Events in Russia


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Russia to treat further US sanctions as an open declaration of economic war – PM
10 Aug, 2018 04:42
Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has warned the US that any sanctions targeting Russian banking operations and currency trade will be treated as a declaration of economic war and retaliated against by any means necessary.

“If they introduce something like a ban on banking operations or the use of any currency, we will treat it as a declaration of economic war. And we’ll have to respond to it accordingly – economically, politically, or in any other way, if required,”

"Our American friends should make no mistake about it,” Medvedev emphasized during a trip to the Kamchatka region

Russia slams US demands for lifting sanctions as ‘unacceptable’
August 09, 16:14 UTC+3
MOSCOW, August 9. /TASS/. By introducing new sanctions against Moscow, Washington is intentionally seeking a further deterioration of bilateral relations and Russia won’t accept the US demands for lifting the restrictions, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters on Thursday.

"As a condition for lifting sanctions the United States is making the demands, which are unacceptable for us, and this is the first stage. They threaten us with further increasing the sanctions pressure," the diplomat said.

"So, the US is intentionally choosing the path of a further deterioration of bilateral relations, which have been nearly reduced to zero thanks to its efforts," Zakharova said.

"Instead of engaging in search for the ways to improve bilateral ties, as was discussed at the Russian-US summit in Helsinki on July 16, the US Administration has hurled all effort into aggravating the situation," the diplomat said.

"The intention of those behind a new round of hyping up the Skripal case is obvious: they seek to keep afloat this advantageous for them anti-Russian topic by hook or by crook as an instrument for demonizing Russia," she added.

"US statements about readiness to continue working towards improving relations with Russia sound strange against this background," she said. "This is barefaced hypocrisy. Washington’s deeds testify to the contrary," Zakharova stressed.

Russia will consider tit-for-tat action to new sanctions of the US, she said. "These will be retaliatory measures rather than the Russian side’s phantasy," Zakharova said, noting that Moscow is not planning to whip up tensions or complicate even further the situation in Russian-US relations.

Moscow’s retaliatory measures will depend on the US restrictions against Russia, the diplomat said. "The measures will be worked out given the steps taken by the US side."

"This time, the Skripal poisoning saga (poisoning of former GRU Colonel Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury) was chosen as a far-fetched pretext," the diplomat said. "The Russian side has repeatedly warned that talking [to Russia] from the position of strength and ultimatums is useless and hopeless," she stressed. "The Russian side will engage in working out retaliation measures to a new unfriendly move by Washington," she said.

New sanctions

Earlier, Washington declared that on August 22 it would impose sanctions against Russia for alleged complicity in the poisoning of former GRU Colonel Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Britain’s Salisbury on March 4. A US Department of State official said earlier that within 90 days the US authorities would make a decision regarding a second package of sanctions against Moscow depending on whether it would comply with a number of conditions. Russia strongly denies its involvement in the Skripals affair.

Sanctioning Russia for false link to UK poisonings ‘unacceptable & unlawful’ – Kremlin
: 9 Aug, 2018 12:22
Dmitry Peskov, the press secretary of Russian President Vladimir Putin, says the use of a Russian link to recent UK poisoning incidents to justify fresh US sanctions against the Kremlin is a violation of international law.

In general, of course it’s necessary to say that we consider it categorically unacceptable that the new restrictions, that we continue to consider unlawful, are associated with the Salisbury case,” Peskov said in his Thursday interview with reporters.
The association with these events is unacceptable for us. And we are convinced that such restrictions, together with the ones that the American side has imposed preemptively, are totally unlawful and contradict international law.”

Russia does not have, and it has never had, anything to do with chemical weapons’ use, this is out of question. Moreover, we cannot confidently discuss what was used in Great Britain and how it was used because we have no information whatsoever. We have received no answers to our proposal to the British side to hold joint investigation into this incident that causes serious concern on our part,” the Kremlin official added.

Peskov told reporters that he considered any speculation about the effect of sanctions on the Russian financial system unwarranted, because this financial system was very stable. He noted that this stability had been proven in previous standoffs and that the Russian authorities had taken deliberate measures to make the country’s finances capable of withstanding the unpredictable behavior of “partners across the ocean.”

He stressed that it was difficult to reconcile the latest unfriendly actions by the US with the atmosphere established during the recent summit between US President Donald Trump and Putin in Helsinki.
When reporters asked Peskov about a possible Russian response to new US measures, he insisted it was too early to discuss the issue because the official US statement and quotes in the media from certain high-ranking sources did not make clear Washington’s official position.

Earlier, the US State Department announced the plans to impose new sanctions on Russia over its alleged role in the poisoning of double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the UK in March. The first package of sanctions is scheduled to come into effect on or around August 22 and will reportedly include a ban on exports of sensitive national security goods to Russia.

The second round of sanctions, which includes downgrading diplomatic relations, banning the Russian airline Aeroflot from flying to the US and cutting off nearly all exports and imports, will reportedly be imposed three months after the first one, unless Russian authorities provide “reliable assurances” that they won’t use chemical weapons in the future and agree to “on-site inspections” by independent monitors.

Earlier today senior Russian lawmakers called the planned restrictions unfounded and likened Washington’s behavior to actions of a police investigator who attempts to extract evidence from an innocent suspect using torture and threats.

Additional Details About Death Of Three Russian Citizens In Central African Republic

Data due as early as Friday will show gross domestic product added 1.9 percent last quarter from a year earlier, compared with 1.3 percent in the first three months, according to the median of 20 forecasts in a Bloomberg survey. That compares with the Bank of Russia’s estimate of between 1.8 percent and 2.2 percent.

Facing a long-term drag as sanctions limit access to foreign technology and capital, Russia has countered by revamping its fiscal and monetary policy, channeling extra income into a sovereign wealth fund and unloading most of its holdings of U.S. Treasuries. While domestic assets have suffered as sanctions damage sentiment, Russia is less vulnerable to outflows of foreign capital than its embattled peers such as Turkey.

“Russia is more prepared,” said Charles Robertson, global chief economist at Renaissance Capital. “They are trying to say that however bad it gets, the government isn’t going to be borrowing much money, it will not be requiring financing from abroad.”

Putin appoints Lavrov as head of Russian delegation to 73rd Session of UN General Assembly
MOSCOW, August 9./TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has appointed Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov as head of the Russian delegation to the 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly.

The document was posted on the official internet portal of legal information on Thursday. The same document approved the lineup of the delegation, which includes representatives from the Foreign Ministry, the Federation Council upper house of the Russian parliament, and the State Duma lower house of parliament. The Foreign Ministry was instructed to approve the lineup of councilors, experts and technical personnel.

The 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly opens on September 18. Its first major forum, the high-level Nelson Mandela Peace Summit will he held on September 24, timed to mark his centennial. On the following day, yearly general debate will begin with the participation of heads of state and government as well as foreign ministers of the UN member countries.

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The President held a meeting on space sector development


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Russian Icebreaking LNG Carrier Sets Record Gas Delivery to China: 7 Days and Change
August 3, 2018
First vessel in a series of 15 icebreaking LNG carriers on order can sail independently through ice of up to 2.1 meters thick

Christophe de Margerie, the icebreaking LNG carrier owned and operated by Russia’s Sovcomflot (SCF Group), has crossed the Northern Sea Route (NSR) in a new record time for a merchant ship without icebreaker support, during the month of July.

Sovcomflot says that the vessel covered the distance of 2,360 nautical miles eastward, from the port of Sabetta (Yamal Peninsula) to Cape Dezhnev (the Bering Strait), in just seven days and 17 hours. Throughout the NSR passage, the vessel navigated independently without any icebreaker support. Her average speed during the NSR crossing was an impressive 12.8 knots.

The LNGC set the new record while delivering a cargo of liquefied natural gas from the Yamal LNG plant at Sabetta to the port of Tangshan, China. On July 31, the vessel successfully berthed at her destination port. In total, it took her 18.5 days to travel from Sabetta to China.

Igor Tonkovidov, Executive Vice President and COO/CTO of SCF Group, said, “This remarkable, safe passage across the NSR has required the crew’s utmost attention and concentration. Ice conditions along the route were severe, especially in the East Siberian Sea, and the vessel experienced navigation in extended periods of limited visibility. The navigational and hydrographic situation within Arctic regions remains as challenging as ever.

“The crew of Christophe de Margerie was able to maintain a rapid yet safe speed for the tanker through effective organisation of bridge watch-keeping, highly skilled navigation, slowing the ship when approaching challenging ice fields and passing them at a safe speed, and moving reasonably quicker in areas of reduced ice cover.”

The vessel can sail independently through ice of up to 2.1 m thick. Her propulsion system has a power capacity of 45 MW, which is comparable to that of a nuclear-powered icebreaker.

She can sail unassisted along the NSR westward from Yamal all year-round, and eastward for six months of the year (from July to December). Previously, the summer navigation window in the eastern area of the Northern Sea Route was limited to only four months with icebreaker support.

The ship’s all-Russian crew numbers 29, including 13 officers. Each officer has significant Arctic shipping experience and has undergone extensive additional training at the SCF training center in St. Petersburg.

The ship was designed to transport LNG year-round in the challenging ice conditions of the Kara Sea and Gulf of Ob. Her cargo capacity is 172,600 cubic metres.

Christophe de Margerie

Kremlin mum on possible tit-for-tat measures in response to recent US sanctions
August 13, 14:03 UTC+3
MOSCOW, August 13. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has not yet given instructions to prepare a new package of measure in response to the expected new sanctions from Washington for Russia’s alleged involvement in Skripal poisoning case, Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday.

"As for instructions, of course it was not yet given, because there was an announcement of some new sanctions, information about a package being prepared or that it was already prepared, but it has not been introduced yet," Peskov said.

Peskov noted, "Having no precise information about the next restrictions invented by Washington, it would be incorrect to talk about any response." At the same time, he recalled that most often in such matters "the principle of reciprocity" is fundamental.

The Washington administration earlier said it was imposing sanctions on Russia as of August 22 over Moscow’s alleged involvement in the poisoning of former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in British Salisbury, on March 4. According to the US Department of State, the US authorities are going to decide on unveiling the second package of sanctions against Moscow in 90 days’ time depending on whether it fulfills a number of conditions. Russia has repeatedly refuted allegations concerning its involvement in the case.

‘Product of chemical synthesis’: Russian lawmaker targets artificial food additives in new bill
13 Aug, 2018 09:57
A Russian lawmaker has proposed banning the naming of foodstuffs made with excessive artificial components after traditional products such as “sausage” or “lemonade.”

MP Vitaly Milonov of the majority United Russia party addressed the Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov in an open letter, insisting the state must toughen rules on product naming in the food industry to prevent false advertising and cheating of customers by dishonest producers. Milonov said the situation involving processed meats and soft drinks was especially serious.

The MP claimed that Russian stores were offering customers “processed meat products” that have no relation to actual meat and suggested that producers and retailers were deliberately cheating customers through product naming. Another sector where the situation is especially serious is the soft drink and fruit juice industry with “stores overstocked with various imported brands of drinks that are pure chemically-synthesized products that inflict heavy damage to human health at any age,” Milonov wrote.

To rectify the situation, the government must introduce new, stricter rules on product naming, the lawmaker said. “It would be logical to impose a ban on names of foodstuffs that can potentially mislead customers. If some so-called sausage has less than 50 percent of meat in it, this product cannot be named sausage and must be called ‘imitation of a sausage product,’ he wrote.

It is not correct when a cocktail of harmful chemicals is called lemonade. This product should also be named in line with its composition – a chemically synthesized drink – and we must mention the possible harmful effects of such drinks on their labels.” Milonov stated.

On Monday Chair of the Russian National Union of Meat Processing Enterprises Tatiana Larina, told the news site that she would like to thank Milonov for attracting the public’s attention to an important problem, but added that Russian law already contained restrictions similar to the ones proposed. She added that producers who named and marked their goods in accordance with the law were perfectly honest with customers.

Russian lawmakers have previously proposed to restrict the sales of potentially-harmful foods, especially the so-called junk food promoted by major international corporations. In mid-2015 United Russia MPs said that they had prepared amendments to the Laws on Advertising that would designate fast food and alcohol ads as equal. This in turn, it was suggested, would make it easier to promote the apparently healthy “national foods.” At about the same time, Russian Communist MPs sought the introduction of an additional tax on sugary drinks, citing concerns over national health.

Russia to modernize Tu-95MS strategic missile-carrying bomber
August 13, 12:08 UTC+3©
The defense contractor would repair eight strategic Tu-160 and Tu-95MS missile-carrying bombers by the end of 2018

MOSCOW, August 13. /TASS/. The Tupolev Aircraft Company will develop the modernized Tu-95MSM strategic missile-carrying bomber for Russia’s Defense Ministry, the company’s press office told TASS on Monday.

"The contract for creating the heavily-modernized Tu-95MSM aircraft has already been concluded," the company’s press office said.

The details and the timeframe of the bomber’s heavy upgrade have not yet been disclosed. As the company’s press office said, the state trials of the operational Tu-95MS plane with the modernized engines are expected to be completed by the end of the year.

The Tu-95MS strategic missile-carrying bomber is designated to accomplish strike missions to destroy major targets in remote military and geographical regions and deep in the rear of the continental theaters of operations with the employment of nuclear missile weapons.

Russian Defense Minister Army General Sergei Shoigu earlier said that extending the service life of the strategic Tu-160 and Tu-95MS missile-carrying bombers and raising their combat efficiency were among priority tasks for Russia’s Defense Ministry.
The Russian defense minister also said that the Tupolev would repair eight strategic Tu-160 and Tu-95MS missile-carrying bombers by the end of 2018.
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