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Timeline set for Ukraine grain exports to resume : Moscow

Bangladesh Beyond
  • Updated on Thursday, July 28, 2022
  • 102 Impressed

Timeline set for Ukraine grain exports to resume : Moscow

 

Dhaka July 28 2022 :

 

Inside Russia : Outside Russia : News Digest by the Embassy of Russian Federation in Bangladesh on July 28 2022. 

 

INSIDE RUSSIA

Former Russian president presents future map of Ukraine

Medvedev offers Kiev a geography lesson of what might happen if conflict continues

Ukraine is more likely to be reduced to Kiev and its surroundings than to ever encompass Crimea and the Donbass republics, former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev said Wednesday on his Telegram channel. The one-time president and long-time prime minister who now heads the national security council also posted two maps helpfully illustrating his argument.

The first map showed Ukraine in borders prior to the US-backed coup in 2014, including Crimea and the two eastern regions of Donetsk and Lugansk. A month after the militants backed by Washington seized power in Kiev, Crimea voted to rejoin Russia, while the two Donbass regions declared independence.

“In the mind of the president of Ukraine, damaged by psychotropic substances, this is what the map of his country’s bright future will look like,” Medvedev wrote on Telegram.

“Western analysts believe it will look like this, actually,” he said, posting a second map. On it, “Ukraine” is reduced to Kiev and its surroundings. Seven regions in the West have been annexed by Poland, and three in the southwest by Hungary and Romania, respectively.

He did not specify which Western experts may have envisioned such a partition.

The Ukrainian government has repeatedly rejected any possibility of territorial concessions, insisting that Kiev’s objectives were a “capitulation” of Russia and “reintegration” of Donbass and Crimea.

Medvedev served as president of Russia between 2008 and 2012, and then as prime minister until 2020, when he was put in charge of the national security council. Over the course of the conflict in Ukraine, he has made a name for himself with colorful Telegram posts. Just this month, he warned Kiev of “Judgment Day” if they attacked Crimea and offered a list of “Russian sins,” followed up by those of the West.

Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko has since admitted that Kiev’s main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and “create powerful armed forces.”

In February 2022, the Kremlin recognized the Donbass republics as independent states and demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked.

 

Timeline set for Ukraine grain exports to resume — Moscow

Istanbul expecting first ships to depart within days, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister confirms

Turkish officials estimate grain exports from Ukraine, as agreed under last week’s Ankara- and UN-brokered deal between Moscow and Kiev, will start this week, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Wednesday.

“Based upon statements by our colleagues from Turkey where the Joint Coordination Centre (JCC) is located, they expect exports from Ukraine to start in the coming days,” Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Rudenko told reporters.

He added, however, that, for its part, Moscow was hoping for the best but could not rule out the deal crumbling.

“We always hope for the best and expect that our partners will also implement two components of the grain deal – [that] concerning the export of grain from Ukraine, and [that] regarding the removal of restrictions on the export of Russian grain in general,” the official elaborated.

Turkey’s defense minister Hulusi Akar announced Wednesday the JCC had begun operations in Istanbul. According to Akar, the center will be overseeing grain exports under the leadership of the UN.

Brokered by the UN and the Turkish government, the deal to unblock much-awaited grain exports from Ukraine was signed by Moscow and Kiev last Friday.

The agreement, described by UN Secretary Antonio Guterres as “a beacon of hope and relief” shining on the Black Sea, was widely described as a diplomatic breakthrough that would do much to alleviate the global food crisis.

There were fears that the deal might hang in the balance after two Russian missiles struck the port of Odessa Saturday. Moscow later said it had targeted a Ukrainian warship docked there as well as a warehouse storing US-supplied Harpoon anti-ship missiles.

The strike was condemned by both Kiev and Guterres, who offered a reminder that both Russia and Ukraine had to implement the agreement fully if they were to ease the suffering of millions around the globe.

However, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov later pointed out that the deal did not preclude Moscow from continuing its “military operation” in Ukraine and striking military targets.

 

Russian emphasizes need to unlock Afghanistan’s frozen assets

MOSCOW, July 27. /TASS/. The Russian side emphasizes the need to unlock Afghanistan’s national assets illegally held by Washington, Foreign Ministry Deputy Spokesman Ivan Nechaev told a press briefing on Wednesday.

“On our part, we again drew attention to the need to unlock the national assets [of Afghanistan],” the Russian diplomat said, commenting on the results of the international conference on Afghanistan held in Tashkent on July 26.

The illegal seizure of the Afghan funds by Washington and “European minions” obstructs the international community’s efforts to stabilize the situation in Afghanistan after the 20-year American occupation, the Russian diplomat pointed out.

 

St. Petersburg to host Russia-Africa summit next year, says Russian diplomat

MOSCOW, July 27. /TASS/. Russia’s second-largest city of Saint Petersburg will host the 2023 Russia-Africa Summit, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote on her Telegram channel on Wednesday.

“We are leaving the African continent under a heavy rain and this is a good sign,” she stated. “Thank you, friends, and we are waiting for you in Saint Petersburg next year at the Russia-Africa summit.”

The inaugural Russia-Africa summit was hosted by the Russian Black Sea resort city of Sochi in 2019. The summit was organized between October 22 and 24, 2019 and its slogan read as ‘For Peace, Security and Development.’

Within the framework of the African tour earlier this week, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov visited Egypt, the Republic of the Congo, Uganda and Ethiopia between July 24 and 27.

The visit to Ethiopia on Wednesday was be the final stop in Lavrov’s African tour, after which the Russian top diplomat will travel to the Foreign Ministers’ Meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in the Uzbekistani capital of Tashkent.

The crisis in Ukraine took the center stage during Lavrov’s previous negotiations and press conferences in African countries.

 

OUTSIDE RUSSIA

Qatar holds Sputnik V vaccine in high regard — envoy

MOSCOW, July 27. /TASS/. Qatar holds Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine in high regard, Ambassador of Qatar to Russia Ahmed bin Nasser bin Jasim Al Thani said in an interview for TASS.

“The Sputnik V is a good vaccine. We have many guests from Russia who were vaccinated with the Sputnik V, and there have been no problems, they are welcome,” the envoy said.

Meanwhile, the envoy noted that special entry requirements may be introduced due to the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

“I would recommend following the information at the organizers’ website. The requirements are laid out in better detail there,” he added.

 

EU’s Borrell Complains Lavrov is More Popular With Media

By Tim Korso, Sputnik News

Brussels’ diplomat was disappointed by the broad coverage of the Russian foreign minister’s trip to Africa, during which he discussed increasing cooperation between the continent and Russia amid the West’s fruitless attempt to isolate Moscow.

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell has expressed frustration over western media allegedly serving as a “resonator” for Russian politicians’ statements, including the special military operation in Ukraine and the effects of western anti-Russia sanctions.

His comments came in an interview with the Spanish Cadena SER.

Borrell expressed being greatly displeased by the fact that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s trip to Africa enjoyed the international media limelight, while his own visit to the continent did not make any headlines.

“Lavrov visits Africa to try to convince Africans that European sanctions are to blame for everything that is happening […] and the entire western press repeats this. When I’m going to Africa to say the opposite, that sanctions have nothing to do with it, no [media] picks it up!” Borrell complained.

The top EU diplomat went on to allege that there was a “certain tendency to listen to the enemy” in the western media.

Borrell’s frustrations come as major Russian media broadcasters remain silenced by the European Council’s order to suspend their licenses and block their websites and social media. Brussels justified the freedom of speech-infringing move by claiming that Russian media spread fakes about the special military operation in Ukraine.

One of the blocked outlets, RT France, attempted to dispute the suspension in an EU court, but the appeal was rejected on July 27. The court insisted that the European Union did not violate any laws by blocking the news outlet.

The Kremlin has harshly condemned the EU’s decision and responded in kind by ditching several European news outlets, such as the BBC and Deutsche Welle. Moscow vowed to apply additional pressure against the European press following the court’s decision to deny RT France’s appeal.

 

Beijing Slams US for Plan to Impose Sanctions Over Russian Oil Supplies to China

By Oleg Burunov, Sputnik News

Last month, it was revealed that China’s crude oil imports from Russia had increased 55% year-on-year to a record level in May. The developments came as Russia remains under Western sanctions that were rolled out shortly after Moscow launched its special military operation in Ukraine.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry has stated that Beijing is completely against Washington’s plan to slap sanctions on Russian oil deliveries to China.

The Ministry’s spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters on Wednesday that Beijing is “categorically against such illegal unilateral sanctions” by the US.

“China and Russia conduct normal trade and economic cooperation on the principles of equality, mutual benefit and mutual respect,” he underscored.

The Chinese diplomat stressed that Beijing’s collaboration with Moscow is not aimed against anyone, adding, “we will also not tolerate outside interference.”

Zhao spoke after US Senator Marco Rubio introduced a bill on Tuesday that would impose sanctions on any entity insuring or registering tankers, shipping oil or liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Russia. According to Rubio, Beijing supports Moscow’s ongoing special military operation in Ukraine by buying Russian oil.

On February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the beginning of the special operation to demilitarize and de-Nazify Ukraine following request from the Donbass republics to protect them from Kiev’s provocations.

Commenting on the sanctions that Western countries had imposed on Moscow in connection with its special operation in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly stressed that the sanctions – especially regarding oil and gas imports from Russia – have already backfired on those who introduced them.

 

US offers prisoner swap to Russia

Washington has reportedly offered Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout in exchange for the basketball player Brittney Griner and convicted spy Paul Whelan

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday that the US has made a “substantial offer” to Russia to secure the release of basketball player Brittney Griner and convicted spy Paul Whelan. According to a CNN report, the offer involves trading Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout for the two Americans.

“In the coming days I expect to speak to Russian Foreign Minister [Sergey] Lavrov … I plan to raise an issue that’s a top priority for us, the release of America’s Paul Whelan and Brittney Griner,” Blinken told reporters. “Our governments have communicated repeatedly and directly on that proposal, and I’ll use the conversation to follow up personally.”

Griner has been detained in Russia since February on drug charges, while Whelan, a former US Marine, was convicted in 2020 of espionage and is currently serving a 16-year sentence in a Russian prison.

CNN’s sources claimed that the Biden administration has been working for several months to secure the two Americans’ release, and that Biden himself has backed the prisoner swap offer.

“We communicated a substantial offer that we believe could be successful based on a history of conversations with the Russians,” an administration official told CNN, stating that the offer was made to Moscow in June. The official added that it was currently in “Russia’s court to be responsive” to the offer.

Rumors have circulated for several weeks that the US was considering offering Bout in exchange for Griner and Whelan, though earlier reports stated that the US Justice Department opposed such a trade. According to CNN, the Justice Department “eventually accepted” that the trade had the support of the White House and State Department.

Bout was arrested in Thailand in 2008 and extradited to the US two years later. He was found guilty of arming a terrorist group and conspiring to kill US nationals, and was sentenced to 25 years in a federal prison in 2012. Prior to his arrest and conviction, Bout was one of the world’s most prolific arms dealers, whose life inspired the 2005 Hollywood movie ‘Lord of War’.

Meanwhile in Moscow, Griner’s trial continued on Wednesday, with the athlete claiming that she had been provided with an inadequate translation of the circumstances of her arrest. Griner had previously claimed that she did not know how the cannabis oil she was caught with had entered her belongings, and said through her lawyer on Wednesday that she “respects Russian laws and never intended to break them.”

Griner faces a term of up to 20 years in prison if convicted. Her detention has been authorized up until December 20, and her trial resumes on August 2.

 

SPECIAL MILITARY OPERATION IN UKRAINE

Ukraine seeks to engineer nuclear disaster – Russia

Kiev’s attacks against Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant are an attempt to cause mayhem, Foreign Ministry in Moscow claims

Drone strikes on Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant by Ukraine appear to be an attempt to engineer a massive industrial disaster, and with the connivance of the West, Deputy Spokesperson for Russia’s Foreign Ministry Ivan Nechaev said Wednesday.

“Ukraine’s armed forces are obsessively staging strikes on Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant, which is the largest in Europe, with total disregard for its safety or IAEA’s decisions and its resolutions,” Nechaev told a weekly news briefing, referring to the International Atomic Energy Agency’s numerous rulings that deem attacks against civilian nuclear facilities to be violations of international law.

“It is now obvious Ukraine is deliberately going for a massive industrial disaster. And we’re seeing that both the US and their European allies are completely fine with it,” Nechaev concluded.

Currently under the control of Russian forces, Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant, located in Energodar, southeastern Ukraine, has been a target of several strikes in the past few weeks.

On July 12, Ukrainian drones dropped several 120mm shells on a building located next to the power plant, injuring 11 employees, Energodar authorities confirmed. On July 20 three Ukrainian “kamikaze drones” attacked the plant, with no damage to its structures reported.

Back in April, the head of Russia’s Radioactive, Chemical, and Biological Protection Forces, Lieutenant General Igor Kirillov, said a ‘false-flag operation’ could be staged on one of Ukraine’s nuclear energy facilities, including on the Zaporozhye plant.

Ukrainian authorities have in turn accused Russia of attacking the plant. In early March, as Russian forces were advancing in Zaporozhye, Ukraine’s president Vladimir Zelensky said the plant was intentionally shelled by Russia in an attempt to “recreate the Chernobyl disaster.”

On July 21, the president of Ukraine’s state nuclear operator Energoatom, Petro Kotin, told Ukrainian media that Russian forces have deployed heavy weapons within the machine hall of Zaporozhye’s first unit, with munitions and fuel stored nearby. According to Kotin, even though the plant’s first unit has been out of service since the start of Russia’s offensive, these weapons and munitions represented a “fire hazard.”

Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko has since admitted that Kiev’s main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and “create powerful armed forces.”

In February 2022, the Kremlin recognized the Donbass republics as independent states and demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked.

 

INSIGHTS

Default of Naftogaz: Ukrainian Scam of the Century — Readovka.world

Default of the state-run oil and gas trader Naftogaz is a sign that the Ukrainian financial and gas transport system is on the brink of disaster as the state has no money to pay its debts, and the country will soon be in default. No, Ukraine still has money – for now. And the made-up problems of Naftogaz are nothing more than a way to steal more billions.

On July, 26, a deadline for payments to holders of Eurobonds of Naftogaz, the operator of oil and gas production, transportation and processing in the country, expired. The company said that one week earlier the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine had obliged the company to coordinate its actions on debt service, which means that any payments should be made only with their consent. Almost immediately, they «suspended» payments of about $335 million of debts on 2022 bonds and $45 million on 2024 issue. At the same time, the company has repeatedly reported that it is not experiencing any serious financial problems, it is able to service its debts, and in general, its default is a great threat to the country.

Ironically, the company’s good financial results have driven creditors to refuse to restructure their debts: they sensed a catch and decided that they were being deceived rather blatantly. But most likely, this is just the tip of an iceberg, and the Ukrainian government together with Naftogaz’s management, are preparing an enormous corruption scheme for the budget.

So, a week ago, RBC Ukraine news agency obtained a letter in which Naftogaz is asking the Ukrainian government to allocate them $150 billion (about $500 million) for purchasing gas to live through the heating season in Europe. Preferably, through an increase in the authorized capital of Naftogaz itself. And now let’s see what the scheme is.

Ukrainians traditionally first buy gas with borrowed money (in the form of loans or bonds), and then pay it back by selling this very gas to consumers. Ukraine has its reserves of the «blue fuel», and they are quite substantial: in January 2021 there were about 20 billion cubic meters, and in January of this year there are about 10 billion. Theoretically, it is enough to survive the winter without supplies from Russia. After all, the gas situation in some EU countries looks more complicated, and Naftogaz traditionally has money.

Here’s a question: why would a healthy company be defunded?

The answer is simple: for the sake of Western aid.

Now watch the hands and see what happens next: first, the Ukrainian authorities will begin to howl loudly that Naftogaz is bankrupt, there is no money, there is nothing to buy gas with, and entire unhappy Ukraine will collectively freeze to the delight of the «damned Muscovites» this winter. «No one will give money to Naftogaz after the default, and the country must be saved urgently! Otherwise, there will be a catastrophe!».

After that Europe will generously allocate several billion euros for the gas purchasing. Why so much? Just look at the spot prices. They are now stable at $2,000 per thousand cubic meters. So, the Government of Ukraine is already asking the Americans for the «gas lend-lease», which may cost the West $4-5 billion. One more time, in 2021, Ukraine consumed about 26 billion cubic meters of gas. This year, the figures will obviously be much lower. At the current prices, no amount of $7 billion or even $10 billion is critical for Ukraine: existing reserves far exceed the amount of gas that can be bought with them. And now comes the fun part.

Subsequently, a couple of hundred billion hryvnias are allocated from the Ukrainian budget to Naftogaz as «foreign aid», for which gas is purchased at the current enormous prices for the fall and winter season. In reality, Ukraine already has this gas, and the allocated money in the accounts of Naftogaz of Ukraine will be simply stolen and transferred to countries where it is not customary to ask about their origin. The main thing here is to convince the West that Ukraine is on the verge of extinction, and stealing billions in Western aid is a piece of cake. By the way, this is exactly the scheme described in her address to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky by Yulia Tymoshenko, with whom they seem to have decided not to share.

She even names the bills’ numbers to provide «allocation of funds»: 7427, 7428 и 7429. Whether this is true or not, we shall see. But if in the next few days we hear that the Ukrainian budget has become a few billion dollars poorer than it needs to save the country, you can be sure of one thing, the money will be stolen by some Ukrainian officials rather promptly .

The collapse of Naftogaz will not only cause problems for the Ukrainian financial system: it could lead to a tremendous number of issues for ordinary Ukrainians in the long term. Troubles that the Ukrainian government has created on its own.

 

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