsewhere.
At the beginning of the actual stage in Europe was the French-German proposal in the EU, to have a summit meeting of the EU with Russia. This proposal failed because of the “usual suspects” and their supporters outside the EU. The idea is to have either “unconditional surrender” by Russia, to throw Russia out of Europe or have a bunch of states instead of Russia.
Sputnik: Is the Foreign Office move another one of Liz Truss’s election stunts, just as her recent claim that she was “ready” to use nuclear weapons if needed?
Willy Wimmer: When someone listens to Mrs. Truss and her words with regard to the use of the nuclear arsenal, it is fair to speak of a “present danger” for peace and security. The people in Western European countries cannot understand why there is no effort by our governments for “end of hostilities”, peace and all efforts to stop the bloodshed. Instead of this will of their peoples, they are fueling war.
Sputnik: The US is set to announce $3 billion of new weaponry in its largest aid package so far. Do you think the British diplomatic push has been inspired by Washington’s move?
Willy Wimmer: In the British movie “The darkest days” on the situation at Dunkirk, they showed Churchill in a toilet in his war-bunker on the phone with Washington. There are no signs that something has changed.
Sputnik: How do you expect EU leaders to react? Will they bow to British pressure? After all, French President Macron already described soaring inflation and food prices are “the cost of freedom”.
Willy Wimmer: French president Macron said many things during the last months and especially after his meeting with President Putin in Moscow at the beginning of this year. In his press statements, he was outspoken about the right of Russia to get answers on the questions on security they rightfully had and still have. His request to the West was to give answers. The situation still is that there are no answers. We all know that things have to be solved between Washington and Moscow, perhaps with support of EU-Europeans.
Sputnik: Regardless of what the elite decides, how sustainable is it for European countries to increase their support to Ukraine? How will this affect their economies and their citizens’ wellbeing?
Willy Wimmer: Ukraine seems to be the graveyard for Europe’s future as a continent of good neighbours. A spokesman for the German Defense Ministry said earlier that the Ministry reached “the acceptable limit when selling Bundeswehr stocks” after sending aid to Ukraine.
Sputnik: How have the EU member states’ own defense capabilities been affected by their support to Ukraine? Should EU members focus on their own security, including stable food prices?
Willy Wimmer: There is only one idea which matters: give peace a chance. I served as the German minister of defense during the last NATO exercise in Cold war times in spring 1989, before unification. The war game was conventional and nuclear. Nothing was left from Europa as a result of the war. Without peace in Europe there will be no future for all of us.
Bangladesh Beyond is an online version of Fortnightly Apon Bichitra
(Reg no: DA 1825)